Five Tips for Hospital Content Marketing

Healthcare is a topic that generates huge online search volumes; just about everyone has Googled a symptom or researched a diagnosis on a medical website. According to Pew, 80 percent of people look to search engines first when seeking health information.

But this doesn’t always mean they find what they’re looking for. Hospitals and health systems have ample opportunity to deliver content that drives volume and boosts business. The trick is to determine the best mix of content your specific audiences are looking for, and then to create it with a high standard of quality. Good content attracts audiences. If you can get those audiences to tag their friends and family in commentary on your content, it becomes a built-in referral program for the hospital.

Interestingly, 83 percent of healthcare organizations use content marketing, but only 33 percent have a documented strategy. Here are a few tips for helping hospitals build a solid content marketing strategy.

  1. Understand its value. A few stats:
    1. Per the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 86 percent of B2C marketers consider content marketing a key strategy to reach customers. Further, the CMI says it’s one of the most effective ways to promote a business; 72 percent of marketers report that content marketing increases leads and engagement.
    2. The visual content marketing formats that perform the best: original graphics (such as infographics) at 40 percent, followed by videos and presentations at 23 percent, charts and data visualization at 20 percent, and stock photos, GIFs and memes collectively at 17 percent.
  2. Document a strategy and review/update it as needed. It should cover:
    1. Key audiences
    2. Which platforms you’ll be active on
    3. What topics you want to own
    4. The hospitals initiatives that will be supported with content
    5. What you’ll do in the case of a PR crisis or something unexpected that needs to be discussed on social media and the hospital’s website
  3. Ensure at least one person has responsibility for owning the content strategy. A lot of times, content is piled together from many departments with the intent to make use of it, but there isn’t a clear owner in place who can determine what’s useful and when it should get posted.
  4. Measure the performance of content against predetermined objectives. Are consumers scrolling all the way down to the end of your long-form content? Is it converting to hospital lookups or other business metrics like organic search? Social listening tools make this job easier.
  5. Interact with customers on social media. It’s important to develop a clear strategy ahead of this, since patients will have questions to which answers could violate HIPAA laws, not to mention complaints or emergencies that must be dealt with.

Content can take many forms, from short Q&A sessions to long-form articles to videos to podcasts and more. Develop a strategy, organize the content and ensure it’s high-quality, and you’ll keep consumers coming back.

Kathy Selker
I’m Kathy Selker. My work as CEO of Northlich, a Cincinnati-based healthcare marketing agency, has taught me a great deal about how hospitals and health systems can best connect with women to make the most positive impact in their lives.
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