Content marketing is the process of creating new pages on your site so you can inform visitors and expand your online presence.
"Content" is an umbrella term that refers to the text, images, videos, and other elements of a page on your site that add value to a user's experience. Marketers usually classify content as either "high quality" or "low quality."
High quality content refers to pages on your site that offer lots of reliable, engaging, and helpful information. You can do that through any content medium.
Low quality content refers to pages on your site that don't offer that user experience.
The goal of content marketing is to take your time and create the high quality content that your potential clients want to see. Sometimes, that's as easy as writing a quick blurb about the symptoms of a common illness.
Other times, it means researching, planning, and creating a colossal page that acts as the main attraction of your website.
Regardless of whether you want one of those options or the other (or something in between), most marketers use a simple set of formats to showcase their content.
We'll cover five of the most common and useful formats below.
Format #1. Blog
A blog is one of the most reliable ways for you to consistently add new content to your website.
Blogs are excellent opportunities for you or someone on your staff to write about current events, new ideas, or anything in the news about healthcare that you think your clients should know.
For example, if you work with a lot of clients who get healthcare through the government marketplace, you could write a new post about upcoming Affordable Care Act implementations. They're slated to continue until 2020, and everyone who's affected by that law needs to know about it as it develops.
A blog is also a great chance for you to write about members of your staff, promote any events your medical practice sponsors, and talk about health in general.
The key is that you should orient your blog posts to your primary and secondary client demographics. So if you primarily serve seniors, write about issues that would catch their attention like low-stress exercise routines.
Similarly, if you primarily serve families with young children, write about when a new parent should take their child to a private practice and when they should go to an emergency room. It may seem simple to you, but that information can save lives and promote your brand at the same time.
Blog best practices
You can ensure your blog has a big impact online by following a few helpful guidelines.
- Use images or videos to supplement your text.
- Write paragraphs up to four sentences, maximum.
- Write informally and avoid jargon so readers can comprehend your text.
- Use negative space to help break up your text.
- End your blog posts with calls to action
These five points are all vitally important to your blog, but the last point has the power to take your blog posts from good to great.
A call to action (CTA) is a concise sentence at the end of the content that tells readers what to do next.
So if someone is reading your blog post about common child illnesses in the summer, you could end it with something like this:
"Is your son or daughter showing symptoms of a seasonal illness? Contact us today to schedule an appointment!"
Generally, concise language and short sentences makes your CTA more effective than longer ones.
While that's not a guaranteed, hard-and-fast rule, it's a helpful parameter to follow if you want your private practice's blog to see success.
Format #2. Articles
Your website is a golden opportunity for you to write new articles about frequently asked questions, medical jargon, and other concepts that you hear from lots of your clients.
Structurally, articles are similar to your blog posts. But unlike blog posts, they're supposed to cover evergreen topics that aren't time-sensitive.
For example, if you frequently hear questions about whether flu shots are worth it, you can create a page called "Should You Get a Flu Shot?" that covers the pros and cons of getting one.
Then, you can end the page with a CTA that encourages readers to contact your office for a consultation or appointment.
The idea behind articles is give and take. You give information about a topic that your readers want to know about. You take by branding that content with your private practice's name, your company logo, and a CTA that encourages readers to become your clients.
With that approach, you subtly nudge readers into becoming customers by showing them that you know the answers to their questions. That also makes you a reliable industry authority for anything related to your practice's specialty.
Typically, articles run anywhere between 800 to 1200 words. The longer an article is, the better chance it has of ranking in organic search results on Google and other search engines.
That's because search engines view overall length as an indication of quality. After all, if you're writing 1500 words on a topic, you probably know a lot about it — or you at least have more to say about it than a competitor who only wrote 400 words.
Then, when someone uses a search engine to learn about that topic, they'll see your practice's website before your competitors. That increases the odds that they'll click to your site, which gives you a chance to turn them into a client.
Format #3. Infographics
Infographics are visual representations of data that are designed to engage and inform readers.
