Content marketing is essential in the healthcare industry for a number of reasons. In this blog, we’ll explain all the different ways that helpful healthcare content attracts visitors to your website—and how those visitors can turn into more patients walking through your door.
Publishing Healthcare Content Helps You Stand Out Online
It’s no secret that people turn to search engines with their health questions. In fact, about 70,000 health-related searches are made on Google every minute. This presents an opportunity for your healthcare brand: if you can answer their questions, you can get potential patients on your website and aware of your services.
“If you produce relevant content on a consistent basis that aligns with what your audience is searching for, you’ll have more people finding you and sharing your content,” explains Constant Contact in their online marketing report, The Download. “You’ll also make more connections for your practice and reach more people, who will also share your content. This content helps search engines like Google find your practice and can result in free traffic to your website.”
Put simply? People Google their health questions—and good, quality content is what determines where they end up.
Informative Healthcare Content Helps Patients Make Decisions
Answering patients’ questions is one of the best ways to create effective content for your healthcare practice. That’s why so many hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare systems have blogs, FAQ pages, and patient education resources. By providing information about medical issues, procedures, treatments, and more, your healthcare facility can position itself as trustworthy and reliable to those with questions.
“Content marketing allows you to present your patients with accurate answers to their medical questions,” says marketing writer Caitlin Carter. “Rather than letting your patients be poorly informed by Dr. Google, Facebook, or message boards, you can cultivate a resource your patients turn to when they have pressing healthcare questions. This positions your practice as an industry expert and builds trust with your patients before they even walk through the door.”
Of course, the results a user sees depends on the search terms they use. If someone Googles “strep throat symptoms,” for example, they’re not very likely to end up on your website because Google offers handy snippets for at-a-glance info.
See below for an example:
While this is helpful for someone who’s worried about a sore throat, it doesn’t help your healthcare practice very much!
This doesn’t mean you should start writing pages in the hopes of replacing Google’s featured snippets with content from your website. Trying to create content to compete with the CDC (or WebMD, or the Mayo Clinic, or any other high-profile healthcare system) on Google is a waste of time and money. Instead, your practice’s content must be created with intent in mind.
Here’s what we mean: a person searching for “strep throat symptoms” is most likely trying to gauge if she (or someone she knows) may have strep throat. There’s no indication in her search term that she’s ready to jump in the car and head to a clinic right away. Because there’s no urgency or specific need in her request, Google directs her to the CDC’s overview on strep.
However, someone typing in “strep throat treatment near me” has begun the process of weighing their healthcare options. This searcher will be presented with options in the form of ads and the Google Local Pack (the map function). The more helpful healthcare content your practice produces—in this case, about strep throat—the more confident Google feels about recommending you to this searcher. Just make sure it includes location information!
In addition, when searching with intent, prospects may also come across your facility’s business listings or social media pages. These are also helpful resources for prospective patients because they show reviews and recommendations—in other words, the opinions of “real people” who have experienced the care you provide and can vouch for you.
Which leads us to our next benefit of healthcare content marketing…
Consistent Healthcare Content Establishes Authority
Even if someone doesn’t end up on your website during their search for healthcare info, the more times they see your name in the search results, the more inclined they’ll be to choose (and trust) you when they’re ready to get help.
“By publishing informational content that focuses on your audience and what they’re looking for, you’ll position your organization as a trustworthy, knowledgeable and credible source,” says Jessica Wells of Brafton, a content marketing agency. “This user-first mentality can also help convert your readers from ‘I’m just browsing your blog’ to ‘I need a healthcare provider—and I know exactly where to go.'”
Your practice’s name could come up in the organic search results, in business listings, or in paid search ads. Make sure your healthcare brand has a presence in all of these areas and you’ll improve your reputation simply by appearing.
Not sure where to start to make your mark on the web? One great idea is to create your own patient education resource center, whether that’s an index on your website or a playlist of YouTube videos. A YouTube presence is essential because it’s the world’s second-largest search engine. That makes YouTube videos huge SEO boosters—and playlists are a clever way to add more keywords to your video content. Consistently posting quality videos lets search engines (and their users!) know that you have something of value to offer the public.
Reliable Healthcare Content Forges a Relationship with Prospects
In healthcare marketing, building a relationship with potential patients doesn’t necessarily mean becoming friends with them. It means nurturing their interest and trust. Helpful healthcare content does this by providing patients with information that seeks to fulfill them.
“Think beyond the click. While capturing search traffic at the moment of truth is important, consider what happens after your customer conducts the initial search and arrives on your site,” says Jason Skinner of True North Custom. “Since the large majority of site visitors aren’t ready to engage when researching solutions, nurture the relationship by offering useful resources in exchange for their contact information and then create content that solves for every step in the healthcare journey.”
This type of healthcare content is typically easily digestible and shareable. Examples include:
- Social media content that encourages engagement
- Personal, story-driven videos
- Email marketing to stay top-of-mind
For best results, finish off your content—whatever form it takes—with a strong call to action. While you can’t predict when a prospect will decide to convert into a patient, you should always make it as easy as possible for them to do so.
Get Started with Healthcare Content Marketing
Publishing helpful healthcare content boosts your SEO so you can get found in multiple places online. A robust online presence is essential for your practice because people turn to search engines to learn medical information, research symptoms, and find treatment. If you need help developing and launching a content marketing plan for your healthcare practice, get in touch with Kirkpatrick Creative today.
Our team has been creating healthcare content for years, and we know the types of content that are most effective for achieving your practice’s specific goals. That knowledge only comes from decades of planning, testing, and measuring what works for our clients—and what doesn’t. That’s our tried-and-true philosophy of advertising engineered to work.
Not a decision-maker for your practice? No problem! Share this FREE infographic with your team to let them know how healthcare content marketing can help grow your practice: