Content Marketing in the Healthcare Sector

Apr 03, 2013

Article ImageThe following article is the first in a series addressing the needs and concerns of content marketers in a variety of industry verticals by Jessica Davis of Godot Media.

The Internet has transformed most of us into hypochondriacs. Instead of consulting physicians, and pharmacists, most people with a working broadband connection will consult the internet first. People constantly turn to online articles for health advice, diagnosis, and course of treatment. In fact according to a survey by RxAlly, more than 20% of internet users in the U.S. consider the internet to be the most trusted source of information while making critical decisions about their health and well-being. Although most internet users in the U.S. (72%) consider doctors as the most trusted source of information on healthcare, the internet ranked higher than pharmacists.

Companies in the healthcare sector should take note of these results and start content marketing effectively to educate and reach out to people via the internet. These results show that brands in the healthcare sector already have a ready audience for their content. Even practicing physicians, small practices, doctors, etc. who want people to get accurate information and who want to expand their reach should start creating and publishing easy-to-understand, relevant, and accurate content.

Why Content Marketing is Important for the Healthcare Sector

Content marketing is now essential for all businesses, no matter which industries they are in. The marketing teams or departments of brands in the healthcare industry should have dedicated content marketing teams to create and publish healthcare related content as this type of marketing is very cost-effective. Successful content marketing by healthcare companies can drastically reduce their marketing and advertising costs. Also, smaller brands and small practices do not have the resources for big advertising and marketing campaigns and content marketing is the best option for them.

There is a great need for accurate healthcare-related content on the internet. False and malicious health-related articles on the internet can lead to everything from bad decisions to mass hysteria. There have been many cases where people have used unverified and dangerous treatment methods online that have not only caused more harm but have led to fatalities. Businesses and non-profit healthcare organizations should use content marketing to distribute accurate information about human health and dispel myths. Content marketing is also a great way to develop online communities, increase sales, acquire and retain leads and customers, and improve fund-raising efforts.

Content Marketing Advice for Organizations in the Healthcare Sector

  • Always publish content with accurate facts - While this should be the goal of all content marketers, it is especially true for the healthcare sector and false information can have drastic consequences as there are always critics ready to pounce on fabricated or exaggerated facts. One scandal regarding false content could be the death of healthcare-based companies. Make sure that in-house healthcare experts are the ones creating content for your company or if you have outsourced content writing duties then make sure that all the articles are reviewed by a healthcare expert before being published. Always verify your facts twice before placing them in your content and never exaggerate numbers to make your brand look good. People expect realistic information and claims that sound too good to be true can put off readers.
  • Share positive recovery stories - People want hope and love to read about people who have beaten the odds. However, you should make sure to highlight all the difficulties they had to face and how such recoveries are not commonplace. It is good to give people hope but not false hope. To make the stories more personal, place pictures and videos of the patients through the phases of treatment. Such stories can also be used to subtly market drugs or treatments that your company has come up with and that have led to these amazing recoveries.
  • Blog posts should be authoritative and not promotional - The best example of such blog posts is the blog maintained by Mayo Clinic. Instead of advertising the organization, the clinic provides exceptional, high-quality, and valuable original content related to healthcare on its website. Posts are always created by reputable doctors and physicians and are very easy to understand by everyone. Take inspiration from such blogs and always present facts in an authoritative manner. People do not want critical healthcare information from people who are not authoritative sources of information. Always highlight your credentials and explain healthcare terms in all content.
  • Write for your audience and not search engines - Instead of worrying about inserting keywords in your content to achieve optimum keyword density in articles, focus more on writing content for your audience. Learn more about your readers and create content that they will find valuable. If a large chunk of your reader base consists of doctors, physicians and other healthcare companies, then you can use healthcare jargon. For such an audience, creating content with the latest news, breakthroughs, research, and surveys is always a good idea. On the other hand, if your readers are mainly people who have no medical or healthcare background, then it is better to simplify the content and explain all the terms necessary for them to understand you properly.

("Inspiration" image courtesy of Shutterstock.)

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