Considering how everyone wants to be on board, including your fellow healthcare professionals, you might be under the impression that “content marketing” is nothing more than a buzzword. However, content marketing transcends mere trendiness, as it’s a vital bridge for connecting with patients and providing valuable health information.
Today, patients are more informed than ever before. They have access to information through search engines and other online resources, and they can use this knowledge to make informed decisions about their healthcare. This is why content marketing is crucial for healthcare providers. It’s not just a buzzword, but an essential part of any successful digital strategy.
As such, let’s look at some of the best strategies to help you create a robust content marketing campaign.
Understanding the Digital Patient Journey
Before diving into strategies, you should first know about the digital patient journey. Today’s healthcare consumers are tech-savvy, and they will research symptoms, diagnoses, treatment options, and healthcare providers online before making decisions. As such, your content should cater to these stages of the patient journey:
- Awareness: This phase is where symptoms are self-identified, and the quest for information begins. Patients look for content that addresses their concerns and symptoms, often unaware of their condition.
- Consideration: Armed with preliminary information, they evaluate their options. Here, they seek content that compares different treatments, providers, and facilities, weighing the pros and cons of each.
- Decision: Finally, patients decide on their healthcare provider based on the information gathered. They seek trustworthy content that solidifies their choice, such as detailed service descriptions, credentials, and patient reviews.
Healthcare professionals must understand the patient journey to provide tailored content that meets patients’ needs for information at each stage.
Developing Your Healthcare Content Strategy
Below are the key steps for crafting a solid content marketing plan:
Define Your Audience and Goals
To start with, it’s essential to identify your target audience. Are they young adults, seniors, athletes, or people with chronic illnesses? Knowing your audience’s needs and online behavior will help determine the voice, style, and channels you use to distribute your content.
Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Having precise and clear objectives will guide your content direction, whether it’s to increase website traffic, acquire more patients, or improve brand awareness.
Make a Content Calendar
Having no specific plan for publishing blog posts and randomly posting them is far from an effective content strategy. To have a successful content marketing plan, consistency is crucial. To achieve that, you must create a content calendar that will serve as a guide that guarantees regular publication, helping with patient engagement and brand awareness. Here are a few things to consider:
- Plan your topics around national health observances, seasonal trends, and the services/treatments you offer.
- Determine the types of content—articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, etc.—that will best resonate with your audience.
- Set a realistic posting frequency that takes into account your ability to produce high-quality content consistently.
With a content calendar, you’re creating a reliable rhythm for your audience and search engines, which can boost your online visibility and authority in the healthcare space.
Leverage Educational Content
Educational content is the bread and butter of healthcare content marketing. By providing well-researched, accessible health-related information, you empower patients to make informed health decisions – proven to improve health outcomes.
For example, creating in-depth blog posts highlighting the latest medical research or explaining common medical conditions can help establish your website as an authority and go-to resource for visitors. Meanwhile, due to their visual appeal, infographics can distill complex health data into easily digestible and share-worthy content, which works great for social media.
On the other hand, videos can add a personal touch to healthcare topics that may seem impersonal and unfeeling. This can be achieved through patient testimonials or by showcasing healthcare professionals’ daily activities. With different formats available, you can cater to a broader range of learning styles and preferences, enabling you to reach a larger audience.
Ultimately, by investing in educational content, healthcare professionals can cultivate a well-informed patient base, leading to more productive consultations and better health outcomes. These benefits will further reinforce your healthcare brand.
Optimize for SEO
Even your highest-quality content will become pointless if your target audience can’t find them. As such, search engine optimization (SEO) is non-negotiable in content marketing. This best practice ensures your content ranks well on search engines and reaches the right audience. Here are the vital SEO elements to optimize your content campaign:
- Keyword Research: When patients search for healthcare information online, they use specific terms and phrases such as “flu symptoms” or “pediatrician in [City Name].” By identifying these, you can tailor your content to meet their needs.
- On-Page Optimization: Refers to refining specific elements of your website, such as title tags, meta descriptions, and content, to improve SEO. For example, a well-optimized page about “Managing Diabetes” would incorporate relevant keywords in its title, content body, and headings to ensure that it is easily discoverable by search engines.
- Local SEO: It’s about optimizing your content for local search results, which is crucial for healthcare providers who serve specific geographic areas. Local SEO involves steps like claiming your Google My Business listing, gathering positive patient reviews, ensuring NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency across listings, and creating geo-targeted landing pages.
- User Experience (UX): Designing a website that is easy to navigate and provides a good user experience is a given. This includes fast loading times, straightforward navigation, and mobile responsiveness. Doing so can indirectly impact your SEO by keeping users on your site longer and leading them to your conversion funnels.
Ensuring that your healthcare content is discoverable, accessible, and impactful for your audience is crucial, and each of these elements plays a vital role in achieving that goal.
Elevate Your Healthcare Content Marketing
For any healthcare practitioner, content marketing is an invaluable tool that you can’t afford to overlook. A well-crafted content marketing plan is not just about disseminating information to patients; it’s also primarily about engaging the audience, providing value, and building relationships, all of which will help with patient acquisition and business growth.
If your healthcare content marketing needs a boost, Cardinal Healthcare Marketing Agency has the tools and experience to take your campaign to the next level.