8 Things Healthcare Should Know Before Launching a Content Marketing Campaign

It’s interesting.

Healthcare has taken longer than other industries to get into content and social media marketing. In fact to their credit, many healthcare marketers I’ve talked to are not interested in ‘me-too’ strategies.

They want to know ‘the why’ of content marketing. Many of them understand the concept though not necessarily the strategy, and they’re asking some really good questions. I strongly believe this is the right way to go.

So if you’re a healthcare marketer who’s feeling the pressure to launch a content marketing campaign just because everyone else has, don’t.

Content marketing is a long term commitment. And while it is a beneficial strategy used by industry giants such as Johns Hopkins and GE Healthcare, beginners should give themselves enough time to be thorough, and to ask the right questions. Here are eight things you should know before you begin.

#1. What’s the goal?

Your organization has specific business or financial goals it needs to achieve, such as lowering costs, increasing patient acquisition or physician retention and so on. Before you launch a content marketing program, you should be able to identify how the new campaign will contribute directly to these goals.

Launching a patient education blog for example should attract people who are searching for online health information, and thus convert them into actual patients.

#2. What makes you interesting?

People want to share and discuss interesting information on the social web. The question that healthcare marketers (even those of boring brands) must ask themselves is, “What makes our organization so interesting that people will want to talk about it with their friends.”

It’s hard to succeed in content marketing if you have nothing compelling to share. Find out what makes you interesting or different from other organizations, and plan how to showcase that in your content marketing properties.

#3. Do you really know your customers?

Think of customers as people with needs and challenges, rather than people who can buy your products and improve your bottom line. Yes, content marketing is a business strategy. But unless you help others first, don’t expect a profitable exchange to take place.

Helping people means you have to understand them (and their problems) first, before they ever open up their wallets. The best way to discover who your customers really are for the purpose of content marketing is to develop patient personas.

#4. What do they want?

It’s safe to assume that every one of us is at some stage in the wellness journey. Which means we will all at some point need a doctor, a hospital or just a simple band aid. But talking endlessly about your comic hero band aid brand, won’t get me to buy it. In fact, I’ll simply tune you out.

However if you understand my lifestyle as a mom of (several) young boys, boys who climb and fall from trees, and my desire to keep them safe (i.e. not bleeding), then I might be interested in what you have to say. Are you acquainted with the lifestyles of your customers? Again, deeper insights about your customers are obtained through research (see #3).

#5. What kind of message will appeal?

Related to #4 is the idea that your message has to appeal to potential customers. Remember that they’re not interested in your product. At least not at first. They are interested in how you can provide for their lifestyle, or make their dreams come true.

People are tired of being sold to and traditional marketing is becoming less and less relevant. Smart healthcare marketers understand this. Rather than pitching your products, deliver information that will make your customers more intelligent. Ultimately they will reward your valuable information with their business and loyalty.

#6. Where do we need to be?

If you understand your customers (beyond demographics) and where they hang out both online and offline, you can determine which platforms you need to reach them. For instance plastic surgeons have a lot of success on Facebook (due to the image-friendly environment where they can share before-and-after pictures).

However it’s equally important to be where your story will flourish the most. Sometimes that means that you may also have to go offline and meet your customers at in-person events.

#7. Who’s going to do the work?

Content marketing is about giving away so much free information, that you actually become a publisher. This is hard for healthcare marketers whose primary task is to promote the organization’s products or services.

Yet content has to be planned, created, and published on a regular basis. Before you launch a content marketing campaign, you should determine if you have in-house talent to get the job done, or whether you need to outsource the work. It’s short-sighted to start a blog, only to realize you don’t have the time or resources to keep it going. Plan ahead.

#8. How will we know this is working?

Content for content’s sake is no strategy at all. The only reason why a healthcare brand should launch a content marketing campaign is to move your subscribers in the direction you want them to move, and that includes buying your stuff. If your campaign is working then you’ll see some of these goals come to fruition.

The best way to measure success is to have measurable goals to begin with. So if you start off with a goal of acquiring 25 new patients within three months, it’s easy to see how well your efforts are working simply be calculating how many new patients you have acquired since you started.

