Healthcare Content Marketing: The Only Constant Is Change

by | Aug 21, 2019 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

Cleveland Clinic’s creative director talks about about the organization’s decision to redesign their Health Essentials blog, which was already one of the top visited healthcare news sites.

For healthcare marketers vying for attention from increasingly health-curious and digitally savvy consumers, staying relevant is an ongoing challenge that requires continuous improvement. This is especially true when it comes to content marketing, with new channels emerging and search engines constantly tweaking their algorithms (Google made more than 3,000 updates last year alone).

We spoke with Anne Drago, creative director at the Cleveland Clinic, about her experience in leading a high-profile transition designed to elevate the organization’s already highly successful healthcare content marketing strategy.

In an upcoming panel discussion at the Health Summit at Content Marketing World, she will be giving a behind-the-scenes look at how Cleveland Clinic transformed a corporate-minded blog into a robust health media site trusted by millions worldwide.

Why do you feel this topic is relevant for today’s healthcare marketing professionals?

There is an important lesson in sharing our website redesign story: Just because something is working (and working EXTREMELY well) doesn’t mean that it can’t evolve into something even better. Health Essentials is one of the top-visited healthcare news sites in the country—we currently average 7 million unique sessions per month. [NOTE: The blog now receives more than 10 million visits per month, based on a recent interview with Cleveland Clinic Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Health Content Amanda Todorovich for the Healthcare Insight podcast.]

The site was definitely in need of a visual refresh, but we also looked at opportunities for improvement, as far as driving and retaining more traffic, and dove right in. We were on a relatively tight budget, so we capitalized on using our highly skilled, in-house designers (who have a better sense of the intricacies of the brand) to design the creative approach.

However, it is also important to know when it’s necessary to bring in outside help for these large-scale projects. Our partnership with 10up was crucial to the success of this redesign—we were able to rely on them for the things that our team doesn’t have an abundance of, like developers and UX specialists.

Can you share an anecdote or experience that illustrates how Cleveland Clinic put this idea into practice?

We have a team of six incredibly talented designers who work on most of the visuals for our content marketing efforts and anything related to Health Essentials. An in-house creative team provides an extreme value to Cleveland Clinic in that we (among other things) understand the brand, internal nuances and the healthcare market. We live and breathe the brand, and most of us have been working in it all day for many years. We are also committed to doing best-in-class creative work.

Due to the scale of our projects, there are times when we simply don’t have the resources to execute a project from start to finish. But we’ve learned to partner with companies who can help us execute where we cannot.

What types of consumer and/or physician data are you leveraging to drive creative decisions for the Cleveland Clinic blog and other channels?

With our website redesign, the focus was stepping away from being a blog—we looked at other media sites for ideas and inspiration.

We rely on Google analytics to inform the decisions we make. We know that nearly 80% of traffic to our site comes from mobile devices, so we made creating an amazing mobile experience the priority.

Through data, we also knew site visitors headed to one single page (whether driven there from organic search, social or an enewsletter) and then left the site. We wanted to change that pattern by getting more relevant content out in front of them by including related articles and health content from Cleveland Clinic’s Health Library on each article. Knowing that the home page wasn’t highly trafficked at all, we were able to remove the ads that appear on that page in favor of creating an overall experience that feels more like a media site.

With regard to social media, our entire design team creates Cleveland Clinic’s Instagram stories that appear on our account each day—each driving to an article on Health Essentials. Data has driven everything from the types of articles we focus on, creating new content types using Instagram tools (like polls and quizzes), all the way to what kind of visuals to use (or NOT to use).

What is the most important thing that you want attendees to take away from your presentation on healthcare content marketing?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be constantly experimenting and evolving your approaches. We have a work culture where its OK to take risks. In fact, experimenting is actually encouraged by our leadership, all the way up to our CMO. If something doesn’t stick, we then know (still valuable) what doesn’t work.

Don’t be afraid to try new content types to see how they perform. Do more of what performs best, then try to improve upon that.

Listen to your users. For instance, we had a couple of comments come through on Facebook regarding the usability of our interactive infographics. We evaluated their feedback and realized our approach to interactivity was confusing at times. So, we began fine-tuning our approach to usability and interactivity.

Our designers collaborate closely with our writers. We are truly a team and trust in each other’s expertise. It’s important to include designers in your start-of-work meetings. Designers are problem-solvers, but they need to understand the problem first.

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