How a thoughtful content strategy positions your practice for success.
A quick internet search will reveal a hard truth: Not all healthcare content is created equal.
Vague. Poorly written. Lacking useful information. Months-long gaps between posts. Too often, content creation is treated as something to do when you have time. Except there never seems to be enough time. Unfortunately, this lack of care in content reflects back on the public perception of your practice, in ways that you may not even realize.
A solid, strategic approach to healthcare content will take your practice from just another doctor’s office to a source of helpful information and personal engagement when patients need it the most.
The Patient Mindset
Health is an extremely personal thing, requiring people to make themselves completely vulnerable in an area in which they know nothing about. Much like taking your car to a mechanic, there’s a great deal of trust that goes into finding the right healthcare provider. Let’s take a moment to step into the mind of someone who is looking for a provider.
What’s the urgency of the search?
Do I need a doctor soon, or am I just searching for someone who performs the particular services I need or want?
What am I feeling?
If I’m looking for a med spa, I may be feeling curious, excited and hopeful. But if I need a cardiologist, I could be worried, uncertain and vulnerable.
What will help me make a decision?
As a prospective patient, I may be influenced by any or all of the following:
- Authority – Is this practice/doctor regularly showing their expertise through blog posts or social media?
- Reviews – Is this practice/doctor well-reviewed across important review sites
- Perception of Professionalism – Can I navigate the provider’s website easily, and does it work on my mobile device? If not, I worry that the doctor isn’t up-to-date on the latest technology and practices for his or her specialty either.
- Perception of Care – Do I feel that the practice understands my feelings and will treat me like a person versus a profile?
Once you’re firmly in the mindset of a prospective patient, try to take an objective look at your website and other digital content and evaluate whether or not it’s resonating with those thoughts, feelings and needs.
Better Patient Experiences Start with Content
The fact is, the patient experience begins before they set an appointment. It’s in how understood they feel when arriving on your website. It’s in how comfortable they are finding their way through the information on your site. It’s in the valuable information they find in your blog or social media channels. It’s in the way every topic, word and phrase associated with your practice either draws them to you or pushes them away.
Put simply, it’s in your content.
Just as you put a lot of thought and care into creating a comfortable, welcoming environment for patients in your waiting room and exam rooms, the content created for your healthcare practice should be intentionally created to put prospective (and current) patients at ease.
A patient-focused content strategy, aligned closely with your patient personas, will help you address everything we talked about in the Patient Mindset section above.
Creating Your Content Strategy
With content quality being such a huge differentiator, it’s worth putting the requisite time and effort into developing a strong content strategy and executing it with precision. Generally, the process looks like this:
- Consider your patient personas – What kind of information are they looking for? (Tip: your Google Analytics could help inform this as well.)
- Create a content calendar – Brainstorm topics and calendar them out in advance (at least one month, longer if possible). This enables you to make sure all your themes are represented.
For blog posts, you’ll want to publish at least twice a month.
For social media, daily posts are ideal but at least three times a week is fine.
- Develop and publish content – Consider hiring a professional content writer with healthcare experience to produce your content (or even take care of the above steps). Professional writers know how to write in a way that both engages readers and factors in important SEO keyword considerations.
- Evaluate your analytics – Check the analytics on your posts to see which tops seems to get the best engagement. Then, you can optimize future content to produce better results.
Businesses in other sectors have long understood the value that consistent, quality content can deliver. Healthcare practices have yet to put a lot of effort into content production, which costs them patients in the long-run. By making content a big part of your marketing efforts, your practice will capture patient attention away from competing practices while creating a meaningful experience for patients from the get-go.