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How to Create Great Content for Healthcare

By Stephanie HawkinsOct 11, 2013

healthcare content marketingIf you’re using regulation as an excuse for creating wimpy content, healthcare marketing expert Chris Seper wants to call you out. In a recent Tweet, Seper said, “Regulations are used by bad marketers to avoid getting things done. [There are] lots of opportunities if you want to find a way.”

I agree with Seper. Yes, it’s tougher to get healthcare content approved than content not subject to such intense scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. So, how do you achieve content excellence when you’re up against an army of fearful editors?

Compliant and Compelling Healthcare Content in Four Easy Steps

1. Reframe your challenge.

Sure, you’ve got a lot of obstacles in your way, but rather than focusing on them, focus on the value of your work. The ROI of healthcare marketing isn’t just about revenue generation. It's also about helping consumers better understand their options and make wiser choices. That means the ROI of your content could very well be healthier people or even a healthier, happier society. Looked at from that perspective, your marketing content is a humanitarian effort. Let that inspire you.

2. Hire the right content creators.

You’re fearful, and that’s understandable. Your competitors are watching your content like hawks, waiting for you to write something that they can prove violates FDA regulations. The remedy? Hire journalists. Using journalists as marketing writers is a great way to cut through the fear of doing something wrong content-wise. Journalists understand the delicate balance involved in juggling multiple interests and maintaining objectivity. They can tell riveting stories full of raw emotion, while still adhering to your specific regulatory needs. 

3. Build approval into the process.

When Kuno works with healthcare companies, we anticipate approval concerns and work to get to know everyone who'll be involved in the content approval process before we start executing our strategy. Often times, we can whittle approval teams down from six or seven people to one or two just by asking. It's well worth finding out how much leeway you have with regards to getting approval and, if possible, actively working to decrease the size of the approval team to the minimum amount necessary to do a good job.

4. Use common sense.

At the end of the day, common sense is the best barometer for whether content is in compliance. Keep this in mind the next time you find yourself obsessing over the language in a Tweet or editing version 37 of a landing page. Sometimes you just have to say, “According my general understanding of common sense, this Tweet/landing page/blog post is in compliance with HIPPA/FDA/ACA” and send it off to legal.

Learn From Your Peers: Who's Doing Healthcare Content Marketing Right?

Marketers can look at the following organizations for inspiration:

Cleveland Clinic's Health Hub 

What's good: Trustworthy information that's updated regularly.

Nice touch: Physicians-as-writers in the "Featured Experts" section.

Medtronic

What's good: Rich array of on-site and off-site content.

Nice touch: Content is optimized for different buyer personas; fearless approach to social media.

HealthCare.gov

What's good: Conversational style, plain language, attractive yet simple design.

Nice touch: The "Quick Information" section in the footer lets you find something specific, fast.

Don't Lag Behind

Because healthcare is a highly regulated industry, fear tends to rule the marketing department. Over the years, that mindset has led the industry down a less-than-ideal path with respect to content quality. The Content Marketing Institute found healthcare marketers are using more print content and less social media and blog content than their peers in other industries. According to everything we know about inbound marketing, that's not a good recipe for growth.

If you’re a healthcare content marketer, you have a serious opportunity to create content about conditions that affect real people. Use what you have to your advantage. Tell rich, interesting stories that people will want to engage with—and leave the excuses to your competitors.

Are you a healthcare marketer looking to increase or optimize your digital marketing? Contact Kuno Creative to discuss your options.

Photo Credit: jfcherry

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The Author

Stephanie Hawkins

Stephanie is a Strategist at Kuno Creative and writes about content marketing, buyer persona development and inbound marketing strategy for Brand & Capture. She lives and works in Raleigh, NC. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn and Twitter!
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