Healthcare content marketing examples

Explaining different types of healthcare content

Healthcare content marketing describes the practice of using various channels – including blogs and articles, social media, and digital advertising – to provide healthcare advice to patients and the general public.

We talk a lot about what healthcare content is and why it’s critical. But we’ve not provided any healthcare content marketing examples – until now. Here, we will explore some of the different types of NHS marketing strategies and some healthcare content marketing examples to illustrate what we mean.

Healthcare content marketing campaigns can, and are, used by the NHS and other healthcare providers to engage patients, inform them, educate them, and engage them.

We can broadly categorise healthcare content marketing campaigns into the following groups:

  • Patient engagement campaign
  • Behaviour change campaign
  • Patient education campaign
  • New hospital or GP surgery opening campaign

These are loose terms, and you may find your content marketing activity covers several of these areas (behaviour change campaigns, for example, involve patient education as well). Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter – as long as your healthcare content campaign is built around your audience and provides them with the information they need.

When discussing integrated healthcare campaigns, we’re talking about strategically led activities across multiple channels. The most successful healthcare content marketing campaigns use the channels that your target audience is using. This requires a detailed understanding of who your audience is, what information they need, and where best to deliver it.

Here are some examples of different healthcare content marketing campaigns from the experts at 42group.

Patient engagement campaign

Patients are at the heart of the NHS, and their voices are vital to shaping services.

Patient engagement content marketing campaigns inform patients about opportunities to get involved in shaping the future of the NHS. They use a range of digital marketing channels to identify patients and target them with personalised messaging. This happens at both a national and local level.

In September 2023, the NHS announced £2m in funding for a patient engagement campaign to explore how patients feel about their data being used and shared.

The information the NHS captures about patients has enormous value, particularly for pharmaceutical companies and other researchers who can access detailed data that (in the words of NHS Data) can “improve healthcare outcomes, the efficiency of services and the impact of research.”

The new patient engagement campaign will gather patients’ views over the next two years, with the feedback informing the limits of what’s permissible with patient data.

At a local level, patient engagement campaigns are crucial in shaping services. Patient voices are instrumental in service design and evaluation. It’s also important to listen to patients when deciding where to locate new services or closing existing facilities.

Digital marketers can use all channels, including blogs and online articles, targeted PPC adverts, social media posting and more to reach their audience.

Here’s a video that shows the power of patient engagement.

Behaviour change campaign

Can you remember the 80s when people smoked in pubs, drove home after having a drink, and never bothered with a seatbelt? All three behaviours were targeted with highly effective behaviour change campaigns that have literally changed how we live.

Behaviour change content marketing campaigns use a range of channels to target their core audience with strong, simple, and clear messaging. Stub it out. Buckle up. Don’t drink and drive.

The NHS is perpetually in crisis, but we can all agree that things get worse in winter. (If you don’t believe us, check out the NHS Winter Plan for 2023/24.) Over recent years, the NHS has transformed its approach to healthcare content marketing and now manages an effective, integrated, and engaging campaign that uses commercial tactics to engage patients. In 2023, NHS England is running a trial to see if AI can play a role in targeting patients who are at risk of ending up in A&E.

This year, like in the past, there will be a national campaign. (You can already download resources from Healthwatch.) These were previously called ” awareness-raising campaigns, ” but we can classify them as behaviour-change campaigns. Why? Because the NHS wants people to consider their choices, learn about the NHS and the pressure it’s under, and make better (or at least more informed) choices of where and when to access care.

Patient education campaign

Cancer kills millions each year, but early diagnosis can lead to better outcomes. Simply put, the earlier you diagnose cancer, the more likely you are to live.

The NHS has spent millions raising awareness of the common signs and symptoms of cancer – and it’s working. Spotted blood in your poo? Get tested.

Patient education content marketing campaigns use a variety of channels to directly target an audience segment with clear messaging. The channels you use are crucial to the success of the campaign.

Take the bowel cancer home testing kit campaign. A TikTok video may generate some serious engagement, but will it reach those aged 60-74? No – which is why the NHS focuses on traditional advertising, targeted online ads, PR and website content. They raise awareness through memorable and funny online ads and then use their website to provide serious information for this patient cohort.

Patient education campaigns succeed or fail based on how well you know your audience and where they access information.

New hospital or GP surgery opening campaign

It’s a wonderful day when a new hospital or GP surgery opens (and a sad day when one closes). Content marketing can play a major role in informing patients about the new facility, the services available, opening times and (of course) how to register!

Take the new hospital centre opening around two miles from our office at Southmead Hospital. Content marketing will play a key role in promoting the new hospital and providing patients insight into the investment.

Here’s a great video on naming the new Royal Sussex County Hospital building.

Content marketing can play a role at every stage of the process, from the commissioning of the new facility and the spade in the ground to the completion of the building and the first patient to walk through the door.

Every step in the journey is an opportunity to create content – so don’t waste it!

Choosing the best healthcare content marketing channels

In the past, we’d call this your digital marketing mix, but the world has moved on – now we call them content channels. Unless you’ve got an unlimited budget (rare in the world of healthcare), you’ll need to narrow down the channels you use to find the optimum mix.

When we talk about content channels, we mean the ways you can publish and share content, including:

  • Website blogs and articles
  • Social media
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
  • Emails
  • Newsletters
  • Infographics
  • Ebooks

Before you begin to piece together your digital marketing strategy, you need to build a deep understanding of your audience.

Too many marketing campaigns we’ve been involved in haven’t got a clearly defined audience. The best commercial campaigns are hyper-targeted, with precise demographics, characteristics, and preferences. Simply saying you want to target all patients won’t work in the personalised and preference-driven world of digital marketing.

Positively, specialist healthcare content marketing agencies like 42group have access to a vast range of tools that can help us build this patient profile. When working with partners, we can drill down deeply into the data to build detailed and accurate patient personas.

This audience information includes the channels they use – the same ones we recommend you use.

Connecting with patients isn’t easy, but it is critical. We’ll focus on this in future articles.

Want to learn about the power of healthcare content marketing?

Healthcare content marketing is critical to engaging patients, changing behaviour, and improving outcomes. At 42group, we work with all healthcare organisations, including the NHS, private providers, medical device companies, and pharma businesses. We help them to create human connections with the people that matter – and we can help you.

Contact us to chat about your healthcare content marketing project.

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