You know how great it feels to lock in that final jigsaw puzzle piece and see the entire picture. Wouldn’t you love to capture that same warm glow when you look at the website content for your hospital or health system? Of course you would! And you can—if you apply relevant metrics that will help you discover the value of this major marketing investment. So, what does it take to measure content ROI?
Everything starts—or should start—with your business goals, which should incorporate your users’ goals too. You can figure out what’s important to measure by understanding what you and your users want to accomplish. But stay focused. Don’t bite off more than you can chew—at least, not when you’re getting started. Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean you should. You don’t want to get sucked into the big black hole of tracking data for data’s sake. You want to focus on meaningful measurements in order to get results that can truly help guide the decisions you need to make about creating valuable content.
Whether your healthcare organization wants more patients to pay their bills online or you’re interested in expanding your social media relationships, the key is to set up measurements that will track your goals. And it’s important to remember that you must stay in the game for the long haul. Arnie Kuenn, experienced content marketer and president of Vertical Measures, notes: “Content marketing is different from other forms of online marketing in that it does not always deliver ROI quickly. It may take weeks or months for a piece of content to be discovered by people and the search engines.” So don’t give up too early. A week’s worth of data doesn’t tell you much; a month’s worth—or a year’s worth or more—really starts to create a valuable knowledge base that can inform your next steps and make all the effort worthwhile.
We all say we build our websites to help our users—patients and prospects, visitors, staff, communities and more—but do we really?
What if focusing on top tasks, clear navigation and streamlined content actually increased our key measures and made our site visitors happy? Your next question might just be: Where do I sign up?
But then you wonder… How could it possibly be that when we first help our website users do what they came to do, they’ll show their love by sticking with us, following through with activities that also benefit our organization?
It seems counterintuitive, but it works. Requirements to fill out forms with lots of fields or pages—or “shouting” at visitors to do something we want before we let them complete their goal—only creates frustration. Such tactics actually interfere with building the positive relationships that create happy users who are inclined to make return visits.
We’ve all been known to get lost in our daydreams—conjuring up a sun-filled beach vacation during the latest bitterly cold blizzard or imagining the crack of the bat as the ball heads over the outfield fence. That’s all pretty harmless. In fact, such thoughts might help us get through the worst of winter’s days or connect on a monster grand slam the next time we stand beside home plate.
When it comes to our website content, though, we need a little reality therapy. Good content doesn’t happen by magic, which means we actually need to pay attention to it. On a regular basis. With our organizational goals and our users—and their goals—in mind. Even if we’d like to believe otherwise, hope is not an effective strategy for dealing with the vast expanse of website content. We need to make content a top priority—from the time we create it through the time we send it to bed.
So, you say, how do I add one more thing to my ‘top priority’ list? I’m already overwhelmed by all the stuff that’s accumulated on our website. Like watching Hoarders, the thought of digging into the mess makes my head spin. How do I figure out what’s good to go, what’s ready to retire and what’s a hidden gem that simply needs to be dusted off and spiffed up a bit? Well, that takes some research—which means time and effort to dig deeper and uncover the answers to some big questions.
Isn’t it obvious? Websites need content to exist. No content. No website. No website. No visibility to your potential audience. Oops!
What’s not as obvious? Websites need good content. Think about it. Before you opened the doors of your bricks-and-mortar healthcare facilities, you invested time, energy and resources into identifying the services and programs you planned to offer. You found out who your customers were, what they needed and how your services could help them. And you invested again in all the tools, people and processes that would ensure you’re the best choice to deliver the healthcare services you promised. You need to do the same thing with your website. Continue reading
Those MasterCard® commercials have it right. Everything costs something, but some things are worth more than what they cost. They’re valuable. And that’s how we need to think about website content.
When considering a purchase, we often think only about the amount of money we spend. We know the numbers, the price, the cost. We can feel the bills or coins leaving our hands—or we see the balance in our bank account drop. We buy stuff all the time:
But what’s the value of these purchases? That’s not something you can measure in money. It’s priceless.
Value comes from the intangibles—like feelings—related to the products and services we buy. Feelings like attention, fun, trust, relationship, comfort, caring. Yes, you spend money for these products and services, but what you get back makes the cost worthwhile.
As more hospitals, outpatient centers and physician practices join forces to share expensive technology and gain from the knowledge and skill of experienced clinicians, the need to speak with a unified voice online becomes imperative. HCA’s Capital Division has partnered with Geonetric to meet that and other goals for its multiple facilities and websites.
Beyond the organizational and emotional upheaval brought on by merging business cultures when hospitals and medical groups combine their efforts comes the challenge of creating a new Web presence. The new “system” website must build on the stellar reputations of the individual players while highlighting the benefits users will receive from their newfound access to resources across the entire system. Often, that means creating a new Web presence that’s a mash-up of all the existing websites – and rethinking everything about content and users in the process.
As HCA’s Capital Division continues its Web restructuring activities, the latest site to launch is LewisGale Regional Health System, the hub of its Southwest Virginia market. LewisGale incorporates four hospitals, six outpatient centers, two cancer centers and 700 physicians. While based in Salem/Roanoke, the entire service area stretches from Alleghany Highlands and Rockbridge County on the north to the Roanoke and New River Valleys on the south, a distance of more than 100 miles.
LewisGale’s far-flung individual players recognized the need for an integrated message – one that reflects the system’s hub-and-spoke approach to delivering a wide range of sophisticated services – and they invested in a partnership with Geonetric to make that happen. We built on the awareness that the region is filled with small communities where personal relationships are key.
