Healthcare Content Marketing: How to Do It Right (With Examples)

Healthcare content marketers have a heavy burden. They deal with complex subjects and topics and strive to connect with sophisticated buyers.

With all the challenges they face, they still do their best to create value for audiences and generate leads for their businesses.

So, how can you do healthcare content marketing right? We’ve got some ideas and examples to help you strategize and optimize your content.

Quick Takeaways

  • Healthcare content marketing is complex because of the topics and buyers.
  • Most healthcare organizations use content marketing, but they struggle with strategy and measuring ROI.
  • Content marketers in healthcare have special considerations due to regulations, compliance, and privacy.
  • For this industry, emotional marketing, storytelling, and accuracy will help you connect with your audience.

What’s the State of Content Marketing in Healthcare?

Before we dive into the good stuff, it’s helpful to get the lay of the land. The 2020 State of Healthcare Content Marketing report provides some valuable information. The study surveyed content leaders and executives at hospitals across the country.

Most healthcare organizations are actively engaged in content marketing, at 89 percent. The researchers stated this is a 13 percent increase over 2019. It’s possible the pandemic provided the time and acceleration for greater adoption.

Image: True North Custom

The study revealed that content marketers use various channels and tactics to engage, attract, and convert. The top ones were social media content, blogs, videos, newsletters, illustrations, and infographics.

Healthcare content marketers did shift their content strategy in response to COVID-19. Most companies said they began to focus more on education around COVID-19 prevention and care.

Image: True North Custom

Most organizations feel their content marketing is effective, with a cumulative 92 percent saying it was somewhat or very. That’s a 7 percent decrease from the year prior.

Image: True North Custom

Very few have a documented content strategy, at only 28 percent. This is a big gap for the industry and certainly impacts the effectiveness of content marketing. They also struggle somewhat with content marketing ROI, with 23 percent saying they aren’t successful and 9 percent not tracking it at all!

Why Should Healthcare Use Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategy that applies to any industry or audience. Healthcare is no different, but the approaches are often different. The sector is also vast and ranges from providers and payors communicating with consumers to B2B brands that offer healthcare organizations technology, supplies, tools, and more.

However, all these niche segments present opportunities. By consistently publishing relevant, high-quality content, you can attract your audience. Not only will they find you if they search, which is how most buyers begin their journey, but you can also illustrate your experience and expertise through thought leadership.

The crux is to do healthcare content marketing right, and to do that you need to:

  • Be accurate always: If you’re talking about technical aspects, regulations like HIPAA, or other compliance-related content, you have to avoid fluff and be specific.
  • Understand your buyer: In the case of B2B, those buying your products are physicians, payors, pharma, IT experts, and other specialized roles. You need to understand their pain points, what matters to them, and how you can deliver solutions. This is more complex in the healthcare industry because of compliance and regulations.
  • Use data to support angles: Whatever points you make in your content, you’ll need reputable sources to back it up. Misinformation and disinformation are a dark cloud in healthcare right now, and if you want to build trust with your customers, you should use factual and proven data.
  • Realize that healthcare’s immediate focus is on COVID-19: Most of the world’s priority is the pandemic. Healthcare is one of the biggest stakeholders. All your content now should consider the pandemic and its effects, even if it’s not specific to your product or service.
  • Answer questions with clarity: To build credibility, along with supporting data, you have to be clear. There’s no room for ambiguity in this content.
  • Tell stories that matter: Storytelling is critical for any brand. Healthcare content can bring real-life stories to audiences that can cause emotional responses.

Healthcare Is Playing Catch Up

Another point to discuss in content marketing for healthcare is that the vertical is behind. It simply isn’t as mature as other fields like technology but also similarly regulated industries like Financial Services.

Even though the study cited earlier shows that most healthcare organizations are using content, they haven’t perfected their processes, planning, or strategies. Many don’t even have a content hub!

However, the last year caused a boost in digitization and transformation across the industry. Healthcare has always been a trade show and event heavy sector, and that went out the window. You could reallocate that budget and time to content and digital marketing initiatives.

If you’re new to the vertical or felt held back before, there is an opportunity for you to recalibrate and refocus energies on content marketing, which could lead to more engagement, conversions, and profits.

Great Examples of Healthcare Content and Takeaways

Here are some of the best content marketing examples you will ever find. in healthcare that can inspire you and your team.

GE Healthcare

GE Reports for healthcare uses a lot of storytelling in its content. They include real stories from patients and experts. They also have unique angles when talking about products (they provide equipment for radiology needs). One recent blog article has the title of “Hocus Pocus: Revealing the Magic of Ultrasound,” which is much more accessible than using highly technical language. Their tone and mix of content are smart and on point. You can easily apply some of their principles to what you’re doing.

Epic Systems

Epic is a powerhouse in healthcare IT. They have a strong position in the industry as a thought leader. They also have a minimal presence on social media, but when you visit their website, it’s a very well-curated content hub.

Image: Epic

They have stories on patient experiences, topical subjects around COVID-19, success stories of their work with hospitals, and other feel-good articles. While their website isn’t as “slick” as some in the tech world, it is content-first. Their products and services play a supporting role to educational and informational content.

HIMSS

HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) is a big name in healthcare technology. It’s the largest not-for-profit organization that focuses on this segment. It’s a trustworthy source for providers, payors, and vendors.

Their research center reaches out to all stakeholders. It’s filled with content corroborated by data and research. It hits many topics that all players in that ecosystem can derive value from. Their content also features a lot of storytelling and examples so that the ideas are more tangible.

Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials

Cleveland Clinic’s Senior Director of Content Amanda Todorovich is one of the pioneers in our field. And she’s doing it in the regulated field of healthcare. Her team took what was initially an internal video, released it to the public. The video went viral and is part of the story behind the launch of the award-winning healthcare content marketing example: Health Essentials.

The site competes and wins against major publications like WebMd with their helpful content and fun explanations of important healthcare questions.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic has a blog called Sharing. It’s stories from patients, family, friends, and staff. The content is both emotional and has great narrative characteristics. It would be hard to read some of them without developing a connection. These stories aren’t about the Mayo Clinic; they are about the people, and those are the stories that matter. Most of the time, a brand can bring more attention to itself by never mentioning what it does.

Image: Mayo Clinic

Want to Boost Your Healthcare Content Marketing Efforts?

If you’re a healthcare organization that wants to prioritize content to invigorate your business, improve thought leadership, or any other goal, you’ll need support to develop content. We can help!

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.

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