How to Evolve Your Print Magazine into an Integrated Content Marketing 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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