Health Care Organizations Use Content Marketing to Reach Target Audiences

Content marketing’s use in marketing outreach is growing, especially in service-related industries such as health care. This marketing trend increases credibility and visibility. How?  By offering health care and wellness information that people are looking for from a trusted resource. Here’s a look at how content marketing is growing as a health care marketing trend.

Content marketing helps forge strong relationships with patients, staff, community and prospective employees and delivers thought leadership which enhances credibility.

Health care organizations — hospitals, health care clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies — need to forge ongoing strong and positive relationships with patients, staff and the community. Content marketing helps accomplish this goal. It is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.  It is informative and educational rather than hard sell.  And people will come back to a trusted resource where they previously found helpful information.

Why is content marketing valuable for health care organizations to consider now?

In a word, search. Health care related information is a top search topic, from health care and wellness tips, to jobs in health care, to local medical facilities and medical professionals.

  • 1 of every 20 searches is health care related
  • 70 percent of hospital website visits come from search
  • 77 percent of all online health queries start with search

Content marketing can help. It is a way to engage patients, volunteers, job candidates and other by providing information they seek to promote better health or life balance.

Strength in numbers: Content takes many forms

Content takes many forms – email, videos, online training, social media posts, infographics, patient stories, featured practice or staff profiles, 360-facility tours, and on and on. Approaching content marketing strategically and asking “how can I offer my audiences want they want to know” will help determine what combination of content will resonate. Health care organizations can also solicit what’s of interest to their patients and residents and referral sources with an annual survey to see what topics people would like to know about.

Reaching the people:  Content is delivered using a strategic mix of channels

Everyone has a specific preference for where they get their trusted information, as well how they search for information. A good content marketing program utilizes a balanced combination of channels to deliver the content. This can include email marketing, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn, online local media sites and of course the organization or company’s website and blog.

Content needs to answer a patient’s questions

An effective content marketing program focuses on useful information such as health tips and research, delivered in a variety of ways. This content needs to answer a patient’s questions. Here’s a little content marketing scenario to use as an example. Requests for healthy heart-related information are common at a local hospital. Patients questions include:

  • Where is the closest place for a heart stress test?
  • What is a good exercise to make my heart stronger?
  • Is there a special diet to promote a healthy heart?
  • Are there upcoming events covering heart health?
  • Which doctors specialize in cardio care at your hospital?

This hospital’s content marketing program is providing a valuable service by answering these questions with accurate and updated information. An example of how content marketing can benefit a health care organization can be illustrated in a hospital with a goal of increasing patient visits for stress testing to identify those at higher risk of heart attack. Promoted content might include: an online stress-test event; an Are You At Risk infographic; and a companion Are You at Risk video with a short interactive quiz. All will have a link to a form to sign up for a stress test visit.

3 content marketing tools and tips to keep in mind

1. A content calendar helps keep the program focused and on track

With the topics – such as heart health – identified, using tools such as a content calendar will help keep a program on track, keep topics in focus, channels clear, and implementation tracked. The calendar is also a visual representation that’s easy to reference and update.

2.  A good email list is an essential part of a successful content marketing program

Email is among the most valuable of all content marketing channels. A good email program allows an organization or company to deliver (push) content directly to the patient, volunteer, or job applicant with minimal distractions. Making it easy for people to sign up for email on a website is essential.

3. Create benchmarks for measuring effectiveness and to allow adjustments

Measuring results and adjusting outreach appropriately is essential to any marketing program. Establishing benchmarks and metrics before starting a program is key. These can include website visits, video views, social media engagement, downloads and more. Congratulations on choosing to make a long-term investment in content marketing. Statistics show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing (print advertising, brochure distribution, print newsletters, direct mail, etc.), and generates 3 times the number of leads, especially if your client offers great content that people want to share on social media. Up-front planning and strategy to identify what the information needs are and how to deliver them;  keeping an open dialogue with audiences to gauge effectiveness; providing an ongoing flow of new content that provides vetted, accurate and timely information will help to ensure success. You may also want to read Content Marketing Made Simple.

Post by Dianne Newton-Shaw