Make Diversity, Equity & Inclusion a Pillar of Your Content Development Strategy

Strategic Benefits

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) aren’t buzzwords. They’re responsibilities, especially in the healthcare industry. DEI can directly impact patient access to care, outcomes and quality of life, as well as staff recruitment and job satisfaction.

Healthcare brands that champion these values at every level are not only doing the right thing from an ethical standpoint. They’re meeting the needs of target consumers and other key audiences. Some statistical context:

Healthcare marketing may not solve health disparities, but you can promote messages that help people of various backgrounds feel welcome at your hospital or health system. And this messaging likely reflects and helps strengthen overall your organization’s brand, purpose and goals.

If your mission and vision statements or key objectives reference providing compassionate care and improving community health, implementing or refreshing related digital strategy guidelines can help affirm these organizational priorities internally and externally. Potentially supporting population health initiatives, conveying DEI values in your content could increase consumer willingness and comfort to access care.

Implementation & Optimization

As you design and return to your strategy, keep Geonetric’s tips in mind:

  • Be accurate and transparent when describing your organization’s DEI values, policies, and services.
  • Publicize relevant resources, programs and services, focusing on how they benefit patients, family members, community members, job seekers, physicians, healthcare professionals and staff.
  • Don’t make DEI ad campaigns to promote services. DEI isn’t a trend, and consumers are savvy enough to detect when an organization is exploiting an activist movement for financial benefit.
  • Understand your audience. Conduct ongoing research or use your hospital’s community health needs assessments to understand your geographic service area’s demographic groups. Pay special attention to:
    • Disability statistics and health condition prevalence
    • Statistics on age, family status, immigration/citizenship status, racial and ethnic groups, religious preference, sexual orientation and gender identity
    • Medical and wellness interests and concerns
    • Languages spoken and communication skills and preferences
    • General education and health literacy levels
    • Beliefs, preferences, values and customs, particularly those around healthcare
  • Consult with internal colleagues and trusted connections, such as your Patient and Family Advisory Council or local community leaders, who can help guide or react to your content to ensure it will resonate with your target audiences.
  • Encourage internal and external audiences alike to provide feedback on their experiences related to DEI at your organization and make it easy to do so. An online form is a good start if submissions go to someone who follows up and has the power to influence change.
  • Affirm your organization follows legal and ethical standards of non-discrimination and accessibility regarding patient care, hiring practices, etc. Make it clear how to report a concern, typical response time and any follow-up or typical actions that may result from reporting.
  • Feature imagery and stories that reflect the diverse makeup of your community without tokenizing or patronizing individuals or groups.
  • Monitor how competitors and organizations you admire are talking about DEI. Look for inspiration or strategies you can customize to your brand or gaps in your market that you can fill.
  • Follow Geonetric’s web writing for healthcare best practices. These include using plain and conversational language to keep your content at an accessible grade reading level. These tactics make your site’s copy reflect your commitment to inclusion.

Editorial Style Guide

Your writing style guide is the centerpiece of your DEI content strategy because it shapes all your organization’s messaging.

Style guide users (writers, editors, etc.) will appreciate DEI pointers throughout your guide where relevant. Integrate tips and examples into existing sections of your guide, such as:

  • Brand identity core messaging and voice and tone
  • Definitions of stylistic principles, such as person-first language or plain language
  • Accessibility and SEO rules
  • Word list entries
  • Words and phrases to use, emulate or avoid

Establish writing rules that align with your organizational values. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • Be sensitive and empathetic.
    • Avoid stereotypes, assumptions, labels, and language that “others” or stigmatizes a person or group.
    • Consider the user’s emotional state.
    • Use person-first language (i.e., “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”).
    • When describing people with disabilities, choose language that emphasizes abilities instead of what someone isn’t able to do (“someone who uses a wheelchair” instead of “wheel-chair bound”). Avoid negative, sentimental or condescending language.
  • Use preferred terminologies, asking individuals how they would like to be described when possible.
    • Omit gendered pronouns if doing so does not affect clarity.
  • Empower consumers. For example, when relevant, encourage patients to participate in their care by asking questions or bringing a support person.

Governance Considerations

A key aspect of a successful DEI content strategy is to regularly return to your guidelines and make any needed updates. Establish specific roles of responsibility, timelines, and other governance policies that ensure your DEI efforts stay current and effective.
Resources to Bookmark
To help your team stay current, assemble trusted resources that offer ongoing guidance on preferred language and other considerations. At Geonetric, we reference and keep tabs on publications such as:

Raise Your Hand

Energize your DEI strategy with help from Geonetric’s content strategists and writers. Whether you’re interested in governance guidance, editorial style guide creation or optimization, voice and tone workshopping, writing and editing trainings, or other services, contact us today for a customized solution.

Communication Tips for High COVID-19 Vaccine Demand, Limited Supply

As if you weren’t busy enough trying to reassure your community of the COVID-19 vaccine’s efficacy, safety, and potential ability to make a real dent in the pandemic, add something else to your list: answering an understandably eager, growing number of people who want to get themselves or someone they love vaccinated as soon as possible. Emotions are running high and your community is looking to your organization to learn when and how they can access this potentially life-saving care.

The Biden administration has announced the U.S. will have enough doses to inoculate every American by the end of the summer and the country is on pace to vaccinate almost one-third of the population by May 1. But limited supplies, along with federal and state requirements for priority groups during the initial roll-out, have led to confusion and anxiety.

Follow our tips to help your community feel more informed, position your organization as a leading authority, and deliver remarkable content.

Translate State & County Guidelines

Help people understand how vaccine allocation phases will work in your community. Translate jargon or complex information into plain language. Tailor this content to your target audiences’:

Explaining Vaccine Distribution

Spell out who is eligible and when, as well as the logistics of getting vaccinated at your organization. Be transparent about limited vaccine quantities while communicating your work to secure additional doses. Link to relevant federal, state, and county websites.

