The Role of Content Marketing in a Crisis
A recent NRC Health survey found that 43% of people are turning to their local hospital or health system for information about the coronavirus. But what does that mean in the face of a public health crisis, such as the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic?
At Geonetric, we define content marketing as a strategic approach to create valuable, relevant, and consistent digital content with the goal of stimulating your audience and helping connect them with your brand. It means you have the chance to connect with your community with educational, informative content that helps them stay healthy.
Focus on Empathy, Not Conversions
Rather than focusing on driving conversions and appointments, use this time of crisis to create content that shares empathy, provides guidance, and tempers anxieties.
For example, you might consider articles about:
- Activities, recipes and habits to stay healthy in social-distancing:
- UNC Health’s 3 Tips on How to Stay Active if You Can’t Get to the Gym
- Cape Cod Healthcare’s How to banish COVID-19 germs in your home and beyond
- Opportunities for giving from your community
- Avera’s How Can I Sew Masks for Health Care Workers
- Cape Cod Healthcare’s Your blood donation is needed more than ever
- Mental health and relaxation techniques during crisis
- Altru Health System’s Four Ways to Take Care of Yourself During COVID-19
- Bryan Health’s Mental Wellness Self-Care During COVID-19 Pandemic podcast
- How to find accurate, truthful information online during a crisis
Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Your patients and community members have many questions during a healthcare crisis, and some of them might be coming in to your front-line staff on the phone or in the clinics.
Ask your team members what they’ve heard and brainstorm potential content marketing assets to respond, such as:
- Video Q&As with experts
- Infographics to help visually break down complicated information
- Listicles for tips
- How-to articles for guidance
If the answer isn’t robust enough to warrant a content marketing article, podcast, or video, consider adding it to a neatly organized FAQ section of your crisis communication hub.
Involve Your Stakeholders
In times of healthcare crisis, people want information they can trust. Invite your doctors and medical specialists to be part of your content creation as experts.
This could be in the form of a live Facebook video, or perhaps a question-and-answer-format blog post about myths and truths of the crisis. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics hosted a live Q & A session on Facebook to answer questions and concerns from their followers.
It’s not just infectious disease experts that people want to hear from during a pandemic. Consider inviting your mental health professionals, nurses, dieticians, obstetricians, and physical therapists to provide information for various audiences on how to stay healthy.
Publish & Share
Once new articles and assets are published on your website or content marketing hub, get them ready to share across:
- Social media channels – When a new story publishes, share it with your social followers to drive traffic and keep them informed
- On your site dynamically – If possible, employ tagging and taxonomy functions to display content across relevant related pages of your website
- Local media – Alert local newspapers and news stations of tips and expertise to share with your community
- Your email newsletters – As you’re reaching out to your subscribers, be sure you’re updating them with relevant crisis articles and tips to stay healthy
- Your intranet – Any articles that are written to help the community understand the crisis can have equal value to your colleagues and teammates, so share your recent blogs and content assets to your intranet, too
Have a Governance Plan in Place
If you follow the advice provided here, you’ll be spinning up lots of content. You’ll be answering questions and concerns, directing traffic for a community in need, and fulfilling requests from stakeholders to keep your audience informed. That’s why it’s so important to have a solid crisis content governance plan in place.
Not Sure Where to Start? Mine for Ideas
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, social media and search engines have seen a spike in traffic. Not just because more people are online, working remotely, and socializing digitally, but also because people are trying to learn everything they can about the virus.
As a healthcare marketer, you’ll want to seek out the types of queries people have about the crisis. You can start with your own social media accounts, by reviewing comments and questions people have left on your page or to your account.
You can also explore tools like Google Trends, which gives you glimpses into popular and on-the-rise searches. Likewise, Google Search Console and your website’s internal site search can help you understand what crisis-related information your site visitors are looking for.
If you’re ready to put your content marketing to work during a crisis, but aren’t sure where to start, reach out to Geonetric. You’ll work with expert content strategists, writers, and developers who can help you build content marketing assets or a branded content marketing hub to support your marketing efforts, patients, and communities.