Posted By True North Custom  on 03/14/2024

Content Marketing Mastery for Healthcare: Blog Edition

Content Marketing Mastery for Healthcare: Blog Edition

Developing a content marketing plan can be a challenging task for marketing teams, especially when it comes to generating consistent blog posts. They understand the importance of having one, but starting and managing it can be overwhelming. 

An established blog strategy can help your organization reach new audiences and provide meaningful dialogue around important health topics. By leveraging other forms of content marketing, such as social media or print marketing, to create blog content, and by planning your blog content effectively, your content can drive engagement across multiple channels.

Why Blogs?

People have a lot of questions about their health, and in fact, 5% to 7% of all Google searches are related to health. In some cases, those searches focus on a very specific need—“family doctor near me,” “best knee doctor,” etc.—that would benefit from a targeted campaign intended to convert those searches into appointments. 

In other cases, someone has a concerning symptom or received a diagnosis, and they want factual information to inform their decision-making. Authoritative, well-researched web content can deliver the answers they’re looking for while also building your facility’s reputation as a trusted source if and when they need care.

Blogs satisfy the third type of health search: general health and wellness questions people ask every day. “What can I do for seasonal allergies?” “How can I lower my cholesterol?” The demand for this kind of information is constant, and by offering dynamic, engaging blogs, you can begin building a long-term relationship earlier in their healthcare journey.

Beyond the relationship-building component, a regular blog publishing cadence can improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO) and gives you content to promote on social media through organic posts and paid advertising.

Our blog work with clients has, in some instances, led to 30% growth in total traffic and a 40% increase in traffic from new users, within just six months of launching a new blog strategy.

A Trusted Voice in a Wilderness of Misinformation

One other point about blogs I like to emphasize is that, if you aren’t going to answer people’s health questions, someone else will. Everyone on the internet has a platform nowadays, whether it’s a health and wellness business or an opinionated social media influencer, and they’re eager to promote their point of view, accurate or not.

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that more than a third of popular social media articles about cancer treatments contained misleading or harmful information. Another review, conducted by virtual health company PlushCare, found that more than 84% of mental health videos on TikTok contained misleading information and 31% contained inaccurate information. It’s likely not surprising that only 9% of the videos PlushCare reviewed were posted by people with relevant health experience.

When incorporated into a larger content strategy, blogs give you ample opportunity to weigh in on popular or trending health topics and serve as an authoritative voice to counter so much of the inaccurate and misleading information on the web.

Start With the End in Sight

I liken blog strategies to painting a room—you can’t just go out and buy a can of paint and expect your home improvement project to turn out perfectly. There’s a lot of planning involved, from getting the room ready to fixing cracks and other damage to knowing which tools you’ll need, before you even open the paint can. 

With blogs, you have to think about everything you want to accomplish—and how you’ll get there—for your content to be effective. 

To start, identify your goals. Those could include:

  • Boosting SEO performance to drive more traffic to your site
  • Organizational goals tied to increasing revenues for a particular service line or provider
  • Appealing to a specific audience, such as young women, new parents or patients with a particular condition
  • Augmenting or building out content you already have

Often, our clients want to accomplish two or more of these goals, so understanding what you’re trying to achieve, and going about it in an intentional way, will lead to better results.

Once you’ve nailed down your goals, move on to topic planning. Often, the goals can dictate your topics, for example, promoting a new physician with content about conditions or procedures in which they specialize. 

Your goals can also help you identify your target audience and their needs and help you map out your content calendar. For a blog strategy to be effective, you want to plan quarterly or annually, not weekly or monthly. Take a big-picture approach, factoring in seasonal topics and health observances as well as organizational priorities and goals. Audiences may have their own time-sensitive needs, such as back-to-school advice or insurance renewals, that you can create content around. 

The last component of a good blog strategy is your distribution plan and associated needs. E-newsletters and social media can support your blog traffic, so determine whether you’ll need additional content to support those channels or any other content marketing tools you use to promote blog content.

Keep your audience’s habits and preferences in mind when thinking through how people will encounter your content. For example, more than 50% of 18- to 34-year-olds are on Instagram, but only 20% of the 55+ crowd is. Depending on which audience you want to target, your content will need to fit the format of the platform and appeal to the audience you want to reach.

It all comes full circle when you think through how your distribution can affect your content plans. We know longer articles perform better in certain channels than shorter articles, but platforms such as Instagram and TikTok were made for visuals. A holistic approach allows you to plan content that can be repurposed or adapted to different channels and maximize its impact.

