Healthcare Content

Essentials for Creating a Hospital Blog

hospital blog by TotalCom

One underutilized component of hospital marketing is a blog.

Many hospitals are on social media, and most hospitals use digital media in addition to traditional media. But few have a dedicated blog focusing on health, patient care, and information – and that’s a missed opportunity.

Take the Cleveland Clinic, for example. The Cleveland Clinic has transformed their website into essentially one giant blog that features daily content from their professionals and providers on a wealth of health-related topics.

People from all over the country go to the Cleveland Clinic website for information and education, meaning this clinic has one of the best, most recognizable brands in the industry.

Any hospital could do this – all it takes is starting with a simple blog and growing it into a dedicated resource for health-related information.

Why a Blog for a Hospital?

What value does a blog have for a hospital?

As any doctor knows, people are hungry for health-related content and will turn to the Internet before they ever think about speaking to a physician. They’ll also get it from anywhere they can – including many places of questionable integrity and veracity.

Because demand is so high for health-related content, a blog makes perfect sense. Through a dedicated blogging program, a hospital can:

  • Help patients by pointing them in the right direction for care
  • Raise the profile of their individual physicians
  • Increase trust and respect in the community for the hospital
  • Boost brand recognition and authority
  • Convert prospects into patients

A blogging campaign, if properly administered, can fulfill all of these functions and be a vital cog in the hospital marketing machine.

Start With a Blog Content Strategy

To begin, every blogging campaign needs a dedicated content strategy.

A content strategy is essential because you want to know what topics you will discuss, how often you will discuss them, and who will be creating the content (or serving as the source for it). This gives the healthcare marketing professional the opportunity to create cohesive, cogent structure for a campaign and plan everything well in advance.

A content strategy for a blog should contain:

  • The target audience
  • Broad topics to cover
  • More specific blog titles (these can be changed as needed)
  • Keywords to focus on
  • Internal links to promote
  • A regular schedule for drafting
  • A regular schedule for posting
  • Who will be responsible for supplying the information (i.e. physicians, department heads, outside sources, etc)

Honing the strategy should be the first step.

Develop a Smart Keyword Plan for Your Hospital Blog

Inside of your content strategy should be a plan around keywords. You should know what keywords you want to focus on and how they’ll be incorporated.

Ideally, choose one focus keyword per blog. Keywords in this context can be the same as those used elsewhere on the website and in online advertising. They can also be a bit more general. “Hospital in Tuscaloosa” may be a target keyword for the website, but a blog keyword could be something like “flu symptoms” or “how to treat diabetes”.

Keywords for a blog generally revolve around what people actually search for when they’re looking for information online. Stick to those keywords instead of keywords that relate to the hospital itself.

Remember: blog posts can rank in search engines, which is one of your ultimate goals.

Develop an Information Gathering System

One of the most valuable hospital marketing assets a facility has are the physicians who work there.

Physicians, nurses, and technicians are the experts in their respective fields. They know what marketing professionals don’t: the ins and outs of a diagnosis, a condition, a treatment, and anything else you’d want to talk about.

Finding a convenient and stress-free way to get information on a regular basis from your experts is the key to any successful blog.

Some doctors like to write and prefer to write posts themselves. Encourage this whenever you can. Most doctors, though, don’t have the time nor the interest to write a post and would rather just give information. That’s fine – develop a system to take their input and turn it into a full-fledged blog.

Distributing and Re-purposing Your Hospital Blog

Once a blog has been written and posted, you need to distribute it.

You can use blog posts as landing pages for ads. You can share them on social media. You can send them out via email. You can even do paid campaigns like Outbrain to direct people to the blog post. All of these approaches work well to distribute your blog post.

Then put on your PR hat to see what opportunities might exist. An individual post could be great source material for a reporter.

Outsource Some or All Blogging Responsibilities

A hospital marketing department can handle a blogging campaign in house, but it may make sense to outsource it to seasoned professionals who are skilled and adept at creating and executing blogging campaigns.

Contact Jimmy Warren, president of TotalCom Marketing for more information on outsourcing blogging and developing a powerful brand reputation online.


 

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

3 Hospital Marketing Trends That Are A Must

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Hospital marketing is a challenge. Engaging consumers and convincing them to turn to your physicians and services – all while building brand recognition and authority and expanding reach to new potential patients.

It helps to identify important hospital marketing trends that will make an impact over the next year. In a couple of weeks, we’ll look at trends to follow in 2016, but for now, we’ll examine three trends that have made an impact in 2015 and should be followed today.

Here are three important hospital marketing trends to include in your marketing campaign, if you haven’t already.

Tap Into Search Marketing

Before the average patient ever sees a doctor, he or she will have searched online for answers to their symptoms and problems. In fact, 72 percent of Internet users reported looking online for health-related information within the past 12 months, according to Pew Research. This is why WebMD is so popular. This is why countless other sites including medical reviews exist – to provide a steady supply of health-related information for people searching for it.

A hospital has to find ways to tap into search. This is not so much a trend as it is a way of life.

The more information a patient gets from a source online, the more likely it is that that patient will use that facilities services. Tapping into search can mean taking advantage of SEO and SEM, writing blogs with keywords relevant to searches (i.e. find what health questions people are asking online and then writing blogs focused on those answers), and even spreading the message through guest posts and articles that link back to the main hospital website.

This leads us to another major trend: having a robust repository of knowledge.

Create Content and Post

This is another trend that is more like a way of life. A hospital’s website should be a virtual resource for health-related information, complete with topics that help patients find answers to their problems before they ever see a doctor.

This can take many forms. We recommend a hospital blog. But other options are static content that reads like an online encyclopedia or a FAQ page.

The content should then be re-purposed across all of your channels. It also forms great material for PR pitches, both traditional and digital.

Use a Reputation Management Service

Over 60 percent of patients use online doctor reviews before choosing a physician. The number of patients who use online physician and hospital reviews jumped by 68 percent from 2013 to 2014. These two stats alone reveal just how important it is to use some kind of reputation management service for your hospital.

A service can gather reviews and encourage patients to leave reviews on websites. They can also curate these reviews and let you know when one has been posted. Review tracking is a powerful way to manage your reputation, as is the ability to reach out to patients and encourage them to actually create a review. More and more patients are leaving reviews these days, but the more positive ones you have, the better your reputation will be.

Social media is a strong channel for this. You can solicit reviews and have them on your Facebook page, as well as direct patients and followers to external websites for reviews.

Reach for Better Hospital Marketing in 2016

In the coming weeks, check back here for what we expect to be crucial in 2016 for hospital marketing. For now, form a plan to implement the trends outlined here.

ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

Attract New Hospital Patients with Inbound Marketing

Inbound Hospital Marketing TotalcomNow, more than ever, it is important to actively attract new patients to your hospital. In the past, most people chose their healthcare provider based on geographic location. Therefore, the hospital closest to home was generally the hospital of choice.

However, in the past four years, the number of people who go online to find healthcare information has doubled. The rise of the Internet and the ability to find reviews online has led to a more consumer-based approach to finding doctors and healthcare services. Therefore, your healthcare marketing strategy must include an online strategy.

Hospital marketing is no longer about touting your services or showcasing how great your doctors may be. Today it’s all about engaging your potential patient and ensuring your doctors and facility have positive reviews online. Patients go online looking for a healthcare provider they can connect with and feel like they can trust – even before calling or walking in the door.

It is critical that we shift our hospital marketing approach from product-centered to patient-centered and utilize the Internet to reach our target audiences.

Inbound Marketing Is the Answer

The goal of inbound marketing is not only to drive traffic to your website, but to also engage those users and convert them into patients by answering their questions and building trust.

In order to be effective, you first have to attract the right kind of traffic, which is done by providing relevant and targeted content that is designed to educate the target audience.

While outbound marketing relies on purchasing ads and email lists to build brand awareness, inbound marketing works to naturally attract consumers to your site based on their interests and concerns. You then build trust with the consumer by providing them with information they were already looking for and setting up your facility and doctors as an authority.

One of the greatest benefits of inbound marketing is the cost of implementation. Inbound leads actually cost approximately 61% less than outbound leads and traditional marketing efforts. In short, inbound marketing is not only effective, but is also incredibly affordable.

Another benefit is that inbound marketing is easier to track than other traditional methods since it is digital and therefore has a plethora of tools for tracking purposes. The ability to track lets you know exactly what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to tailor your methods to what is providing the biggest return-on-investment.

However, it is important to remember that inbound marketing is a long-term strategy, not a quick fix; therefore, allow ample time for results when tracking its effectiveness.

How to Implement Inbound Marketing for Your Hospital

Get the Most Out of Your Website

When it comes to online marketing and advertising, your website is ultimately at the center of everything you do. Therefore, make sure that your website is user friendly.

When people visit your hospital’s website they should be able to find all the information they are looking for quickly, without much effort. Include clear calls-to-action on every page. Use photos and videos to add interest to your hospital website and highlight your doctors and facility with visual media. Always think about your design from a consumer’s point-of-view.

Another way to utilize your website’s potential is through proper search engine optimization (SEO) and local optimization. Optimizing your website for search traffic and local inquiries will help your website with being seen by potential customers.

Generate Updated Content Through Blogging

According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 82% of marketers who blog daily report positive ROI for overall inbound marketing efforts. This is because fresh content helps you stay relevant in search engine results, which increases traffic to your site and your overall online visibility. You should use your blog to educate about current health concerns, proper preventative care, new technology and procedures, or anything related to the services you offer.

Social Media Marketing Builds Your Brand

Do not underestimate the marketing potential of social media for your hospital. Over 40% of consumers say that information found through social media affects their health decisions. Social media is a great way to share your blogs, keep consumers aware of current events at your facility, and engage your audience on a personal level, all in an effort to keep your hospital top of mind. In addition, your hospital’s social media efforts greatly impact your search results.

In Conclusion – Inbound Marketing Is Key

These are just a few inbound marketing strategies you can use to promote your hospital online and reach your target audience when they are in the market for your services – before a decision is made about where to go or who to see. There are many others, including white papers, monthly email newsletters, and lead nurturing campaigns. All of these have a common theme – they are always patient-focused and designed to educate prospective patients and build trust, which leads to them choosing your hospital over the competition.

At the end of the day, use inbound marketing to focus on the needs of the patient. Match your marketing efforts and content building to those needs in order to convert prospects into patients.

Contact Jimmy Warren to learn how to use inbound marketing as part of your overall hospital marketing strategy.


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grand kids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!

 

Content Marketing to Move Market Share For Your Hospital

Boost online visibility and convert prospects to patients with content marketing.

Hospital Heatlhcare Marketing Jimmy Warrenmarketing has certainly seen big changes in the past few years. No longer is a campaign that includes traditional media, elevator signs, a few Facebook posts and web banners, complete – or the most effective.  To connect with patients requires new and different tactics. One that should be considered is content marketing.

We often promote that we are “here when you need us”. And we are, but are we there for patients and prospective patients in the beginning? When they are searching online for a solution to their sleep problems or looking for an OB/GYN? To move market share requires building a relationship BEFORE a decision has been made about which physician or hospital to use. Content marketing is one way to do this.

Boost online visibility and position your hospital or physician as a leader who is trustworthy and knowledgeable with quality content.

What (to write about)?
Know the topics consumers in your service area are searching for online and create content that addresses these issues. Use Google keyword tools to learn exactly how many consumers within a 25 mile radius were looking for information about diabetes or depression in the past year. Then by creating blog content that discusses these topics you will make your hospital more visible and more relevant – early in the cycle of the consumer moving from prospect to patient.

Where (does the info come from)?
When a physician is the author, credibility is established for the physician and the healthcare facility.  Service line managers and other clinical staff members are great resources for material. Guest bloggers can provide quality content as well. Share the responsibility. Look around and tap into the resources in your own building.

How (to get the info out)?
Take your efforts past just publishing the blog post. Break up the content into snippets of info and recycle on social media and your hospital’s website. Be sure to link back to the article for more information. One blog post can become content for many posts and tweets.

Content marketing is one way to move market share for your hospital. By increasing online visibility, you are able to form meaningful and relevant relationships with prospective patients BEFORE they make that call for an appointment or referral. Content is key to be the one they call.

Contact Jimmy Warren to learn how you can better market your hospital and monitor your reviews online.

 


ABOUT JIMMY WARREN
Early to bed, early to rise, work like crazy and advertise! Jimmy Warren is president of TotalCom Marketing Communications and has over 30 years experience helping all kinds of businesses build a strong brand. A large portion of that experience has been helping hospitals and healthcare organizations. He loves the ‘weird’, interesting and extremely talented people he gets to work with every day – that includes co-workers and clients. Outside of work he enjoys his grandkids, traveling and any kind of good ole fashion Alabama sports. Roll Tide!