How to Evolve Your Print Magazine into an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Content Strategy

Get more out of your print magazine with an integrated strategy. Here’s how healthcare leaders are evolving their approach to content marketing.

If you’re already using print con­tent mar­ket­ing, con­grat­u­la­tions: You’re ahead of the curve! The Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Insti­tute recent­ly sug­gest­ed that mar­keters con­sid­er using print because every­thing else is going online. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to ditch dig­i­tal, but it does mean you need to cre­ate an inte­grat­ed con­tent strategy.

(And if you’re not already pub­lish­ing, here are six rea­sons to rethink print from con­tent mar­ket­ing guru Joe Pulizzi.)

Accord­ing to a By The Num­bers report from the Soci­ety for Health­care Strat­e­gy and Mar­ket Devel­op­ment, health­care mar­keters lever­ag­ing the pow­er of print are actu­al­ly in the major­i­ty. They found that 80% of its mem­bers pro­duce com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tions and 71% pro­duce employ­ee pub­li­ca­tions. In addi­tion, near­ly half (44%) pro­duce pub­li­ca­tions for physicians.

While health­care mar­ket­ing often gets a bad rap for being behind the curve, if print con­tent mar­ket­ing is part of your toolk­it, you’re also in good com­pa­ny. Face­book, Airbnb and oth­er glob­al brands are embrac­ing print to engage their “always on” audi­ences in a “lean-back” for­mat with less dis­trac­tions.

Suc­cess Sto­ries: Expand­ing Cus­tom Mag­a­zine Con­tent Beyond Print

While print remains viable—and usage is even increas­ing among younger demo­graph­ics, an effec­tive cus­tom mag­a­zine is now part of a larg­er engage­ment or growth strat­e­gy that lever­ages con­tent mar­ket­ing tools and mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal touch­points to pro­mote, inte­grate and mea­sure con­tent devel­oped for the publication.

Here are a cou­ple exam­ples of health sys­tems that have evolved their con­tent strategies:

HSHS Sacred Heart Hos­pi­tal — A cen­ter­piece exam­ple of an inte­grat­ed con­tent strat­e­gy is a blog called Inspir­ing Health, which lever­ages con­tent from an award-win­ning com­mu­ni­ty pub­li­ca­tion of the same name and is then opti­mized for search and pro­mot­ed through paid and organ­ic social media, native adver­tis­ing and email. Fol­low­ing its Feb­ru­ary 2019 launch, the blog received more than 2,000 page views dur­ing the first month—including 1,500 new users. Engage­ment met­rics for Face­book and native adver­tis­ing are beat­ing indus­try bench­marks, mean­ing the audi­ence is engag­ing with this con­tent at a high­er rate com­pared to oth­er health­care-relat­ed promotions.

magazine and digital display

Methodist Health Sys­temMethodist pro­duces a 48-page, quar­ter­ly print pub­li­ca­tion titled SHINE along with info­graph­ics, videos, patient sto­ries and oth­er types of con­tent to reach the com­mu­ni­ty. In 2019, the mar­ket­ing team part­nered with True North to launch SHINE Online and deliv­er a mul­ti­fac­eted con­tent expe­ri­ence with rel­e­vant nur­tur­ing and con­ver­sion oppor­tu­ni­ties. With­in the first two months, the site was already dri­ving engage­ment at unprece­dent­ed lev­els. In fact, August and Sep­tem­ber of 2019 pro­duced over 1,000% more traf­fic than the same time frame in 2018 on Methodist’s for­mer blog, which was housed on their main site. Learn more about the evo­lu­tion of SHINE in a detailed case study.

Methodist magazine and digital display

Read the Case Study: Methodist Health Sys­tem Boosts Con­sumer Engage­ment With Inte­grat­ed Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Strategy

The Advantages of an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy

As these exam­ples illus­trate, extend­ing the con­tent in your cus­tom mag­a­zine to an inte­grat­ed con­tent approach offers sev­er­al ben­e­fits for your audi­ence and your organization.