If you have an existing COVID-19 hub on your website, this is a great place for this information to live.

Communicate What Steps People Can Take Now

Make your content actionable and empowering, even for readers who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination.

  • What can people do right now so they’re best prepared when the time comes to get vaccinated? Check out an excellent example from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on how to get ready, including talking to your doctor about whether the vaccine is right for you and learning what to expect during and after vaccination.
  • Advise readers what steps they’ll need to take to successfully access vaccination services at your organization. For example, if they don’t currently have a MyChart account, do you recommend they create one?
  • Continue your messaging on the importance of mask-wearing, handwashing, and social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Protect Staff Capacity

Clear, easily found information that answers common questions and follows the recommendations in this blog post can help lower potentially overwhelming call and email volumes. If you don’t want people to contact specific offices or healthcare providers at this time, make that clear in your content. Let community members know if there’s a specific phone number or email address you want them to reach out to instead.

Publish Updates Regularly

Your audience needs ongoing reassurance, and regular updates help them stay informed while lessening anxiety. Aim for weekly social media posts. Send email updates whenever relevant news breaks or information changes.

Make an Emotional Connection

Maya Angelou said it best: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” To make your content resonate with your target audiences:

  • Appeal to their sense of community. Make it a virtue to wait one’s turn and let others who have greater need go first. Put a human face on this message. Accompanied by “thank you for letting us go first,” feature your organization’s healthcare heroes or the patients who were vaccinated due to age, occupation, or other risk factors.
  • Be positive. Aim for an optimistic, confident voice and tone.
  • Lead with empathy. Everyone’s lives have been disrupted to some degree by the pandemic. Let your community know you understand how they feel — the people in your organization feel the same and are working hard to meet their needs.
  • Err on the side of sensitivity. If you’re trying to make your message resonate with a specific group, get feedback from people in that group. Ask how your content may be interpreted, if there’s a more effective approach, if there’s any potential for offense or misinterpretation, and if the message is relevant to their needs, preferences, and concerns. Establishing these relationships if they don’t already exist not only benefits your content, but also shows that your organization cares about serving their needs.
  • Weave in your brand ethos. Let your community know how your mission and values apply to your COVID-19 response, including your vaccination efforts. In real time, they’re seeing your organization works to improve everyone’s health and well-being.

Find More Tips or Ask For Feedback

Read further strategic recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination communications, or contact Geonetric today if you need any help with your efforts.

Make Your COVID-19 Vaccination Message Resonate with Your Community

Mistrust in vaccines isn’t new. In a December 2019 Gallop poll, 11% of U.S. adults said they believe vaccines are “more dangerous than the diseases they prevent.”

But the number of Americans who are hesitant to take a COVID-19 vaccine is even greater. In May, the Associated Press and the University of Chicago released a study showing 50% of Americans were either hesitant or unwilling to take a COVID-19 vaccine. The number of Americans willing to get vaccinated has only risen to 60% recently.

“Based on public opinion research… we think somewhere around 30% of Americans intend to refuse a coronavirus vaccine once one becomes available,” said Matthew Motta, assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University, in an interview aired by NPR’s On the Media in December.

Your organization’s role

As a healthcare marketer and communications professional, you’re facing an uphill battle addressing various objections effectively. The U.S. needs at least 60 to 70% of the public to be immunized to reach herd immunity and restore our society to a semblance of normalcy.

The good news? The pandemic has led to generally increased trust and respect of local hospitals, health systems, medical groups, and providers across the U.S. An August 2020 poll reported more than 80% of Americans see doctors, nurses, health systems, and their local hospitals as “somewhat” or “very” trustworthy. You have an advantage over national resources: government agencies, including the FDA and CDC, were ranked at least 10% lower.

How to identify and combat vaccination objections

There’s a wide range of reasons driving reluctance to this specific vaccine. How do we reach those various groups most effectively?

“When we connect with people on the very grounds that lead them to be skeptical about vaccines and present the alternative using similar terms, we can get people on the side of the science.”
–   Matt Motta, assistant professor of political science at Oklahoma State University

Understand your audiences

You’re the expert of your organization and target audiences. To identify objections and misinformation:

  • Interview your providers and patients about common vaccination questions and concerns
  • Monitor local news and social media conversations
  • Analyze the demographic breakdown of your target populations by gender, race, religion, and political affiliation

With the caveat generalizations about demographic groups aren’t always the best way to look at populations, they may be somewhat revealing in this specific situation. According to Professor Motta and other sources, certain groups are less likely to report comfort or likelihood to get vaccinated. Those groups include:

  • Women
  • People of color, especially Latinx and Black people
  • People with less than four years of higher education
  • People with lower income levels
  • Republicans, especially people who identify as supporters of President Trump

There are likely many systemic and societal reasons for this — poor past healthcare experiences attributed to misogyny or racism, scientific studies historically not including women or people of color in drug and treatment trials or performing treatments on them without informed consent, inaccessibility of the latest and best care due to cost, the hyper-politicization of the American healthcare landscape, etc.

To make your messaging as strategic as possible, analyze the demographics of your target audiences. Tailor your messaging and language about the vaccine to reassure them and meet their concerns head-on. For example:

  • Highlight vaccine accessibility. Trumpet the vaccine is available for free. Explain how your organization is making it as easy as possible for patients to get vaccinated. Are you offering vaccination services at primary care offices or drive-up location? Can consumers schedule their appointment conveniently online?
  • Feature providers and community leaders who represent demographic group in your content assets. Ask them to serve as influencers and spread your message where relevant.

