Our purchasing decisions used to be limited to what we could find in the store. Now, the first place most of us go to find a new product or service is the internet.
We research our topic, watch a video or two, check out a review and, once we finally have all the information we need, we reach out to a supplier to learn more, or we purchase the product.
So what does that have to do with healthcare? The answer is simple: Your patients are following the same process when researching their healthcare options and they are finalizing their decisions before ever contacting you. One study shows that 84 percent of patients view digital solutions as the most effective way to search for a doctor and 77 percent search online before booking an appointment.
This means that your online reputation and the content you publish are crucial ways to make a first impression and win business. That begs the question: When consumers start that search for related content, what are they learning about you? Here’s how to create better healthcare content.
[Brandpoint is excited to sponsor the PRSA Health Academy Conference! Will you be attending? Tweet us, and let us know if we’ll see you there.]
Raising your voice in a crowded healthcare market
Healthcare consumers have more options today than at any point before. That’s a good thing for them, but the rise in legitimate providers, as well as the flood of misinformation available on the internet, means getting your message out to the right audience at the right time is more important — and more challenging — than ever.
Content marketing can help searchers get to know your brand and establish it as a trustworthy option. Incorporating these four key strategies into your content marketing practice will help your brand meet goals and rise above the din of the marketplace:
1. Choose your words carefully
This tip goes beyond simply picking words that are SEO friendly — though that is certainly important. It’s about the language you use to describe every service your facility offers. It’s about the importance of talking to people as though they’re, well, people — not line items on a marketing spreadsheet. Developing your buyer personas will help you better understand who your audience is.
A simple review of hospital websites shows facilities are quick to use marketing buzzwords like “advanced” or “cutting edge” when describing their services. Patients, however, are more interested in words that apply to them, including “patient-centric,” “compassion” and “caring.” What words do you use on your website?
As you craft your own content, remember who you’re writing for and tailor your language to them, as opposed to relying on bygone marketing ideals. At their core, your would-be patients are not brand loyalists, they are condition haters who want to learn how you can alleviate a health issue they are experiencing. The more quickly your content offers them solutions to meet this need, the better.
2. Stay relevant
People read branded content to stay up-to-date on news in spaces they care about, and housing this information on your website will keep readers coming back for more, developing long-term loyalty.
The healthcare space is uniquely suited to take advantage of this truth because, let’s face it, so much happens in this environment. Though not all of it will apply to your business and your readership, highlighting instances that do — and offering your insights on them when necessary — is a great way to showcase your brand’s knowledge and expertise in the industry.
3. Support an easier patient experience whenever possible
For those outside the industry, healthcare can be really confusing. Successful content marketing eases that burden.
Instead of writing broad content, drill down on specific topics, taking a deeper dive, and link to additional articles and resources that support your content. And don’t be afraid to spend more than 1,000 words discussing the subject’s finer details. Comprehensive content is not only helpful for readers, but there are SEO benefits as well, which will help your brand appear in search results.
Remember that when marketing healthcare products and services, consumers are more interested in learning about their health condition than about your brand. Educating them about those conditions and showing expertise and empathy will be more effective than telling them about how your company got its start.
4. Watch your tone
Lastly, don’t forget to convey all of your information with a welcoming, compassionate tone. The people who are reading your content may have the condition themselves or it may have affected a loved one. In either event there’s sure to be plenty of fear and anxiety toward their current predicament and your content can help alleviate that anxiety simply by its tone. You don’t want to deceive them about the reality of their situation but you should be a resource they can turn to when they’re tired of the scare tactics they find elsewhere.
Not too late to start content marketing
As a healthcare marketer, you have the power to help people through a frustrating and complicated time in their lives. Is your brand telling the stories and offering educational resources that can support and inform your customers? It’s never too late to start. Learn more about getting started with a content strategy so you can tell powerful stories that will be seen by the people who matter most.