Practical takeaways from the top trends in healthcare content marketing

By: Chris Thompson on June 13, 2017 Categories: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Corporate Communications
7 Practical Tips From Healthcare Content Marketing Trends Blog Image 2

What type of content works best for building your healthcare company’s leads, engagement, and conversion? These top trends will show you what to focus on.
Slant your messages towards your different markets.

The U.S. healthcare industry is changing fast – and so are its communication needs.

Firstly, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 led to hospitals buying physician practices. Nearly 21% of physicians are employed by a hospital, 14% are employed by a multi-specialty clinic, and 9% are independent contractors.  (DMN3, Healthcare Trends to Watch in 2017).  This changes the marketing game entirely. Doctors who once depended on personal relationships and word-of-mouth now belong to larger corporations, who have to earn public trust through larger campaigns.

These hospitals now face a two-pronged challenge. The first is to market to consumers and combine the “personal touch” of a trusted family physician with the benefits of larger doctor networks. The second is to recruit medical practitioners.

These are two very different audiences that need two different content cocktails.  Create a content marketing strategy for each persona, and then monitor your content calendar to ensure that you’re connecting to them on different stages of the buying cycle.

Invest in reputation management   

According to Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, patients first search for an online diagnosis and then go to a doctor to “confirm” it. They’ve researched symptoms, treatment options, and even the latest studies. Paging Dr. Google?

  • 72% look online for health information
  • 47% research on doctors or other health professionals
  • 38% check for reviews and info about hospitals and other medical facilities.

As annoying as this may be for health care professionals – consumers get a lot of wrong information —the only way to manage the Internet is to be part of it. The conversation about health begins online. It’s critical for health companies to provide accurate, easily-digested information that encourages them to come in for a professional opinion.
Join relevant discussions

According to the CEO of Drug Tests in Bulk, Leon Reingold, “One of the few ways healthcare can stay relevant is by offering professional commentary on a breaking news story. Has a new cure been discovered for a serious illness? Offer your analysis. Have some new drug test kits hit the market? Break the news. Has a hospital been fined by the government for something erroneous? Make an article out of it.”

This can help doctors and clinics become thought leaders and develop the reputation and connection that sets them apart from competitors.

Make it easy for patients to book online.

Google’s The Digital Journey To Wellness found that 77% of patients use search engines to research on clinics, and typically check symptoms and condition terms. As many as 44% schedule appointments online. Most of them use phones or tablets, so make sure your website is mobile-friendly!

Think (and speak) like a patient.

User Experience (UX) is also critical for conversion. Can your visitors quickly find information? Are symptoms explained in layman’s terms? Answer common questions (excellent for SEO!) in conversational English. The goal isn’t to show off your medical vocabulary, but establish a connection with a reader: “This doctor understands what I need to know.”

More clinics are also using videos and infographics to explain medical information or demonstrate procedures. Visual content is more likely to be viewed, remembered, and shared.

Share your patients’ stories

According to PWC, people are more likely to read or share information that’s based on another patient’s experiences:

  • 42% look at health-related patient reviews
  • 32% talk about family members’ experiences
  • 29% look at stories about people with the same disease
  • 24% look at health-related videos posted by other patients

Divide your editorial calendar to include both fact-driven posts and patient stories. Your doctors, nurses and clinicians have plenty of anecdotes – it’s just a matter of collecting them. Use Mintent’s Idea Bank to organize story leads and drag them to your editorial calendar. Use this to fuel your social media. People are more likely to connect to a heartwarming story than a dry medical fact.

Refine your strategy.

A True North survey of 101 healthcare companies found that 69% already have content marketing campaigns – and use a wide mix of social media, videos, blogs, and website content — but they’re not getting the results they expected.

Nearly 70% said their content marketing was “somewhat effective”. Close to 6% see no concrete benefit at all. That’s where a documented strategy and content marketing tools like Mintent can help. For example, Mintent can:

  • Document and centralize your strategy, including personas and customer buying cycle
  • Show the breakdown of your editorial calendar (percentage for each target audience, specialization, or type of post)
  • Show your top-performing posts and allow you to find similar content

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