Telling Your Whole Brand Story: System-Wide Approach to Web Content Structure

Content Planning
It’s human nature to group like things together. At home, the coats go in the coat closet. Cars go in the garage. Milk goes in the fridge and dirty clothes go in the hamper. But when you’re in a rush, you park on the driveway, throw your coat on the couch, set the milk on the counter and leave your clothes on your bedroom floor.

Likewise, on your website everything has a home. And site visitors go where they are familiar to find information about your healthcare organization, your doctors and services, your locations… to find out about you. If you’re sloppy about your content organization, you can easily create quite a mess for your Web audience.

At Geonetric, we take careful consideration of these issues in the content strategy phase with every site we evaluate, and certainly with every site we restructure. We look deep into the organization’s structure to help guide the organization of content but, more importantly, we look at the needs of your audience and identify the gaps in the user experience.

And then we work to solve those problems. One increasingly common way we solve this problem is by providing system-wide structure for content.

Let me give you a non-healthcare example of this type of structure.

Here’s the situation: you find yourself in need of a new camera. Since you’re a busy parent of three, you do some research online between soccer practice and dance recital. You diligently read the reviews, weigh the pros and cons of a couple models, and finally decide on one that will work best for you.

Now it’s time to buy, so you look at a couple of local retailers to see if they carry the camera. You decide you want to try to get the camera at your local Target store. On their website you have three options: sold online, sold in stores, or eligible for store pickup. Since you don’t really want to wait for shipping you decide to go to the store – so you click ‘find a store’.

And good thing you checked, because that particular camera is in stock at the North location, but out of stock at the South store.

That’s pretty convenient information to know. It saves you time, empowers you to make better buying and planning decisions, and keeps you from being frustrated that you made a trip to the wrong store, which then ties frustration to the store brand.

So, how does this apply to healthcare?

We know that people who search online for health information focus on searches for doctors, medical treatments and diseases.

When structuring sites, if we group like content together and utilize VitalSite’s powerful SmartPanels, we can simulate the camera customer experience example above.

Flushing that out a bit more, let’s talk services. A healthcare system may provide a wide array of services. However, those services may not be available at all locations. It might be locally known that your hospital on the East side of town specializes in birthing and your hospital on the West side of town specializes in heart care. But consider this: although your marketing and branding efforts have been extremely successful for communicating your brand, you WILL miss out on patients if you make information difficult to find on the website.

If you put the milk on the counter and the dirty clothes on the floor your visitors will be confused when they look in the refrigerator and the hamper to find this information. But we also understand that sometimes things need to be in more than one place. They need to be highlighted differently in different places and sometimes service line content is truly needed to tell the story of a given location.

Common themes in these structures are:

  • Service line content lives in the services section… all of it. A site visitor needs to be able to come to one repository to learn about the breadth and depth of services you offer across all locations. You can highlight particular things on location pages and talk about specific differentiators of that hospital, but the only way people know you have it is if you tell them about it where they are already looking (psst… which is in services!)
  • Cross-promotion is key. Utilizing a well-built taxonomy and SmartPanels to connect your services to locations and to physicians creates a smooth conduit for site visitors throughout your website.

A site visitor who is reading about your:

  • Services will also be presented with the physicians who provide those services and the locations where they can get that care.
  • Physicians can dynamically see what services that doctor provides and which locations they practice at (and also hopefully complete a well-built call to action to request an appointment).
  • Locations will be shown with which services are available there and which physicians practice at that location.

In other words, we’ve got your site visitors covered! We understand it’s difficult to build this master structure. But we are here to help you sort things out.

Here are a couple of our clients who are utilizing system-wide content. And why.

Adventist HealthCare Homepage

Adventist HealthCare went live in January of 2014. Like many health systems, providing care to patients at every stage is important. That’s why the organization works hard to support patients over time with a comprehensive array of services. Expressing that continuum of care and cross-promoting service lines and locations was a top priority to their website redesign.

Adventist HealthCare traded in silos of content for a strategy that balances the strength of its regional brand and still highlights individual facilities. They manage their online brand in a way that meets organizational goals while providing a seamless user experience every step of the way. They accomplished an online shift that reflected strategic changes happening across the system and created a Web presence that makes it easy for consumers to access services across the system.

Abington Health Homepage

Abington Health launched their new website in December of 2013 moving content from a location-based focus to a system-wide approach. This shift in branding allows the health system to highlight their services – across the system – to their entire market.

With their new system-wide approach and responsive design, Abington Health focused on clear calls to action and making them a priority. Cross-promoting services and physicians was their strong suit, and they’ve incorporated priority of calls to action for mobile users as well as desktop site visitors. In addition, Abington Health reflects its position as a system that has highly advanced clinical services through highlighting technology and state-of-the-art services, clinical trials, quality, and academic programs.

The combination of their system-wide content approach, the cross-promotion of their physicians, services and locations, and their keen attention to calls to action, Abington Health is able to best serve their audience via the Web. Giving them the power to find the information they need all at their fingertips (in some cases, literally!)


Meritas Health is a prime example that system-wide content isn’t just for large health systems. A multi-specialty group practice with over 24 locations recently incorporated 16 separate clinic websites into one. That’s a lot to manage, but moving to a central source for content provides their site visitors one common place to get all of the information they need.

Meritas Health’s website provides their audiences with the ability to find a doctor, medical service content, location information, patient information and health resources directly communicated from the main brand. Site visitors are able to identify the services and offerings available across the practice all in one place.

Does your organization have similar problems?

Did you find yourself identifying with the issues you just read? If you were nodding your head (or screaming from the rooftops!) while reading this post, talk to us! We can help you figure out the best approach to structure for your organization, your patients, and your bottom line.

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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Content, Industry Trends, Marketing, User Experience by Maggie Blaisdell. Bookmark the permalink.
Maggie Blaisdell

About Maggie Blaisdell

Maggie’s more than just a great content strategist. She brings a strong background in marketing communications and graphic design to her role as both a product owner and content strategist – allowing her to see content as a piece of the bigger picture and how it can support both organization and user goals. Maggie holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy University in marketing and communications with a minor in art and a focus in graphic design. This ceramic artist and photographer is an active member of the Cedar Rapids Jaycees, an organization that donates its proceeds back into the local community. Maggie’s known for her drastic hair changes, but it’s not a fashion statement. It’s for a cause. Over the last few years she has donated her hair to Beautiful Lengths helping to provide real-hair wigs to women living with cancer.

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