• Leigh Clayborne

What is Successful Healthcare Content Marketing


As Featured on Quora

with intros/extros added

What does successful content marketing look like?

Who in the industry is getting it right?

How can understanding what so many are getting wrong, help you do it better?

How can you better connect patients with doctors to both promote great medical care and improve outcomes through education?

Whether you’re a doctor, homecare agency, medical tech or a hospital, today you need effective digital content along with the strategy and implementation to make it work.

In this article we will look at what makes healthcare content successful and what does not work. We will also consider at a couple excellent healthcare content marketing examples that you may choose to follow in your own unique way.

How is Healthcare Content Marketing Different

Content marking for professionals, whether they be lawyers, CPAs or Doctors is a very delicate thing indeed. A writer must be extremely mindful of industry regulations, providing accurate information, including appropriate disclaimers when necessary, etc.

Healthcare content marketing is often portrayed as words straight from an expert, even though they may have a professional "ghostwriter" working behind the scenes. It must therefore live up to these "expert" level standards always to retain credibility.

On top of this, the information must be written in a language that

  • is easily understood by the reader

  • engages the reader

This is not an easy balance to achieve. And this is why many are struggling with getting it right.

As a healthcare provider, you must be a source of truth. There is so much misinformation out there and potential patients and a practice’s patients are frustrated by this. When we can tap into this frustration in a professional way, we connect with the patients.

What are others getting wrong ….that you can get right

There are so many practices getting this wrong even today, and this is a great opportunity for the practices who get this right to succeed.

They are missing some very important opportunities because their processes are not working.

Here are 5 big reasons.

1. Medical Professionals are Writing the Content

This seems logical and right. A medical professional writes medical content. Well, yes and no.

No generalized statements should be made as to whether this is good or bad, but it can create content challenges that cause healthcare to fail to reach patients and meet their goals.

Some doctors and nurses are great writers who can connect with us “normal” people. If this is the case and they have time, they should write the content.

But many of them cannot. In these cases,

  • They often don’t even think twice about writing a piece of content that is filled with medical terms that most people do not know.

  • They want to sound smart with these terms instead of smart by connecting with people.

  • They often write like they are writing for their peers and not the target audience.

  • Writing in common-speak may not be their strength as a professional

  • They don’t have time to write enough to make an impact. They are too busy being Doctors, Nurses, Therapists, Hygienists, etc.

2. Non-Medical Professional are Writing Content

Again, this is not always a bad thing. But the practice must be a source of truth, If a non-professional is writing content, they must understand where to find the true information. In the US that would be places like: CDC, ADA, AMA, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, various Centers for Excellence, etc.

When you have a high quality writer who understands authoritiy sources and can communicate with patients about high level topics in an understandable way, you have a “keeper”. But they're not easy to find.

3. They don’t realize that Content is an opportunity to get more patients

Often practices have not established goals for their content. They aren't marketers. Sometimes this is a positive, but if you aren't thinking like a marketer, then you may be missing important opportunities to really make an impact with your content.

As doctor our goals are typically:

  • Improve Patient Outcomes (it’s why we went into medicine in the first place)

  • Get more patients

  • Foster loyalty among the patients we have

  • Turn our patients into promoters to get more referrals from patients.

  • Improve our online presence and reputation

When developing content for Healthcare, these goals must be clear as well as the objectives that you need to meet to obtain these goals.

4. They don’t have a content promotion strategy

A common misconception is that just putting content online attracts people to it. This myth is perpetuated by the occurrence of very rare overnight viral content content and misleading ads that promise that your content will do all the work for you.

Content doesn’t sell itself even if you have the best "SEO guys" out there.

For those who don't know, SEO= Search Engine Optimization. It helps you appear higher in searches like Google and Bing.

Content only works if people see it. The more people see it, the more it starts generating its own pull toward your clinic. But it must be promoted first.

When content is used as a marketing strategy, you must have a plan for promoting the content. Today this is done primarily through SEO, Social Media, Multi-Channel Marketing.

5. They Don't Understand that Quality is Paramount

They demonstrate this misunderstanding in 3 ways.

  1. Improper grammar and punctuation - This can give a reader a sense that the healthcare provider does not care. A secondary proofreader is always advisable.

  2. Just explaining things - This does not make quality content. Quality content is engaging. It lures a reader in with a great title, gets them hooked in the first sentence and smoothly carries them through to the end.

  3. The focus on quantity over quality - This can actually manifest in 2 ways. Longer articles do not necessarily mean better information and providing hundreds of very short articles is not necessarily superior to fewer, longer better articles. It's all about how you organize ideas and convey a message. A professional writer understands how to do this, balancing succinctness with engagement and thorough explanation.

Who is doing it right

The people at Mayo Clinic are doing it right. They understand the value of truth and they promote it. They are doing all of the right things:

  1. Answering the questions that real people have about their health and wellness. The even have articles on things like Interval Training, Crossfit, Fad diets, etc. They are in tune with what people are talking about and they write about it.

  2. Relating diverse topics back to what they do. You may not even think abut writing about fad diets or exercise routines, but if you're an endocrinologist, rheumatologist, plastic surgeon, primary care doctor, dentist, physical therapist or a host of others, you can relate these topics back to what you do.

  3. Backing up their information with science.

  4. Explaining everything in common language

  5. Engaging their audience with words and visuals

  6. Promoting themselves as thought leaders.

  7. Organizing their articles so that they are only as long as they need to be but thoroughly cover the topic.

  8. They are signing the doctor’s names to the content…this establishes it as a source of truth. Regardless of who wrote it, it should be signed off on by a medical professional, so that that name can be added to it.

  9. They have an exceptional promotional strategy is place.

Johns Hopkins also have a great content marketing. Here is a link to their Home Care Content marketing Blog.

What is so great about their Blog?

  1. They keep it succinct but say exactly what they need to say

  2. And all of the above.

You may be saying: that’s the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins, not a small town doctor office. I can’t compete with that.

To this, I would say yes you absolutely can.

Search engines like google give preference to local companies when someone does a search. If you are providing quality content locally and properly promoting it, then you will be vary visible to potential patients and exactly the right time. This visibility in search engines and social media will help you achieve your goals.

What You Need To SUCCEED at Healthcare Content Marketing

  1. Great Content Creator who understands your industry and can meet your objectives.

  2. A way to measure your results in the short and long term.

  3. A solid plan and execution of a promotion strategy

With these 3 things you can succeed and content marketing healthcare.

If you would like to discuss your current content strategy or work on developing a new one, reach out. If you need a healthcare writer, we're here. We understand how doctors can reach patients through content and it's what we do to get more patients and inspire loyalty among those you have.

- Leigh Clayborne