Healthcare content marketing explained

Create human connections through content

Healthcare content marketing describes the strategic use of online content – like websites, blogs and social media posts – to engage your audience. Every piece of content has a strategic purpose and plays a role in their journey. This could be information about a new treatment for patients, explaining to clinicians how a new healthcare app works or informing stakeholders about the impact of a new service. 

Healthcare content marketing is complex, with controls and regulations around communicating health-related information. Content must be simple, clear and consistent – helping all users to understand what your business, brand or organisation does and the positive impact you can have on patient lives.

If you’re wondering how to create a healthcare content marketing strategy that cuts through the noise and connects with your core audience, we’re here to help. We break down the steps to create a healthcare content marketing campaign that’s driven by your audience. 

Section 1: Understanding healthcare content marketing

So, what is healthcare content marketing? 

Simply put,  healthcare content marketing is about educating your audience and providing valuable information that builds trust. Your healthcare organisation is likely to have several audiences you want to engage, including:

  • Patients
  • Clinicians
  • Providers
  • Funders/investors
  • Key stakeholders
  • The public

Content marketing describes the strategic use of several channels to engage these audiences. It encompasses everything from blog posts, articles, and videos to infographics and social media content. 

Every piece of content plays a purpose, working towards a strategic goal. This could be raising awareness before a service launch, inspiring new sign-ups to an app or promoting the launch of a new clinic or hospital. 

Underpinning your content programme must be a solid strategy that’s driven by your audience. You need to ensure that you’re creating content that answers their questions, interests and engages them and is accessible through their choice of content channels. Healthcare content must cut through the noise, competing with the millions of pages of commercial content on the internet. (A mountain of content which is being added to every day.)

Why is creating healthcare content a challenge?

Creating healthcare content is more complex than other commercial or charity content creation. Why? Because it must be accurate, with authority and comply with regulations. 

Every claim, fact or figure must be referenced and meticulously researched. In most cases, healthcare content will be checked by a series of experts (including clinical and legal teams).

You have an ethical responsibility not to mislead or misinform your audience. This could easily damage your credibility and destroy trust – which could fatally harm your credibility and brand.

These are some of the reasons why you should always work with a specialist healthcare content agency like 42group. (We’ll explain why later in this blog…)

Section 2: Setting your goals and defining your audience

We keep saying it, but every effective healthcare content marketing campaign is based on solid audience knowledge and insights. Here’s our simple-to-follow, step-by-step guide to setting your content goals and defining your audience.

  • Identify your target audience: You’re likely to have multiple audiences in any healthcare content campaign. They could include patients and their families to healthcare professionals, providers, industry experts and other key stakeholders. Start-ups may also want to engage with funders and investors, necessitating a very different type of content. Each audience group will have distinct needs and concerns, requiring tailored content that addresses their needs and is delivered at the right time and through the most effective channels. If you have limited resources, you may want to prioritise your audience – ensuring you create content that’s most closely aligned with your business goals.
  • Set SMART goals – We all know the SMART goals, right? (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.) They’re old but effective (which is how we sometimes feel as content marketers in a world that’s changing faster than perhaps we’re prepared for.) Let’s say you want to increase patient engagement, boost brand awareness among healthcare professionals, and drive more traffic to your healthcare service.
  • Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): You need to define clear KPIs such as website traffic, engagement rates (likes, shares, comments), conversion rates (e.g., appointment bookings, newsletter signups), and ROI.
  • Explore analytics:  Defining content goals is a start, and with SMART, you can make them tangible and measurable – which is essential when you start defining measurement metrics and creating analytics to support you. You’ll want to identify the key indicators for every content campaign. That could be clicks, engagement, website visits, app downloads or a combination of several metrics. Using tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, and social media insights can help you to track your performance against your KPIs.We recommend that every campaign has a dedicated dashboard where you can collate all analytics in a single place and in a way that’s accessible to all users. 

Section 3: Selecting content channels for your healthcare marketing campaign

You’ve defined your audience and set your goals and now you need to find the right mix of content to engage them. Here are some of the content channels to consider for your healthcare marketing campaigns.

  • Websites: In a connected world, your website should serve as a central hub for your content, providing a comprehensive resource for patients, healthcare professionals and key stakeholders. Your website should be clear, easy to understand and accessible. As well as providing a comprehensive overview of your product, service, or solution, it can increase engagement by hosting videos, webinars or landing pages.
  • Blogs and articles: Blogs are what most people consider the core of a content strategy. You can use your blog to provide in-depth information on health conditions, treatments and preventive care. As well as informing and engaging your audience, blogs are effective for SEO and helping to establish you as an industry thought leadership. Aim for in-depth content that answers audience questions and demonstrates authority. A 500-word blog won’t have any impact. 
  • Whitepapers and E-books: Sometimes, if a blog isn’t enough, a whitepaper or E-book enables you to dig into the details. In them, you can offer detailed insights on specific healthcare topics, research findings or innovative treatments. In the past, whitepapers and E-books were gated, but today, we recommend you give them away.
  • Case studies: A well-researched and professionally written case study can showcase real-life examples of how your healthcare services have positively impacted patients or solved complex health issues. They bring to life your product, service or solution and validate your claims. There’s a huge amount of power when using real people.
  • Videos and webinars: Content like animations, films and webinars are engaging ways to explain complex healthcare concepts. While they can demand a significant upfront investment, this can pay itself back with higher engagement and fewer customer questions. Let’s take the example of a new diabetes app. A video explaining how the app works and a run-through of the key features could increase engagement and user satisfaction.
  • Infographics: We all love infographics! They can be used to present health statistics, step-by-step guides, or healthy lifestyle tips in an accessible way. Sometimes, infographics can be used to simplify hard-to-understand concepts.
  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram are all social platforms that offer incredible opportunities to share content and engage with your audience. As well as organic posts, you may want to consider paid-for posts and ads as part of your content strategy (supported with a clear call to action and analytics set-up).
  • Email newsletters: Old school? Yes – but it is still effective. If you’ve got a list of engaged subscribers, an email newsletter can be used to share regular updates, healthcare tips and the latest content from your blog or website.

