When it comes to content marketing for your healthcare organization, one of the biggest challenges you face is where to put your marketing dollars.
You already know that operating as a publisher and creating content on a consistent basis is necessary for lead generation, engagement and driving sales.
But if you’re having trouble selling your c-suite on the value of content marketing, it can be tough to decide what types of content you should create now.
In fact, 28 percent of healthcare marketers are in the same boat as you. According to True North Custom’s State of Healthcare Content Marketing report, although they don’t have a content marketing strategy in place, they plan to create one this year.
As you work on your own content marketing strategy, here are 5 types of content you should include.
1. Blog posts
If you do nothing else, your company’s blog should be where you put your effort. Posting new content at least two to three times a week helps SEO, keeps your leads engaged and builds your credibility.
However, you should never post just for the sake of posting. Every blog post you create should inform, engage and tell a story.
Always write blog posts with your buyer personas in mind, and make sure they’re relevant and timely and include new research and data.
Every piece of content you write should be valuable: answer your prospects’ most burning questions and give them solutions to the things that keep them up on night.
According to a recent report by the Content Marketing Institute, 79 percent of B2B marketers use video marketing as part of their overall strategy and this year, more marketers will jump on the bandwagon.
In fact, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019, a report by Cisco found.
When producing videos, make sure they draw your leads in and hold their attention to the very last second.
Some ideas you might try are stories about patients who have healed from a chronic, often misdiagnosed condition, interactive personalized videos for various demographics, or how-to guides you can use for member onboarding.
When they’re done well, infographics not only make complicated data more accessible and appealing to your leads, but they give your customers insight into relevant, timely information they crave.
Create infographics to explain new research, surveys you’ve conducted or problems your customers face. Like all types of content, infographics must tell a story, be visually appealing and shareable.
4. Case studies
You should always have testimonials on your site from happy customers, but case studies are what close the deal.
You can waste your breathe talking about features and benefits all day long but case studies validate the extraordinary results your customers have achieved in a compelling, interesting way.
Case studies are also a versatile tool and can be used for sales meetings, email marketing campaigns, repurposed as a blog or a series of blogs, pitched to the media and so much more.
5. White papers
A white paper is one of the most effective lead generation tools for B2B companies.
A strong white paper tells a compelling story, gives your potential clients information and problem-solving solutions and persuades them to take action.
A white paper is also a versatile marketing tool that can be used for email campaigns, direct mail, trade shows and social media.
Let’s face it: no one dislikes a good story. And one thing is clear: your potential patients crave stories just like the rest of us. They want stories about patients just like them who had the same symptoms, the same frustrations and the same needs.
Patient case studies are one of the most effective tools smart healthcare marketers use to nurture and convert leads. So if you’re not including them in your content marketing strategy, you’re missing out.
They get you attention
Journalists don’t need more doctors or experts. They need stories.
As a freelance magazine writer, I often reach out M.D.’s, naturopaths, functional medicine doctors and other practitioners to help me find patients with serious, but often overlooked medical conditions.
What’s more, my editors at Fox News are much more likely to approve a story idea if I also have a patient story. So if you’re trying to get the media’s attention, you’ll need to do more than just send out a press release.
Create content around patient stories, include case studies with your press releases and offer interviews for journalists looking to write a great story.
They put a name to a face
Patients already know you exist, but what they really want to know is how what you offer is different. How will you change their lives? Patient stories help your leads see that you’re a real company with real doctors, who care for real people.
They validate results
When it comes to finding a doctor, the rules have changed. Patients are smarter than ever before and they’re choosing their doctors only after doing their research, reading online reviews and asking their friends for recommendations.
Using patient stories is a great way to nurture leads and make an effective case for why they too should choose your organization.
They answer questions
Testimonials are great, but case studies help fill in the gaps and answer your leads’ most burning questions. Because let’s face it, your customers aren’t reading every last word on your website.
They want to know things like: did the doctor take the time to listen? Does he offer flexible appointments? What tests does he offer?
So make it easy for them and give them the answers while also keeping them engaged.
Here are a few ways to use patient stories.
Add a navigation tab on your homepage and create landing pages for your stories.
Create a series of blog posts for patient stories and link to them in other types of content. Or repurpose your existing case studies into blog posts to maximize your ROI.
Share on social media
When you create new content, always share it on social media and include relevant keywords and hashtags.
Hospital annual reports tend to be dry but if you include your most compelling patient stories, they can be interesting and make you stand out from your competitors.
Newsletters and emails
Include a patient story in your newsletter that’s relevant to your other content or link to your landing pages in emails.
Webinars and in-person events
When included in webinars or presentations at in-person events, patient stories can convert leads and help upsell current patients on additional services.
Between large patient panels, electronic medical records and other administrative tasks, doctors are short on time. Even if you’ve convinced them of the need for inbound marketing, it can be tough to nail them down and create content for your healthcare organization.
Yet with some simple strategies, it’s possible to write amazing content that converts, gets you more patients and saves you time.
Create stories, not topics.
Instead of sending your physicians a list of topics and asking them which ones they want to claim, assign them story ideas like you’re the editor and they’re the reporter.
Before you can do that however, you need to make sure you have a content marketing strategy and an editorial calendar in place. Without it, it’s like throwing your ideas at the wall and hoping they’ll stick.
Do an interview.
For most doctors email is preferable, but an email is not an interview. Email will never capture the entire story or your physician’s voice.
I’ve found that a brief phone interview is the best—and fastest—way to get everything you need and ensure your content is great. Although your physician may only have 15 minutes to spare, a 50-minute interview, when possible, can generate enough information to write up to 6 blog posts.
Work ahead of time.
Content marketing isn’t breaking news. And asking a physician to be available within 24 hours because you haven’t planned ahead is a recipe for disaster. Send your physicians a few options for interview times and let them know your deadline, which should always be days before your actual deadline. This way, if your physician gets called into emergency surgery, you’ll still have enough time to make the deadline.
To maximize your interview, send your questions ahead of time so the physician can prepare if she wants to. Also, do most of your research ahead of time so you won’t waste time asking questions about things you can find on your own. If you ask things like why omega-3’s are essential or how common breast cancer is, your physician will wonder why you’re wasting his time. The interview is meant to fill-in, clarify or add information that only he can provide.
Your hours in the office might be 9 to 5 but when it comes to doctors, they’re usually available in the early morning or in the evening. Plus, even if you schedule a call, the physician may get held up with a patient or get called into surgery.
So be flexible, or hire a freelance healthcare writer to help you out. And always remember that when it comes to your content, your physicians are your best creative partners.