In today’s increasingly competitive healthcare landscape, a strong content marketing program is an essential component of a successful marketing strategy. Unfortunately, as brands push out more and more content, too often there seems to be more focus on frequency than on value. The resulting glut of low-value content means that only brands whose content delivers significant value every time will earn their audiences’ trust as a worthwhile source of relevant information and actionable insights.
Here are four strategies for producing consistently valuable content that engages your target audiences and helps position your brand as an industry leader.
Engage physicians as SMEs.
Engaging your organization’s physicians and physician leaders as subject matter experts in your healthcare brand journalism and PR efforts is a win-win strategy. It’s not only a powerful way to demonstrate your organization’s expertise, but also an excellent opportunity for participating physicians to gain greater professional visibility and influence conversations on important healthcare issues.
Leveraging a knowledgeable physician’s or physician leader’s perspective and subject matter authority can boost your content’s value, relevance and credibility, whether you’re a hospital talking to consumers, a physician services provider targeting physicians and the healthcare C-suite, or a heath IT solution trying to influence insurers and health systems.
Simplify complex issues and guide tough decisions.
Providing knowledgeable explanations and insights that help your key audiences make sense of complex issues and make informed decisions about them provides tremendous value and can demonstrate your organization’s expertise and thought leadership.
For example, MACRA was one of the most pressing and complex issues on the minds of physicians and healthcare C-suite executives last year. Despite the extensive industry media coverage, these audiences found this complex topic confusing and their decisions about which track to choose downright scary. So, in May, we held a lengthy input call with Sheridan Healthcare’s in-house MACRA expert to get his perspectives on MACRA’s implications for health systems and clinicians. We used his input from that call and a subsequent conference presentation to produce three blog posts: MACRA Gets Real: What It Really Means for Doctors, How to Manage the Burdens of Change on Physicians and Health Care Practitioners and The AMA’s New Tools to Ease MACRA Transition for Physicians. The latter two were among Sheridan’s 10 most popular blog posts of 2016.
Helping consumers understand complex diseases affecting themselves or their loved ones and making informed healthcare choices can provide similar value.
Add value when newsjacking.
Newsjacking, done well, is the process of injecting insights or different angles into recent or breaking news to help your brand capitalize on the buzz. All too often, though, marketers who think they are “newsjacking” are simply sharing or repurposing news stories without adding substantial value.
If the original story focused on facts, add insightful commentary or analysis. Or do some research to add helpful context. For example, when MedPage Today republished a review from its iMedicalApps site of the CDC’s new mobile app for its opioid prescribing guidelines, we thought the app would be of great interest to Sheridan Healthcare’s physician audience. We downloaded it and wrote a more in-depth review of the app for Sheridan’s blog.
Connect on a human level.
Ultimately, healthcare brands are about people – scientists who develop medical breakthroughs, researchers who identify and share evidence-based best practices, technologists who transform data into actionable insights, insurers who help make care affordable, physicians and other providers who care for the sick, and the people whose lives they all help to improve. Connecting your brand to its value to humanity is a powerful way to engage your target audiences.
We’ve helped healthcare clients share stories about how individuals within their organizations have made a difference in others’ lives, such as:
- the CRNA whose alertness and willingness to speak up quickly prevented a wrong-site surgery
- the ansthesia chief and orthopedic surgeon whose collaboration on a rapid recovery pathway significantly improved post-operative pain management and halved the average hospital stay for orthopedic surgery patients
- physicians who have led, participated in and volunteered their personal time for surgical missions abroad to provide humanitarian medical aid under the auspices of organizations such as Operation Smile and the Institute for Latin Concern’s health care program
- the anesthesia practice that “adopted” a third-grade class in a poor, inner-city neighborhood school and visits the students every month to read to them, provide badly needed school supplies, bring small treats, and provide inspiration and moral support
Videos can also be a great medium to tell stories that give your brand a human face (or many).
These four strategies can help you produce high-value content that demonstrates your brand’s industry expertise and thought leadership and engages your audience on both a rational and an emotional level.