Healthcare content marketing is a vital part of any healthcare business. Doctors can't wait until they have patients flooding their office with questions and concerns that could be addressed by the right articles, videos, or blog posts. Healthcare professionals need to spend time on creating quality content for their website in order to attract potential clients and keep them coming back for more.
In this article we're going to discuss 5 guidelines that will help you create effective healthcare content marketing campaigns.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating free, informational content that appeals to readers and educates them on topics or services that you provide. Content is at the core of so much on the Internet, so producing high-quality content that provides value to users is a great way to get more exposure and build awareness of your business.
Done well, content marketing presents you as the expert in your field and contributes tremendous value to patients who are searching for your services. Content marketing is also often seen as “better” than paid advertising because its message often comes across as more genuine.
Having quality content on your website can improve your practice’s visibility, which can lead to more patients – that’s the “marketing” aspect of content marketing.
And it’s not just blog posts, either. Content marketing can take on a variety of forms, from videos to podcasts, informational resources and downloads, free webinars, etc.
Why is Content Marketing Important for Private Practices?
Patients are the lifeblood of any practice: without them, you can’t expect to survive for long. But in a space like healthcare, traditional paid advertising can be prohibitively expensive.
That’s where healthcare content marketing comes in.
Yes, the best content does take time to create - but in the long run, content is much less expensive to produce and market than traditional advertising on platforms like Google and Facebook.
What’s more, practices can create “evergreen” content that remains relevant over time and can be re-purposed to suit a variety of needs. An old blog post could be re-adapted into video form and shared on social media, which may reach a different or wider audience. Once you’ve done the work to create great content, it can pay dividends long into the future.
Great educational content can also create trust between a doctor and their prospects, which is an essential first step in turning those prospects into patients. 9 out of 10 people these days turn to Google as their first step in researching medical conditions, so the practice that provides the best content – and in turn, the most value – is most likely to win that patient’s trust and inspire them to take the next step.
When the primary objective is to inform and educate, physicians have an opportunity to build a deeper connection with their prospects before they ever meet in person. This is powerful because some patients may otherwise be “turned off” by an advertisement. Content marketing provides a way to connect with these patients and begin planting seeds of trust.
Guidelines for Effective Healthcare Content Marketing
Focus on the patient.
As a healthcare provider, you must never forget that the patient is the “hero”. Your content should be written to educate and inform the patient from start-to-finish, with a focus on their needs.
What you want is for your prospects to feel like they’ve accomplished something themselves when reading or watching your content - not just been “told what to do”.
It can take some time before patients are ready to take the next step and commit their time and money to an appointment, but this “soft touch” approach builds trust much faster than being pushy.
Remember, you’re trying to provide value, not to “win the sale” right away. Focus on the patient above all else, and you’ll eventually get them.
Rein in your self-promotion.
It’s natural to want to talk about yourself or your practice, especially when you’re trying to (gently) promote your own products or services. But as we saw in Guideline #1, it’s the patient – not you – who is the center of the story. Because of this, you need to resist the urge to promote yourself or your practice too much.
In the world of content marketing, the most helpful, informative content wins. And it doesn’t just win higher rankings on Google – it wins trust, respect, and appointments from interested patients.
The best healthcare marketing campaigns are not just about selling a service or promoting a practice. They’re about educating patients to make informed decisions for themselves. The name of the game is providing the most value possible.
With so many resources available that offer detailed information on all aspects of health care these days, there’s a low opportunity cost of switching: if a patient finds you too pushy or self-promotional, they can easily leave and go elsewhere to find answers to their questions.
It’s not a bad thing to add a small call-to-action at the end of your content (i.e. “Interested in learning more about ? Contact us for a free consultation today.”)
In fact, you should do this at the end of your content. Just don’t promote your practice or ask the patient to “take the next step” every 30 seconds.
Quality > Quantity.
The most common mistake practices make when trying out content marketing for the first time is to adopt an unsustainable pace of content creation. This leads to burnout and low-quality content that isn’t actually helpful to patients.
In the content marketing world, quality > quantity. Not only will high-quality, in-depth content be appreciated by prospects, but it is more likely to rank well on Google, which can lead to more traffic and more leads for your practice.
When you start creating content, begin at a pace you know you can sustain.
Don’t try to create a new blog post every day, for example – perhaps one post per week, or 3 posts per month is a better cadence for you.
This is especially true if you’ll be writing the content yourself, or if you need to review each piece of content before it’s published online.
In content marketing, consistency is key.
Create quality content instead of quantity: not only will patients appreciate it more, but a sustainable pace means you will be less likely to stop producing Content when things get busy.
Too many doctors get overwhelmed by the scope of content marketing. They feel the need to write content about every conceivable topic to “beat” the competition. But just like writing a blog post every day, that’s unsustainable.
Instead, start small. Pick one topic and write a short blog post about it. Ask your current patients what questions they have about a medical topic or procedure, and use their answers as material for your content.
Over time, you can build up your “library” of content on different topics and services you provide, but that shouldn’t be your primary focus when you’re just starting out. Don’t get overwhelmed by editorial calendars, strict publishing schedules, or any of that. Just pick a topic and write what you know. Keeping it simple ensures you’ll actually stick to your content marketing goals and keep educating patients.
Human stories win.
Let’s face it: educational articles on medical services or procedures can be a bit bland at times. So, whenever you can, focus on a human element in your content.
There is a time and a place for strictly educational, informative medical content, but including human stories in your content will make them much more engaging.
Prospects are drawn to stories of people “just like them”, so including stories of real people dealing with the same medical issues as them will help prospects identify with your story and turn to you for your expertise.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get started improving your practice’s visibility online and attracting more patients, content marketing is a powerful tool. And if it seems like too much work to do on your own, we can help.
Our team of experts is ready and waiting to partner with you to create a stellar content marketing plan that attracts more patients to your practice and helps you rank higher on Google. Contact us today to learn more!