A Conversation with Content Strategists Part 3: Marketing Technology and Channel Integration

by | Jan 22, 2020 | Healthcare Industry Insights

In this interview series with healthcare content strategy leads, we discuss the goals, channels and other elements of an effective healthcare content strategy, focusing on marketing technology and channel integration strategies.

We spoke with three mar­ket­ing lead­ers about every­thing from keep­ing up with trends to select­ing the right chan­nels. Now, in this third and final arti­cle in our series, we ask the con­tent strate­gists about the mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy and chan­nel inte­gra­tion tools they’re using to plan, cre­ate and deploy content.

We spoke with:

Q: How are you using marketing technology and channel integration?

Amy-Sarah: We use a cou­ple of dif­fer­ent paid SEO plat­forms, such as ForeSee—to help guide our organ­ic search efforts and keep tabs on user feed­back. We use a mar­ket­ing automa­tion plat­form for class and event reg­is­tra­tions and email lists.

Kris­ten: Mar­ket­ing tech­nol­o­gy is a crit­i­cal part of mak­ing our con­tent mar­ket­ing pro­gram more effi­cient and effec­tive. We’re uti­liz­ing a CRM to bet­ter under­stand our audi­ences and an email plat­form and mar­ket­ing automa­tion to deliv­er con­tent when audi­ences need it most. We rely heav­i­ly on our ana­lyt­ics tools and have used dig­i­tal user test­ing to gath­er the insights we need to make data-dri­ven decisions.

Q: What are your favorite tools for planning, creating or measuring content?

Amy-Sarah: I love, love, love SiteIm­prove. It hits the sweet spot of being easy/intuitive to use while at the same time pro­vid­ing enough robust data and cus­tomiza­tion to allow for accu­rate report­ing. We mea­sure read­abil­i­ty, acces­si­bil­i­ty, usabil­i­ty, SEO and con­tent qual­i­ty for dif­fer­ent con­tent seg­ments, and we’re able to use num­bers to show improvement—very clear, help­ful met­rics for demon­strat­ing the out­comes of our efforts with our doctors.

[I also love] the Hem­ing­way Edi­tor, a free web­site that allows you to paste in text and see right away where and how you need to sim­pli­fy the con­tent to cre­ate more con­cise, effec­tive writ­ing. This can be real­ly valu­able for online edit­ing, espe­cial­ly when you’re forced to edit yourself.

Kris­ten: I use SEM­rush con­stant­ly for key­word research, con­tent ideation and opti­miza­tion. I start every morn­ing by check­ing Google Trends to stay up to date on rel­e­vant top­ics that are trend­ing. I also log into our Google Ana­lyt­ics account on a dai­ly basis to mon­i­tor con­tent per­for­mance; we use Tableau to help with data visu­al­iza­tion and tell the sto­ry of what those num­bers mean.

Q: What is your perspective on content marketing in what some are calling the “post-click” era?

Amy-Sarah: What’s inter­est­ing is that the actu­al strat­e­gy of devel­op­ing good con­tent that meets the needs or answers the ques­tions of the con­sumer patient doesn’t change. Whether a user clicks through to our web­site or not doesn’t change that. What does need to change is how we under­stand our dig­i­tal pres­ence and how we mea­sure suc­cess. Instead of think­ing of our web­site like a hos­pi­tal build­ing, where we serve patients only with­in the walls of the struc­ture, we have to expand our reach beyond the site, just like we’re doing with pop­u­la­tion health in extend­ing our ideas of health care beyond the hos­pi­tal foot­print. So we meet our patients on YouTube, we meet them on dis­ease-spe­cif­ic forums. We focus, not on click-through rates and online appoint­ments, but on engage­ments and inter­ac­tions. And, we find a way to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to offer ser­vices where they are.

Kris­ten: We’re try­ing to take advan­tage of Google’s grow­ing num­ber of fea­tured snip­pets, and right now have ben­e­fit­ed from pro­vid­ing con­tent that answers users’ ques­tions and queries. Con­sid­er­ing voice search as part of that post-click era, we’d con­sid­er it a suc­cess when and if a user found their answer from us, even if that didn’t end up with a click. While the met­rics we track may change as SERPs evolve, the role of con­tent mar­ket­ing will remain impor­tant, because it’s all about pre­sent­ing the most use­ful con­tent in the most use­ful way for the end user.

Q: The head of the Content Marketing Institute believes that “print is making a comeback.” How does print factor into your content strategy?

Rebec­ca: Print is a key com­po­nent of our strategy—but again, we believe the lines are blurred. Print is valu­able if your con­sumer reads it. Video is valu­able if your con­sumer watch­es it. Radio is valu­able if your con­sumer is lis­ten­ing. But none of these work if you don’t have built-in audi­ences. Our strat­e­gy is to dig deep ear­ly in the process so we know who is read­ing, watch­ing or lis­ten­ing. What­ev­er we pro­duce must match the exist­ing audience—and that’s what is tricky is our world right now. That is what we see con­stant­ly evolving.

What works for a woman in her 60s may not work for her daugh­ter or son or grand­daugh­ter and grand­son. We have to be rel­e­vant to all of those audiences.

One seg­ment that has been very suc­cess­ful is a part­ner­ship with the Hart­ford Courant. We have an arti­cle that runs on Sun­day high­light­ing a strate­gic ser­vice line. That arti­cle then lives in social chan­nels and pre­views a Face­book LIVE con­ver­sa­tion at noon two days lat­er. The arti­cle high­lights a patient sto­ry and the sub­se­quent Q & A allows poten­tial patients access to our experts in real time. This has been tremen­dous­ly suc­cess­ful, with more than 80K views per seg­ment, lead­ing to hun­dreds of appointments.

Kris­ten: Sit­ting on the dig­i­tal team, I can’t say that print is a focus for our con­tent mar­ket­ing pro­gram. How­ev­er, we do not work in a silo, and work­ing with our team mem­bers, we have awe­some oppor­tu­ni­ties to uti­lize our con­tent is a vari­ety of local pub­li­ca­tions, patient hand­outs, and even get requests for print­outs for schools and physi­cian offices.

Amy-Sarah: This is where I think we have to stop divid­ing up strate­gies by plat­form, i.e., dig­i­tal vs. print, or inter­nal vs. exter­nal, online vs. in-per­son. We know that peo­ple cross plat­forms, cross per­sonas and cross con­texts all the time, and try­ing to pin peo­ple into behav­iors won’t always work. The patient expe­ri­ence encom­pass­es all the var­i­ous touch­points we impact.

We know that plen­ty of times our patients need infor­ma­tion on paper and in their hands. Our cur­rent approach requires part­ner­ship between our dig­i­tal and print teams, as well as align­ment with the team cre­at­ing patient edu­ca­tion. We all share a com­mit­ment to plain lan­guage, and we work to coor­di­nate efforts. We want to give patients the choice to find what they need where and how they want to. Our print doc­u­ments pro­vide online options, but we don’t mea­sure suc­cess only on the URL visit.

If you missed the pre­vi­ous arti­cle in the series:

Part 1: Keep­ing Up With Trends 

Part 2: Pri­ma­ry Goals, Audi­ences and Channels

Let’s Talk Timing (and More)

Our health­care mar­ket­ing experts are ready to tai­lor a strat­e­gy that ensures your con­tent reach­es con­sumers, physi­cians and oth­er audi­ences at the per­fect time.

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