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Posted By Aha Media Group on 01/06/2022

4 Healthcare Content Marketing Lessons From Top U.S. Hospitals

4 Healthcare Content Marketing Lessons From Top U.S. Hospitals

Marketers want their time spent producing content to be time well spent. They want their marketing campaigns to smash goals and impress their CMOs. And yes, they want to make it as user-friendly and valuable as possible.

How can we, as marketers, ensure we’re meeting these goals with the materials we produce? Let’s lean on lessons from some of the top hospitals in the country.

Lesson #1: Facts Tell, Stories Sell

A few years back, UCLA Health created a secure online form for patients to submit stories to the UCLA marketing team, which vetted the stories for accuracy. Those patient stories were then turned into engaging social media posts and search-optimized blogs. This process extended the life of those stories and turned them into engaging pieces of media for various marketing channels.

These cross-channel efforts succeeded, increasing metrics in many areas:

  • The number of website visits UCLA Health received from social media more than tripled, increasing 189% over 2 years. 
  • Social media return traffic increased by 401%, proving that UCLA’s audience is engaged and participatory. 
  • The health system’s website earned 6,559 referrals from search engines throughout year one. By year three, that number increased to 18,970. The stories increased page views by 69% and direct traffic by 148%.

The Takeaway: Creating a safe online community lets patients share their stories and organically spread the message of the excellent care they received. It’s also a stellar way to find fresh content without spending resources creating it yourself. Then, repurposing the stories into engaging blogs gives consumers a reason to keep coming back to the site and share the content on social media.

Lesson #2: User Experience and Content Writing Go Hand in Hand

Over the years, services at Penn Medicine’s Heart and Vascular Center grew exceptionally impressive. Patients had greater access to clinical trials and innovative heart treatments at Penn Medicine than at other health systems in the region — but the website didn’t reflect those offerings. And the existing website content was difficult for users to navigate.

With help from a content audit and keyword research, the organization created a content template that prioritized user experience. They wrote fresh content that showcased their most advanced offerings. And through newly accessible content, users could quickly find information that was previously unavailable on the Penn Medicine website.

The Takeaway: Website user experience is one of the top 10 ranking factors for search engine optimization. Putting users first — through both website functionality and understandable content writing — is essential. This combo approach worked for Penn Medicine: Six months after launching the new Heart and Vascular pages, new users increased by 1,068%, and organic sessions increased by 970%.

Lesson #3: SEO Fundamentals Make or Break Marketing Content

SEO best practices are the backbone to content that gets noticed: Use strong headlines that match how people search. Sprinkle relevant keywords into your headers and body copy whenever it makes sense. Always include image alt tags. 

For Henry Ford Health System, these SEO fundamentals helped get one of their providers featured on Good Morning America (GMA). A GMA producer found a LiveWell blog post titled Do You Really Need 10,000 Steps a Day? because of its first-place ranking on Google. She reached out to Henry Ford’s marketing department and:

  • Interviewed the doctor quoted in the blog post
  • Linked to the physician’s profile, resulting in a 250% increase in views
  • Highlighted Henry Ford in an article that GMA wrote about the topic

The Takeaway: The focus on SEO best practices resulted in the blog getting picked up by a national outlet, a major marketing win. Keep prioritizing the fundamentals for long-term results.

Lesson #4: Work Smarter (Not Harder) by Repurposing Existing Content

Reinventing the wheel takes time and budget — and is often unnecessary. You’ve probably got great marketing material sitting in your back pocket (or buried on your website), ready to be used in different ways. That’s what Sentara Healthcare realized when they wanted their annual Heart Health campaign to highlight key strategic areas and initiatives happening on their website.

Leveraging current website assets for social media was a time and money saver. The team stayed organized with structured content templates that included key messages, unique programs and services and consumer interests.

The Takeaway: Sentara’s campaign was a success — it increased direct engagement with patients across multiple social media channels. Repurposing existing content saves budget and can demonstrate to the C-suite what a difference effective content marketing can make.

It’s Time to Produce Better Healthcare Content Marketing

When you need inspiration for your healthcare content marketing initiatives, look no further than the top hospitals already doing it right. Sometimes, their lessons are groundbreaking, and sometimes, they ground us in the basics. Either way, it’s never too late to improve your marketing, so audiences end their searches with you — having found exactly what they need.

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