Your Turn:

Intrigued? If you have any questions about healthcare content strategy, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

5 Reasons Why Concierge Practices Should Blog

Are you a physician or physician group that has recently established a concierge practice? Are you wondering how to market your new practice?

The most challenging part about marketing a new concierge practice, is to sign up enough patients to make it profitable within a relatively short time.

If you’re like most physicians you’re a medical professional at heart, not a marketer. It’s not a simple thing for you to switch hats from doctor to business owner. It’s even harder with a new practice when there’s not much money coming in.

Beyond SEO here are 5 reasons why blogging could be your best marketing strategy especially in the early months of your concierge practice:

#1. Educate Patients About Concierge Model

When you first establish your concierge practice, many people will not understand how this model of medicine works.

Through blogging, you can share stories that explain how your practice works and what patients can expect. You can also discuss typical illnesses and diseases that you treat. By offering health tips and advice on your blog, many of the questions prospective patients would ask during a visit are eliminated, thus giving you more time to get to know them and develop meaningful bonds with them. And isn’t that what concierge medicine is all about after all?

#2. Get More business

According to a Hubspot report businesses (of any kind) that blog have more consistent sales than those that don’t.

These days patients start their journey to wellness online. They search for terms that describe a condition or symptom they have. If you blog consistently using keywords that are relevant to prospective patients, you stand a high chance of attracting those digital searchers who are interested in your content and your services.

#3. Set Yourself Apart

Most physicians – not just concierge practitioners – have been slow to take up blogging and social media. They just don’t have the time, considering how many patients they see in a day.

Even for concierge doctors who have more flexibility with their schedules, blogging is simply not high on their to-do list. This is a mistake since traditional marketing is fading or becoming too expensive, while content marketing – of which blogging is a part – is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your practice.

If you or your staff don’t have the time to blog, why not hire a writer to blog and help increase the online visibility of your practice. The interesting content on your blog will stand out from your competitors’ boring websites thus driving more traffic and patients to your practice.

#4. Build Likeability, Trust and Sales

The thing about blogging for business is that it helps clients to get to know you before they ever step foot inside your office. When you publish engaging content that helps people with their health problems it shows that you’re not just interested in selling but in helping them as well. This generates trust, likeability and over time, more sales.

Concierge websites that only talk about the practice and their services are self-focused and don’t appeal to savvy digital patients.

#5. Get Better Insights About Prospective Patients

When you first start to blog you’re forced to research the target audience that you’re trying to reach. It’s no longer enough to know their age, gender, and marital status. You should know their frustrations, life-styles, interests, goals, dreams and so on.

By doing the research on your patients you become better equipped to understand what they’re going through and to develop unique content that deeply resonates with them. Blogging also creates a two-way conversation channel that encourages comments, feedback and interaction, giving you clear insights on what your patients want.

Your Turn

Concierge practices have a lot to offer communities and patients (especially with the gradual phasing in of Obamacare). However, with so little public knowledge about how they work and what patients can expect, blogging is a great tool for patient education and relationship building. Does your concierge practice have a blog? How has it impacted your patients?

5 Content Marketing Tips to Reach Dis-Engaged Patients

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday – ‘Patient engagement is actually declining’.

According to a study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions:

  • One in three healthcare consumers are currently disengaged reporting less need for care, preventative action, interest in patient education resources, and financial preparation;
  • One in two follow a ‘passive patient’ approach relying on doctors for decisions, preferring standard care, and adhering to treatment;
  • Even those who are ‘online and onboard’ with innovative health technologies have increased only slightly from 15% in 2008 to 17% in 2012.

Not Interested

The biggest challenge providers face might be trying to engage patients who aren’t necessarily interested in engagement. Think about the online content consumption habits of a ‘typical patient’:

  • They don’t tend to seek healthcare information unless they or someone they love is sick.
  • They’re not the only decision-makers in the game. Often times family or other care-givers are in charge particularly in the case of minors, senior citizens and those who aren’t capable of making serious medical decisions.
  • Even if they can make decisions for themselves, sometimes patients don’t have the ‘mind-set’ to engage with online healthcare content due to stress brought about by their illness or condition.

