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How to Enlist Doctors in Healthcare Content Creation

By Kristen HicksSep 2, 2015

doctor-content-creationWhen you work in healthcare marketing, you know you’ve got a big team of experts right there in the building who are carrying around valuable knowledge that could be turned into great content. But they (understandably) have other priorities.

Doctors are busy. At the end of a long day (or night) of attending to patients and helping ward off illness and death, they don’t have a lot of leftover time or energy. On the one hand, you know your inbound marketing efforts would be much stronger if you could get the medical professionals at your hospital involved in content creation. On the other, you know how hard it can be on them to commit to one more thing.

Get Physicians On Board with Content Marketing

You need to find the delicate balance between respecting your physicians’ time while still making use of their expertise. It’s tricky, but it can be done. Here’s how:

1. Make a Persuasive Case

To people who do inbound marketing, the value is obvious. For everyone else, there’s a learning curve. You have to explain to them:

  • What inbound marketing is and what it accomplishes
  • How their involvement will benefit your hospital or medical practice
  • How it will benefit them specifically

You can find a number of persuasive statistics on how useful inbound marketing is. Here are a few that can help you make the case:

  • Businesses that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to get a positive ROI for their marketing efforts. (source)
  • 54 percent more leads come from inbound marketing than traditional marketing tactics. (source)
  • 82 percent of consumers report feeling more positive about a business after reading their custom content. (source)
  • 70 percent of consumers say that encountering a company’s content marketing makes them feel closer to the company. (source)

When your business is about something as personal and sensitive as people’s health, encouraging patients to feel closer to your company and positive about the care you provide are especially valuable.

Make sure you tailor your pitch specifically to physicians. Consider how attracting new patients with inbound marketing benefits them. It could be a bigger budget for new equipment, the prestige of working at a hospital with a stronger reputation, or the appeal of having patients come in more informed about their health because of your newsletter. 

Finally, make it clear to your physicians that having their name on informative, valuable content on the Web is a good way to garner more respect both in the larger industry and from patients. People are nervous when they have to find a new doctor — nobody wants to end up with a grumpy curmudgeon who doesn’t listen. They want the friendly, personable physician who cares. Your doctors can start building that positive relationship before a patient walks through the door by putting their thoughts out there. 

2. Have a Personalized Approach

Your doctors are all complicated individuals with their own preferences. Some might want total control over anything with their name on it, and others might be OK with answering questions on a quick call now and then, but really want to keep their commitment light. Some might be more open to making videos or podcasts, while others are more comfortable with writing.

These examples of content hospitals are producing with the aid of doctors may help inspire you.

  • Sunnybrook Hospital has a YouTube channel of videos that personalize its healthcare professionals. It has a Day in the life of a Resident series, videos that touch on the personalities of physicians (like this one on the playlists doctors listen to during surgery), and educational videos that provide information patients would want to know at home. The hospital must be doing something right; some of its videos have many views, like this one offering basic baby advice that’s been seen more than 500,000 times.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital has videos that are straightforward interviews with doctors — like these caregiver highlights — as well as many educational and news-like videos that feature doctor interviews, like this one on how to treat seizures.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine easily has the strongest showing in the podcast space with audio stories produced by its media department, featuring the insights and expertise of its doctors. You can scroll through the full listing to see a wide variety of examples.
  • Florida Hospital features doctor insights in almost every blog post. Every time a doctor is quoted, a link takes the reader to the doctor’s page on the website so each mention works as a form of promotion for that doctor’s skills and services.
  • The Brigham and Women’s Hospital similarly features quotes from its doctors in many of its blog posts, but in some cases, it features them in videos like this post on neuroimaging.

Be flexible and figure out what works best for your doctors. If they can find a format or method that’s enjoyable or rewarding for them, helping you out won’t feel as much like extra work.

3. Make it Easy on Them

Creating marketing content isn’t their job, it’s yours. Any work you can do to minimize their input should be embraced. Develop ways to keep their time commitment down. For example:

  • Always give them plenty of time. Plan out your content calendar early enough that if one of your physicians gets back to you late, it won’t hold up your publishing schedule.
  • Don’t ask too much. You don’t need a physician to write a blog post when you can write one based on notes or an outline they provide. It may even be easier for some doctors to agree to a quick, 15-minute phone call. Often, that’s enough to come away with valuable insights for a blog post.
  • Give them something to start with. Some doctors may be brimming with ideas, while others won’t have a clue where to start. Come prepared with topic suggestions or, better yet, the kind of questions that can help prompt them toward topics relevant to their field and experience.

Once you succeed in getting your doctors involved, take the time to make sure they’re happy with the results. Let them review the final version of any content before you publish and check in with them from time to time to ensure they’re satisfied with how the healthcare content creation process is working.

With their help, the content you create can become valuable educational resources that attract new patients and also help encourage healthier habits.


Kristen Hicks is a freelance content writer with specialties in content marketing and education. Check out her blog at Austin Copywriter, or follow her @atxcopywriter.


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The Author

Kristen Hicks

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and content marketer specializing in helping businesses connect with customers through content online.
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