Healthcare Marketers: Develop a Digital Content Strategy to Enhance Your Online Presence

This week in our Healthcare Branding Series, let’s focus on the importance of digital content strategies.ProTips-#2

The meteoric rise of the internet, social networks and mobile browsing has changed how healthcare consumers seek out information. For healthcare marketers to reach audiences with meaningful, helpful information when and where people are looking for it, it’s critical to have a content strategy. Besides providing information consumers want and need, your online content should aim to boost search engine optimization (SEO) and enhance the user experience by providing answers to questions people are asking.

The good news: online health information is in high demand. According to the Pew Research Internet Project, 72 percent of internet users say they’ve searched for medical information online. Among them, 77 percent started with a search engine as opposed to a specific website. To boost your search rankings, make sure your website provides helpful, patient-centric information, and integrate your online content across multiple channels. While practice details and information about your services are valuable, content that answers patient questions will attract higher search engine traffic. To further enhance your online presence, create pay-per-click and other digital ad campaigns that link to topic-specific (and keyword-driven) web pages, or to campaign landing pages with clear calls to action like schedule an appointment, sign up for a class or newsletter, take a tour, or attend an event.

Online videos are also very popular in the healthcare space, so they’ve become a must-have for many successful web and social content strategies. Videos are so popular and highly regarded among consumers seeking information that YouTube is the second largest online search engine. In fact, according to Google, YouTube traffic to hospital websites increases 119 percent year over year. Simply put, videos offer a great opportunity to improve SEO and expand your reach.

In short, your content should fulfill your customers’ needs. If you’re not sure what information your customers want, check back next week when we discuss how to learn about your audience by listening and engaging with them on social media.

We encourage you to check out our other topics in this series:

Word Clouds Put the “Fun” in Functional for Marketers

You’ve seen them on blogs as handy visual aids that spotlight keywords from page content. Word clouds make it easy for web surfers to determine if any given blog or post interests them enough to keep reading. But for marketers, word clouds offer communication tools that can be used outside the blog as well.

At their most basic level, word clouds make text on a page look more exciting than, well, text on a page. You can use them to convey data and information in a way that breaks the mold of standard presentation formats like slides, spreadsheets and pie charts.

Looking for a creative way to share marketplace feedback to your executive and board leaders? Instead of a report with lengthy quotes and testimonials, consider presenting a word cloud that displays what consumers are saying in one quick, easily digestible image. Information that’s easy to absorb at a glance resonates more with readers.

Word clouds can also help you take a keen look at the content on your website, particularly if you’re not employing search engine optimization tactics. In seconds you’ll know exactly what words appear most frequently on key pages. You can use the results to assess whether or not you’re communicating what you want—and don’t want—to say. Try the same thing with key pages from your competitors’ sites to compare and contrast key messages.

And speaking of your Internet presence, do you know what’s being said about your organization online? Word clouds are a great way to determine if your online press is positive and aligns with your key messages. Google your organization or a specific topic, then enter text from the search results into a word cloud app. You’ll get an instant visual representation of your online image and what it says about you.

Your consumers and employees have suggestions for improvement – do you know what they are? Word clouds can help you figure it out. Just as they can be used to draw attention to your strengths, they can also uncover weaknesses. Without making it public, try making a word cloud to zero in on specific areas needing improvement.

There’s no shortage of word cloud generators available online. Look around on sites like Wordle, Tagxedo and Word It Out (to name just a few). Pick the app you like the most and discover what it can reveal about your marketing and communication efforts. Why not start right now? It’s easy, it’s creative, and it’s fun.