Invest More Time Developing Content for Digital Properties

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In truth, we should be spending more time on content and less on functionality, organization and design.

This was the underlying message in a content marketing workshop at the Healthcare Marketing Strategy Summit in Scottsdale, AZ this week. The workshop, led by industry heavyweights Ed Bennett from University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), Scott Linabarger from the Cleveland Clinic and consultant Shel Holtz not only discussed the growing importance of good content, but also focused on steps to develop and promote this information. Here are just some of the highlights:

Every organization is a media company now.

This used to be the case for companies that made their money selling content or allowing the rest of us to accomplish our marketing goals by advertising alongside that content.  Today, thanks to Tivo, dual-screen viewing, or the ability to tune out, consumers can easily ignore the flood of messages that make up a normal day.

People couldn’t care less about our hospitals right up to the point when they need us.

So the best strategy is have the content they need available and findable at that moment when an individual consumer needs it. Then become the key health information resource for them. Regardless of their health situation and level of engagement.

We’re seeing convergence.

PR is no longer just earned media. The lines blur. Earned, owned or paid and social are all colliding. When someone sees a video that a friend shared, they don’t care if that video was created as a TV ad created by your agency or by an enterprising individual in your emergency department. They only care if it’s interesting, relevant and engaging.

Content must be discoverable.

UMMC’s Ed Bennett asks a simple question – Why do our Web visitors come here? The answer is often as simple as they were recently diagnosed with some condition, searched the Web for more information and found UMMC content. So the discussion moved on how to make your content findable:

  • The most obvious, but sometimes overlooked answer is to get your content online. For example, you may put out a print magazine, but it’s never there when you need it. Putting that content online creates an asset with lasting value.
  • Avoid vapor – have good content and lots of it.
  • Don’t ignore the long tail – UMMC has 80 doctors and other medical professionals answering an amazing 12,000(!) patient questions every year. They’re creating great content that’s very discoverable. The long tail is important here because these are the terms that allow you to compete with fewer people for consumers who are more likely to come to you.

It’s important to create content that’s very shareable as well. is a busy site with more than 4 million visits per month. The health encyclopedia format worked well for findability in search engines but made the content less prone to be shared so they’ve added a new Web property called HealthHub for newsy, topical health articles written by or reviewed by Cleveland Clinic experts. HealthHub features 3-5 new posts each day in one of five content categories:

  • Improve my health today
  • Validate me and my condition
  • Give me hope
  • Cure me now
  • Tell me something I didn’t know

Shareability and findability are both important.

Don’t just study Google’s Pagerank algorithm. Also learn about Facebook Edgerank, the rating it uses to determine what posts appear in a Facebook user’s new feed. Edgerank takes into account not only how current a piece of content is, but also an individual’s relationship with the brand posting it based on how they’ve interacted with that brand since becoming a follower. Clicking “Like” on a post doesn’t account for as much value as clicking on the link in a post or sharing posts from the brand with their own friends. So getting Facebook followers is important but most people who like a brand on the popular social networking site never go back. Engagement is more important to Edgerank than the sheer number followers that you have.

When looking at content sharing the number of views is less important than the number of shares. If they’re not talking about you, you don’t exist.

That’s not all!

As you can see, it was a great session with a lot of takeaways. In fact, I couldn’t fit them all into this blog post. Check out The Keys to Creating Great Content for more information from this workshop.

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This entry was posted in Content, Tradeshow/Conference by Ben Dillon. Bookmark the permalink.
Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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