Analyze and respond to specific objections

Different groups of people respond to different messaging due to their psychology, world views, and other factors. Once you have your list of your target audiences’ objections, analyze them and create specific responses tailored to resonate with the same people raising the objection. We’ve created a few examples below to show you how to get started.

Objection: General mistrust of science and any types of vaccinations.

Even before the pandemic, healthcare communicators fought against the debunked perceived link between childhood immunizations and autism, as well as general opposition to immunizations of any kind. However, “anti-vaxxers” make up only a small portion of those concerned about the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Many people who typically trust science and vaccinations report concern with this vaccine specifically.

How to respond: Lead with empathy. A consumer who finds the vaccine suspect understandably cares deeply about the health and safety of themselves or their child — and that’s why they should get the vaccine, to protect themselves and their kids from a potentially deadly virus.

Objection: Partisanship and politicization.

People who identify as Democrats report mistrust of this vaccine specifically due to the presidential administration it was developed under.

How to respond: Overcome the partisan divide. Take a page from former presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton. Consider recruiting community leaders who represent a variety of political views to be part of your marketing, such as a video showing them receiving the vaccine together or appeal to civic duty and responsibility by talking about the importance of getting vaccinated as “the right thing to do” to save lives and improve public health.

Objection: Speed of the vaccine’s development and rollout.

Did the vaccine receive the customary safety trials? Can I really trust something developed by a private pharmaceutical company to have my best interests at heart instead of their bottom line?

How to respond: Explain in easily understood language the rigorous processes the vaccines have gone through to reach approval. Underscore the vaccine was developed quickly because of the unprecedented need for its widespread availability to save lives.

Objection: Potentially unpleasant side effects.

How to respond: Put the risks of the vaccine in understandable context.

Getting vaccinated prevents something more unpleasant than minor side effects: a severe or potentially fatal case of the coronavirus, or spreading the virus to others. Be transparent about the vaccine’s potential side effects, but make sure to emphasize they’re typically mild.

Thousands of people get the flu vaccine each year though it’s typically only about 40 to 60% effective. The COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be more than 90% effective at preventing severe disease, but their newness drives anxiety. If you’ve received a flu vaccine, messaging that compares the higher efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine may be convincing, as well as noting adverse vaccine side risks typically manifest in two to three months after inoculation, and the COVID-19 vaccines studies have studied participants for longer time frames than that.

How to respond: Make the risks of not getting vaccinated real. 

In addition to the risk of getting sick, potentially dying, or spreading the disease to others, 30% of people who have survived COVID-19 report chronic, long-term health problems, and that group includes people under 35 with no previous health problems. Vaccination is safer than natural immunity.

How to write and deploy your message

Read writing tips and tactics for sharing COVID-19 vaccination information with:

Learn more

Watch our webinar about getting started with your external and internal vaccination messaging, whether you’re a small-but-mighty one-man-band or a larger team.

Add experts to your bench. Geonetric’s content strategists, writers, and digital marketers are ready to help you analyze and optimize your coronavirus communications. Visit our COVID-19 resources hub for more articles and support.

Writing and Deploying COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Marketing tactics and content strategy recommendations

Reach the widest audience possible by:

  • Leveraging the same avenues you’ve found most effective for COVID-19 communications so far. Have consumers responded well to your blog, email newsletters, or social media?
  • Deploying a COVID-19 vaccination FAQ page to answer common questions and concerns.
  • Using your email, content marketing, and social media channels to provide timely, accurate information about your efforts.

“We’re all in this together”

For many, the most convincing argument to get vaccinated is a sense of duty to others. Consider:

  • Making patients who have received the vaccine part of your marketing. For example, stickers that say “I Got Vaccinated,” similar to the “I Voted” stickers, help patients feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves and make it easy for them to become champions of your cause by spreading the word via social media.
  • Featuring community leaders. Help overcome the politicization of the vaccine by including leaders representing different political views. Ask everyone involved to be an “influencer” and share the message where relevant.
  • Highlight your organization’s “healthcare heroes”.

Writing about the coronavirus vaccine for healthcare consumers

Make your coronavirus vaccine content clear, convincing, and actionable to people in your community by following these guidelines:

  • Use plain language that’s accessible to people of different health literacy levels. Make your message as engaging and clear as possible, aiming for an 9th grade reading level or lower.
  • Learn why people in your community are concerned about this vaccine. Then, use the same language they’re using to help educate them about benefits. Not only will this help readers better understand your content, it supports optimization for search engines like Google.
  • Lead with empathy. Research and understand various objections and communicate that you understand and sympathize. Tailor your messaging to address and overcome common objections and misconceptions.
  • Make your message impactful using different approaches. For some, statistics are most convincing, while for those, emotional messaging resonates.
  • Combat misinformation with facts and stories from credible sources. Leverage the increased respect and trust for your organization and providers by featuring your doctors in blog posts, videos, Facebook Live events, and other promotional channels. For example, a video of a doctor talking about the safety of the vaccine while administering it to another staff member could be particularly impactful.
  • Address access concerns. Highlight that the vaccine is free and trumpet ways you’re making it as accessible to your community as possible.
  • Make it easy for readers to take the next step. Keep interactions digital whenever possible – online appointment scheduling, text message reminders, etc.
  • Provide contact information or a chatbot feature so users can reach a helpful member of your staff if they have questions or concerns.
  • Communicate the places and times that vaccines will be available. Optimize your location profiles accordingly for search engines.
  • Explain in step-by-step detail what consumers can expect during their inoculation, what they should bring, and other helpful information. Not only will this make appointments go smoother for your organization’s staff, it helps dispel anxiety for consumers when they know what to expect.

Certain COVID-19 vaccinations require a second injection. If your organization is offering this type, messaging this clearly will be critical to the effectiveness of your vaccination efforts.

