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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