Eighty-five percent of all healthcare searches on the web are initiated for a loved one, which means that potential patients and their families are genuinely invested in finding content that will help guide their medical decisions. They’re seeking detailed information about your physicians, facilities, surgical procedures and advanced diagnostics and treatments— yet web content (written, photographs, podcasts, video, etc.) like this is often treated as a low-priority detail of any digital project. Or, more importantly, web content is treated like copy for traditional advertising. Here are 7 rules to making your web content pop:
1. Write catchy, easy-to-read headlines
No one is attracted to unoriginal, expected content. Right? With web content, you need to create a user-friendly information architecture. Ensure you are calling pages by names that patients use, like high blood pressure, instead of hypertension.
2. Create an editorial calendar
Look at a year-long plan and create an editorial calendar around daily, weekly, monthly and project-based content to move away from the “just change this one page” model. This should include a publishing calendar so everyone is aware of anticipated work. Of course, this calendar will change from time-to-time, but at least you have the framework organized. An editorial calendar is a great way to keep you and your team on track and focused. The Content Marketing Institute (LINK) provides some great guidance on this and suggests the editorial calendar should include.
3. Use keywords
Find out what people are searching your website for, then write on those topics. If you aren’t close with your web team, you need to be. Like now.
Optimize according to the disease or condition, not the hospital name. In your browser title, make sure you have the name of the condition, not the name of the hospital first. Include geographic information. This way patients who using the drill down method of searching noted in the search matrix above have a better shot of finding you.
Marietta Cerami of Hale Advisors agrees. “You can’t create content without knowing who it’s for. Well, you can, but the content won’t be very effective. Instead of identifying your target audience as a broad group of people who share similar characteristics, create personas—individuals with their own unique personalities. The more specific the better.”
Personas can serve as a guide for team members to refer to as they develop the rest of the content strategy and content marketing plans.
4. Compose response articles
It may be hard to come up with original content, but it’s never hard to express opinions. This may be harder to do in healthcare but it’s possible. I did something similar when Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy. She discovered she had the BRACA gene that increases your chance of developing breast cancer in the future. It was a great opportunity for Mercy Health System to localize on the topic of genetic testing. Not only did we create some local press but we wrote a response articles and social media content on it.
As you already know, as an expert in your industry and/or local area, you’ll find that writing response articles is one of the easiest ways to get a good amount of unique content on your website without having to do a ton of research. Have your physicians and specialists add their flair and opinions on health topics and post them as articles and or videos.
5. Publish infographics or other appealing images
As you may have read in one of my previous posts about the use of infographics, appealing images really create a welcome environment for an inquiring patient. The great thing about infographics is that they’re visual. As an Internet society, we love to see things more than we love to read about them. Even if the graphics themselves are loaded with words and statistics, they are often done so in a visually stunning manner that is more worthy of being shared. Infographics can take a really complex topic and turn it into easy-to-understand plain language for a confused patient.
6. Post videos
Plain and simple, people don’t have time to read. Sometimes a video is more engaging. In healthcare, we can really use emotion and compassion to our advantage. Videos can create feeling, trust, emotion and they are attractive. It’s always good to have an engaging way to share your message with your audience.
7. Avoid the sea of sameness
Ahava Leibtag, principal of AHA Media Group says so many healthcare organizations sound like a broken record: We care about you! We are the best! “Patients are looking for real, specific voices in their digital content so they can make intelligent, informed choices about their healthcare.” To break out of a content rut, Ahava says to play up strengths, use patient stories and testimonials to illustrate how your organization has helped patients overcome challenges. Create guides using slideshows and videos.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different content— just be sure you have the resources to continue to manage and update your pages and presence online. Developing web content and the strategy takes time. If done well, the payoff is a steady stream of communication to and from your patients, increased brand visibility and loyalty. I’d say it’s worth it.