Creating content for your healthcare practice, hospital or primary care facility is a crucial method for marketing your services and unique offerings to the right audience online both locally and globally.
Content marketing is the practice of creating truly valuable content for your target audience that comes in many forms like blog posts (like this), articles, eBooks, white papers, images, infographics, videos and more. Once you’ve created this content, social media in the short term and the search engines in the long term can help bring this content to the attention of potential patients, partners, hires and anyone else that would be interested in your services or your expertise on the industry.
With traditional marketing slowly falling to the wayside, it is crucial to have a dialogue with your audience and build loyalty with them overtime. According to TMG Custom Media, 90% of consumers find original content useful and 78% believe that organizations that provide original content are interested in building long-lasting relationships with them.
The time to start building the content marketing strategy for your healthcare facilities is now. Take these eight tips into consideration when beginning the brainstorming process for your content marketing strategy:
1. Tell the Story of Your Greatest Resource: Your Staff
Your staff is by far the most important asset to your facility and an effective source of telling your facility’s story with a human face. Profile doctors, nurses, physician assistants and other caregivers on your facility’s blog, newsletter, website and elsewhere to help paint a picture of who operates the organization.
When it comes to creating a profile, share the personal story of an individual staff member once a week, month or quarter to discuss their history at the hospital or highlights of their career. It is crucial to include a photo of the staff member to make it even easier to connect with them and make your story about them more compelling.
Does your organization release a series of podcasts, videos or articles on a particular subject regularly? If so, feature your staff members in these content pieces to bring the experience full circle. Also feature the accomplishments and accolades of your staff to show support and emphasize how your team is excelling. Highlighting actual staff members brings originality and authenticity to your content that is a crucial means of building trust with your audience in the long-term.
An example of how it is done: The Baptist Medical Center produced a video about their staff continued commitment to safety, the hospital transport department at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville created this educational video on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
2. Give a Strong Opinion on Industry News & Trends
There is consistently compelling news, trends and developments in the healthcare industry that a staff member at your facility is either directly impacted by or can comment on in some form. As a means of creating original content off of repurposing existing content, take an informed stance on existing news story, issue or trend in your industry and publish that opinion in an article, interview, video or other form of media to get your organization’s opinion across.
This is an effective way to build content and a unique stance on an issue that already exists and is relevant to your industry. It is very important to make sure that when lending your opinion on a topic that it is an issue that you have authority or expertise on as it relates back to the organization.
An example of how it is done: Florida Hospital shared this video of one of their doctor’s discussing a surgical procedure on Fox News after Angelina Jolie brought attention to the operation in the media. The doctor as a representative of the hospital discussed the newsworthy trend which helped to bring the organization into the discussion, while creating relevant content at the same time.
3. Use Video to Capture the Most Compelling Stories
Video is one of the most effective methods of telling a story to your audience that can help build instant credibility. Build a strategy of programming, similar to a weekly TV series, for your video marketing efforts by featuring your staff, patients, services, expertise and the data that is unique to your facility. The type of content healthcare professionals are privy to is extremely valuable in its appeal to a vast, mainstream audience. It goes without saying some information at healthcare facilities is private and extremely sensitive, but other data and insights could have far reaching benefit for your facility to share with the public.
An example of how it is done: This video uploaded to University Hospital’s YouTube channel features one of the hospital’s patients, their story and the type of surgery performed to help correct their gymnastics injury. By choosing to share this compelling story of recovery in a video as opposed to an article, it helped better illustrate the value that the hospital was able to provide to that particular patience by hearing her voice, seeing her smile and watch her explain her experience.
4. Create Infographics Using Unparalleled Sources Of Data & Expertise
Healthcare facilities have unique access to data and experts about their expertise, not to mention, strong relationships with various universities studying and collecting insights on the services they offer patients. Gather this data for inclusion in an infographic about your industry on a specific topic that helps to share this knowledge and information in a visual way that incites people to share and link to this resource online. This data can even be sourced from the web, however it is really important to ensure that all the information used is accurate. Look to build the infographic yourself using an a user friendly tool like Infogr.am or Infoactive, by hiring a freelancer from Visual.ly or by contracting an agency to visualize your data for you like JESS3 or Killer Infographics.