Align your team and providers around your public messaging

Make sure your internal team is on the same page. Follow our recommendations for educating your internal audiences about your vaccination efforts, as well as the messaging you want to share with patients, your community, and local media.

Learn more

View a free webinar to see more strategic recommendations about supporting your coronavirus vaccination efforts through your marketing and communications, or contact us today to learn how we can help.

Discover additional resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic in our dedicated resources hub

Healthcare Marketing During an Economic Downturn

Sobering headlines and statistics about record unemployment numbers, slowing global trade, decline of gross domestic product, and unstable stock markets paint a picture comparable to the Great Depression. A recent SSRS and the Commonwealth Fund survey reports more than a third of Americans have seen some disruption to their income due to job loss, cut hours, or a pay cut. Of those, three percent have lost their health insurance.

In this uniquely challenging (and ever-evolving) situation, optimizing your marketing efforts can help ensure your messaging resonates with consumers who have financial concerns.

Remember the Last Recession…

The 2008 economic contraction had a different cause and took place under different circumstances than we’re experiencing today. But what lessons can we learn from the last recession that can help us now? How did the 2008 financial crisis impact healthcare organizations, providers, and consumers?

According to Advanced Billing & Consulting Services (ABCS), the 2008 financial crisis taught us:

  • The healthcare industry may not initially feel the impact
  • Demand for certain treatments decreases, somewhat alleviating the shortage of qualified healthcare workers; in 2008, some retired returned to the workforce
  • Patients may delay elective surgery and medical care for minor, nonemergency conditions to save money needed to spend on necessities
  • Outpatient care, considered “usually more consumer-friendly and affordable… when compared to more traditional inpatient settings,” may expand

ABCS references a study of Great Recession trends from the American Academy of Family Physicians that looked at consumer behavior. Patients were more likely to:

  • Have higher overall stress levels
  • Experience anxiety about their abilities to pay for care
  • Cancel their appointments
  • Skip preventive care and develop new health issues as a result
  • Lose access to employer-sponsored or private insurance coverage due to job loss or furlough

Knowing your audience and their pain points is one of the most critical aspects of effective communications. While you’re writing, developing or refreshing marketing personas, or other tasks, use the above findings to inform your understanding of your readers.

…And Look to the Future

A lot has changed in digital marketing and content strategy best practices in the last few years. Healthcare organizations, providers, consumers, and marketing departments are much different than they were more than 10 years ago.

The following tips are informed by what’s happened in the past and tweaked to most effectively reach audiences of today. Bear in mind that the 2020 pandemic is a rapidly changing situation and your marketing efforts need to adapt with the same agility.

Let Empathy Guide You

Consumers feel more confident to convert when your content is relatable, readable, accessible, and helpful.

  • Aim to help consumers feel safe and secure returning to your healthcare facilities, and consider what types of questions patients have in times like this, especially when it comes to care.
    • What will my visit be like?
    • How can I trust it’s safe to visit a waiting room or facility?
    • What are you doing to protect me/my loved ones when we come to an in-person meeting?
  • Meet your users where they are, positioning your providers as their go-to resource for answers and solutions.
  • Write in an engaging, user-focused way (versus an organization-focused style) that demonstrates your patient-centered ethos.
  • Use plain language to make your content accessible to users of varying health literacy abilities, and conduct keyword research to understand the language your target audiences are most familiar with.

Promote Services Strategically

If you offer services that may see increased interest or demand, consider promoting them more widely.

For example, if your organization offers mental and behavioral health services and can accommodate increased volume, you may see improved engagement and conversions promoting counseling through a marketing campaign.

Promote services that were paused during the pandemic. Patient and visitor restrictions prevented people from receiving annual physical exams and routine cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies and mammograms. Young children may need to catch up on routine recommended vaccines.

Telemedicine as Competitive Differentiator

Patients will understandably worry about the risk of COVID-19 infection until a vaccine is widely available. When choosing between two organizations, the ability to see a provider virtually may be the user’s deciding factor. Whatever services you offer through virtual visits, promote those widely.

Communicate Risk

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To avoid loss of patient volume for preventive and primary care services, explain the detrimental health impact patients who forgo or delay these services may experience.

It may be especially effective to note that waiting until a health issue becomes an emergency is likely to end up being a costlier option than catching it earlier, in addition to having a larger negative impact on the consumer’s health.

Answer Financial Questions

Our keyword research often reveals queries related to billing and finances. These include “paying for [XYZ] care,” “what’s the cost of [XYZ]?,” “financial help for patients,” and similar variations. We also hear from doctors and other department subject matter experts that these are some of the most common questions they get from patients.

On your service line webpages, use plain language to explain how most patients pay for care, and cross-link to relevant areas of your website as needed. For example, you may note that you accept major insurance plans, Medicare/Medicaid, and offer financial assistance or aid to patients who qualify. If affordability is a competitive differentiator for your organization, emphasize it in your content.

Get Expert Help

Contact Geonetric today to evaluate your current COVID-19 marketing efforts and plan a strategy to support future success.

Use Empathy to Guide COVID-19 Home Health Care Marketing

Follow our COVID-19 communications pointers for strategic, empathetic messaging in your website content and other marketing assets.

