10 things healthcare providers should know about content marketing

If you’re in the healthcare industry, a strong content marketing strategy can help you differentiate your practice from your peers, or position your organization as a subject matter expert. Although you may be dealing with more complicated or sensitive topics, the basic principles for successful healthcare marketing campaigns aren’t much different than if you were in the marketing or financial services industry. To get you started, here are our top ten healthcare marketing ideas and why they work for healthcare professionals:

1. First, provide value:

Your patients are flocking to the internet to research their ailments, furnish their own second opinions, and understand their bodies more than ever before. Being a source of trusted information for your patients when they are in your examining room OR surfing the internet builds deeper doctor-patient relationships, helps solidify your reputation, and can expand your practice. Providing value to your patients is as simple as posting real, actionable information and answers to common questions on your website. If you’re a nutritionist, provide starter meal plans or supplement regimes. If you’re an internist, share common tips for preventative care. If you’re a plastic surgeon, talk about the pros and cons of certain procedures. We know there’s no substitution for a face-to-face consultation, but a little foundational information goes a long way. Giving your patients access to substantive information will teach them to seek your guidance when they need to and use your website for self-service when they don’t, creating a healthy and effective patient lifecycle.

2. Optimize for keywords:

Make sure your potential patients can find you. The vast majority of people choose service providers based on reviews or referrals and cross check their decision against the internet to set expectations or prepare for their visit. Optimizing your content by the keywords your patients may be searching for will help your audience find you and encourage them to reach out for a consultation. If you’re new to SEO or medical marketing, don’t worry. Simply write your website copy the way you would if you weren’t thinking about keyword rankings. Next, use Google Trends to find words specific enough that you aren’t competing against mega-corporations with multi-million dollar marketing budgets, but general enough that the average person would search for your practice using those terms. Last, plug them in where the content makes the most sense by replacing existing phrases. And that’s it.

3. Don’t underestimate gated content:

If you are still growing your practice, try using gated content to generate leads and invite potential patients in for a consultation. Gated content is marketing speak for downloadable information that is only accessible once you’ve entered your email address or phone number. For example, during flu season, you may offer a white paper outlining common symptoms and ways to avoid exposure in exchange for your potential patients’ contact information. Next, simply follow up by offering a consultation, flu shot, and winter survival kit. Gated content allows your potential patients to self-select into your practice and for your to reach out to a pre-qualified patient base.

10 Things Healthcare Providers Should Know About Content Marketing4. Make it shareable:

Some studies suggest that the average person spends 61% of their day in front of a screen – whether it’s their computer, a television, or a smartphone. People also love to share information about themselves or ideas that engage them. Making your website easy to read, informative, and actionable will encourage patients to share your information. And don’t forget to maintain a presence on social media. We aren’t suggesting you cultivate inappropriate personal relationships with your patients, but having an open account for your practice, or even a generic (secondary) set of profiles for yourself, can help humanize your services and make you more relatable to your patients. It’s an easy way to boost your bedside manner and make your patients feel comfortable entrusting you with their bodies.

5. Showcase your value:

Being a generalist is good, but don’t be afraid to show off your professional interests and specialties. Your unique value proposition sets you apart from the competition and lets your practice shine. Talk about your medical passions, your recent niche trainings, and any publications that have peaked your interest. Whether you choose to share this by posting on social media, blogging, or creating a projects overview page on your website, your patients will thank you – and enjoy – understanding why you are different from the many other providers out there. As insurance becomes more widespread and medical networks fan out, your patients have more options to choose from than ever before. A strong healthcare content marketing strategy that shows off what makes you – well – you can help your practice stay on the cutting edge as the medical industry evolves.

6. Size matters:

On the flip side, you don’t want to overwhelm your web visitors with information. The sweet spot for healthcare marketing pages is between 300-500 words. After that, your audience will probably start skimming or tune out all together. Especially when translating medical information to a non-medical audience, it’s extremely important to keep your messaging short, sweet, and to the point. Keeping your pages and posts around 500 words also helps search engines crawl your pages for the most important content. Google and Bing rank search results based on relevancy and follow a strict quality over quantity policy. Ensuring that your keywords, and most relevant content fall within the first 500 words of each page will help boost your search rankings dramatically.

7. Audience engagement:

Give your audience a chance to interact with you. As a medical provider, patients feel reassured that they can reach out to you with questions. Giving them comment forums, Q&A sections, or email access to your practice is a great strategy to drive engagement with your healthcare content marketing materials. It’s wonderful to provide useful information, but people also like to know that their situation is normal, or share their unique experiences.

8. Never save the best for last:

Put your best information front and center on your homepage. Although it’s tempting to build a complicated website ecosystem of links, backlinks, and sub menus that seems hyper-organized to you, this can be confusing for the average visitor because they aren’t living and breathing the information everyday the way you are. It can also hurt your search ranking. Put all the most common and relevant information on your homepage and build depth into pages that you feel may be frequented less often. If you’re unsure what content is most important, try running some simple A/B tests using a tool such as Optimizely. You can place certain information on the homepage and test it against other content. To determine which is resonating most with your audience, track web metrics such as time spent on site, clicks, and email submissions.

9. Pictures are still worth 1,000 words:

It almost goes without saying that few things build an emotional bond the way pictures do. Sharing pictures of your staff, your office, or your tools, can help patients connect with your practice on a new level and envision themselves receiving care with your team. This is especially important for hospital marketing or if the work you do has any fear associated with it. Knowing that your office is a safe, peaceful environment can encourage patients to seek medical attention more frequently and feel less hesitant to reach out. Pictures act as a powerful healthcare marketing tool that builds a human and emotional bond between the services you provide and the people you serve.

10. A little blog goes a long way:

We know that healthcare professionals log long hours and dedicate a lot of emotion and time into the job. Which is why we also know that the thought of writing a weekly blog might seem tedious or like a waste of time. That said, we couldn’t emphasize the importance of blogs enough. They are one of the most powerful medical marketing tactics and help boost SEO rankings, user engagement, brand awareness, loyalty and leads. They are a chance for you to showcase yourself, generate shareable medical marketing content, and spread the word. Writing 300 words per week (or even every other week) is a key strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked no matter how many other items are on your to do list.

Many of the tactics we discussed are tried and true practices that most major corporations employ. For medical providers, healthcare content marketing serves the added bonus of elevating your practice – and website – to a safe place where your patients want to visit … not just need to visit. For more strategies on developing the best content marketing strategy for your brand, contact our team of experts today to get the conversation started!

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