Because area residents are used to getting care close to home from doctors and nurses they know and trust, we knew it was crucial for the website to maintain the essence of LewisGale’s century-old, well-known brand – their highly regarded, effective and compassionate care.
New Web content developed for the site assures LewisGale’s communities and users – no matter where they live in the region or where they start in the system – of fast access to expert acute care with top quality results.
The new content also illustrates that, when needed, local providers can connect patients with specialized care or transfer them within the system while maintaining continual, two-way communication to monitor those patients, who will return for local follow-up and ongoing care close to home.
As with the newly launched website for HCA Virginia in Richmond, LewisGale used the transition from individual hospitals and practices to an integrated system as the springboard for transforming their online presence.
Building on the HCA Virginia groundwork, LewisGale’s new site uses the same Capital Division look and feel to promote the power of their network, expertise and technology.
This approach also lets LewisGale highlight individual hospitals when appropriate.
LewisGale’s new website content, new site structure and new responsive design make it easy for their consumers, communities and physician practices to find information about services at the system level and follow the path to accessing the care they need close to home. The total number of pages on the site was significantly reduced while an informative presence was created for services that were previously invisible.
You may find no better subject for newsjacking than Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. The New York Times op-ed piece by Angelina Jolie—My Medical Choice—caused a big stir and lit up the interwebs within hours of its publication on May 14, 2013. And it was still going strong a day later.
Did you get on the bandwagon? Did you newsjack this story? Or were you curating content? Each approach has its merits, but you need to be aware of what you’re doing so you can be effective and efficient. Since trend data on this topic may not even show up for a couple of days, you want to engage the conversation at the sweet spot where everyone’s still talking.
Newsjacking provides your expert, quotable insights on a topic. (See our recent post, Newsjacking: Seize the Second Paragraph, for details.) It offers your original perspective and helps position you as the go-to source for more information on the issue. If breast care, cancer care, or genetic testing are important services for your organization, be prepared to join the conversation quickly.
Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, took that approach by repurposing relevant content for the current context. Key points? They knew they had an existing piece that fit the bill—a patient’s decision after genetic testing—and they understood how to reframe and expand it with original information to hit the topic of the day. Of course, they were paying attention to the news and took advantage of the opening.
When you curate content, you sort through the fire hose of online information, pull out interesting links from assorted sources, and republish them under a cohesive theme with a bit of context as framework.
Curating content is a valuable service—one that definitely should be part of your marketing toolkit. But why not take a few minutes to talk with the breast care/cancer care/genetic testing specialists at your facility, gather comments on the issues involved, and be ready to make an original contribution to the conversation? You’ll build credibility in your own market, as well as with news organizations who will recognize your value and come knocking the next time they need expert input.
Whether you newsjack or curate, go light on the self-promotion. Just being in the conversation—and providing information that helps your readers—garners more than enough attention. Remember, it’s always about being helpful to your audience first.
After a couple of weeks filled with amazing news headlines — from letters filled with ricin sent to a senator and the U.S. president, to bombings at the 2013 Boston Marathon, to deadly explosions at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas — newsjacking might seem like a no-brainer for your marketing department. But take care to know what’s really involved and establish some basic guidelines for your organization to follow.
Exactly what is newsjacking? According to David Meerman Scott, author of the latest e-book on the subject — Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage — it’s the opportunity to instantly put your organization into the news of the day and keep it there over time. It’s a social media post or news media promotion that points to relevant content in your online media room or blog.
When you newsjack, you provide your expert, quotable insights on the news topic — insights that help position your organization as the go-to source for more information. You want to quickly deliver well-written, verifiable, and valuable information that journalists can quote verbatim — as if they’d talked to you in person. It should flesh out the “why” behind the “who, what, when, where” and help keep the story alive. Your take becomes the second paragraph in the story they’re telling.
Examples range from Kate Middleton’s morning sickness episodes to Oreo tweeting “You can still dunk in the dark” during the Super Bowl lighting snafu to reminders about the warning signs of stroke that appeared after the death of Britain’s Margaret Thatcher. Almost any topic offers an opening for newsjacking. To make the most of it, you need website content that is helpful, welcoming, user-focused, and action-oriented — content that describes how your services benefit your patients and how it fits a news topic. Posting your ‘take’ on the story to your blog also helps search engines find you.
Geonetric client Adventist HealthCare tapped into an online conversation with this successful newsjack:
Want to begin newsjacking? Geonetric can help you get started!
According to Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman, content rules. The pair literally wrote the book on the subject – Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) that Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business. Recently revised to keep up with the constantly changing world of social media, it’s one of the best books to help you get started in your content development efforts or remind you of options when faced with information overload. Whether you consider the title as directive or cheer, you’re right!
Conversation? Community? Add them to content and you have a solid base for your business in a world where social media captures an ever-increasing share of the way we communicate with each other.
Content Kicks Off Social Brand Forum
Exploring this triple-pronged approach and delivering practical information was the focus of the first Social Brand Forum 2012, a two-day event with the theme “Content – Conversations – Community” that wrapped on October 18th. Content kicked it off with the keynote presentation from Ann Handley. In addition to her role as a book author, she’s the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs.com and founder of ClickZ, an early social media Web presence. Her conference message? Be a daring brand and create content worth sharing. Although “storytelling” is the latest buzzword that’s supposed to help grow businesses, Handley says it’s really about “telling true stories well. It’s about your audience.”
Six Rules for Creating Sharable Content
While that approach may be the most significant shift of mindset you have to make to be successful, you can get started by following the six “content rules” Handley delivered at Social Brand Forum 2012: