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.” 


Let’s Build Your Content Strategy Together

Find out how we’re helping healthcare organizations like yours find, engage and convert patients and prospects.

Weight-Loss Campaign Generates 100+ Leads in 60 Days

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s ongoing campaign for its weight-loss surgery program is generating outstanding results.

In late summer 2019, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center approached True North Custom with a challenge: The Ogdensburg, New York, medical center had partnered with bariatric surgeons to launch a weight-loss surgery program, and the first patient seminar was already scheduled for Sept. 17. The hospital’s marketing department had no materials to support the program.

Claxton-Hepburn, a True North client for 17 years, needed a campaign that would inform potential patients about the existence of the program, encourage those interested to attend an information session and then provide potential patients with additional materials to help them make a decision about the surgery.

“Our team was up to the challenge,” says Jason Skinner, chief marketing officer at True North. “Within days, our team had developed a strategic approach for a multi-pronged campaign that met the client’s needs.” 

Nurturing Patients Along the Way

The center of Claxton-Hepburn’s campaign was a weight-loss surgerlanding page that provided seminar information, introduced the surgeons and served as a seminar registration portal. A direct mail campaign, along with digital advertising through Facebook and paid search, directed potential patients to the landing page to learn more about the program and register to attend an information session. Once registered, patients began receiving the components of a five-part email drip campaign that guided them along the decision-making process. 

“Before they attended the information session, the potential patients received an email thanking them for registering, and two emails were deployed a few days before the information session reminding them of the date and time of the program,” Jason says. “After they attended the seminar, they received supplementary information to help them learn more, including a four-page downloadable guide, an infographic and a video—all custom content created by the True North team.”

Generating Outstanding Results

In the first four months, campaigns promoting the weight-loss seminars have delivered outstanding results:

Leads Generated

(candidates interested in attending the seminars)

Attended Seminar

with 51 attendees signing up to be formally evaluated for the program


average open rate

The email nurturing campaign has proven to be a valuable asset for the campaign

“Within two days of launching this campaign, we saw potential patients register for the information session, and continued to have multiple people register every week,” Jason says. “This is an example of how a well-designed campaign can attract the right patients, encourage them to take action and then nurture them along the decision-making process.” 

Let’s Build Your Content Strategy Together

Find out how we’re helping healthcare organizations like yours find, engage and convert patients and prospects.

Integrated Content Strategy Drives Growth for Community Hospital

Delivering custom content across multiple channels has allowed Angie Fabian, chief marketing and development officer at Summit Healthcare in Show Low, Arizona, to increase the hospital’s market share while developing a closer relationship with her audience.

“Our community is very small, so we know exactly what our different demographics want to see,” Fabian says. “And we reach out to them using a variety of media channels.”

Summit Healthcare works with True North Custom to produce print, digital, and social media as part of their integrated content strategy. Custom messages are directed to target demographics with coordinated calls to action (CTAs) that drive readers to Summit Healthcare’s popular community newsletter, which provides news and updates that keep Summit Healthcare top of mind as a trusted healthcare resource within the community.

“A lot of people really like the print newsletter, and many others subscribe to our e-newsletter,” Fabian says. “These sources keep people up to date, even if they’re not coming into the medical center.”

In addition to digital newsletters, Summit Healthcare keeps physical copies in clinics for patients and visitors to take with them. Social media posts also help direct readers to Summit Healthcare’s newsletter and website.

“We really want to educate people throughout the community about preventive healthcare,” Fabian says. “Patients can help stop more serious conditions from developing if they keep up with preventive care.”

Meeting Audiences Where They Are

In order to better educate its community, Summit Healthcare created a YouTube channel that launched in 2017. The channel includes the “Summit Health Cares” video series, which is made up of dozens of podcast-style interviews with staff members and experts about healthcare topics that range from patient safety to pediatric health.

“Our YouTube videos are also shared on our other social media channels such as Facebook,” Fabian says. “In addition to our regular interviews, we post seminar videos for people who were unable to attend in person.”

Direct mail campaigns are also used to notify the community about seminars and services offered by the medical center.

“Not everyone knows that Summit Healthcare has such a wide range of services available,” Fabian says. “This isn’t usual for such a small town, so it’s important that we get the word out, and we use as many media channels as possible to reach a larger audience.”

By providing custom content with clear CTAs in multiple places and coordinating the messages across channels, Fabian feels the hospital has the best opportunity for its message to be heard by the people who need it most — now and in the future.

Let’s Build Your Content Strategy Together

Find out how we’re helping healthcare organizations like yours find, engage and convert patients and prospects.

Best Practices for Turning Prospects Into Patients Through Email Nurturing Campaigns

Two service line-specific campaigns, launched in collaboration with True North Custom, are helping Presence Health boost patient volume and build stronger relationships by leveraging its message of compassionate care.

In one of our many case studies designed to help prospects convert patients, we explore the background of Presence Health. After a rebranding and a refocus on its core mission, the team at Presence Health decided digital marketing campaigns (specifically an email nurturing campaign strategy) was the best tool to quickly and effectively communicate their messages of “health through relationships” and “compassionate care.”

Best Practices for Turning Prospects into Patients

The system’s corporate leadership had targeted the orthopedics and primary care service lines for growth. A primary goal for the orthopedics campaign was to promote 72-hour express appointments as well as free 15-minute injury screenings, while the primary care campaign was designed to raise awareness of Presence Health’s community-focused care and build brand recognition in a highly competitive market.

True North worked with Presence Health’s marketing and customer relationship management teams to craft unique nurturing campaigns for each service line, using a series of emails deployed weekly, that offered readers a variety of content and calls to action:

  • Drip emails were sent once per week for a total of 11 weeks and featured full-length, soft-sell articles and infographics. Calls to action drove readers to online forms where they could request the free injury screenings and express appointments, or to online find-a-doctor registries.
  • Trigger emails were deployed at strategic points throughout the campaign cycle. The goal of these emails, which were sent to users who clicked a call to action in a previous email, was to keep readers engaged with the brand by signing up for Presence Health’s monthly e-newsletter.
  • A win-back email was also deployed at a strategic point in the campaign cycle, targeting readers who had not yet opened any previous drip email, re-engaging them to keep them in the lead nurturing cycle.


Both campaigns revealed that, by keeping interested readers engaged, both open and click-to-open rates continually improved and led to greater involvement with the Presence Health brand.

The primary care campaign deployed to email addresses collected from online health risk assessments and from people who called Presence Health looking for a physician. The best performing drip email, “4 Numbers You Need to Know,” reached an open rate of 26%. Overall, the email nurturing campaign averaged a 20% open rate and nearly a 15% click-to-open rate


  • Open Rate (Best Performing Drip Email) 26% 26%
  • Open Rate (Overall Campaign Average) 20% 20%
  • Click-to-Open Rate (Primary Care Campaign Average) 14.8% 14.8%

The orthopedic campaign reached readers who completed an online joint pain assessment. The best-performing email in that campaign, “When You Need a Doctor’s Help for Joint Pain,” reached an open rate of 42%. The campaign’s win-back email had a click-to-open rate of 13.3% — showing that readers want to continue receiving information even if they aren’t interacting — and overall, the campaign averaged a 14.2% click-to-open rate.

  • Open Rate (Best Performing Drip Email) 42% 42%
  • Open Rate (Win-Back Email) 13.3% 13.3%
  • Click-to-Open Rate (Orthopedics Campaign Average) 14.2% 14.2%

Nemours Physician Email Campaign Triples Industry Average

True North Custom used strategic testing and tweaking to make Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children’s pediatric orthopedic email campaign a resounding success.

Nemours Children's Health System is one of the largest integrated pediatric health systems in the nation. To promote its Orthopedic Center at duPont Hospital for Children, Nemours turned to True North Custom for a robust physician email campaign.

Overview and Objectives

Since opening its doors in 1940, duPont Hospital for Children has been treating complex pediatric orthopedic conditions. Today, the Nemours Orthopedic Center team handles more than 40,000 outpatients and 6,000 procedures each year.
Physicians with duPont Hospital for Children have led the way in treating and researching pediatric orthopedic conditions for generations of children.

Nemours turned to True North Custom to heighten awareness of their capabilities—both nationally and internationally. True North Custom created a program that paired custom content with a targeted campaign designed to enhance:

  • Audience engagement
  • Brand awareness
  • Service line growth
  • Reputation via U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital rankings

Marketing Strategy for a Physician Email Marketing Campaign

After evaluating the marketing needs of Nemours, True North Custom worked together with Nemours Marketing to develop a physician email campaign targeted to pediatric orthopedic surgeons.  Each email newsletter featured the use of innovative surgical techniques, case studies, research presentations, and the application of cutting-edge technology to patient care.

Each quarter, the email newsletter is deployed from the world-renowned Chairman of the Nemours Orthopedic Department with a single subject line designed to pique interest and drive engagement. A few days later, the same email is redeployed to recipients who didn't open the first email, this time highlighting a different topic within the newsletter.

By comparing analytics showing the differing responses to each e-blast, True North Custom was able to determine what drove physician interest and then use that information to craft future emails in the campaign and enhance the user experience.

The result was an email open rate that blew industry averages out of the water.


Compared with other physician e-mail campaigns that have average open rates of 10-11%, a recent pediatric orthopedic campaign for Nemours had an open rate of 31.72%. The campaign also exceeded the average click-through rate for e-mails targeting physicians.



Average Open Rate


Pediatric Orthopedic Campaign Open Rate

True North Custom continues to help Nemours Orthopedic Center reach pediatric orthopedic surgeons worldwide with messages that resonate. As information and analytics are reviewed after each email, True North Custom presents campaign analytics to Nemours with recommendations for the next email blast.

This work, paired with Nemours’ willingness to adjust the approach and content on an ongoing basis, has created an physician email marketing campaign that resonates with that particular subspecialty group.

Let’s Build Your Content Strategy Together

Find out how we’re helping healthcare organizations like yours find, engage and convert patients and prospects.