Patients are better informed today than they were just ten years ago.
Instead of consulting a doctor, they first check the Internet. With all the health-related content that is available online, they are more aware of their specific condition and thus able to make better choices about their treatment.
Unfortunately there is also a lot of false and harmful information out there that can be extremely dangerous for them to follow.
That’s why healthcare brands have a responsibility to educate and empower consumers with accurate, readable content that will guide their health and wellness decisions. However patients won’t call your office or hotline number to ask questions and get the answers they need. Instead they’ll go online to look for helpful content.
If they don’t find what they’re looking for on your website or they will simply move on to a competing brand’s site. For successful content marketing, here are 4 essential ingredients for healthcare organizations:
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
#1. Separate fact from fiction
Help your audience to make sense of medical news separating fact from fiction and enabling them to understand what you offer before they become sick.
Make sure that only qualified health care experts create content on your site. If you outsource your content marketing process, make sure that a medical professional reviews and approves articles before they are published on your website.
#2. Publish consistently
Don’t let your content get stale. Patients will keep coming back to your website when they know that you have something new to share.
A website that is not updated on a consistent basis not only loses out on SEO, but quickly becomes irrelevant as patients go elsewhere to find fresh content.
#3. Help don’t sell
Of course your website should include information about the services you provide. If it didn’t it wouldn’t be very useful. However that doesn’t mean you should abandon sound content marketing principles such as engaging your audience with interesting information.
Remember that patients are looking for genuine answers not ads. To be successful in content marketing, provide information that helps to solve problems without trying too hard to sell your services.
#4. Be open and responsive
Many healthcare organizations engage in content marketing with the idea of teaching or educating. However they forget that even in a class-room setting, students learn best by asking questions.
Too often for example, they don’t want to enable comments on their blog for fear that someone might say something that is legally problematic. Before you start your content marketing campaign, talk to your regulatory department and find out what policies to put in place to address potential problem areas.
However once those policies are put in place, it’s equally important for healthcare brands to speak like ‘a real person’, showing empathy, giving helpful answers and advice, and responding to questions in a human voice.
Does your hospital or practice use content marketing? What other advice can you share? Please leave your comments in the box below.