The Importance of Content Marketing in Healthcare

the power of content marketing for your healthcare practice

Content marketing is, without a doubt, the foundation of great marketing. Want to drive patients to your website and therefore your center? Want to simply find ways to engage with past, current, and future patients? It all starts with great content. As a healthcare marketer in the 21st century, one of your main jobs, if not your MAIN job, is not just to develop engaging content for your practices, hospitals or health care organizations, but also to place it where it's the most likely to drive business and engage patients.  For most healthcare practitioners, that's your website. 

Often times, health care professionals think their website doesn’t really matter when it comes to getting new patients. 100% of the time those health care professionals are wrong. A medical practice’s website is usually the first means of contact the modern patient has with a new physician. A patient’s first impression and experience depends solely on the content on that website, which means if your website is bogged down with irrelevant, boring, or even just poorly organized content, that first impression is going to be a bad one. On the flip side, if you can wow them with an awesome website full of meaty, informative, and entertaining content? Now you've got their attention. 

Let’s discuss some of the ways that great content can help your practice, and how bad content can hurt your marketing efforts.

What is BAD content?

It's important to first distinguish the difference between "great content" and "bad content". "Bad content" doesn't necessarily have to be content that's poorly written, it can be really well written content that's simply organized in a bad way. There are a lot of different things that determine what makes up "bad content", but generally speaking bad content looks like one of the following:

  • Unclear or overly clinical language
  • Content that's inappropriate for the audience you're trying to reach (i.e. content written for doctors when you’re trying to target patients)
  • Duplicated content on multiple pages
  • Content that is clearly stuffed with keywords in an effort to improve SEO, to a point where it doesn’t even make sense
  • Lack of enough content
  • Content that is poorly organized or doesn't "flow" right

How BAD content can HURT you:

  1. If a patient can’t find what they are looking for in the first few seconds, they will bounce right off your website. We know this because we've done it.
  2. When they leave your website, they will find another option with a more easily navigable website and they will call them instead.
  3. A website with bad content could leave a patient frustrated, giving them a negative impression of you before they even walk in your doors.
  4. If a patient can’t find an easy way to communicate with you through your website, you could see an increase in cancellations.
  5. You could be seen as “old fashioned” and in healthcare, no one wants an antiquated physician who isn’t up on the most advanced technology.

What is GREAT content?

Great content is content that motivates your website’s visitors to take action, guides them through the website and provides the kind of information most of your visitors are looking for on your site. There are a lot of different things that determine what makes great content, but generally speaking it usually follows these rules:

  • Content that is relevant to your customers
  • Content that is easy to understand
  • Content that's interesting and makes readers want to engage
  • Content that's well organized and silows readers through to other areas on your website
  • Content that utilizes proper spelling, grammar, capitalization/punctuation, and word choice (avoids using "big" words that confuse readers, but still sounds authoritative and intelligent)

How GREAT content can HELP you:

  1. The best content can help improve your organic rankings on Google so you can reach more savvy patients searching for your services online.
  2. Content can help you drive patients where you want them to go on your website, creating pathways for them.
  3. If your goal is to get more patients to schedule appointments, the right content can help you drive more patients to fill out online appointment forms.
  4. You can become a valuable online resource for patients, encouraging them to return to your site for more than just appointment booking, but for health tips and medical advice.
  5. You will appear more advanced, giving you more control and being seen as an authority in your medical community.
  6. Most importantly, great content makes you memorable. It keeps people wanting to come back for more. It's what determines your brand identity in the mind of your patients, and it's what makes them decide whether or not that brand is worth engaging with. 

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Creating content is easy, but creating great content? That's a little more tricky. It's a pretty impressive skill, but it's not one that everyone in the healthcare industry is going to have. That's where we come in. If you're following these guidelines but are still struggling to produce great content that's engaging and relevant to your patients, don't worry. We can help with that. It's not rocket science, it's content marketing, and it's what we do. 

