Content marketing creates a space for effective healthcare outreach

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Healthcare companies must embrace the web as an information dispensary and publish content that educates about public health concern

If I had a penny for every word I’ve ever written, scribbled or typed, I’d be a multibillionaire. While most of it may be recipe lists, notes to myself or just plain gibberish, imagine if I put even a small percentage of those words toward effectively communicating something worthwhile.

I’m lucky to say that I do. When I entered the job force after graduation, I recognized that there was power in my words, and while I couldn’t speak to the general population at large myself, I could write information down and send it off to reach many more people than I could physically be near.

In essence, this is a large component of public health.

Everyone knows the phrase “knowledge is power,” and it’s becoming increasingly relevant in the digital age as more and more information is at our fingertips. The healthcare sphere is no exception. In just a few seconds, you can Google any symptom you may have and find answers about what may be causing it and how to potentially treat it. On the other hand, you can find endless ways to engage in a healthy lifestyle and prevent the onset of many chronic conditions.

In just a few seconds, you can Google any symptom you may have and find answers

Whatever your problem is, Google probably has an answer. While it may not be the most clinically correct answer, it will most likely cure your anxiety at the very least.

Hello, Dr. Google, I have a question for you

In the Pew Research Center’s 2012 nationwide survey, which polled more than 3,000 U.S. adults, 81 percent said they were online and 59 percent had turned to the web to find health information in past year. Additionally, 35 percent had used the internet for the sole purpose of trying to determine what health issues they have or someone else has. This use may or may not replace seeking the guidance of health care professionals.

While there’s a plethora of information available, not all of it is necessarily true, and that puts educators in quite a pickle. How do they convey what’s right from wrong, especially when it comes to health?

What’s important is that there’s correct information out there that’s accessible, digestible and engaging. That’s where effective content marketing comes into play.

Engage your audience and then some

The great thing about health is that it’s something we all have in common. Whether you’re sick, healthy or somewhere in between, you still have to maintain your health in order to live your life to the fullest. This is why companies trying to develop effective blogs should aim to target not only their customer bases, but also those individuals just browsing for information.

The great thing about health is that it’s something we all have in common.

It’s up to content marketing strategists and writers to come up with the perfect balance of promotional and educational information that will reach both audiences. A client that recently kicked off with us is strategizing to do just this. The company is a medical supplier, but it also wants to be seen as an authority and a reputable source of health information.

Our solution? Develop in-depth landing pages that explain the technicalities of a condition and organically tie in how it’s relevant to the target audience. These landing pages can then be linked to the company’s blog to make a seamless experience for the reader, one that integrates both relevant news and access to timeless educational material.

Stay on top of the news

It’s no secret that healthcare is making the headlines. Advancements are being made left and right when it comes to research initiatives and government policies.

One of the biggest changes in health care has been the switch from paper to electronic documentation. Electronic health records and other health information technology are slowly being adopted in hospitals and practices all over the country. These allow medical professionals to keep patient information in one place, but also to enable seamless data sharing among practitioners and increase patient engagement. The latter in particular can greatly enhance the doctor-to-patient relationship, bringing healthcare to a much more personal level.

These technological advancements have been making the news on a fairly regular basis. With content marketing, companies can update their blogs with the latest information to keep readers in the know about whatever is happening in the industry at large.

The most important advantage that content marketing brings to the table is the ability to break down information. 

Create content that’s right for your readers

The most important advantage that content marketing brings to the table is the ability to break down information. There’s a lot of high-level material in the healthcare industry, and while there are many professionals who have the education to understand it, the truth of the matter is – there are more people who don’t.

I always make it a point to tell my clients that it’s not just about the experts, it’s about touching multiple audiences. You can report on a recently published study about sleep apnea risk factors, but the jargon may come across as too technical for the average Joe. This will lead him (or her) to click away from the article quickly without wanting to return. With the right angle, however, this same data can be effective and engage that individual.

When creating content for the healthcare field, it’s important to ask questions like: “How is sleep apnea a threat to me? Why should I learn about it?” If you can answer these questions, you’ve got yourself something worthwhile, and that’s when there will be long-term gains: An increase in online foot traffic, readers who keep coming back and a return on investment.

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Lauren Hutchinson is an Editorial Section Editor at Brafton Inc. During college, she studied biology and worked passionately on her student newspaper, eventually discovering that she could integrate her love for science and writing into her career. In her spare time, Lauren is a foodie and loves exploring new places.
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