Using Content Beyond Patient Acquisition

As healthcare marketers, you know that content is king when it comes to organic search traffic and building trust with potential patients. But, content is often neglected as a key component in the full sales cycle. Content isn’t just for initial patient research, it also can help reassure someone to build consumer preference and loyalty long after their interaction with your hospital.

Patients in all steps of the sales cycle seek content. But, based on where they are in that sales cycle, the type of content that they require differs. Your marketing team should work with operations and clinicians to provide relevant information based on where the user is in the decision-making process.

Let’s take an example of potential patient who is experiencing knee pain. Initial internet searches could include, knee pain causes, home remedies, cures, options, etc. In this point of patient research, it is vital that your website be flush with health content to answer their many questions. Luckily, hospitals don’t have to author all of their own content. With partners like Staywell, your hospital can provide a full health library resource for potential patients, integrated with your own website, at a reasonable cost.

Beyond answering their questions, your website content can begin to guide users to the next step of the decision cycle. Who will they consult? Why will they choose a specific doctor or hospital? Integration of hospital-specific content throughout the health library is an effective way to place your hospital/physicians in the context of helping with a problem that potential patients are already reading about. Even ‘off the shelf’ health libraries, like Staywell, offer opportunities to customize provided articles with custom calls-to-action, physician quotes and testimonials. Leverage your health library investment to its fullest extent by identifying the most popular landing pages from your paid or organic search and strategically place custom content on those pages.

Going back to our potential patient with knee pain–they are on your website and have read about knee pain potential causes and solutions. They see your mention of a comprehensive joint program and call to learn more.

Most hospitals will consider their ‘content marketing’ a success after the patient calls for a consult appointment. However, there is still a lot of opportunity to continue to nurture this patient from a mere user to a brand advocate.

Think about the full patient care continuum and what information the patient would like to know before, during and after care. Even while in the hospital, communication boards and pamphlets about what to expect, next steps and follow-up are content that allows the patient to feel more comfortable and improves their experience while also removing any uncertainty.

Health library content should include follow-up care instructions, rehabilitation exercises and more. If it doesn’t, your clinical team should develop this content so it can be reused for each patient. Besides improving successful outcomes and reducing readmissions, providing post-op educational content in a way consumers can understand and use it improves the patient experience. In our example, for instance, after joint replacement surgery, send weekly emails reminding the patient of what they should be doing for rehabilitation and answering other common questions. Anticipate their questions; they will thank you with positive comments, referrals and loyalty. Your nurses probably know the most commonly asked questions; use their knowledge to develop a communications plan post-surgery.

Hospitals can also encourage loyalty by providing a platform to facilitate conversation; content isn’t a one-way street. For example, one of our hospital clients has a Joint Replacement Center Reunion lunch once a quarter, which gives patients the opportunity to interact with other patients as well as their coach.

Don’t think about content marketing in a silo as a way to get patients, think about the full patient continuum and how to engage the patient with relevant content throughout.

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