  • Affirm availability of home visits. Reference trusted and credible sources, such as AARP®, that encourage continued services with increased precautionary measures.
  • Answer common questions. What concerns are your home health caregivers hearing from patients and their family members? Use those questions to generate ideas for your content marketing assets and other communications.
  • Communicate when and how patients with symptoms of or potential exposure to COVID-19 should inform your organization. Instruct your patients not to wait until their provider comes to their house for a visit to inform them.
  • Explain how your policies have changed due to the virus. Emphasize new and existing safety protocols that prevent the spread of infection, such as frequent hand-washing, wearing of masks and gloves, between-visit disinfection, checking staff and patient temperatures, and other practices.
  • Highlight the benefits of your services. Your organization’s home health care providers play a vital role in the well-being of your patients and their loved ones. Many patients who receive home care have health conditions that put them at higher risk if they get the new coronavirus. Support from home health providers can keep patients safer and healthier at home, prevent trips to the emergency room that could lead to exposure, and provide reassurance to anxious loved ones unable to visit in person.
  • If any services have moved online, give clear and detailed instructions on how patients can access their providers via virtual visits or phone calls. Cover how patients benefit from check-ins with their home care providers. Explain the specific services a provider can offer electronically or by phone, such as safety assessments, management of chronic conditions, rehabilitation services, emotional support, and more.
  • Share the firsthand experiences of your patients and providers. Stories about how your organization has adapted services due to COVID-19 and what patients are experiencing may be picked up by local media covering the pandemic. Telling your provider’s stories can also create greater empathy and understanding for the processes you’re putting in place to face this illness. These stories can help prospective or current patients feel more comfortable with home health services.
  • Review the hours and contact information listed on your website,  location profiles, and Google My Business listings, and update them if needed. If your hours or other business information has changed, make sure your content accurately reflects these changes, to prevent patient confusion or frustration.

Voice & Tone

In all your communications during this challenging time, make compassion the centerpiece of your messaging. There will be a time for more traditional marketing when the threat of the pandemic passes. What’s always true — yesterday, today, and tomorrow — is content that recognizes its audience’s emotional state and responds to it with a positive tone and helpful solutions not only leaves readers feeling more at ease, it can increase brand loyalty.

Your Source for COVID-19 Digital Support

Check out Geonetric’s free COVID-19 resources or contact us today for content strategy and development services and SEO support.

Use Telemedicine to Reach Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Increased Patient Demand

If your organization offers telemedicine services, you’re probably aware of the surge in virtual patient volume attributed to the spread of the coronavirus within the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House are advising Americans to stay home. The need for care and patient-provider communication has increased — both for people who are experiencing symptoms of the virus, and those who need routine care for other health concerns.

Expansion of Telemedicine Coverage

To slow the spread of COVID-19, especially among elderly patients who are at-risk for complications if they catch the virus, Medicare has expanded coverage of telehealth services. Now, beneficiaries can access virtual visits at no additional cost, and providers receive reimbursement at the same rate as in-person visits.

Health insurance providers Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, and UnitedHealthcare are waiving cost-share for members who access virtual health visits to assess coronavirus symptoms; some are waiving cost-share for routine health services, as well. In addition, they are updating health plans to cover COVID-19-related diagnostic and treatment services.

Telehealth platforms, such as Avera eCare, are testing how telemedicine can allow providers to see patients at high-risk for the virus over video, limiting the number of people potentially exposed.

How Health Systems Are Responding

Hospitals are realigning resources to care for patients with COVID-19 and implementing safety and infection prevention measures that limit the number of patients and visitors allowed on-site. Telemedicine technology can help fill gaps.

Examples of Improving Access

Organizations are optimizing and expanding their telemedicine services to protect the health of providers and to make care as convenient, affordable, and safe as possible for patients. For example:

Online COVID-19 Risk Assessments

Online self-evaluation tools can save your staff time while patients answer questions about their symptoms. Geonetric launched a self-assessment that’s free to clients to help patients decide whether they need to get tested for COVID-19.

Best Practices During the Pandemic

Make sure your telemedicine offerings are in the best shape possible for ongoing, increased use. Follow Geonetric’s tips for promoting telemedicine the right way and our guide to writing about telemedicine services.

Talk to your healthcare staff, telehealth technology service provider, leadership, and other stakeholders about:

  • Primary care and urgent care services that can move fully or partly online to an e-visit or video visit format
  • Offering e-visits, video visits, and other digital options to answer COVID-19-related questions, perform screening and triage, and monitor and manage symptoms
  • Using telemedicine to access guidance from infectious disease doctors, pulmonologists, and other specialists, bringing their expertise to your patients at the point-of-care

Promote Your Care Options

Part of your telemedicine strategy needs to include access to care messaging, so patients can understand when and how to appropriately use your telemedicine services, make a phone call, or physically visit a physical location or emergency room.

Use your website and other digital platforms to help patients understand changes to your services; for example, update your behavioral and mental health service line content if you now offer counseling through virtual visits.

Get Expert Help

Add Geonetric’s knowledgeable content strategists, writers, designers, and digital marketers to your team. We can help you effectively promote and leverage your telemedicine services during this public health crisis. Explore other free COVID-19 online resources.

Guide Patients Through Care Options During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Informing patients about your organization’s care options — and which choice is right for their specific needs — is always important. It’s even more critical in this moment, when healthcare organizations are experiencing or preparing for increased patient volumes and stressors due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.

Promoting Access to Care on Your Website

Does your organization currently have “access to care” content on your website? If so, review it, and consider updating or augmenting it to reflect any changes necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak, following the guidelines in this article.

If you do not currently explain access to care options to patients, now is the time to add this content to your website. Create a webpage specifically about the options for care your organization offers, who should use them and when, and how these guidelines reflect safety and quality measures put in place due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus Care Guidance

Knowledge is power. Educating patients about COVID-19 and, if needed, the next steps they can take to get help can dispel fear. Include information about the symptoms of COVID-19, specifying:

  • What symptoms can someone manage at home? How?
  • What factors (such as an existing health condition or immune system deficiency) or symptoms mean someone should get medical help

Most healthcare facilities are asking people to call ahead before they visit in order to prevent the spread of the disease. Make it clear when a patient should call their primary care provider, use an e-visit, call a nurse line or COVID-19 hotline, send a message through MyChart or another patient portal, or go to the emergency room (ER).

