Content marketing has many parts that work together to drive organic traffic to your website. For the technically inclined, it is easy enough to figure out. For those who are not, it may seem like a puzzle you need to assemble piece by piece without knowing where to start.
If you are confused about building your healthcare content marketing strategy, this is the right place to get help.
This guide outlines five detailed steps to build an effective strategy for your hospital or clinic.
There is a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes. Here we go!
5 Steps to Excellent Healthcare Content Marketing
One of the first things to learn is knowing your audience to do content marketing. Having a content strategy and optimizing your website is important too.
A step-by-step approach is the best way to know which comes first and how to piece it together. To simplify the process, the steps in this guide flow smoothly from one to another for your convenience.
1. Know Your Audience and Competitors
Before you start content marketing, you need to have content. Before you make content, you need to know for whom and for what reason you make it.
The answer is to define your target market, which comprises your core audience—the people you want to connect with and convert into patients.
Here are three ways to determine which market segment you are targeting:
- Examine your list of services: The nature of your work tells you a lot about who you want to reach. For example, an ophthalmologist’s target market mainly comprises people with vision problems, while an allergist caters to individuals struggling with allergies.
- Conduct market research: You can create personas or publish surveys to help construct profiles of your hospital’s or clinic’s patients. Other robust research methods include gathering available market data and holding focus groups of your patients.
- Analyze your competitors: Another way to establish your audience’s identity is by reviewing those you consider your competitors. Who are they attracting to their hospital or clinic? Which market segments are your competitors not yet serving?
2. Find Rich Keywords for Your Content
Once you know your target market and their concerns, the next step is to do keyword research. What you know about your patients and competitors helps enormously here.
Your intention also plays a role in finding rich keywords. One smart SEO practice is using keywords in your title and content. Nobody wants to fall for click baits and misleading headlines, after all.
Start research using free keyword tools to find search terms to build your content. You receive three vital stats every time you test a keyword. These are:
- Search volume: The number of searches containing the indicated terms, typically counted monthly or annually. Aim for keywords with not too high or low volume.
- Keyword difficulty: Tools rate keywords based on how difficult it is to rank high for the specified search term. Longer key phrases are easier to rank for due to lower volume.
- Cost-per-click (CPC): This metric only matters when you find keywords for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. For organic marketing, this is not important.
With that, here are the types of keywords you should include when you make your list:
- Long-tail keyword: As mentioned, longer search terms are ideal because they have adequate volume without making it too difficult to rank. It is at least five words long and often indicates a specific need, such as ‘children’s doctor in Vermont.’
- Instructional keyword: People seeking medical information often need help or advice to solve a problem. Instructional keywords address this need. For example, ‘how to stop a nosebleed’ and ‘ways to sleep better.’
- Local SEO keyword: When planning your content or marketing strategy, consider your local area for potential patients. Use your city’s or town’s name in your keywords to reach that market segment.
3. Create Content that Provides Value
As said by Digital Authority Partners, content marketing is vital in building interest in your hospital or clinic through blogs, photos, and other posts. Therefore, your posts must provide value to your patients and readers. Think of it as the hook to a well-written sales pitch.
How do you make valuable content? Try the following formats:
- Blog posts: Proactively answer patient questions about healthcare and medical procedures. Write content that is accessible to patients and others outside of healthcare.
- How-to’s and guides: Teach readers valuable skills. Share your medical knowledge. You establish your expertise and authority by prioritizing information and education.
- Infographics: Visual content is optimal for confusing topics because it breaks down information into manageable pieces. Plus, images are much easier to share online.
However, a good content strategy is more than knowing what works, how it works, and why. There is also the element of knowing how others, particularly search engines, see your content. After all, it is hard to market if you do not appear on search engine results pages (SERPs).
4. Understand HIPAA, E-A-T, and YMYL
Excellent healthcare content marketing is not just about sharing blog posts and videos online. You must follow many guidelines to persuade search engines and make it onto SERPs.
The most prominent of these are the following:
- HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is a piece of legislation concerned with protecting medical data. It has many provisions that may be hard to follow. Make it easy on yourself by preparing a HIPAA security checklist.
- E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, a rating system that determines how poorly or well-made your content is. Search engines like accurate and reliable content that aligns with expert consensus. Make sure to provide it.
- YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) refers to content that can adversely affect the user’s (patient’s) well-being. Misleading information or inappropriate advice that can ruin a person’s life gets flagged and pushed farther down the SERPs to limit their effects.
5. Optimize Your Website for Your Users
As mentioned above, content marketing is about increasing brand awareness online. However, high website traffic does not necessarily mean you get more patients, especially if most people leave immediately. You need to pay attention to performance as well.
A slow website encourages bouncing or exiting your website without significant interaction because of poor user experience (UX). Search engines allow others to overtake you on the SERPs when that happens. You then end up back at square one for all your efforts—or lack thereof.
Patients most likely end up on your website regardless of where they find your content. Therefore, invest the time to make it as good as possible.
Here is how to leverage mobile-friendly web design:
- Declutter your pages. Remove anything that is not necessary to your website.
- Make navigation straightforward and intuitive. Use menus to organize your content.
- Use a responsive theme to rank better on SERP with mobile-first indexing.
- Optimize your images for a faster and smoother user experience, especially on mobile.
- Create a landing page with a clear call-to-action (CTA) for mobile users.
Building a healthcare content marketing strategy requires knowledge of its many parts. Market research, keywords, and web design are some of the most basic ones to know. Following this guide, you take all the proper steps toward a more solid strategy to help your hospital or clinic grow.