Two of the biggest challenges in today’s healthcare industry include locating and retaining new patients and ensuring your current patients have the most up-to-date medical information at their fingertips.
What if there was a way to solve both of these problems at the same time?
Content marketing is a key way that many online businesses generate new customers. In the healthcare industry, this means new patients walking in your door and seeking out the advice of your medical professionals.
Simultaneously, content marketing allows you to present your patients with accurate answers to their medical questions. Rather than letting your patients be poorly informed by Dr. Google, Facebook, or message boards, you can cultivate a resource your patients turn to when they have pressing healthcare questions. This positions your practice as an industry expert and builds trust with your patients before they even walk through the door.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of healthcare content marketing, explain what content marketing is and how it works in the healthcare industry, and tell you what you need to get started. We’ll also cover how to generate content ideas, promote your content, and ensure you remain compliant with industry regulations.
By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to step into the world of content marketing and make your healthcare business stand out.
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What is content marketing?
In 1996, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King.” In the essay, Gates outlines why writing quality content is the key to making money online. His essay would prove to be prophetic. Today, content marketing generates about three times as many leads (new customers) as traditional marketing efforts. But what, exactly, is content marketing and how does it work?
At its most basic level, content marketing refers to writing content that gives your ideal customers information they need. Content marketing works because it drives new traffic to your website and positions your office as an industry leader in your customers’ minds.
Think about it this way: If a customer types a question into Google (or another search engine), the answers the search engine provides come from websites. If that customer wants to explore their question more fully, they’ll click on the link and be taken directly to that website. The more often they find themselves brought to the same website to receive answers to their questions, the more likely they are to trust that website knows what it’s talking about.
You want those new customers brought to your website and you want them to trust the information you provide. To do that, you have to know what questions your customers are asking and provide better answers to those questions than anyone else in the industry.
Content marketing in the healthcare industry
Healthcare content marketing relies on providing your customers with the best answers to their medical questions. The key to content marketing in the healthcare industry is providing your customers with good information based on research without sounding like a medical textbook.
WebMD and Mayo Clinic are currently the two biggest names in healthcare content marketing. However, both sites provide general information at a basic level.
Your advantage as a healthcare office is being able to provide specific information to your patients about the particular medical issues your office treats. Just as patients will go to a heart surgeon over their general practitioner if they have an issue with their heart, your patients will choose to read your content over the content provided by other websites if yours is targeted to their needs. Some ways to target your healthcare content include:
- Mentioning your location to target patients in your area.
- Providing unique information based on your specialization, if you have one.
- Offering insights directly from the doctors and other medical professionals in your office.
What do you need to get started with content marketing?
The best thing about content marketing is that you need almost nothing to get started. The minimum requirements to make content marketing work include:
- A website with blogging capabilities
- Expert knowledge of your industry
- Strong copywriting skills
You likely already have a website and knowledge of your industry. Strong copywriting skills (and the time to implement them) are important components to get your content marketing off to a great start. Luckily, even if you don’t have strong copywriting skills yourself, you can hire a freelance writer to do your blog writing for you.
Up to 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. Websites like Upwork and Compose.ly can help connect you with skilled writers in your industry. Another option is to find professional healthcare blogs you like and reach out to their website owners to see who does their content marketing.
Once you have your content, the next step is uploading it onto your website. Most website builders, including the Constant Contact Website Builder, make it easy to add a professional blog to your site.
Generating ideas for engaging content
Whether you choose to work with a freelance writer or write your content yourself, knowing how to generate new ideas for your blog will keep your content fresh. The best content is the content your patients want to engage with by liking it, commenting on it, or sharing it with their own family and friends.
Some of your earliest content ideas can be inspired by interactions in your office. Consider:
- Questions your patients often ask — whether about specific medical conditions or about how your office operates.
- Misinformation your patients often bring with them to the office.
- Things you wish your patients knew or understood before coming to the office.
Once your first blog posts are underway, you can generate further content by looking at which articles get traffic. High traffic volume is a good indicator that your patients are looking for more information on a topic. You can also take a look at what your competitors are talking about on their websites and consider if you have anything new or interesting that could make your article on that same topic stand out and provide better information to your patients.
Tips for promoting your content
Although content marketing can be good at driving organic traffic (traffic you don’t have to pay for) to your website, promoting your content can give your blog the kickstart it needs.
Search engines reward websites that have a number of backlinks (outside websites that link back to their content) with higher placement in search results. Promoting your content increases your odds of getting backlinks and, therefore, increases the odds of your website ranking high in search engines. Some of the best ways to promote your content include:
- Posting your content on social media.
- Emailing your content to email newsletter subscribers.
- Talking about your website, in general, to patients who come to the office.
- Telling patients to follow up by directing them to specific blog posts on your website.
Special content marketing considerations in the healthcare industry
It’s important to remember that healthcare content marketing needs to be HIPAA compliant at all times. Some notes about remaining HIPAA compliant include:
- Letting patients know how you protect their privacy
- Only marketing to patients after first receiving authorization
- Protecting any information you provide online
We recommend you discuss your legal obligations for content marketing with an attorney who specializes in HIPAA law.
Get started with content marketing today
Now that you understand what content marketing is, how it can reach new customers in the healthcare industry, and how to get started, you’re ready to step into the world of healthcare content marketing. Although it can take some time to get into the swing of content marketing, once you have the skills you need, your content can continuously drive new traffic to your website and new clients to your office.
Get started by checking out The Download — our healthcare marketing guide — which provides detailed information about healthcare marketing and how to set your practice up for success.