Time to Fill in the Blanks

With a plan in place, you can begin focusing on the content itself. We find it useful to start with a thorough audit of content and assets you already have to see whether they can complement or inform the blogs you write. Take a look at what existing content you have and leverage it into a new component. 

When creating high-quality blog content, start with a strong, engaging headline. Grab the reader’s attention right away, and lead them into a carefully organized explanation of the topic at hand. Along with grammatically and factually correct writing, the goal is to explain conditions, treatments, health trends, service offerings and other topics you want to promote on your blog.

Create variety in the copy itself by using subheadings, line breaks, quotations, and numbered and bulleted lists. Diversify the content so readers don’t glaze over long paragraphs. When it comes to photography, we recommend obtaining custom photos whenever possible. Stock can work well in a variety of campaigns, but seize any opportunity to feature a hospital’s providers, facilities or consenting patients.

A great piece of blog content can be used across multiple channels in new formats. Try taking a high-performing social media video or podcast episode, expanding the copy and turning the new information into a blog post. You can transform a variety of other content types into a blog post, including but not limited to:

  • Blog posts
  • Digital advertising campaigns
  • Email campaigns
  • Hospital news bulletins or press releases
  • Infographics
  • Long- and short-form videos
  • New mover and direct mail mailers
  • Print magazine articles 
  • Quizzes
  • Social media posts or stories 
  • Website pages

Experiment with differing formats, review which channels you want to use and start there.

Calling a Reader to Take Action

Blog posts should contain a compelling call to action. Begin by understanding the reader. What do you want them to do next? Is there a goal you’d like them to accomplish? A CTA represents a tangible way to measure success. These are a few common, effective calls to action we use for blogs:

  • Download a guide
  • Make a phone call to a facility
  • Read another blog post
  • Register for a seminar, webinar or tour
  • Reserve time at an urgent care facility
  • Request or schedule an appointment or consultation
  • Share an asset on social media
  • Start a telehealth visit
  • Sign up for a support group 
  • Subscribe to your emails or newsletter
  • Take a quiz
  • View a provider or facility page

These intermediate or bottom-of-the-funnel steps help the reader make a connection with your health system. Consider all opportunities you have to allow someone to take the next step or other meaningful action. When crafting a strong call to action, ask yourself if the request is relevant, actionable and impactful. If not, brainstorm other options to help readers find the answers they are looking for.

Getting More With Less

Once you have created your content, it is time to deploy it. You can distribute your content through a variety of channels, including your website, social media and email campaigns. It is important to choose the channels that are most likely to reach your target audience. 

To help boost high-priority blog posts, bring in media dollars. Investing in paid promotion increases the impact and reach of your content on a greater scale. Along with paid support, organic reach is vital. We recommend striking a balance of 70% organic search traffic and 30% paid traffic. This balance helps you reach new audiences with native advertising on social media while still committing to SEO and organic traffic goals.

Once a deployment strategy is in place, it is important to measure the success of your content marketing campaign with reports and measurable performance indicators. You can use metrics such as website traffic, goals, social media engagement and CTA completions to track the effectiveness of your content. Be patient—SEO can take time to build, and blog success often comes through a steady rise in rankings and strategic promotion. Continuously seek out opportunities to optimize your existing content. Conduct new keyword research and rewrite blog posts that you want to serve a different goal.

Use this data to inform future content marketing campaigns and improve your overall strategy. This method helps to express the ROI of content marketing and track how effective your content can be. After all, learning from what worked and what didn’t work can help narrow down your audience’s preferences and inform stronger content in the future. 

Embrace Quality

A client of ours came to True North having never implemented a content strategy before. We honed in on one service line (women’s health), and the team was able to rally around a single goal: create engaging women’s health content that speaks to particular audiences. Strong results in this vertical were able to help start the conversation for building blog content for other service lines.

A focused plan and intentional steps can help determine what type of content you want to create and how you want to track its effectiveness. Mix up the types of content you make, establish a content calendar that fits your needs and maintain a high standard for the quality of your content. Let the data drive your planning, and test continuously to create the right content for your organization.

True North is a dedicated healthcare marketing agency. We have a lot of industry experience, being experts in the healthcare industry, and we work almost exclusively within healthcare. We know what problems are relevant and what issues are coming up. We have a dedicated team of 60+ healthcare marketing experts ready to help you get started toward a library of blog content.

Schedule a strategy call.

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