Most infographics use statistics to illustrate a point or flowcharts to show how something works. They could also use maps, data tables, charts, and graphs.
In addition, some companies choose to use their own data that they've collected over time to create infographics. Others simply pull data from other sources and credit those sources in the final product.
Regardless of how you choose to make it, there are a few guidelines you should follow when you create an infographic:
- Create an idea
- Refine that idea to a specific and relatable question or topic
- Consider all angles of that claim and what someone would want to know
- Find data that supports your claim
- Show that data in a simple, easy-to-read fashion
- Credit your sources
- Brand the infographic with your name and logo
The beginning of an infographic is an idea. These ideas could range from questions that you've seen or topics that you think would be interesting to your audience.
You could also draw inspiration from the questions or comments people have on popular websites related to your practice.
To do that, you can use a tool like FAQfox, enter a keyword, and select the websites that you want to check. Then, you can check out the results to generate an idea.
After you have an idea, you have to refine it so that you're covering a very specific set of information.
For example, if you had the original idea of "How to Stay Healthy in Winter," you could refine that idea to "How to Avoid the Flu" or something to that effect. That second option is much more specific, relatable, and actionable than the first.
Next, you need to consider all the different angles someone could have on your idea. So if you're moving forward with "How to Avoid the Flu," think about all the factors someone would want to know first.
They may want to know about preventative care (handwashing), reactive care (staying hydrated), advice for vulnerable demographics (children and elderly), and other vital information.
Once you have all of those ideas worked out, you need to find data that supports your claim. If you say handwashing helps prevent the flu, then find a source of data that shows how helpful it is.
Then, organize all of that information into an easy-to-read, attractive layout. Short sentences are perfect for infographics, especially when they highlight data points.
After your infographic is laid out, you need to credit any sources that supplied data to you. Include either the source's brand name or the exact URL that gave you the information.
And finally, you want to make sure people know who made the infographic. Add your logo and any other branding at the bottom of the graphic to make sure you always get credit, no matter who sees your graphic and where it's posted.
With that all done, you have a great infographic! We'll talk a little more about infographics in Strategy #6, which covers link building.
Format #4. Videos
Videos are engaging and powerful pieces of content that let you speak directly to your website's visitors.
You can use videos to show behind-the-scenes moments of your medical practice, testimonials from your previous patients, interviews with your staff, demonstrations, and more. Videos are excellent learning tools, and since YouTube has come along, it's a breeze to use videos to market your medical practice.
Producing a video is as easy as buying a digital camera (or even using your phone) and filming what you want to show. Then, you can transfer your video to a computer, use editing software to perfect it, and upload it to a free service.
We recommend using YouTube to host your videos for several reasons.
YouTube is the most popular video-sharing site in the world, and the third most popular site overall. It has billions of viewers every day, and it's become so popular that some people build careers on YouTube videos alone.
You don't have to treat YouTube as a career option, though. You can simply use it to host your videos and then embed those videos in your website.
YouTube provides embed code for every video on its site. All you have to do is copy and paste it into your website's code, and visitors to your site can watch it!
Format #5. Guides
Guides are typically long, comprehensive accounts of how to do something.
Guides are most useful for going in-depth about a specific topic and covering everything you can. It's a holistic approach to information, and it's a strong SEO strategy that can continually pay off for your business for years to come.
The keys to creating an exceptional guide are research and explanation.
Research is critical because you need to make sure you answer patient's questions as thoroughly and effectively as possible. That doesn't always mean writing long sentences either — mostly, it means writing short, easy-to-read sentences that contain helpful information.
Explanation is important because it involves answering the questions that you've discovered. Again, you want to write thorough and concise sentences that will resonate with your target audience.
It's also important to remember that guides don't always warrant personal opinion. If you want to add your own view on a topic, you can create a separate section in a guide. Or if you think your experience is relevant to the topic at hand, you can include any data that you've collected over the years.