So what can providers do to tackle this challenge? Here are five content marketing tips to reach disengaged patients:

#1. Abandon the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach

Providers need to realize there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to engaging patients with online content. They should take into account different pain-points, preferences and lifestyles and then create content that is targeted to those different segments. Which means they have to…

#2. Build Patient Personas

Building patient personas is a laborious exercise but the rewards are unbeatable. The insights and level of understanding that comes with developing personas not only helps you create relevant content, but also develops trust as patients come to rely on you for helpful information. By then they’re ready for…

#3.  More not less content

Providing more content can actually help to ‘reach’ those who are disengaged particularly when content is focused on lifestyle issues. People tend to have a high regard for their personal lifestyles and so this is often a good place to start engagement particularly with those who are disinterested or passive.

Encourage patients to improve their habits and change behaviors that could lead to a better quality of life. But remember that real engagement might require some innovation such as…

#4. Different content formats

A blog is not the only way to engage patients. In fact the ‘online and onboard’ segment of consumers in the Deloitte study said they want websites that provide reliable information (think of research and data-driven narratives); price and quality information; video conferencing with doctors; self-monitoring devices that could send information electronically to their doctor; and health-improving tracking apps. All this means that providers must…

#5 Understand patient information needs

Not only should they understand what kind of information patients need, providers should also attempt to understand how patients act upon it. This way they can leverage online content and social media to educate, inform, and advise patients about additional resources to help them on their wellness journey.

Your Turn:

What did I miss? What do you think is the best way to reach disengaged patients?

4 Essential Content Marketing Ingredients for HealthCare Organizations

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:

#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 ocontent marketing tips, health-related content, healthcare content marketing, healthcare marketing, medical contentn 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.

 Your Turn

Does your hospital or practice use content marketing? What other advice can you share? Please leave your comments in the box below.

Great Healthcare Stories Meet These 3 Rules: Do Yours?

Several weeks ago a client asked me to write an educational article about – of all things – Oculoplastic surgery.

If you’re like me, you’d have been sweating bullets because I’d never heard of the term before nor did I know what it meant. How in the world was I supposed to write an article about something that sounded so completely uninspiring…like plastic?

But as I started to research the topic, I discovered that this was really quite a fascinating subject.

It’s a specialized form of eye surgery that corrects terrible injuries, deformities or other problems that involve the eye area.

Usually it involves some type of re-construction of the tissue around the eye. But still. The challenge remained. How would I make it interesting enough for people to want to read.

Around the same time, I was reading a book called ‘Tell to Win” by Peter Guber.

It talks about the importance of story-telling in the business world – basically a story about story-telling.

Peter Guber is a film executive who personally produced movies such as Rainman, Batman, The Color Purple, Soul Surfer and many more. I figured that if anyone could tell me how to write a story about Oculoplastic surgery it would have to be him.

I came to a section in the book titled, “How to build your story,” and I leaned in. Here’s what it said:

#1. Get your audience’s attention with a challenge

To write an interesting article about Oculoplastic surgery I had to find a story with a challenge that would electrify my audience immediately. So I started looking for real-life stories on the Internet that had anything to do with the subject.

After a really, really long time my research paid off. Here’s the opening line of a story I found, and later used in my article:

“An 86-year-old man showed up at the hospital with the handle of a pair of pruning shears stuck in his eye socket…”

What is the key challenge your patients or customers are facing right now? Is it obesity? Or perhaps difficulty understanding Obamacare? Is it the fear that medical bills will kill them?

Whatever the challenge, find a story that will resonate with your audience. In that story they will be able to identify with the character because they themselves are going through the same experience.

#2. Give your audience an emotional experience by narrating the struggle to overcome that challenge

I was certain I had got their attention. But now I had to keep them leaning in through the rest of the story. I knew there would be parts that wouldn’t be that exciting, like where I’d have to explain the actual medical procedure.

The only way to keep the audience plugged in was to get them excited about the struggle.

Holding on

So I continued to narrate the story…

“The Arizona man had been working in his yard July 30 when the accident happened. He wasn’t sure if he had dropped a pair of pruning shears and fallen face-first onto the handle when he went to retrieve them. The handle drove into his eye socket and down into his neck. By the time he was taken to the trauma center, even the surgeons had no idea how much of his eyeball had been damaged. They couldn’t even open his eyelid.”

