When hospitals start doing inbound marketing, one of the first steps most take is to start a blog. Blogging is undoubtedly an important part of any hospital content marketing effort. It’s a great way to produce fresh, valuable content that both people and search engines like.
But you have so many other options for making great content that your patients will enjoy. Sometimes adding a little variety to the mix is just what you need to get people’s attention and gain some new followers.
If you haven’t yet ventured into other content formats, here are a few good content types to consider.
Interactive content requires the user to take an action as part of experiencing the content (something more involved than reading, watching and scrolling, anyway).
Use of interactive content in inbound marketing is on the rise, and for good reason. 81 percent of marketers who use interactive content say it’s a more effective way to get a user’s attention than other types of content, and 79 percent believe it helps visitors better retain their brand messaging.
Interactive content can include calculators, games, quizzes or interactive forms of other content you may already be creating, like eBooks and infographics. Any interactive content you create should be focused on educating your prospects and answering their common questions.
For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center provides a number of interactive tools (such as a calculator) to determine what your target heart rate should be when you work out and a quiz to figure out your stress level.
Stress is an extremely common problem for patients in the United States. And for anyone trying to get healthier, knowing what goals to set when you work out is valuable. Each of their interactive tools provides visitors with personalized information they can turn around and use.
St. David’s HealthCare similarly provides a number of risk assessments to give people an idea of whether they should be concerned about common health issues.
Once you complete an assessment, you can download a report that tells you your level of risk and that provides information you can bring to your next doctor’s visit. For patients who don’t know whether they should be worried, the risk assessments are a way to gain more information without having to commit the time and money of a doctor’s visit. And if the assessment suggests that they should make their way to the hospital, St. David’s is already on their mind and thus likely to be the first choice.
How much time do you spend in your car each week? Or out on walks or runs? One of the biggest challenges for content marketers is competing with the 100 other things people have to fit into their typical days. But people can listen to podcasts while they do other tasks, like during their daily run or their commute.
That makes podcasts a powerful tool for marketers. When you provide valuable content in a way that requires less of an investment for your audience, you knock down one of the biggest barriers to getting their attention.
Johns Hopkins Hospital frequently releases podcasts that range from about one to 10 minutes and cover health topics ranging from exercise tips to the Zika virus—both good examples of healthcare topics people are concerned about.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital produces the PediaCast, which functions more like a traditional radio show. It has a consistent host, Dr. Mike (Dr. Mike Patrick), who brings on guests and answers listener questions. These shows come out to around an hour and provide a more in-depth treatment of the subjects covered.
The length and format of your podcasts is up to you, or more accurately, up to your audience. You want to use the format they’re most likely to respond to. You could send out a survey to patients to see what kind of podcasts they like now to give you an idea of what works, or try out a few different approaches and see what people listen and subscribe to the most.
Be sure to load your podcast to iTunes as well as putting it on your own website. People who regularly listen to podcasts are more likely to return to yours if it’s easy to subscribe and access it in the same space they use for their other podcasts.
Pro Tip: When you post it on your website, provide transcripts of the podcast as well as the audio. That way, you can still appeal to the people who prefer reading to listening and get the SEO benefit of text.
A third of the time people spend online is spent watching videos. And using video in your marketing can increase conversion rates by 300 percent in email and 80 percent on a landing page.
Videos can be expensive to create, but they get results.
Video’s a good format for humanizing your brand. Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto has a Day in the Life of a Medical Resident series that gives a behind-the-scenes look at what hospital staff does there. Video can also be educational; many of the Sunnybrook videos provide health tips or updates on medical research.
For children’s hospitals, for whom the audience includes kids who don’t read yet, video can be the perfect way to reach everyone. Texas Children’s Hospital provides animated videos that help kids understand procedures they’ll be undergoing.
Don’t hesitate to go beyond blogging and try out some other forms of content your audience will appreciate. But don’t stop blogging. Your blog can be a great place to promote other types of content you create and make sure the audience you already have can find them.