To meet the needs of their communities, some organizations are implementing new options, like virtual care visits, or making virtual visits to screen and triage patients for COVID-19 free to patients. Geonetric has developed an online self-assessment using Formulate, our form builder, specifically for healthcare websites. Geonetric clients can implement this assessment today to help patients understand their risk for infection and take the next step when appropriate.

Correct Myths & Misconceptions

Unfortunately, you’re fighting misinformation exacerbated by fear. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that, while most respondents recognize someone who thinks they have symptoms should stay at home and call a medical provider, 25% believe they should “seek care immediately at an emergency room or urgent care facility.” This number rises to 38% among respondents with lower incomes. Your role as a healthcare communicator — providing trusted, factual information — is essential.

Guidance for Other Healthcare Concerns

Most hospitals are canceling nonemergency procedures or changing how they deliver routine care. Your patients have questions like, “can I still get my checkup to renew my prescription?” and “what should I do about this skin rash?” Make sure your access to care information directs patients to the care option that is appropriate for their needs, so users understand when and how to get the care they need.

Promote Telemedicine

When you promote telehealth options for nonemergency care, it can help your organization increase capacity elsewhere in your organization for acute care needs — and, again, keep people safe at home. Learn more about leveraging telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic and what other health systems are doing.

Voice & Tone

The language you use matters. Avoid a negative, frightening tone or voice, and reassure patients your organization is there for them, providing care and support when your community needs it most. This approach can help patients gain more peace of mind while they’re social distancing at home, or if they or a loved one must seek care for COVID-19 symptoms or another healthcare issue.

Follow Web Writing Best Practices

Stress can affect anyone’s ability to find and process information. Make sure your content uses language your readers can understand and follows other best practices for online health communications.

An Example: Cone Health

Cone Health, a system based in Greensboro, NC, partnered with Geonetric to make their care options promotion dynamic, patient-focused, and intuitive. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, they’ve deployed an alert banner that directs people to resources about the disease.

The health system also offers a helpful infographic to guide users, step-by-step, through what to do if they think they might be infected [PDF], highlighting the availability of free MyChart COVID-19 e-Visits.

Cone Health developed a Q&A page with Cynthia Snider, MD. Dr. Snider answers questions like:

  • What is COVID-19?
  • How does it spread?
  • How can I protect myself?
  • What are the symptoms?

Learn more about how to answer common questions about the pandemic and tailor this content to the needs of the geographic area you serve.

We’re in This Together

There’s a lot on your plate right now and things are changing quickly. Contact Geonetric if you need help putting together a care options pages on your site, or other services to address pressing issues that have arisen due to the coronavirus outbreak, or to help make sure your day-to-day marketing tasks continue to get done.

Tips for Reaching Different Demographics With Your Healthcare Content

If you’re trying to appeal to a certain demographic, create and optimize content to suit their interests, and deliver it in the way they want to consume health information. For each piece of content you create — whether it’s a webpage, content marketing piece, or other external communication — consider the demographics of your ideal consumer.

Some Examples

Before you write a piece of content, picture the ultimate healthcare decision maker you’re intending to convert. The following examples list a topic of content and who you may be trying to target.

Content Topic

Target Audience(s)

Importance of childhood immunizations
  • Expectant parents, especially millennials
  • Parents and guardians
Home health respite services
  • Family caregivers, such as spouses or children of patients with Alzheimer’s disease or parents of patients with intellectual disabilities
Pap smears
  • People with female reproductive system organs between age 21 to 65
Upcoming influenza vaccination clinic
  • Everyone in your community who is eligible for flu vaccine, especially those most at-risk from flu-related complications, like seniors or pregnant women
  • Your organization’s employees

Once you’ve narrowed down the group(s) you want to read, view, or listen to your content, the guidelines in this blog post can help you strategize your messaging and delivery.

An Important Disclaimer

By necessity, this article uses generalizations based on research, making broad assumptions and assessments of different demographic groups. You can probably think of exceptions you personally know when it comes to the preferences of each of the groups discussed in this article. Let the information below guide you, but keep in mind you’re speaking to individual human beings, rather than monolithic groups.

It’s also smart to break “stage of life” or generational groups down into social groups you know exist in your target geographic area. If you want to increase your millennial audience, for example, what do people in this age bracket in your community, specifically, care about? Do some keyword research and investigate online communities, such as social media groups and forums, to find out. Affinity groups in Google Analytics are also a nice way to get a sense of how various user groups fit into the community.

If your target audience wants to get or stay fit, cook convenient and healthy meals, or achieve work-life balance while working from home, create or tailor your content accordingly. Your research can help you build audience personas.

How to Sway Millennials

Millennials — born between 1981 to 1996 — are now the largest age demographic in the United States. According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index, the most common conditions diagnosed in this generation are:

  • Behavioral and mental health concerns like depression, substance use disorder, hyperactivity, and psychotic conditions
  • Chronic conditions like high blood pressure, Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, and type II diabetes

If you’re trying to target millennials, content about these conditions could help you reach them.

When you think about your current marketing efforts to this group, you may be trying to attract young adults to your primary care or urgent care services, or bring expectant mothers to obstetricians and parents to your pediatricians. But it’s important to build brand loyalty with millennials today so they continue to look toward your organization for care as they age and increasingly access services.

