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

Get more out of your custom healthcare magazine with an integrated content marketing strategy approach.

If you already publish a custom magazine, 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 is part of your marketing 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 program from a print-centric silo to a more integrated content 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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