It’s that time of year when people start having to worry about colds, struggle with avoiding the wealth of holiday-themed sweets and face the stress of balancing what feels like a million work, family and friend obligations.
This time of year when people have a lot on their minds. As a healthcare marketer, that presents an opportunity.
Marketers face the ongoing challenge of trying to figure out what our prospects are thinking. What do they worry and wonder about during the typical day? When it comes to health concerns, a lot of those worries and questions change with the season.
At the moment your customers are starting to consider whether or not to get a flu shot this year, you can hit them with a post on why it’s important, where they can get one and how much it costs (nothing, with most types of insurance).
Right as a family is working on the Thanksgiving menu and wondering how to create a delicious, traditional meal that won’t totally ruin the diet they’ve been trying to stick to, a marketing email packed with healthy Thanksgiving recipes can solve their problems.
During the holidays, people have a lot of common concerns – seasonal illnesses, worry about overeating, anxiety about everything that needs to get done, and depression for those who have a hard time getting through the holiday season. You have the chance to produce content that provides solutions or answers for precisely the things they’re concerned about right now.
When marketers talk about evergreen content, they usually mean the type of content that is useful all the time, over the long-term. Seasonal content achieves the latter half of that definition. It’s not useful all the time, but it’s consistently useful at a certain time of year, so you can re-purpose or re-promote it every winter, summer, spring or fall.
That article you wrote on managing anxiety during the holidays last year is still useful enough to include in an email you send out to your list this December. As the weather starts to cool, all the posts you have on preventing colds and recovering from them should get prominent placement on your website, just as people are starting to need them again.
A lot of industries try to come up with good seasonal content ideas, but struggle to figure out how to fit the season to the brand. In healthcare, you have a much easier job to do. The different seasons all bring a number of particular healthcare concerns with them. Anyone working in a hospital will see and become familiar with the yearly seasonal trends that bring people in. That gives you a lot to work with, and not just with the coming holiday season.
Whenever allergies get particularly bad where you live, produce resources on how to recognize, avoid, and treat allergy symptoms. When the summer rolls around, work on posts about heatstroke, sunburn, and healthy ways to keep kids occupied while school’s out. Throughout the year, people can benefit from content that highlights the fresh, local produce available in your area and ways to use it.
Sit down with your team and go through each month of the year, brainstorming topics that will be relevant to your readers at that time. Think about the issues you hear friends and family complaining about at different times of year. You’ll likely find it easy to produce a long list of topics that can be turned into relevant seasonal content.
To help you visualize your own plan for seasonal healthcare content, here are a few examples of how other healthcare institutions are doing it.
Greenville Health System has a lot of great seasonal content that tackles issues relevant at all different times of year. They suggest recipes for a healthy Mother’s Day picnic in May, provide a lot of tips for sun and water safety during the summer and even provide a podcast for getting your kids ready for a new school year.
Pretty much every season comes with new seasonal content that provides value to the families likely to be patients of the Greenville Health System.
The Healthbeat Blog from the Crozer-Keystone Health System also regularly tackles seasonal topics. Even if you’re good about putting on sunscreen anytime you go out in the sun, have you considered that you might be forgetting some spots? For people about to head out the door to go to the beach during the summer, that post would really come in handy.
For parents struggling to figure out how to keep their kids even moderately healthy during the candyfest of Halloween, their tips on having a healthy Halloween can help.
And during the icy winter season, they offer suggestions to avoid slipping in the ice and snow.
The Cleveland Clinic has often been referred to as an example of successful content marketing in the healthcare industry. Its seasonal content is no exception.
To celebrate the start of fall, they recently posted a video on the health benefits of apple picking. They offer a guide for managing holiday stress—complete with clear CTAs for setting up an appointment or contacting a health expert via live chat. And one of their doctors stars in a video about taking care of your skin in the winter.
As the examples show, you shouldn’t have much trouble coming up with a variety of topics worth covering during the different seasons once you get the ball rolling on including seasonal topics in your content strategy. Seasonal content is helpful, it’s relevant and it can make your inbound strategy stronger while it builds your brand among patients and potential patients.