To best reach idealistic, tech-savvy millennials:

  • Consider ad-buys on services Millennials use, such as music streaming apps like Pandora and Spotify
  • Emphasize the ways your organization makes care convenient and affordable
  • Highlight your organization’s mission and values, emphasizing how your audience supports a higher purpose when they choose your organization —and be as authentic and transparent as possible
  • Include ratings and reviews on physician profiles, respond to online reviews (both positive and negative), and manage your online reputation
  • Leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat, and publish relevant content your audience wants to read, share, and comment on — that means using visual storytelling and videos on channels they’re best suited for
  • Promote digital solutions (like telehealth e-visits, online appointment scheduling, chat bots, text message reminders, or the functionality of your patient portal) that bring engagement online and make life more convenient
  • Strategize your brand personality through your editorial style, voice, and tone, and keep that personality consistent throughout your content
  • Take a mobile-first approach to your online properties, especially your website

Reaching Generation X

Gen X spans people born in the mid-1960s through 1980. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index’s states they’re most often diagnosed with conditions like:

  • Cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and arrhythmia
  • Type II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Cancer (mainly prostate and breast cancer)
  • Mental health concerns, like anxiety and depression

You may hear Gen Xers referred to as “the sandwich generation,” meaning they’re sandwiched between the children and parents they’re responsible for caring for and making health-related decisions on behalf of.

Gen Xers are considered skeptical to the point of cynicism. But the good news, as Adweek reports, is that when a Gen Xer trusts your brand, they’re more likely than any other generation to remain a loyal consumer.

Write content that’s compelling to the “Breakfast Club” generation when you:

  • Build trust by providing detailed information they need to make a discerning, informed choice — Gen Xers can be knowledgeable when it comes to health topics, and they understand the value of evidence-based care
  • Emphasize one-to-one provider-patient relationships, and explain the ways patients can communicate with members of their care team face-to-face and digitally
  • Engage with Gen Xers online, and publish content on Facebook and YouTube, social channels Gen Xers use often
  • Focus on living well, especially when it comes to improving or maintaining their physical appearance
  • Recognize the importance and value of their relationships, especially the kids and parents they may look out for
  • Use data, such as quality scores, to prove your arguments and competitive differentiators; showcase the awards or certifications your staff or departments have won and what they mean in terms of how patient benefit

Targeting Baby Boomers

People born between 1946 and 1964 are Baby Boomers, and this group accounts for 43% of today’s healthcare spending. Thanks to advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles, this demographic is living longer, and about 20% of Americans will be over 65 by 2030. Now in their 50s to early 70s, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Health Index found Boomers are experiencing conditions like:

  • Type II diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Eye problems
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure

Almost 20% of all Americans have a disability, so making your website and other online properties accessible is important no matter what demographic you’re trying to reach. It’s even more critical for Boomers, with a disability rate of 25% today — a number that’s expected to increase as they age. Make sure your website, in particular, offers an intuitive user experience that makes it easy for users of all abilities to find and consume the information they’re searching for.

To convince Boomers you’re the best choice for care:

  • Appeal to their health consciousness — focus not only on managing conditions, but living and aging well, maintaining independence and abilities
  • Build positive relationships with members of the press in your community, and aim for news coverage that casts your brand in the best light – Boomers consume traditional news media more than other generations
  • Choose “senior” instead of “elderly” or “geriatric”, and never use ageist language or reinforce ageist stereotypes
  • Humanize your brand with an approachable and informative voice and tone
  • Make sure your content is free of errors
  • Make your content shareable — Boomers are 19% more likely to share content than other demographic groups
  • Optimize the patient experience with helpful customer service available at every step
  • Reach them on Facebook, their preferred social network, and through blog posts and videos, and support your digital efforts with TV ads

How to Appeal to Women

In the U.S., women are the primary medical decision makers not only for themselves, but also for their family members. And women are more likely than men to serve as a caregiver to a loved one. The American Marketing Association reports 80% of healthcare decisions are made by women. The same article states 74% of women prefer gender-neutral messaging, rather than gender-specific marketing. What’s the takeaway? While you should try to make your marketing appealing to women, be careful not to veer into pandering. And keep in mind that there are few actual differences between how women and men research health information online.

Build positive relationships with women consumers by:

  • Avoiding overuse of “feminine” colors (read: pink) or imagery that objectifies women’s bodies (my personal pet peeve is headless pregnant bellies) or makes use of the meme-worthy chestnut “women laughing alone with salad
  • Being authentic, educational, and thought-provoking
  • Emphasizing how your organization gives back to your community
  • Leveraging content marketing effectively, including blog posts, videos, and social media posts
  • Making sure your marketing is optimized for online audiences, because women are more likely than men to search for health information online
  • Noting amenities that make getting health or wellness services more appealing
  • Reaching them on the devices and channels (like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest) they enjoy; a study by Bustle found 81% of female millennials say social media is the best avenue for brands to reach them
  • Steering clear of stereotypes — like the assumptions all women are obsessed with their weight, weddings/marriage, or motherhood
  • Striking a positive, empowering tone that gives your female readers agency and supports their choices about their health and bodies

How to Appeal to Men

The general consensus is that men are an untapped audience when it comes to medical care and healthcare marketing. If you’re trying to increase patient volume for services aimed at men, consider these tactics:

  • Avoid sexist phrases that shame men, like “man up,” and stereotypes that men supposedly aren’t interested in or incapable of cooking, child care, or other traditionally “feminine” activities
  • Choose words and phrases that make the benefits of your services relevant to men, and try to strike a functional tone — men “look for a promise of efficacy that produces a desirable result
  • Highlight the convenience of your services
  • Leverage mobile ads, which 68% of men say make them likely to make a purchase
  • Publish content regularly about men’s health topics in an email newsletter or blog
  • Underscore long-term benefits of healthcare, such as continuing to have the energy and abilities to do one’s favorite activities
  • Target the women in their lives — their partners, moms, sisters, or friends — who can convince them to visit a healthcare provider

Get Help from the Experts

Let Geonetric’s content strategists and digital marketers help you make data-driven decisions about appealing to your target consumers, with help conducting keyword research, localization services, market segmentation and audience analysis, and developing personalized content that drives conversions.

