Healthcare- and health-related search terms generate more than 135,000 searches every month. Those are people who may be looking up symptoms or trying to figure out what healthcare means. With such a high volume of search traffic, hospitals and clinics are battling to be the ones with the answers.
In fact, according to Pew research, 8 out of 10 people turn to search engines as their first sources for health information. The online world has created an information database that anyone can access at any time. How then can healthcare establishments take advantage of this online revolution?
The answer is content marketing.
Content marketing is a type of advertising that involves the creation and sharing of online material, such as videos, blogs and social posts, that do not explicitly promote a brand but are intended to stimulate interest in their products or services. The Content Marketing Institute does a great job of explaining all the different elements that can be created when thinking about content marketing:
“Content marketing includes things like educational articles, e-books, videos, entertainment and webinars that answer specific questions people have and provide them with something they can’t get elsewhere. It’s the best way to turn your product, no matter how common, into something that is not like everyone else’s.”
One question that every business has to answer when it comes to content marketing is, "Is it worth it?" Will the time I spend creating all of this content actually benefit my brand in the long run? The short answer is "yes… yes it will." But let’s take a deeper look into some research that explains the benefits of investing in content marketing.
As we mentioned above, showing up in a search engine is something that everyone understands. The battle for the No. 1 spot on Google has consumed businesses for years, and the fight is far from over. Many businesses will point to technical SEO practices, like making sure a website has appropriate tags and meta descriptions. But the truth is, content creation is the most effective optimization practice a business can enact in order to improve its ranking.
The Content Marketing Institute found populating websites with blog content leads to 434 percent more indexed pages compared to business sites that don’t publish content. What this means is that by regularly publishing content, you’re creating various ways that a search engine can find your site. Almost like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs across the internet that attracts people to your business.
It should come as to no surprise to anyone that the online world we live in today is filled with ads. No matter where you turn, that pair of shoes you looked at just seems to keep popping up on every screen. People see more ads per day than they ever have before. The Content Marketing Institute found that, in 2014, a person saw on average 5,000 ads every day. Yes—5,000 ads.
This stat is the reason why more people have downloaded ad blockers to protect their online experiences. How can businesses stand out in such a crowded landscape? Once again, content marketing is the answer. When people are being attacked by ads every day, content marketing is the breath of fresh air. Helpful content provides value to their lives, isn’t intrusive and aims to be helpful rather than promotional.
Compared to traditional marketing tactics, content marketing produces on average six times higher conversions. This means that not only are people more likely to engage with your businesses content, but they’re also six times more likely to become potential leads. The creation of this content may require more time, patience and effort up front, but the benefits of creating helpful and engaging material for your audience has far greater benefits.
All this talk about content marketing is great, but it’s time to face reality. How can your hospital or clinic get started with content marketing today? Here are a few steps that your team can take to start you down the road of producing engaging content.
Out of the gate, it’s important to realize that creating a content-marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight. One of the most important aspects of content marketing is creating content that your audience values. In order to do this, you need to know who your audience is and for what information they're searching. Customer personas and journey maps are helpful in the planning stage. Take the time to find out the commonly asked questions of your audience. Learn where they are going to find this information. This information will inform what content you create and also where you need to distribute it.
The healthcare and wellness industry has the challenge of associating itself with dry and data-driven content. While this information might seem valuable, it could potentially position your brand as cold and analytical. The Morris Creative Group gives a good explanation as to why content creation offers hospitals and clinics a chance to connect with individuals on a personal level:
“Especially in the healthcare industry, organizations need to be able to connect with their patients on a person-to-person level. This demonstrates to prospective patients and customers that you are a group of personable people who care about each and every patient."
Just like we all learned when we were kids, teamwork makes the dream work. Developing and getting your content off the ground can seem like a challenge, but the long-term rewards are worth the effort. Incorporate your office and rely on the expertise of the people who make up your business. This will help create buy-in across the organization that will help promote your content once it’s created.