You probably do a lot of reading about content marketing in the abstract. Every marketer has heard some of the same recommendations over and over again. Admonitions to know your audience and create content that’s engaging are now familiar to all of us. It’s good advice, but it can be hard to visualize how it should play out in practice.
Often the best way to learn is by example. We’ve noticed a lot of children’s hospitals are creating impressive healthcare content that demonstrates some of the general advice we’re all used to hearing. Here are a few examples to help you see familiar content marketing advice in action.
Relevance is one of the most important ingredients in great content marketing. You can create truly amazing content, but if it resonates with the wrong audience, your work won’t align with your goals. When it comes to effective audience targeting, specificity is your friend.
Writing for the broad category of parents means you’ll end up with a lot of content that’s relevant to some, but not especially useful to others. If you narrow your focus to parents of children with a particular disorder, or parents of children within a specific age range, you’ll be able to tap into a number of subjects that speak specifically to the concerns those parents are worried about.
Seattle Children’s Hospital has several different blogs, each focused on a specific audience or set of topics:
They also have a more general blog, On the Pulse, for topics like hospital success stories and research results that parents may be interested in.
By separating out content this way, Seattle Children’s can serve each audience better. And they can do so without alienating or leaving out any of their potential patients because they’re continuing with a more general blog, too.
One of the common tips you’ll see again and again from marketing experts is to go beyond blogs and work other types of content into your marketing. Some audiences respond better to video or podcasts than written content. The more choice you can give people in how to consume your content, the more you’ll appeal to their particular preferences.
The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh does a great job of mixing it up. They have a podcast series on topics important to the families of children with Down syndrome. They have a number of videos and interactive games that educate kids on different health subjects in ways that are fun and relatable (for bonus points, they offer many of them in Spanish as well as English).And they have a YouTube channel with videos that provide educational information, as well as some that highlight specific patients who have been helped by the hospital.
With so many different ways to interact with the hospital’s content, potential patients can be choosy and go for whatever format works best for them in the moment. Kids can play games instead of being expected to read (which feels more like work), and parents can take a podcast on the go while running errands.
Engagement is frequently discussed in content marketing, but for all the talk, many marketers find it hard to define. One way to think about engaging content is that it’s likely to inspire a more active response in your audience. Instead of passively reading, listening or watching, if your visitors are really engaged, they’ll think more about the content, share it and maybe even comment or interact with it more directly.
Shriner’s Hospital for Children creates the kind of content that demands engagement. Their Burn Awareness campaign includes an interactive quiz and activity books for kids of different ages. Their #CutTheBull campaign encourages specific action and comes complete with a hashtag to encourage people to take the conversation onto their social media accounts.
Their campaigns have clear goals and clear CTAs, all designed to encourage visitors to take action in response.
Every marketing organization has room to improve and can learn from the examples of others. Whether or not you work at a children’s hospital, these examples of common content marketing recommendations in action can help you shape better content marketing campaigns. Consider how to apply these principles to your own audience and content, so you can begin to bring more relevance, variety and engagement to your own content marketing.