Your team likely knows the service lines you plan to focus on for the year. Maybe it’s the same five pillars you always promote, or maybe you’re working to grow a new service or treatment. Before the billboards go up and the TV ads start running, think about how your content marketing efforts can support those campaigns.
When teams at Geonetric start content marketing projects with our clients, we always begin by asking the biggest question of all: “What are your marketing goals?” This could include organizational goals, which should drive your marketing-specific goals. And both should inspire your content marketing brainstorming.
Your goals might be to:
- Attract new site visitors
- Keep current patients healthy and happy in your community
- Increase the volume of new appointments and online scheduling
- Drive walk-in foot traffic to immediate care clinics
- Shine a light on your advanced technology to drive appointments
- Encourage sharing of your articles on social media
- …or all of the above
These are common answers we hear and they’re likely similar to the goals you and your team have at your organization.
Typically, organizational goals funnel down into marketing goals. Those marketing goals drive the different campaigns for the year, based on where the team sees the greatest opportunity to grow volume or leverage margins. (Check out this blog post for more information on aligning digital and organization goals.)
Most healthcare marketing teams have target service lines identified for the year that they plan to support with integrated marketing campaigns. If your team knows—even at a high level—what services will be highlighted throughout the year, there are opportunities to make those efforts go farther with content marketing planning.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach focused on creating exclusive, valuable content and delivering it consistently.
- Exclusive – Available only on your website and not republished from another source
- Consistent – Published and shared regularly and in conjunction with marketing goals
- Valuable – Timely, consumable, credible, audience-focused, and actionable content that’s optimized for search and connects readers to your brand
When done right, content marketing engages and converts your target audiences while boosting your search engine rankings and fueling social media engagement.
Aligning Goals to Content Marketing
Just as you approve only billboard and radio spots that are tied to bigger goals, you make your content marketing efforts more effective by tying them thoughtfully to a campaign, and ultimately, your organization’s goals. That’s where your editorial calendar comes in.
By aligning organizational goals throughout the upcoming quarter or year to your editorial calendar, you and your team can create assets and collateral that drive interest from consumers, support your patients’ journeys and assist conversion goals.
Have Your Campaign Schedule in-hand While You Plan
As an example, let’s pretend your organization is starting a mobile mammogram program through your hospital as a way to encourage breast cancer screenings. Your C-level team has a goal to grow cancer service line volume by a certain percent, which coordinates with the effort to launch the mobile mammogram unit, which will hit the streets of your community on October 1.
As a content marketing team, you’ve decided focusing on breast cancer screenings is a strategic choice, based on a segment of your personas, demographics, and competition. You’ve also planned TV and radio ads, as well as features in local magazines and newspapers, to talk about your mobile mammogram program.
So how could your content marketing team and assets support the effort? Here are some ideas:
- Blog posts about breast cancer in your community – statistics, survivors, and the importance of screenings
- Patient stories about their breast exam or cancer treatment experience at your hospital – especially around how a mammogram lead to early detection and a fast treatment
- Video tours of the mobile mammogram unit
- Podcasts and ask-the-expert interviews with radiologic technologists and breast specialists in your hospital who can explain how mammograms work, and how patients can prepare for their first exam
- Infographics about breast health and breast cancer in the United States, or myths around breast cancer screenings that you can correct to inspire faith in mammograms
Plan with Enough Advance for Resource Allocation
Of course, as you brainstorm these ideas, you’ll want at least a month or two notice to get your resources in order and have the appropriate team members assigned to the work.
You’ll also want to plan for social sharing these assets on various media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and through various channels, such as email marketing and internal communications.
Example Healthcare Marketing Editorial Calendar
If we were to put the mobile mammogram assets into an editorial calendar for planning, here’s what a patient story and blog post might look like:
- Expected publish date: Third week of October
- Author: J. Smith
- Topic: How a Mammogram at 40 Saved My Life
- Summary: A patient story and blog post about our mammogram services and follow-up breast cancer services
- Stakeholders: Dr. Johnson, breast center mammography; Ms. Adams, patient
- Call-to-action: Schedule your mammogram today or find our mobile mammogram unit near you
- Sharing channels: Facebook, Twitter
What about if we had other formats of content besides blogs and patient stories? Let’s try a video tour of our mammogram unit:
- Expected publish date: One week prior to mobile mammogram unit opening
- Author: A. Anderson
- Topic: Video Tour – Inside ABC Health System’s Mobile Mammogram Unit
- Summary: A short (3-5 minute) tour of our mobile mammogram unit, with an interview with Dr. Smith
- Stakeholders: Dr. Smith, director of mobile mammogram unit
- Call-to-action: Visit our mobile mammogram unit near you
- Sharing channels: Facebook, Twitter, news release (for local news)
But don’t stop there! Infographics, podcasts, advice columns, and listicles are all great ways to share more stories around this ever-important topic. And appropriately planning your resources and team around developing this content gives you an editorial calendar plan you can achieve.
Fill in Calendar Gaps with Health Awareness
Throughout the year, awareness events and months surround the healthcare community. From Women’s Wear Red Day in February (for heart health) to Healthy Aging Month in September, there are a myriad of options from which to choose.
As you align your editorial calendar with specific campaigns, gaps may appear in between campaigns. Awareness months are a way to fill in the gaps.
Use Data to Drive Potential Marketing Topics
As a tip, avoid copying your health library’s content and avoid saying what’s already been said. Your content marketing should answer questions and queries your community’s health consumers actually have. You can find this research through tools such as:
- Google Trends
- Keyword Planner
- Search engine auto-complete or “also asked”
- Friends, family members, and visitors to the hospital
This real-person data can help inspire new ideas and approaches to common topics. But what makes gives your content marketing the best angle is the resources right in front of you: Your doctors, providers, staff, patients, and volunteers. Interview them and get a sense of what types of questions real patients are asking and create content that aligns!
For more tips and tricks to improve your content marketing efforts, check out this webinar: 5 Ways to Kickstart Your Content Marketing.