At this point in my article, I felt I could take a break from the narrative without losing the audience’s attention. I figured that by now they were too emotionally invested in the story to leave without finding out what happened to the man from Arizona.

So I went on to explain the medical procedure with a little more detail and then gave examples of situations that might require this type of surgery. I had to be careful not to get too wordy here, otherwise the audience might just skip the middle and go straight to the end. It’s a delicate balance between story-telling and teaching.

#3. Galvanize your audience’s response with an eye-opening resolution that calls them to action

It was looking good. I felt that my audience would put up with the technicalities of Oculoplastic surgery just to find out what happened to the man from Arizona. So I gave it to them:

“When they cut into the wall, the surgeons could clearly see the handle. The surgeon-in-charge was able to loosen it with his finger and a tong-like instrument called Kocher forceps. Once the handle was loose, doctors could remove the entire handle from the face. It turned out that the handle had compressed the eyeball in and pushed it up in the socket (think about squeezing a rubber ball), but it remained attached. Luckily enough, the eyeball was not ruptured or lacerated.”

I finished off the article by inviting the audience to listen to a podcast on this subject. I don’t know how many people will end up listening to it, but I do know they will never forget what Oculoplastic surgery is – even if they can’t spell it.

In Other Words…

Always stick to this three-part story structure that audiences expect. This is the secret sauce not just for award-winning movies but for award-winning healthcare stories.

Remember that your audience is not going to be interested if they don’t sense some kind of compelling challenge right from the beginning. They will not connect if they’re not excited by the middle of the struggle. And they certainly won’t remember the story if they don’t feel stirred or inspired by the final resolution.

The reason why this structure works perfectly for healthcare is because the industry is full of meaningful stories. It is after all, the business of life and death. Whether the story is posted on your blog, an infographic or captured on YouTube, stick with this model and yours will be a winning story.

Join Me

On September 11th, 2013, I will be speaking about this very subject at Content Marketing World, in Cleveland Ohio. If you’re a healthcare marketer and are planning to attend the conference, please consider joining my session titled, “A Step-by-step Eye-opening Method for Telling Compelling Healthcare Stories.” Go here to grab your ticket now.

Healthcare Blogging: 6 Types of Content that People Love

It takes more than just publishing a blog article and sharing it on Facebook to get the comments, shares and page views rolling in.

If you think about it, 2 million blog posts are published everyday on the social web. And most of those marketers are using social media to promote their content anyway. So doing the bare minimum likely won’t cut it.

Knowing what type of content your prospects want to read and share is absolutely necessary. The best way to find out what people want is to ask them. Simply conduct a survey and ask people in your social media networks:

“What do you find to be the most valuable content when looking for a potential solution?”

Then offer a selection of answers for people to choose from e.g. blog posts, white papers, e-book, webinar, podcast, video, case study, in-person events and so on.

Or you could experiment with the types of content that typically do well with other healthcare publishers and bloggers. Here are six of them:

#1. List posts

Don’t dismiss list posts just because you see them all the time. People love to consume content in bite-sized portions. In fact healthcare marketers don’t take advantage of lists posts as much as they should. Packaging information in an easy to read format tells readers that you’re respectful of their time.

#2. How-to articles

It’s amazing how much mileage ‘How-to’ articles continue to get. People love simple, step-by-step instructions for doing something or learning something new. A ‘how-to’ framework on your blog makes your content easy to understand and execute.

#3. Research

There’s a lot of research in the healthcare industry. Problem is, it’s not always readily seen on the social web. Yet for the most part, top level executives and decision makers want reliable facts before taking the next step. Provide well structured research articles based either on your own studies, or third-party sources to give managers and CEO’s the proof they’re looking for.

#4. Visual stories

Readers reward visual content. Whether it’s pictures, infographics or video, laying the foundation for visual content is a promising content strategy that’s sure to attract prospects. Also when you consider that Facebook is mostly a picture economy, that gives you even more reason to use images to tell your story.

