Integrated Content Marketing Hub Connects and Engages

Silver Cross Hospital is a rarity in the competitive Chicago healthcare market: they are an independent hospital, and they’ve remained that way for the past 126 years. While they are generally considered a community hospital, they compete at a much higher level since they partner with leading Chicago academic institutions for neurology, cancer, pediatrics and rehabilitation. They are home to the most extensive robotic surgery program in the Chicago area. And they are known as the “baby hospital,” with 3,000 births a year and opening their county’s first Level 3 NICU in early 2022.

In 2019, Silver Cross partnered with digital experience agency, Geonetric, to redesign their website with VitalSite content management system (CMS) to take advantage of VitalSite’s integrated content marketing hub was a top priority.

Investing in content marketing

Silver Cross saw the potential of delivering timely content to high-value community members, and in 2012 started IMatter, a site for women who joined the hospital’s loyalty program. The program rewarded women for taking an active role in their health through screenings and scans by giving them discounts at dozens of local businesses that were IMatter partners.

The IMatter website was separate from the main Silver Cross website and offered a blog covering health topics and news stories. The site was a great first step in content marketing but didn’t attract enough traffic or conversions to deliver real value.

When Silver Cross began working with Geonetric on the main site redesign, the team decided to integrate IMatter into the overarching content strategy and give the blog a prominent home on the main site to expand their reach.

Connecting the content marketing hub to organizational goals

As the planning got underway for the new content marketing hub, the primary goals were increasing patient engagement and retention, improving brand awareness and helping with population health initiatives by sharing wellness content. Soon after launching, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and sharing educational content about safety measures also became a top priority for the organization and the new content marketing hub.

Launching Stay Well

The new content marketing hub is known as Stay Well and features a custom design with a large hero image. To improve user experience, Stay Well has filtering to allow users to search by topic or service. Silver Cross’ custom design includes a modern card layout to highlight a featured article and display other content. Stay Well’s integration into the main site has the bonus of displaying related articles on services pages and connected to provider profiles. In addition, Silver Cross’ marketing team can easily share any article on social media.

Silver Cross Hospital Stay Well Marketing Hub

Creating the content

Silver Cross was able to bring timely content over from the former blog to the new content marketing hub. The team adds new stories and videos on topics like upcoming health observances and key service lines. The Silver Cross team incorporates a mix of authors on the hub, including:

  • Doctors who need added promotion or exposure
  • Internal writers
  • Freelancers
  • Patients who share their personal story

Enjoying the results

Since its launch, the content marketing hub has delivered impressive results. When looking at Stay Well landing page entrances for the first eight months:

  • 13% increase in organic search traffic, bringing in an additional 126 sessions
  • 56% increase in social media traffic, bringing in an additional 539 sessions
  • 26% increase in direct traffic, bringing in an additional 251 sessions
  • 5% increase in referral traffic, bringing in an additional 50 sessions

In addition, the team is seeing a lot of success re-using content from the blog on social media. One article that featured a video of a prominent Silver Cross OB-GYN discussing the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy received more than 1,500 views on Facebook.

Design Theme and Secure Hosting Set Foundation for Enhanced Digital Experience

When Silver Cross Hospital, New Lenox, IL, reached out to Geonetric, they had seven sites built on different platforms including Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal. The hospital was experiencing numerous security issues with their hosting, particularly with their online forms. As a healthcare organization, ensuring sensitive information is secure is a top priority — so Silver Cross Hospital turned to Geonetric and their proven experience in domain migration to help get the organization into a secure environment.

Geonetric’s expert project management and I.T. teams got to work creating a transition plan, carefully navigating the needs of multiple stakeholders at the hospital to ensure everyone was on the same page and comfortable with the migration strategy. Geonetric copied one site at a time, making all necessary updates to the platform. Then, each site underwent thorough testing by both Geonetric’s quality assurance team and the Silver Cross Hospital team. In addition, 16 forms were rebuilt in Geonetric’s secure, HIPAA-compliant form builder, Formulate. The transition for each site was seamless, with Silver Cross Hospital’s users experiencing minimal downtime with the Domain Name System (DNS) transfer to the copied site.

Building on a secure foundation

With their sites in a stable, safe environment, the Silver Cross Hospital team and Geonetric then turned to consolidating multiple sites into one platform and creating a new, system-forward design and content strategy that provides a better experience for mobile users. Moving to a responsive site was a top priority, as their previous sites had separate mobile pages, which didn’t deliver a seamless experience to their growing number of mobile users.

The new site is built on the VitalSite content management system (CMS) and the organization took advantage of a pre-built design theme — created to help organizations bring their sites to life efficiently and effectively. Built based on decades of design, development, information architecture, and content strategy best practices, VitalSite’s design themes are responsive, fast-loading, and accessible out of the box, so Silver Cross Hospital was immediately brought up to date with a modern site that meets WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The selected theme was modified to support Silver Cross Hospital’s brand, creating a design that reflects the organization’s unique approach to care.

VitalSite comes equipped with robust functionality, including a sophisticated provider directory. Silver Cross Hospital was excited to move their providers into the directory on their main site, instead of sending visitors to a third-party site. This allows the organization to keep that valuable traffic on the site, brings inherent search optimization benefits, and gives site visitors a seamless, consistent experience.

Enhancing the user experience pays off

The intuitive information architecture, modern design, and focus on building an inclusive user experience are resonating with both site visitors and search engines. Since launch, overall traffic is more engaged, spending 57% more time-on-page year over year. Mobile Users are averaging 96% more time on page year over year. Bounce rates have decreased 7% year over year.

In addition to becoming more accessible for users, the site is also more accessible to search engines, seeing a 66% increase in top 10 organic keywords across the site.

Location pages have seen a 14% increase in page views, 110% increase in time on page, and 10% increase in entrances. This illustrates that more people are going to these pages from within the site and more people are landing directly on these pages, meaning they’re aligning better with location-based user intent.

New, faster code has decreased the overall page load time to under three seconds, with some service line pages loading as much as 50% faster.

The organization is enjoying the new site and depends on Geonetric to monitor its hosting and ensure they are delivering a safe web experience for their site visitors.