  • Grow Your Audi­ence. Broad­en the reach of your con­tent beyond the publication’s defined cir­cu­la­tion, which is typ­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed based on demo­graph­ics, geog­ra­phy and oth­er parameters.
  • Mul­ti­ply Your Chan­nels. Add val­ue and depth to your web, email and social plat­forms through con­tent already cre­at­ed for your magazine.
  • Mea­sure the Impact of Your Con­tent Mar­ket­ing. Con­nect your con­tent to dig­i­tal touch­points to allow for real-time mon­i­tor­ing of site traf­fic, open rates and oth­er met­rics that demon­strate the val­ue of your con­tent mar­ket­ing investment.
  • Gen­er­ate Increased Out­comes. Increase expo­sure to your con­tent to build rela­tion­ships with online con­sumers, posi­tion­ing your brand as the best choice when seek­ing solu­tions to their health­care needs.

So the ques­tion is: How do you evolve your print con­tent mar­ket­ing pro­gram to a more inte­grat­ed strat­e­gy offer­ing that engages the audi­ence via web and social chan­nels? Try these three techniques.

1. Inte­grate cus­tom mag­a­zine con­tent into your website.

To begin, start by iden­ti­fy­ing a place on your exist­ing web­site to incor­po­rate the con­tent. A blog or health news sec­tion on your site may be per­fect. If you do not have an area that acts like a blog, invest some time into cre­at­ing a space that can be eas­i­ly inte­grat­ed into your company’s site. This addi­tion will enhance your online pres­ence and make your orga­ni­za­tion more com­pet­i­tive, pay­ing div­i­dends long term.

“By opti­miz­ing con­tent for the web, you nat­u­ral­ly kick-start organ­ic search vis­i­bil­i­ty for peo­ple search­ing for the key­words includ­ed in your con­tent,” says Ash­ley DuFrene, senior dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist at True North Custom.

2. Repur­pose your print con­tent for an online audience.

Cre­at­ing a sea­son­al cus­tom mag­a­zine takes time and effort in order to reach your com­mu­ni­ty audi­ence in a way that res­onates. To cre­ate rel­e­vant and news­wor­thy con­tent read­ers want to see, include gen­er­al well­ness infor­ma­tion with sea­son-spe­cif­ic sto­ries, care­ful­ly cho­sen pho­tog­ra­phy and graph­ics, and inter­views that incor­po­rate quotes from local experts.

By the time the next sea­son rolls around, your mag­a­zine no longer feels fresh and rel­e­vant, and the pub­li­ca­tion you have been admir­ing should prob­a­bly be retired. The good news is you do not have to get rid of the con­tent com­plete­ly. By repur­pos­ing the sto­ries in your cus­tom mag­a­zine for the web, you can cap­ture and con­nect with a wider audi­ence for an indef­i­nite peri­od of time.

“Print mate­r­i­al is great for com­mu­ni­cat­ing and spread­ing aware­ness among your tar­get mar­ket. How­ev­er, all mag­a­zines have a shelf life with­in someone’s home,” DuFrene says. “Opti­miz­ing your mag­a­zine con­tent for the web cre­ates new paths for peo­ple to ref­er­ence and find health­care con­tent that is rel­e­vant year round.”

3. Dri­ve traf­fic to your dig­i­tal content.

Once con­tent is up and run­ning, your next order of busi­ness should be to dri­ve read­ers to your repur­posed arti­cles. Emails, newslet­ters, native adver­tis­ing and social media are effec­tive tools to incor­po­rate into your inte­grat­ed con­tent strat­e­gy to achieve this objective.

Addi­tion­al­ly, dri­ving traf­fic to the con­tent via social media builds brand aware­ness, ben­e­fit­ting and posi­tion­ing your entire orga­ni­za­tion as an author­i­ty in the med­ical arena.

“A strong online pres­ence with unique con­tent builds author­i­ty,” DuFrene says. “This posi­tions your hos­pi­tal or health sys­tem as experts in health care in your com­mu­ni­ty, which is the ulti­mate goal.”


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