#5. SlideShare

SlideShare has been called the ‘sleeping giant’ of content marketing. It is the ‘YouTube’ of PowerPoint presentations. However you don’t have to wait until you do a presentation to share it on SlideShare. You could also take some of your most popular blog posts, change the format from text to bullet points, add a lot of images, and put them up on SlideShare. This is a very easy way to present your concepts and ideas quickly and visually.

#6. Podcasts

It seems that 2013 is the year for podcasting. Besides meeting in person there’s no better way to connect with people than by podcasting.The power of your voice enables people to connect with you and make them feel like they know you. The Doctors RoundTable for example is a great podcast for interviewing doctors and asking them about common health problems that people are facing.

Over to you: What have been your challenges and opportunities in creating content? Can you share some ideas that worked for you?

4 Reasons Why Your Medical Practice Should Consistently Create Fresh Content

In this digital age that we live in, having a constant stream of fresh ideas in the form of content is key to the survival of your brand.

Medical brands cannot afford to be left behind when it comes to content marketing. In fact a recent Pew Research study indicated that 72% of Internet users said they looked online for health information within the past year.

Patients and care givers are looking to online sources including social media and blogs for information about specific diseases, treatments, and procedures as well as to find out more about doctors and health professionals.

Content marketing offers tremendous benefits that traditional advertising cannot. Here are four of them.

#1. Search Engines Reward Fresh Content

Search engines such as Google and Bing like fresh content and tend to reward sites that are updated regularly.

The more you post, the more Google will display your pages on search results. Consistent blogging raises the online visibility of your practice, which in turn increases your site traffic. The moment fresh content stops appearing on your site is the moment your online brand begins to lose visibility.

#2. Patients Want to Learn Something New

Patients come to your site to learn something new and your content provides value to them. Remember that the articles you post answer their pressing questions about their health concerns.

Patients choose your site because they believe you can satisfy their hunger for new information. If you don’t give them what they want, then they will turn to someone else who can. Creating fresh content also ensures that patients do not become bored or dissatisfied with the same old stuff.

#3. Create a Sense of Community

Over time content marketing encourages the growth of community around your online brand.

Sooner or later your articles will touch someone who is affected by the topic you’re discussing. That might lead them to reach out, ask questions and engage on your blog. That’s how communities get started.  On your part encourage dialogue and respond to questions as frequently as possible – that interaction is the heart and soul of your blog and it creates an attitude of trust between you and your readers.

#4. Content is Good for Business

Experts agree there is a direct relationship between blogging  and business growth.

Think of patient acquisition as a sales funnel. New patient-prospects go at the top, and happy patient-clients go at the bottom. Your goal is to maximize the number of people you attract at the top, and to increase the number of people who come out at the bottom.

High quality content or blogging helps to attract people at the top of the funnel while converting them into happy clients in the end. If you’re a small medical practice your reason for creating content is to sell your servies. When people go online and see your expert knowledge and ideas on your blog, they will likely come to you when they need medical attention.

Over to you: What are your thoughts on using content or blogs to promote your medical practice?

How to Start a Health Blog in 10 Easy Steps

Are you wondering what it takes to start a health blog?

A health blog can be written by a non-profit, a government agency or a healthcare business. But it can also be an individual’s effort – one blogger’s thoughts, experiences and advice. It is not uncommon to see health enthusiasts take to blogging as a platform to share their knowledge in medical, preventive, experiential, political or other health-related topics.

Some of the more interesting healthcare topics I’ve seen online include conventional vaccines, affordable health insurance, palliative medicine, and EHR (electronic health records).

Starting a health blog doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 10 basic steps to follow.

#1. Define business goals

Writing a health blog is hard work and takes a lot of time. So before you get started ask yourself the all-important question, “Why am I/are we doing this?”. Are your business goals aligned to your blog? If so, how?

For many healthcare marketers the need to start a blog is tied to increasing website traffic, raising brand visibility and generating high quality leads for their sales and marketing staff to pursue.

#2. Identify blog’s purpose

Why do you want to blog? This is not the same as business goals. Healthcare content exists to educate patients, to inspire through story and narrative, to share medical research and so on. Try not to use your blog to talk about your organization, products or services.

