If you want to raise awareness of your medical practices, you may have already tried methods like local directory listings and direct mail. And while these used to be effective for reaching patients, they now turn to the Internet for information and advice. If you want to distinguish your practice from others, you need a way to highlight your expertise and experience—and that’s exactly what content marketing does.
Content is a great way to attract potential patients to your website. People often go online to seek help with their medical issues, and the sites that provide this help are more likely to generate web traffic, which increases the likelihood of a subsequent consultation.
Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about content marketing plans from WebFX, or keep reading for a few tips on how to begin your content marketing strategy.
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Why do physicians need content marketing?
Some people immediately go to their doctor when they feel sick or need help managing a health issue, but many others turn to the internet. While a blog post or article page is no match for an in-person appointment, it can help strengthen your relationship with your patients—and even attract new ones. Here’s how:
It demonstrates authority
Your patients need to be able to trust your knowledge if they’re going to trust you with their health and well-being. Quality content does that, particularly when you cite the latest research and provide meaningful steps to preventing or managing illnesses or conditions.
It increases your reach
Online content is more likely to be shared than a booklet or pamphlet in your office. As site visitors pass information along to their family and friends, it puts your practice in front of more people. These people could either become patients in the future or refer their own friends and family to your practice.
It encourages a next step
In many cases, the content on your site should motivate patients to take action. Content with a clear, straightforward call to action will encourage people to take the next step in managing their health. For some, that means simply resting and caring for a minor injury. For others, it means scheduling a visit.
These are just some things content can do. In the next section, we’ll cover the types of content that will help your practice achieve these goals.
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What kinds of content should you create?
One of the challenges of content marketing is covering topics that interest potential patients, while also differentiating your practice from your competitors. These types of content will do both:
The topics you cover on your blog should address common concerns and questions your patients have for you. However, it doesn’t have to sound like every other medical blog. Use your own unique writing style and tone, or target your blog to specific patient profiles, like new parents or people living with chronic conditions.
Visuals don’t just add flair to content—they also make complex topics easier to understand. Create infographics if you’re dealing with an intricate subject or numerical data, and your readers will have a much easier time understanding.
You can also use original graphics to make common, everyday topics more interesting. An infographic showing the benefits of a vitamin on the whole body, for example, would get more attention than a bulleted list.
The patient-doctor relationship requires trust. Presenting your insights in videos can help build some of this trust, even among people who have never visited your practice. By seeing and hearing you talk about healthcare, viewers become more familiar with you and your practice, which may make them more comfortable scheduling an in-person appointment.
Regardless of the formats you use, your content shouldn’t be created haphazardly. Keep reading to learn how to put a content marketing strategy in place.
How can you start using content marketing?
Content marketing requires the same kind of planning, goal setting and measurement as any other marketing channel. Before creating content for your practice, follow these steps.
What’s the purpose of your content? What do you want it to do for your practice? Everything you publish must be created with a specific goal in mind, so answer this question before getting started. Decide whether you want to increase your patient base, schedule more appointments with existing patients, or reach some other goal.
This will determine what content you produce, where you publish it, and how you go about promoting it. It will also make it much easier to determine whether your strategy is successful over time.
Create a content calendar
Plan your content in advance, so you’re not stuck for ideas when it’s time to start writing. First, decide how often you want to post new content—once a week is a good benchmark—and then decide which topics you’ll cover with each new post.
Remember that certain topics are more popular at certain times. For instance, people are more concerned about allergies in the spring, while weight gain is a concern throughout the holiday season.
Include relevant calls to action
High-quality content should inform and entertain your readers. For the sake of your marketing strategy, it should also motivate a next step. Include this desired next step somewhere in your content in the form of a call to action.
Your calls to action will depend on the goals you’re trying to achieve. Signing up for a newsletter might be a good next step for new patients, while parents may respond to a call to bring their kids in for a back-to-school check-up.
Track and monitor results
The only way you’ll know if your content is working is if you measure the results of your strategy. Take advantage of online analytics tools to find out who’s responding to your content and which channels generate the best response. The data will let you know what’s working in your strategy—as well as what you need to change.
Ready to start using content marketing?
Patients come to you for advice and answers to their medical questions. Content marketing makes it easier to share your knowledge with all of your patients at once—and then some.
If you’re interested in building authority and growing your practice by publishing high-quality content online, don’t hesitate to contact us! Our team has years of experience creating effective content strategies for our clients, and we can do the same for your practice.