An example of how it is done: If a dentist wanted to create compelling content about their services and industry, then the infographic below would work to effectively to get that point across. By highlighting the negative effects of bad dental hygiene in a visually appealing way, a dentist could help better inform potential patients of the risks of not seeing a dentist regularly. The data from this infographic was sourced from the web, highlighting how effective that approach can be when done accurately.
5. Use Social Media to Gather Conversations for Future Content
Often healthcare facilities get frustrated with how to approach social media effectively with time constraints and limitations on the types of content that can and cannot be shared. One source of compelling content that is worth sharing and is completely free, is feedback from your audience on your social channels. Browse your mentions on Twitter, wall posts and comments on Facebook, comments on your YouTube channel etc. to listen for valuable feedback worth sharing with your entire audience through social media, email, a blog or elsewhere.
An example of how it is done: A former patient wrote on the Mayo Clinic’s Facebook Page here sharing his story about his positive experience with the clinic after a near fatal car accident. The Mayo Clinic saw this post and responded by telling the former patient that they are happy recovery is going well and then proceeded to ask if they could feature his story on their blog. By consistently listening to your audience on social media, you will be able to identify opportunities for future content sourced from your followers.
6. Survey Your Audiences, Publish the Results
Getting constant feedback from your patients and partners is vital for the continued success of your operation offline and online. Surveys can help gauge patient satisfaction, determine what the greatest concerns to women and men’s health are among a survey group, understand how patients find out about your facility and help with medical research across different patient groups. Survey your patients, online audience or patient groups through a service like SurveyMonkey to get enough data to publish on your blog, for an infographic, to post on social media etc.
An example of how it is done: HealthPartners surveyed employers in Minnesota and Wisconsin about the national health care reform debate to gather insightful local insights about a nation-wide trending issue. HealthPartners presented their survey in the form of text and bar graphs, which helped to illustrate their key findings with their audience.
7. Write an eBook on Findings or Studies
Ebooks are long-form editorial content about a particular subject that provide deeper value then a blog post or article due to their length and variety of sources. These resources can be used to help educate your audience and provide value around a particular subject. A healthcare facility has the advantage of pulling data from experts and studies to be used in an eBook specific to a particular subject. An eBook could cover topics ranging from the impacts of mobile technology on healthcare to the six latest innovations in heart transplants. The common factor among eBooks is that they help draw leads to an organization’s website since they are providing quality information and value for free. To make eBooks work even more effectively, gate the resource with a sign-up form that requires website visitors to pass on their email or other information to receive the free resource.
An example of how it is done: HealthData Management created an eBook on how to improve the clinical workflow with technology at the bedside and offers it for free by filling out a registration form.
8. Create a Magazine on Seasonal Health & Wellness
Create an annual, quarterly or monthly print and online magazine about your facility, services, news and seasonal updates. This will help your organization act more like a publication, continuing to push the envelope on providing quality healthcare related content to your audience based on your expertise and the time of year. A magazine is an important addition to your content strategy because of the frequency in which it is released. Readers will begin to expect it, much like TV programming, if it released consistently once a month, once a quarter or at whatever frequency the organization decides. Utilize articles from your blog, infographics and eBooks within your magazine, as well as making sure to incorporate a variety of original content as well. The magazine can be as minimal or extensive as your organization sees fit, what is important is that it provides value.
An example of how it is done: UPMC in Pittsburgh has a quarterly magazine called UPMC Today that gives patients, visitors and friends information on seasonal health and wellness tips. It is produced in both print and online, many of the articles featured in the magazine can be found individually on the UPMC website as well. Take note of UPMC’s balanced use of a variety of helpful tips and industry news in the form of both text and images through their quarterly publication.
What content marketing tisp for healthcare facilities are you going to try first? What are some of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to creating content? Share your thoughts in the comments below.