healthcare-thumbnailWith hundreds of advertisements shouting at us every day, it’s not surprising that 70 percent of consumers would rather get to know a brand from articles instead of ads.

In the healthcare industry, consumers naturally seek out companies that care about them. Since healthcare in the United States is mostly covered by insurance, consumers focus less on price and more on what makes a particular clinic, hospital or medical practice better than its competitors.

They do this by reading reviews and comparing websites, which is why content marketing is particularly powerful in the healthcare industry. Here is what healthcare marketers and brands need to know before they get started.

Know your goals

In order to successfully create content, healthcare brands need to have a solid understanding of their editorial statement and how it dictates their content creation and distribution strategy.

An editorial statement is the reason why you are developing content, and it’s useless if it isn’t tied to your business goals and objectives. Whatever goal you choose, make sure you have a way to quantify the ROI of your strategy through analytics.

A common goal for healthcare companies is to increase the number of clients by a certain percentage within a set amount of time. Objectives, which are the actions that make the goal possible, are then determined.

If you’re running an Ob/Gyn clinic and want to bring in more patients, for example, an objective might be to publish helpful information for expectant mothers on your blog and social media sites. You can then contact the leads you receive through an RSS feed or tracker software and begin converting them into new patients.

Research your consumer

In order to know what content will appeal to potential consumers, you have to know your audience. Find out what attracts new patients by asking your existing ones.

Send out surveys, or better yet, talk with patients when they visit the clinic. Listen to their concerns, likes and dislikes and ask what kind of healthcare issues they would like to know more about. Just don’t expect to get the same answers from everyone. Instead, create personas that reflect each segment and always make sure your content is targeted toward one or more of those personas.

For example, I work with an upscale rehab centre that wants to be known for its private rooms to appeal to affluent addicts. We created an infographic about child stars who end up in rehab to appeal to that target segment.

Whenever you create content, ask yourself: “Will this resonate with one of my segments?”

rehab-infographic

Develop a strategy

Your strategy will determine where and when to distribute your content. Do some research to find out where members of your target audience or demographic get their information online. For each of your segments, find out what time of day they get on social media, what keywords they use, what types of content they search for and who the key influencers are.

If your clinic wishes to appeal to affluent families in Tennessee, find out which counties have the highest income through the Bureau of Labor Statistics site.

Then promote your piece of content and website using Google’s Adwords, which lets you target IPs in those specific locations. This is just one of many tactics you can employ to make sure your content is placed in front of the right people at the right time.

Create relevant content

Now that you have a solid editorial statement and a strategy to back it up, it’s time to think about the content itself. The healthcare industry is constantly releasing new reports and information. While you want to keep your consumers informed, you also want to make it relevant.

Do the grunt work for your audience by discovering what interests them and publishing content on those topics.

Find out by running a focus group or inviting existing patients to fill out a short survey. Next, plug a few of those collected ideas into Topsy and Google Trends to find out what topics and keywords people are searching for most.

Once you have finalized the topic, consider the different platforms – videos, e-books, newsletters, white papers – that you can use to communicate your message. Decide which platform works best for your topic and audience.

Now start serving your customers with content they care about, and that shows you care about them.