Statistically, more people get their news online and from social media sites than read newspapers or watch TV news. As a result, over the last several months the term “Content Marketing” has become the latest healthcare buzzword. As with any trendy term, companies come out of the woodwork claiming to be the “experts” and offering to help your practice’s content strategy. In an effort to save your practice time (and money), below are the 4 most important steps to writing content that will actually generate patients as well as real examples created for Gold Medical Marketing clients.
1. Stick to Your Specialty
If you are on orthopedic practice and I am a potential patient, the last thing I could ever care about is your favorite healthy juicing recipe or healthy family dinner recipes. However, this and other ridiculous filler content is what composes a large majority of practice’s blogs and social media news feeds. In other cases, the content is not even original and links to an entirely different site or blog not associated with your practice. The thought behind this is that, “some content is better than no content”. Sadly, this is the antithesis of what a productive content strategy is. By posting irrelevant, filler or non-original content you are diluting the experience, expertise and specialty of your practice.
The example below was taken from the Facebook news feed of an orthopedic practice. Notice where the link directs the reader to- not the practice website but an aggregated news site not affiliated in any way with the practice.
Instead, write about things potential patients will actually be interested such as potential treatments, signs of injury or habits that may be exacerbating their pain. Any content created for the practice should be housed on the practice website under a “Blog” or similar section.
2. Tell Them How Much They Have to Read
How many of you clicked on this blog because you knew from the title you would only have to read 4 things? If the article was titled “57 Steps to Writing Content That Actually Attracts Patients” or even just “How To Write Content That Actually Attracts Patients”, my guess would be a lot less of you would have clicked this. In the social media age, you have a very small window of time (a few seconds) to capture the attention of a potential patient. Many patients are searching for health information while at work or between daily activities and do not have time to commit to reading a 2,000 word essay on disc herniations. By laying out how many points are in each piece of content, we allow patients to mentally commit themselves to reading a piece of content.
This form of content writing capitalizes on the need for immediate satisfaction most of us now have. We want to be able to read something in less than 3 minutes, get the main points and then respond appropriately to that information. By creating content that is engaging and relevant, we ensure patients can digest the information presented and then engage in a secondary action (call or email the practice). See below for examples.
3. Know How to Deploy This Content
As mentioned before, it is imperative that all of your original content be housed on your website. However, once the content is posted to your site the question becomes, “how do I get anyone to my website to read it?”. One of the most effective ways to get potential patients to engage with your content is to deploy it through social media outlets. However, this comes with some contingencies, the most important of which is allocating a budget. The primary reason for a budget is because social media sites (Facebook and Twitter) limit the number of people who will see your content if it is not paid for. What this means is that your page could have 700 likes or followers but only somewhere between 50-70 of those followers will ever see the content in their news feed. This is what is referred to as “Organic Reach” and it is purposely limited by Facebook and Twitter because they are businesses and monetize every possible avenue on their sites.
Second, although it is good to reach those who already like or follow your page, it is equally important to reach those who are not aware of your practice but fit the behaviors of a potential patient. This is where Targeting comes in.
4. Know Your Targets
SCARY FACT OF THE DAY: Facebook and Twitter know everything about you! Social media sites use consumer and personal data bought from large third party data collection centers to assign a unique consumer profile to each of its users. This data contains thousands of data points including your internet search history, things you purchase, your income, your job, your age, your family structure, your credit and your interests.
Although this may seem scary and intrusive, it is actually incredibly useful in targeting potential patients. By understanding the habits of someone in need of orthopedic or spine care, we can deploy content only to those who fit our criteria thus maximizing the likelihood of that person reading the content and calling the practice. Below are samples of how we target our clients content via social media and the results:
The first step is always defining a location. If you are a surgeon in California, someone in Florida who reads your content has an extremely minimal likelihood of converting into a patient. Therefore we target content to those within a reasonable distance of the practice. For this client, we targeted those within 25 miles of each of his three offices. We also limited the age to those in the age ranges with the highest incidence of spinal condition but who were also below the Medicare age range.
The next step was targeting based on Interests, which is a compilation of some of the data points mentioned above including internet search history and behaviors. Internet searches and websites visited are categorized by topic and the content is targeted to those who match the internet activity of someone with a spinal condition.
This content ran for a total of two weeks and was shown only to those who matched our patient criteria. The results are below.
- 835 highly targeted potential patients read this article on the practice website
- 67 people shared this article with someone they know
- 157 people Liked this article (which also shows the article to their Facebook friends)
As you can see, the creation of relevant and targeted content can create a substantial amount of awareness about your practice to potential patients.
Gold Medical Marketing specializes in various forms of Medical Marketing and Public Relations, including Content Marketing. Our knowledge of demographics, psychographics and patient profiles allows us to target marketing and public relations campaigns to the most desirable segments of potential patients.
Too often “marketing companies” focus on one single outlet such as SEO, Social Media, Pay Per Click or Print Advertising. The drawback to this is that patients consume medical information through several means and if your practice is not targeting all available outlets, you are missing out on large segments of the market. Primarily, this is a result of the company not having a familiarity in the Medical Marketing field and attempting to apply the rules of retail or product marketing to medical practices.