A digital-first strategy
If you need a new doctor, or want to find information on a new medication, what’s your first move? If you’re like 81% of consumers, then you’re likely to check the internet first.
The world is rapidly becoming more consumer-focused, and the healthcare industry needs to catch up, before it’s too late. With so many of your audience base turning to online methods of obtaining information, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to reach HCPs and patients with the same offerings as previously – word-of-mouth and referrals can no longer be the norm when decisions are increasingly made based on online reputation.
Rethinking your online presence
In order to make the most of your online presence, you need to be aware of the benefits that a solid content marketing strategy can provide. By creating content that appeals to your audience, educates about your product or service, and represents your organisation effectively, you boost your online reputation – ultimately resulting in better ROI.
Not sure? Thinking that your audience is still reliant on offline communications? A survey by doctor.com found that 67% of respondents over 60 would choose a healthcare provider or brand over another due to a stronger online presence. The trend of ‘google before you commit’ is growing stronger and stronger, and older audience bases aren’t immune to it.
It ties into the concept of ‘patient as consumer’, meaning that healthcare organisations must start considering their target audience along the lines of a customer, as opposed to HCPs or patients alone. Consumers expect a highly personalised, effortless and enjoyable interaction with brands – and they now expect this of their healthcare providers, too. By creating content that specifically appeals to your audience, you’re able to more effectively educate, persuade, inform and influence how your brand is perceived. Equally, you’re able to create a more emotional connection with end users – if your content is there at every step of their journey, they’re more likely to form an attachment to your brand, rather than competitors.
Using content effectively: top tips
It can be tricky to get started with content marketing if you aren’t entirely sure what to prioritise, so we’ve collated some top tips for healthcare organisations that want to get ahead with content marketing.
Know your audience
Before you even start to think about your content, you need to be sure who you want to target, and why. It’s best to take the time to fully understand your ideal audience, as these insights will inform how your content is written, where you should be posting, topics, and tone.
Without a full understanding of your audience, you risk sending content out that’s irrelevant to your audience, and never provides any actual results. It’s useful to commit time, energy and resource into this initial research phase in order to ensure you’re putting out the right content, to the right people, at the right time.
Utilise your expertise
You wouldn’t see a neurosurgeon for a broken ankle, so don’t expect your marketing team to write about complex products or services without strategic input. To succeed with content marketing, you need to be creating content that’s specialist, and that answers the queries of your audience. You could be working with the best copywriters in the world, but without the input of skilled specialists, you run the risk of putting content out there that has incorrect information. This could at best annoy your audience, and at worst cause a reader to make a medical decision that isn’t right for them.
When you plan your content strategy, and start putting together a calendar, think of the experts that you have on side. Plan content around what your audience wants to see, where they want to see it, and which topics you’re able to delve into with the help of an expert. Each piece of content should represent your brand, demonstrate expertise, and wow your readers.
Vary your content offering
When we talk about content, we don’t just mean written content. Take note of the platforms that your organisation could be using, and how you can repurpose or stretch content to sit across several of these. Most companies now have some sort of digital presence, and a blog to go with this, but equally you should be considering the impact of good video content, downloadable pieces, interactive elements, and audio. Maybe your organisation could set up a podcast, or invest in a gamification strategy that helps your audience learn about your product or services, and enjoy your brand at the same time.
If you’re writing content in the healthcare industry, there are some rules you need to follow. Compliance is key, and breaking any rules could result in serious consequences. Before briefing, creating, or sharing content, ensure that your legal team has thoroughly checked it, and if you’re sharing on social media, make sure that you’re adhering both to government and social media rules. If some of your content doesn’t quite hit the mark, have a plan in place to swiftly and effectively deal with issues.
Content marketing is a great way to engage with your audience, boost your brand awareness, and ultimately impact your bottom line. If you’re committed to creating content that’s informative, accurate, aligned with your organisation’s vision, and driven by performance, then you’re already on the right path to content marketing success.