The evolution of the healthcare industry has led to dynamic changes in how providers market their services. One of the biggest changes in healthcare has been how patients are getting information about health. Many are bypassing their primary care physicians and going straight to the Internet to research everything from doctors and hospitals to conditions and treatments.
Patients are educating themselves by reading content online. WebMD sees an average of 55,318,117 organic users per month looking for information about health-related topics. So if your medical practice is not producing content regularly, you are missing out on being in front of people who are actively looking for your services.
So here’s the great thing about content marketing for medical practices is that you’re probably already doing it. Content marketing is creating and sharing valuable information online. Content marketing can take on many forms like blogs, emails, social media posts, videos, you name it. The key to being successful in content marketing is having a defined strategy. Here are 4 commonly overlooked elements every healthcare content strategy must have.
1. Know Why You Are Creating Content
Writing blog posts for the sake of writing something is the quickest way to annoy and frustrate the potential patients you are trying to attract. What is the purpose or goal of your content? What are you trying to achieve? Without a purpose, you won’t know if your content has been effective; served its purpose. Every piece of content created as part of your content marketing strategy needs to have a well-defined reason for existing.
Common purposes for pieces of healthcare content include:
- To benefit your practice on search engines
- To educate a potential patient
- To drive social engagement
- Build trust and rapport with potential patients before they ever come to your office.
- Attract new patients to your practice
- Show how your practice can be a solution for their health problem
- Build loyalty with existing patients
Try not to give a piece of content too many goals. It can be tempting to want to do it all, but if you try to accomplish too many things with a single piece of content you could find yourself spread too thin. Focus on one objective.
2. Targeted Messaging Patients Actually Care About
Content is not a “one piece fits all” concept. Think about your email inbox. How many times a day do you click “unsubscribe” because the email is irrelevant to you? This shotgun approach is ineffective and disruptive because you will inevitably be creating something that is irrelevant (or worse, annoying) to a huge portion of your audience.
One of the biggest struggles in healthcare content marketing is relevance. What does your audience care about? What are they looking for? The content you create needs to address a specific potential patient, who has a specific problem, who is at a specific point in their patient journey. Your content is an opportunity to prove that you understand them and what they are going through. Start each piece of content by outlining your target and the pain point you’re solving.
When you create content patients actually care about, they are more likely to perform the action you want – like downloading your guide to back pain, subscribing to your newsletter, or requesting an appointment.
3. A Website That Converts
Go to your website right now. What do you feel when you are looking at it? What do you experience? You are spending time and money to generate traffic to your website. But if it is filled with unnecessary elements, takes too long to load a page, or is too difficult to navigate, all that time and money is wasted.
Every healthcare content marketing strategy needs a website that can convert your traffic into leads. Research shows that you have less than 8 seconds to catch the attention of a site visitor before they leave. Take a quick gut check on your website’s conversion optimization with these common questions:
- Is your value proposition clear?
- Do the calls-to-action stand out or get lost?
- Is the navigation intuitive or confusing?
- Do your headlines grab attention?
- Is the site design responsive when viewed on a mobile device?
- Do your visuals build trust or are they more of a distraction?
- Are you leveraging testimonials and social proof?
The list of ways to increase the conversion rate of your website is endless but these questions are a good start. There is no steadfast blueprint that works for every website. The tactics you choose to implement should be based on your specific practice and the specific patients you want. Our advice? Test everything!
4. Patient-Generated Content
Trust between you and your patients is critical in the patient journey. But like many industries, healthcare is one where the opinion of other patients can have more value than anything you say. The Nielsen Consumer Trust Index, a score based on consumer sentiment, shows that 92% of consumers trust user-generated content more than traditional advertising. User-generated content is unpaid; it is created by users for users. This means that user-generated content is, in the eyes of the consumer, more authentic, truthful, and honest.
So in the world of healthcare, this means that what your patients say about you to other potential patients (both directly and indirectly) can have a significant impact on your patient acquisition.
Common patient-generated content includes:
- Pictures and videos
- Blog posts
- Testimonials and reviews
- Discussion boards
- Social media post
- Case studies
Patient-generated content does more than just build trust with a patient. It can help your marketing budget go further, build SEO value, boost credibility, improve your social reach, and of course, get more patients in the door.
Healthcare Content Marketing Opportunity
Healthcare content marketing is your practice’s opportunity to engage, share information, and provide value to prospective patients you want to convert into appointments. But that’s not all content marketing can do for you. Content marketing can:
- Build patient retention
- Increase brand awareness
- Build your reputation
- Elevate your search engine rankings
- Increase site traffic from a wider variety of sources
- Build trust, credibility, and authority
- Move patients through the patient journey
- Help you stay competitive
- Provide more touchpoints with your patients
- Trigger compounding ROI
One of the biggest challenges medical practices face is finding the time to create content. And that’s ok. Your focus, as it should be, is providing quality healthcare to people who need you. Let RUNNER Agency get your content marketing back on track. Request a free consultation to learn how we can help.