A good blog is not self-promotional but rather seeks to solve readers’ problems by providing helpful content e.g. explaining tough concepts such as affordable health insurance.

#3. Clarify core Message

What is the key message you want people to take away from your blog? What will they learn from it? This has to do with a specific niche that you’re focused on. Perhaps your blog will focus on palliative medicine, hospice care or conventional vaccines.

Whichever the case it is a good idea to develop “cornerstone content”. Copyblogger defines cornerstone content as a series of posts that articulate your core message and provides readers with an overview of what they can expect from you.

#4. Identify your reader

Who are you writing a blog for? Your ideal reader should be similar to your ideal customer or patient. For complex healthcare systems you should go a step further and develop patient personas that include as much detail about your ideal reader as possible.

It is extremely important to understand your reader’s problems, needs, and frustrations so that you can provide them with content that is highly relevant and useful.

#5. Decide on posting frequency

Consistency is the heart of blogging. Ask yourself how much time you’re willing to dedicate each week to creating valuable content on your blog. It is perfectly OK to post content a few times a week.

If you can’t commit to writing at least two articles a week, then you’re doing your readers a great disservice. Remember that Google search engines love fresh content and the most successful health blogs are those that are updated two or three times a week.

#6. Identify Author(s)

Will you have a team of writers to support you or will you be writing the blog by yourself? Remember there are many ways to produce content including content curation, hiring a writer, and even inviting health enthusiasts to guest blog for you.

Whether you’re blogging alone or with a team, make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them so that the blog runs without a hitch.

#7. Know the rules

Healthcare writers must have a clear understanding of HIPAA (a federal law that says a patient has control of his or her own protected health information and no one else can release that information without the patient’s consent).

At the same time HIPAA anxiety shouldn’t stop you from creating valuable blog content that informs and educates your readers. Anyone who blogs for you should be trained in the policies and procedures that govern your organization. And whatever you do, don’t practice medicine online.

#8. Create editorial calendar

Once you’ve committed to blogging regularly you will need to create an editorial calendar to plan content for your health blog. An editorial calendar is basically a tool that keeps you and your team accountable so that you can create relevant content on a consistent basis.

It can be a simple excel spreadsheet with several columns for your blog topic, author, due date, keywords, call-to-action and so on. Here’s an example.

#9. Write and publish content

Some writers can whip up an article in less than an hour. But a typical health blog takes much longer to write and publish. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a blog template to make the process of writing and publishing easier and faster.

A blog template will have several components such as subject, theme, rationale, resources, images, links and so on. Michael Hyatt suggests using Evernote as a blogging tool.

 #10. Market your blog

Blogging does not end when you hit the publish button. Now you have to spread it around and share it with as many people as possible.

Post a link of your article on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Pin the blog image on Pinterest (the image will link back to your blog)  and share it on Facebook as well. If you have an email list, be sure to send it to your email subscribers as well.

Over to you: What did I miss? Please share what else you would add to this list to prep your health blog for success?

3 Reasons You Should Not Miss Content Marketing World Health Summit

Is your healthcare business taking advantage of content marketing?

According to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing, Budgets and Trends Report 89% of all healthcare businesses have adopted content marketing, putting the industry at third place (in adoption rates) behind professional services and software industries. While this is great news to hear it is still evident that healthcare lags behind other industries when it comes to actually leveraging content marketing for business. That’s why MedCity News and Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing World have come together to launch Content Marketing World Health Summit, which will be held in Cleveland Ohio on November 7th – 8th

In case you haven’t heard about it, here are three reasons you should not miss the summit.

