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How Mayo Clinic Connects with Patients using Content Marketing [Case Study]

It’s no secret that healthcare organizations are still wondering how to engage online without getting into trouble.

For instance by October 2011 only about 20% of US Hospitals had some kind of social media presence.

The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt social media

Some of the most pressing concerns preventing a greater adoption of content and social media marketing in this industry include:

  • Privacy and security issues
  • Professional code of ethics
  • Malpractice liability and other concerns

However organizations such as Mayo Clinic are not shying away from online conversations. Instead they are leading the way in developing compelling content created by:

  • physicians and researchers telling stories about their research
  • patient communities sharing their experiences
  • physician specialists discussing patient care, innovations, and new treatments
  • students of Mayo Clinic Research Center sharing their perspectives
  • other Mayo Clinic professionals discussing the future of healthcare and wellness.

Here’s a quick analysis of what their content looks like:

ROT (Redundant, Outdated and Trivial content)

Not too much ROT here. Usually a Twitter feed doesn’t add any value to a web page unless the feed is ALWAYS fresh and relevant – I’m glad to see that Mayo Clinic’s Live Twitter feed contains recent, and relevant content (Keep in mind that a live Twitter feed is hard to control since it contains a lot of user-generated content).

However I didn’t ‘get’ the need for a calendar. What is it supposed to do? Every piece of content on your web page should either engage or convert prospects. The calendar is just taking up space.

Usefulness and Relevance

Here they get a full five star rating. It’s really remarkable that Mayo Clinic has the vision, the time and resources to create eight different blogs each focusing on content that attracts different niche audiences. That’s really taking it to the next level. We should all be taking notes.

Influence and engagement

Mayo Clinic has over 72,000 Facebook fans as seen on their website’s Likebox – talk about social proof!

Mayo Clinic's Facebook Likebox illustrates serious social proof

I didn’t have time to analyse each blog in detail, but a quick overview showed that some blogs generated more engagement than others. ‘Sharing Mayo Clinic‘ blog (where the patient community shares their stories and experiences) showed a good number of comments on many articles. It’s also the hub that links to their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles.

I wish they would use a Twitter button with a counter to demonstrate their content’s popularity. However their Facebook ‘Like’ button for content-sharing provides the missing evidence.

Voice, style and intended audiences

Generally Mayo Clinic Blogs are very open and transparent environments as indicated here:

Mayo Clinic encourages open communication on their blog


Again each of the eight blogs have completely different styles and tones since they are intended for different audiences. For instance the ‘Physicians Update Blog’ is by doctors for doctors and so the tone is very dry and academic (though I’m sure they understand each other). But a quick listen to the ‘Mayo Clinic Podcast’ exposes you to a very compelling, yet very brief (one-minute) radio program bursting with great advice and educational content.

Usability and findability

Lastly I wanted to see how findable their content is on the Internet. A search for ‘cancer patient stories’, ‘healthcare patient stories’, and similar phrases ranked Mayo Clinic very high on SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Mayo Clinic ranks highly for several long-tail key phrases


Key Takeaways

Mayo Clinic is a perfect example of healthcare content marketing done right. Despite the challenges that limit the nature of the conversation, Mayo Clinic has taken the opportunity to talk to their various audiences in bold and non-traditional ways. They have demonstrated that innovative thinking in a highly regulated environment is usually all it takes to open doors that would otherwise remain closed.

Over to you: What do you think of Mayo Clinic’s content marketing approach? Do you think the healthcare industry could learn from them? Speak your mind 🙂



  1. […] However, if having the blog reside within your corporate website is not an option, you may want to consider improving the visibility of your site by providing ‘teaser content’ from your blog on your homepage. Mayo Clinic has 8 blogs residing within their ‘corporate’ website. […]

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