How to Write Web Content that Attracts the Best Healthcare Job Candidates

Your Careers Content as a Recruitment Tool

Are there certain positions your HR team is always trying to fill? Professions that are in high demand, or a certain role that requires skilled candidates with specific training? There are shortages for certain professionals, including doctors and nurses, and your organization is competing today more than ever for qualified people.

Your website is often the front door for recruiting. Take a close look at your current website content about the career opportunities available at your organization. Is it as effective as it could be? Does it speak directly to your ideal candidates, answer their common questions, highlight your differentiators as an employer, and specify who you’re looking for? Optimizing the careers section of your website will help your organization stand out in a competitive landscape—so the right prospective hires become the newest members of your team.

What Appeals to Job Seekers?

Think back to your job search for your current position. What was most important to you? Chances are, it was a combination of factors like:

  • Growing as a professional in your field
  • Competitive compensation and great benefits
  • Being part of something bigger than yourself

You wanted to know as much as possible about what the organization offered in exchange for your hard work.
When job seekers visit your organization’s website, they want to find out what it’ll be like to work at your hospital or health care system. Describe how they’ll benefit in the short- and long-term, and be transparent and accurate. Explain the value of your benefits, perks, and culture to prospective employees in your website content. Consider listing and describing:

  • Benefits such as health insurance, retirement planning, dental and vision insurance, life insurance, etc.
  • Salary information
  • Paid time off
  • Professional development opportunities, such as continuing education classes, on-site trainings, nurse residency programs, and tuition reimbursement
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Work-life balance options including working from home and flexible hours
  • Wellness programs and discounted or free gym memberships
  • Any other amenities or perks, such as on-site child care services or performance bonuses
  • Work culture
  • What it’s like to live in the area, including information about recreation opportunities, the climate, and links to local schools and childcare services

If possible, survey your current staff (especially recent hires) about what they like most, and use their answers to inform your content. If some benefits are position-specific, specify that in the job listing rather than including it in your general careers content.

Be Specific

Content that makes an impression on job seekers provides as much detail as possible. For example, instead of simply listing “Employee wellness program,” say “Your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is important to us. That’s why we offer a range of employee wellness services, including free fitness classes and health screenings, to help you protect and improve your health.” This helps users get a sense of your culture and values as an employer.

Tell Your Story

The mission of your healthcare organization can be a powerful recruiting tool. The best employees are passionate about what they do, rather than simply punching a clock. Millennials, especially, are interested in choosing a job that matches their personal belief and value system.

Your organization makes a difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones every day. Inspire your applicants to come aboard and take pride in their work by weaving your mission, vision, and values into your copy, and linking to relevant content elsewhere on your site where applicable.

Hard-to-Fill Position Recruitment

Consider creating dedicated landing pages within your careers recruitment content that speak directly to your ideal candidate in hard-to-fill fields. For instance, if you want to attract doctors and nurses, write two pages that pitch your organization specifically to those respective audiences.

Adventist HealthCare, a Maryland-based health system, worked with Geonetric to restructure the Careers section of their website, developing new content to target and reach candidates with specialized skills, including:

  • Allied health professionals, non-physician and non-nurse professionals such as social workers and certified technicians
  • Home health providers
  • Mental health professionals
  • Nurses
  • Non-clinical staff, including administrative, management, information technology, and services roles

Learn more about Adventist HealthCare’s recent redesign and how Geonetric helped the organization meet their goals.

Talk to staff who are already in those roles at your organization about what they like best about working there and what attracted them in the first place. Then, weave those features into your page copy. For example:

  • “Join a team of nurses who are passionate about improving health care and work closely with doctors who respect their expertise and skills.”
  • “Apply your skills as a radiologist using the latest technology in a well-equipped clinic.”

Conduct keyword research for your area and look into what professionals in the role you’re focusing on are most attracted to, then write content that addresses how your organization can meet those needs. For example:

  • “Grow your practice and give your patients access to our wide-range of services when you join Benefit Health as an affiliated physician.”

Qualifying Candidates

Successful recruiting is about bringing people on board who not only fit your current culture, but help push your organization forward into the future.

Help prospects understand if they’ll be a good fit at your organization by explaining the characteristics and personality traits they need to thrive. What do your best current employees share? Are they leaders, team-oriented, compassionate, and flexible? Do they feel fulfilled by giving back to your community? Are they energized by learning and applying the latest, evidence-based practices to improve patient safety? Make it clear who you’re looking for, and the right candidates will take note and get excited to join a work culture where they’re likely to succeed.

Tools for Success

Help your candidates shine by helping them understand what’s expected of them throughout the hiring process.

In your website content or a blog post you promote with a PPC ad campaign or social media ads, include tips on how they can make their resume and cover letter as strong as possible, and give them tips on how to make the best impression during interviews. If something is important to your hiring staff, it’s important for your candidates to know, too.

Writing Compelling Copy

Just like all the other sections of your website, your careers section should follow our best practices for web writing. Write content that’s:

  • Clear and concise
  • User-focused
  • Informative and answers common user concerns. For example, if you receive a lot of questions about the hiring process, explain in step-by-step instructions what applicants should expect, and who they may contact at any point in the process if they need help.
  • Makes it easy for the reader to take action. Each page should include a compelling call-to-action that’s relevant to that page—for example, “search available jobs, “apply now,” or “contact us.”


Job seekers trust and seek out the opinions and perspectives of current and past employees. Consider enriching your careers content with quotes from your staff, or, if your organization has positive anonymous reviews on a site like Glassdoor, set up an employer account to feature and respond to employee reviews, and link to the best reviews from your website.

Supercharge Your Careers Content

If increasing applicant volume, finding qualified new hires, and improving employee retention are important to your organization, get assistance from the content strategists and writers at Geonetric.