How Research Drives Healthcare Content Marketing ROI

by | Aug 24, 2020 | Content Strategy | 0 comments

Delivering reliable content is one of the most important duties of health systems. Community health depends on it. The main way to ensure the information you share has a positive impact on patient and provider health is to prioritize accurate information and research.

Unlike mar­keters in oth­er indus­tries, health­care mar­keters have an oblig­a­tion to com­bat mis­in­for­ma­tion with reli­able, research-dri­ven con­tent. This respon­si­bil­i­ty is even more impor­tant dur­ing these crit­i­cal times. In fact, health sys­tems have become one of the most trust­ed sources for infor­ma­tion on COVID-19.

Health­care mar­keters must view their role through a dual lens, while retain­ing their over­ar­ch­ing goal of using con­tent mar­ket­ing to gen­er­ate ROI. First, and always, they should strive to pro­vide mean­ing­ful con­tent that dri­ves engage­ment and dif­fer­en­ti­ates their brands. Sec­ond, they must ensure that con­tent is not only accu­rate, but also fact-checked for cred­i­bil­i­ty and consistency.

At its core, con­tent mar­ket­ing offers an oppor­tu­ni­ty for brands to tell mean­ing­ful sto­ries. How­ev­er, hos­pi­tals have a con­joined respon­si­bil­i­ty to pro­mote use­ful and applic­a­ble med­ical advice.

To achieve this goal, it’s key to incor­po­rate research into your plan­ning strat­e­gy, devel­op­ment, pub­lish­ing and beyond. Here’s how to get start­ed or refine your approach.

Planning your content strategy

Build­ing research-focused con­tent begins far before the writ­ing begins.

In order to devel­op a robust, scal­able con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, you first need to under­stand what your com­pe­ti­tion is doing. Long before launch­ing a sin­gle piece of con­tent, delve deep into where your poten­tial con­tent can stand among the ever-grow­ing sea of health con­tent that ranks on page one of Google. Tools like SEM­rush (our favorite) allow mar­keters to uncov­er the cov­et­ed key­words your competition—and your poten­tial patients—are inter­est­ed in.

Begin­ning your research well in advance of pub­lish­ing any piece of con­tent gives your author a guide so the final, pub­lished piece aligns with organ­ic search trends and inter­nal goals.

Next, con­duct com­pre­hen­sive key­word research to inform your con­tent strat­e­gy. Focus on ide­al top­ics that relate to your top ser­vice lines, tar­get­ed ser­vice areas and high-intent search top­ics. Gen­er­ate con­tent themes, focus key­words, sec­ondary key­words, ques­tions to answer and sug­gest­ed sub­head­ings to dri­ve your con­tent. Remem­ber: SEO and con­tent mar­ket­ing are two sides of the same coin, and as such, demand equal atten­tion while plan­ning your content.

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Once you’ve ana­lyzed the com­pe­ti­tion, con­duct­ed key­word research, estab­lished your con­tent strat­e­gy and assigned a writer, it is time to begin craft­ing your content.

Writing your content with research in mind

Mar­keters are tasked with attract­ing new peo­ple into their orga­ni­za­tions. Once that goal is met, they also must hold that inter­est by assert­ing an author­i­ta­tive pres­ence and becom­ing a go-to resource for health infor­ma­tion. That task is far eas­i­er said than done, but the lat­ter half of that process can be eased with back­ground research into your con­tent topics.

Research mat­ters for any brand because it allows con­sumers to gauge how informed or reli­able a par­tic­u­lar source is. In health care, this is par­tic­u­lar­ly true. When mar­ket­ing pri­or­i­ty ser­vice lines to patients, your con­tent must be able to answer their ques­tions and sat­is­fy their needs.

To accom­plish this goal, align your brand with reli­able, third-par­ty sources, such as the CDC, the WHO and oth­er glob­al health lead­ers. Link­ing to rep­utable stud­ies, sur­veys and fact-dri­ven analy­ses gives your audi­ence a sense of secu­ri­ty. They imme­di­ate­ly know the infor­ma­tion they are read­ing (and poten­tial­ly shar­ing) is peer reviewed and sup­port­ed by cred­i­ble health organizations.

Consider these research-driven strategies that lead your readers to trust and engage with your content:

  • Use links effec­tive­ly. When key ser­vice lines are men­tioned by name in blog con­tent, uti­lize anchor text to dri­ve read­ers to those cor­re­spond­ing infor­ma­tion pages on your site.
  • Pro­mote your facil­i­ties. Coin­cide the launch of a new out­pa­tient facil­i­ty with a fact-filled resource tout­ing the ben­e­fits of post­op­er­a­tive rehabilitation.
  • Employ visu­al assets. For exam­ple, point read­ers to your heart health unit with a social media-friend­ly info­graph­ic packed with key facts about heart health, exer­cise and a healthy diet.
  • Allow research to dri­ve your blog strat­e­gy. In a blog post that high­lights home exer­cise tips, back up your claims with new guide­lines from the CDC on fit­ness and COVID-19. You earn added val­ue if you can include quo­ta­tions from your health system’s physi­cians who spe­cial­ize in relat­ed fields, such as bariatrics and gen­er­al wellness.

Whether your goal is to gen­er­ate rev­enue, raise aware­ness and pref­er­ence for your health sys­tem, or sim­ply cel­e­brate a new addi­tion to your clin­i­cal team, a research-dri­ven approach is key to opti­miz­ing per­for­mance and achiev­ing con­tent mar­ket­ing ROI.

Keep up research after your content is live

The need for research doesn’t stop when you hit “pub­lish.”

Con­tin­u­ous and reg­u­lar audits of your con­tent ensure that it main­tains a focus on trend­ing search top­ics. Over time, con­sumer inter­ests change, sta­tis­tics fluc­tu­ate, annu­al iter­a­tions of indus­try reports are released and new con­tent is launched. All of these adjust­ments can and should inspire you to update your his­tor­i­cal con­tent over time.

By tak­ing a look at your con­tent on a quar­ter­ly or bian­nu­al basis, you give your health sys­tem the oppor­tu­ni­ty to iden­ti­fy gaps in your over­all strat­e­gy and launch new research to keep your posts up to date.

While mar­keters should already know the ins and outs of their tar­get audi­ence, it’s worth revis­it­ing your out­reach strat­e­gy reg­u­lar­ly as well. Com­pare those find­ings to your cur­rent bank of con­tent to make sure your his­to­r­i­al con­tent appeals to your desired audience.

Focus­ing on research allows your brand to be a trust­ed voice in guid­ing com­mu­ni­ty health. At the end of the day, health sys­tems ought to be one of—if not the—most reli­able and informed resources for their com­mu­ni­ties. Health­care mar­keters who adopt these research prac­tices will help gen­er­ate favor­able out­comes for both patients and con­tent mar­ket­ing ROI.

Ready to Raise Your Content Marketing ROI?

See the impact research has on brands like yours. We would love to dis­cuss your goals and help you iden­ti­fy oppor­tu­ni­ties for increas­ing con­tent mar­ket­ing ROI.

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