How to Effectively Use Content Marketing for Your Hospital

hospital content marketingDeveloping content to attract new patients is one of the most valuable forms of marketing for hospitals.

Content marketing delivers valuable information to potential patients in a way that informs and engages without doing a “hard sell”. It speaks to customers in a more natural way than traditional advertising, and it works particularly well for hospitals and healthcare providers.

As the internet continues to grow and expand, customers are seeking out dependable and trustworthy medical information online. Think of content marketing as the material that you create to help guide, direct, interest, and influence prospective patients. Content can be in the form of e-newsletters, blog posts, case studies, videos, webinars, and more.

So, what’s the benefit for your business? Good content marketing programs will help position your hospital’s brand as a well-respected and trusted resource that helps connect patients to what they need, providing answers to their medical or healthcare concerns. And because many prospective patients aren’t quite at the “buy” stage of the sales cycle, content marketing helps to build and nurture relationships, with the effect that, given time, prospective patients will become active patients.

Here we look at the best ways to boost your healthcare content marketing.

1. Start With Your Audience

First things first – identify with whom you want to connect with and the specific characteristics of each audience. Once you identify who it is you are speaking to, you can craft content that fits their needs and interests. Be sure to maintain a human element like conversation or people-oriented tone rather than complex or technical language.

2. Nurture Your Leads

In many cases, prospective clients may be a long way off the “ready to purchase” phase of the buying cycle, a cycle that can be quite complex when it comes to healthcare. Nurturing your leads involves guiding and encouraging them on their journey to help them take the next step. This could be through offering monthly heart-smart recipes for prospective cardiac patients or signing up for a weekly newsletter about living with osteoporosis.

3. Repurpose Content Where You Can

Content can often be tweaked and repurposed on social media channels. So if you’ve written an article for a magazine or internal publication, consider repurposing it on your own blog, Facebook, or other social channels.

4. Utilize Your Digital Channels & Think Creatively

Content marketing transcends a whole host of channels – from blogs and social channels to email marketing, online chats, and webinars. Consider the entire ecosystem and all the possible ways that you can reach people. Tailor your content to each online channel so that you have a greater chance of connecting and engaging with people. Visual content, especially infographics (data or knowledge presented in a visual way), can be a great way to showcase information quickly and clearly.

5. Limit Self Promotion

Content marketing isn’t about pushing your latest advertising campaign; it’s about building a relationship with customers and focusing on the longer term, rather than an immediate response. Keep material impartial, unbiased, and reliable – customers will value your content, and your brand, that much more.

6. Maintain and Sustain

Consistency, regularity, and reliability will help set your content apart from the rest. Be sure to allocate sufficient resources to support and grow your content efforts (for example, writers for blog articles) and ensure fresh and relevant content.

7. Don’t Expect Immediate Results

The results and benefits from good content marketing strategies will develop over time. Be prepared to be patient and consistent with your content, and over time you will see your audience grow. Content marketing should form a part of your broader marketing plan that may include more traditional forms of advertising.

8. Ask for Feedback

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what topics they would like to see – often, they could be your greatest source of content generation. Utilize Facebook or other social media channels to directly find out what subjects are of interest. You could also arrange to speak with former patients to shed light on why they chose your brand and their experience.

Gretchen Kalthoff is a writer and marketing specialist for MWE. She is an expert in healthcare marketing and health IT with a special interest in increasing patient engagement through social media and healthcare technologies.
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