How do you keep it fresh in a digital world burned out by content fatigue?
Way back in 2014, the Huffington Post predicted the volume of online content would increase 600% by 2020. And a Forbes article from 2016 predicted that we were reaching the saturation point of content marketing. To quote the author: “The vast majority of companies will embrace content as a regular and unmoveable component of their marketing strategy and budget.”
Here we are in the waning months of 2020, and the tsunami of content isn't slowing down anytime soon. This is especially true as consumers seek COVID-related content and brands meet that demand. In fact, it's estimated that more than 1,500 articles were produced each day between January and March alone.
This reflects the fact that health and wellness is one of the most sought-after subjects. According to the Pew Internet and Life Project, approximately 80 percent of internet users have searched for answers to a health question online. In fact, searching for health information is second only to using email in terms of what people spend the most time doing on the internet.
As a healthcare marketer, this creates both a challenge and an opportunity. You know you need to get your brand in front of the right audience in a meaningful way. You also know an integrated content strategy is one of the best ways to do that. However, there is so much digital content available to consumers that, at times, readers feel overwhelmed. That’s when content fatigue sets in.
What Is Content Fatigue?
Content fatigue is the exasperated sigh you heave when your inbox receives another 20 unsolicited emails from five companies you shopped at once. It’s the exhaustion that builds as you spend precious time sifting through search results trying to find an article that provides a solution to your problem or concern. It’s the way that you now ignore sponsored blog posts and promoted tweets in much the same way internet users once ignored flashing, omnipresent banner ads with dancing babies.
As a marketer, you have a unique perspective because you see things from both sides. You’ve been both the content creator and consumer, which makes you uniquely positioned to identify and stave off content fatigue.
Here’s the real opportunity for healthcare marketers: Quality content that your audience consistently finds useful is a competitive advantage. Despite the growth of content as part of the healthcare marketing mix, the majority of marketers struggle to find success as illustrated by our 2020 State of Healthcare Content Marketing Report. Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) used content marketing compared to 76% the previous year, although most described their efforts as somewhat effective (66%) and only 26% consider their efforts very effective.
The culprit is likely content fatigue, and here are proven ways to combat it.
5 Ways to Avoid Content Fatigue
So how do you dig out from beneath the avalanche and create the perfect piece of content that will catch the eye of your ideal reader?
Find your niche. Tell your readers what you offer that not everyone can. For hospitals, health systems and even small medical practices, one answer is obvious: expertise. People search online for information about their medical problems all the time, and you can speak as an authority on those subjects by featuring your physicians and other experts.
Know your goal. Don’t create content just to create content. What is the goal of your blog post, tweet, or email? Know exactly what kind of action you want the reader to take after reading your content, whether it’s to make an appointment for an orthopedic consultation, spread the word about an upcoming flu shot clinic, or simply more be more informed on a relevant health topic.
Shift focus. Temporarily take the spotlight off your hospital or practice. Feature heartwarming patient success stories or interviews with individual providers on topics that are making headlines. This allows potential patients to feel they know and trust the physician before they make an appointment.
Create resources. Get creative with your content format and create something readers can refer to over and over again. This could be anything from a checklist of what to keep in a first-aid kit to childhood vaccination schedules. Think of things they can print out and tack up on the kitchen cork board—with your hospital or practice’s logo and contact information clearly displayed.
Think quality over quantity. All content marketers know that consistent posting is essential. However, one of the biggest factors driving content fatigue is that there’s a lot of irrelevant messaging out there. Scale back your posting quantity and instead focus on identifying ways you can improve quality. Give your readers information that is helpful and relevant for the long term.
NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2018. It has been updated for freshness.
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