#1. Valuable content

The summit will deliver highly valuable business content guaranteed to inspire you with actionable new ideas you can begin to implement as soon as you get back. Here’s a quick glimpse of the amazing content you can expect from Content Marketing World Health Summit:

  • Trends – Discover the latest content marketing research in the healthcare industry and the challenges that will inspire change and innovation in the future.
  • Tactics – During the workshops sessions you will learn the best ways to market your organization with content marketing. Everything from how to leverage physicians’ limited time to develop valuable content to finding interesting topics for social media content and much more.
  • Strategy – The general sessions will also explain key strategies for attracting and retaining customers. You will learn how to integrate your content creation with your marketing objectives, learn from some of the mistakes and successes of leading brands such as Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic. You will also learn the A to Z of content marketing strategy and how strategies for B2B differ from B2C.
  • Business building – See how successful health brands create more business via content marketing. You will learn how even a small budget can make a huge impact with content and social media marketing and how smart content planning can save you lots of money!
  • Social media – Find out how to create valuable social media content even with federal regulators in mind. You will also learn why doctors shy away from social media participation, how to change their minds and even what social media platforms are right for your organization.

#2. Connect with leading healthcare brands

Content Marketing World Health Summit  is the only content marketing event in the world dedicated exclusively to the healthcare industry. It is designed to bring together experts and thought leaders from some of the leading companies in the world.

You will not only learn from their unique and insightful perspectives at the sessions, you will also get to meet and hang out with experts such as Elizabeth Tracey (Director of Electronic News Media – Johns Hopkins), Scott Linabarger (Director of Digital Marketing – Cleveland Clinic), Lee Aase (Director of Mayo Clinic Social Media Center), Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing World, Chris Seper of MedCity Media and many others.

#3. Night out networking

You will have an opportunity to meet with 200 industry professionals from the healthcare industry. In fact an awesome treat prepared for you on Wednesday night is the ‘West Side Night Out on the Town Event’. You will see the best of historic KAMM’s CORNERS neighborhood of Cleveland’s West Side where award winning restaurants and night clubs will be waiting for you.

Join me

I am excited to be one of the speakers for this groundbreaking event and would love for you to join me in Cleveland on November 7th – 8th. You will see first hand how content marketing can transform healthcare, improve engagement and the work you are doing in the sector. Please Visit the Health Summit event site to see the agenda. In the meantime I’d also like to offer you this coupon code (SKGGUEST) to receive $100 off your registration!Over to you: Do you think you could benefit from this content marketing event? Will you be there?

Website Content: What Healthcare Marketers can learn from WebMDc

WebMD suffered a serious blow this week. But whether it will cripple the company or not remains to be seen.

It turns out that highly commercialized content is one of the charges leveled against the health-information website. Critics and users alike have complained that the company is a ‘drug pusher’, putting out content that steers consumers towards drugs manufactured by advertisers such as Eli Lilly.

But social media also hurt WebMD:

Although they receive over 107 million unique visitors each month, and total traffic of 2.24 billion page views in the third quarter of 2011, WebMD revenues fell about 10% to  $20million. Experts and trend strategists suggest that consumers are turning to other sources for medical information i.e. social media. In fact a recent survey from health-care research firm National Research found that:

“96% of the nearly 23,000 consumers it surveyed use Facebook to gather information about health care, with 28% using YouTube and 22% using Twitter. Hospitals, health-care providers and private insurers also are seeing social media as a tool to engage consumers.”

WebMD’s content malfunction

Despite having some great resources such as symptom checker, a medical dictionary and Pill Identification Tool there are some content issues that make it less user-friendly:

  •  The site has become tougher to navigate. Numerous ads and banners make for a more noisy and distracting environment.
  • Too much content makes it confusing for users to quickly find what they’re looking for. E.g. Searching for a migraine solution is like searching for a needle in a haystack – should one start with symptom checker, Health A-Z or Health Conditions?
  • The site desperately needs to be re-designed so that it is more focused on consumers rather than advertisers.
  • Outdated content is an issue. Case in point – on the Expert blog ‘Recent Posts’ are dated October 2011 (as of this writing).
  • Given that more people are using the Internet to gather information about their healthcare needs, I think not having a live doctor online to answer questions and give general advice is a missed opportunity.

Healthcare marketers take note

Given the high expectations that consumers have for relevant and engaging content, healthcare organizations have to think long and hard about the way they communicate on their websites.

Providing relevant and easily accessible content is no longer an option. Healthcare marketers will need to review and analyse their website content to figure out if their sites are meeting visitor’s needs and offering applications and features they add value to users.

What are your thoughts? Do you think WebMD’s content is showing signs of poor health? Speak your mind 🙂