And the reality is – most of you already know how to do content marketing. It isn’t new to healthcare. Many of your organizations put out regular custom magazines covering hospital happenings and healthcare topics. Most of you offer brochures and pamphlets on diseases and treatments in your waiting rooms. Lots of you send eNewsletters with compelling patient stories. This is content marketing.
There are two keys to transitioning the offline content marketing strategies to an online audience.
Key #1 Make Online Content Valuable
The fact is, more and more consumers are spending time and energy searching for quality health information online. It’s up to you to serve that need and become a trusted destination during their information seeking process. It puts your organization on their radar as they evaluate healthcare services and treatment options.
So the importance of having quality content is growing significantly. Health consumers are looking online for healthcare information, and they need information that’s useful for the specific health issue that they’re concerned about at any given time. This is actually easier to do online than in the print world, where you’re usually following a schedule with limited publication space in any given issue. The result is a magazine highlighting heart disease one month and diabetes the next and how many of your readers really care about both of those items?
On the Web, content has a life that makes it available when someone is searching, but it also requires much more complete coverage of what’s out there than a custom publication.
Key # 2: Keep Content Relevant
Content marketing takes the process even further and looks at content as a way to engage consumers throughout their buying process or, in healthcare terms, throughout the experience of their disease. Early in the cycle, consumers may be drawn to you by discussion of symptoms, risk assessments or “top 10 warning signs of…” articles. Further along in the process, they’ll be looking to evaluate treatment options, so content presenting the pros and cons of different procedures may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
The fact that many health conditions don’t go away quickly – or at all – presents a challenge for content authors. Picture diabetes as an example – there is a need for content for pre-diagnosis as mentioned earlier, and immediate post diagnosis information such as “what is diabetes” or “cooking for diabetics.” Health consumers that have lived with diabetes for some time may be searching for content such as breaking news and research on the disease. Think of your online content as following a patient’s progressive understanding and management of the condition.
To cover topics like this requires a significant commitment to build and license content that goes deeper in to the condition and is updated frequently. And that’s a big undertaking. We talk more about content writing, strategy and marketing online in our webinar, Intermediate Writing for the Web.