Building Better Marketing Programs: RBMA Wrap-Up

The RBMA Building Better Marketing Conference in Long Beach, California went off without a hitch earlier this week, bringing together the best radiology professionals from all across the world.  On Sunday evening, the attendees mingled in the lobby of the Renaissance Long Beach hotel meeting new friends and reminiscing with the old. With the sound of an acoustic guitar in the background and the sea breeze filtering through the open doors, everyone knew we had arrived in Cali baby.

Monday morning is hard for everyone, but Terri Langhans opening presentation got everyone’s gears going for the week.  She asked us, “How do you stand out in an industry where everyone looks alike?” By comparing the radiology industry to the airline industry she led us to see the opportunities available to make ourselves stand out.  Think about the differences in flying Southwest versus Delta, even just the comedic way Southwest delivers their safety information. “You don’t have to be a comedian, you just have to have a personality,” Langhans quoted. Her message was to make sure we do small things with character, because the more similar you are, the more your differences matter.

 

In radiology, each touch point your patients have with your center matters.  A touch point is any point of contact, for instance; phone trees, parking, welcomers, front desk employees, techs, radiologists, schedulers, even your billing department. Langhans’ message essentially, is that your touch points should be talking points, or components that set you apart from the competition and contribute to a strong culture for your organization.

(Check out photos from the event on the RBMA Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/RBMAConnect)

The schedule over the next two days was packed full of sessions covering content including:

-       Writing creative marketing/web content

-       Social media for radiology providers

-       Stark Law and Sunshine Act

-       Advancements in breast imaging

-       Search engine optimization

-       Selecting and utilizing a CRM

-       Rebranding techniques

-       Using referral metrics to drive business

-       Finding an “Open Table” model for radiology scheduling

-       Interventional radiology practice development

-       Imaging market changes and opportunities

-       Content marketing strategies

-       Customer service and efficiency

-       Campaign creation versus ads

-       Benchmarking for marketing and sales

-       Quality initiatives for independent hospital-based physicians

-       Advice for IDTFs competing with hospital systems

 

In addition to those very focused sessions, conference attendees gathered together for roundtables discussing marketing efforts they have used that were effective and the industry issues that have been keeping them up at night.  Tuesday morning was also kicked off by a 5 Minute Forecast from a panel of RBMA experts. All of whom were geniuses; well spoken and wonderful. (Cough, cough… this is shameless brag, as I was one of them.)  After the forecasts, which predicted increases in patient-consumerism, market transparency and the increased weight of strong industry relationships, the floor was opened up to the attendees and they were given the chance to ask any marketing questions they had up their sleeves. The session, entitled “Stump The Marketers,” was my favorite part of the entire conference because it enabled us to engage in candid conversation about the real issues we all face on a daily basis.   Topics covered included:

-       ICD-10 and the effect on marketing representatives: It was determined that the coding changes will give marketers a chance to stand out as early adopters and even give training opportunities to their referring offices.

-       Direct targeting and re-targeting campaigns for patients: Some wondered if this form of internet marketing could be considered invasive, but we decided that if the patient is already interested in you, they will perceive you in that way.

-       Utilizing technology for patient communication: We decided that nothing can be replaced by one-on-one communication and people do not want to be made more convenient. If a patient ops in for email or text reminders or event updates, that is another opportunity.

-       Spending money on traditional marketing and advertising like the phonebook: These historically expensive methods have no way of being measured as far as ROI goes, so most marketing pros have started to turn towards internet marketing instead.

Anyone that was a part of the conference will say that they learned a lot and will remember fondly how great the smartphone application was (especially with the neck-in-neck race between Erik W. and Brenda B. for top users), the great bartenders at "Sip", the great elevator struggle of 2014, the California-themed Quest Awards and how wonderful the RBMA faculty was for organizing such a spectacular event.

Overall the conference was a huge success. The RBMA team certainly knows what they are doing and each year the content and sessions get better and better. We are already looking forward to next year’s event, it is going to be in Nawlins’ after all!  Until next year everyone, can’t wait to see what all we will accomplish in 2014.