Is this every content channel? No. There are 

Section 4: Creating engaging healthcare content

We don’t have the space to provide a writing guide on healthcare content. There are some key principles of what makes great content, but you need experience and insight that only come from practice. 

It’s impossible for us at 42group to distil almost a century of combined writing expertise into a few lines, but we’ve tried here… (If you want a more detailed blog, read our healthcare copywriting guide.)

  • Empathy and understanding: Healthcare is about dealing with physical and mental issues, but there’s an emotional core to your content. Be sure to address the concerns and emotions of your audience, showing empathy and understanding of their health journeys and choices.
  • Originality is key: There are literally billions of sites and pages out there, with millions being added every day. It’s easy to create derivative content – but don’t. You need to ensure your healthcare organisation has an original voice and tackles content in a fresh, engaging and authentic way.
  • Think questions; provide answers: Most online searches are questions. Thinking this way about your content will help you identify their problems, pain points and key questions. When structuring content, writing and editing, ensure you’re answering these questions. If not, then go back to the start and begin again.
  • Write for audiences, not algorithms: People want to read content written by people who understand their problems and can provide authentic and original content with empathy. If you’re using a template provided by an SEO agency (or even worse, generated by a writing assistant or AI platform), it won’t provide that. Instead of worrying too much about search engine position, rankings and keywords, write for real people. The likelihood is that doing this will rank higher.
  • Evidence-based information: Writing about healthcare is complex and there are lots of rules and regulations. Be sure to base your content on scientific evidence and research, citing reputable sources to establish credibility. 
  • Be careful with any claims: When writing about medical devices, treatments or solutions, implement stringent review processes involving legal and medical experts to ensure content compliance.
  • Use clear and accessible language: Healthcare is complex, but it doesn’t need to be. Avoid medical jargon and take the time to ensure your content is accessible to everyone. It’s easier said than done and if you find it hard, our expert editors can help.
  • Balance info with promo: Nobody likes being sold to, but you need to make money to survive. The best healthcare copywriters can help you find the balance between info and promo, engaging and informing your audience while encouraging them to connect and click.
  • Be accurate and show authority: Accurate and reliable content not only builds trust with your audience but also establishes your authority – and that’s essential. Don’t try to mislead your audience or misrepresent your product or service. Be honest, upfront and show authority to win their trust (and their business).

5: SEO strategies for healthcare content

Search online for SEO and you’ll get hundreds or even thousands of guides that all tell you the same things: identify keywords, optimise content and secure backlinks to build authority. 

Is it good advice? Yes, it is – but doing the same things everyone else does won’t secure you the top spots in Google. 

As you can imagine, we’ve written about healthcare SEO (and why you should work with a specialist agency).

Instead of focusing on ranking with your content and trying to game the algorithm, focus on the audience first. Producing content for people is likely to deliver you a bigger SEO boost than producing dull and derivative content that your competitors already do. 

We know (and so do SEO agencies) that it’s hard – and in some cases impossible – to usurp pages with history, hundreds of backlinks and a high DA – so don’t try. Do something new, original and engaging and you’ll find the results come.

Section 6: Adaptation & optimisation

Content marketing is tough for several reasons. Increased competition for attention means we have to work harder than ever before. Algorithmic changes mean that we must always be on our toes. Audience preferences, too, play their part. (Does anyone actually use Facebook anymore?)

The key to an effective content strategy is the ability and willingness to adapt. If you follow our guide and the steps we’ve outlined, you’ll have a great chance of connecting with your audience. But what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow – and you need to be prepared to shift. 

This doesn’t mean ripping up what you have, but might mean investing more in channels that deliver success or focusing attention on specific social channels.

Optimisation, too, is key to maintaining and improving your online presence and position. As well as creating new content, you should use analytics and insights to identify core pieces of content and ensure they remain relevant and authoritative.

We do this in a structured way. As part of our analysis and reporting, we can identify high-performing and low-performing content on every channel. We use this information to help us decide what new content to produce based on direct audience feedback. By spotting content that doesn’t work, we can edit and improve it – and ensure we don’t create new content that may also fail to connect.

Create, adapt, optimise – that’s the process we follow. How about you?

Connect with a healthcare content marketer

Need content marketing strategy and support for your project? We’re here to help. Contact 42group today and connect with a healthcare content marketer.

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Healthcare content marketing questions

Here are some of the common questions we’re asked about healthcare content marketing. (Don’t worry, we’ve included the answers, too.)

What’s the difference between content marketing and healthcare copywriting?

Copywriting is about creating the words that grab attention on your website, landing page, ads and more. It’s about attention. Content is about engagement – providing value to your audiences to build trust, increase awareness and drive action. 

In the real world, things can become blurred with copywriting and content writers often crossing over between disciplines. Does it really matter? No.

Should I work with a specialist healthcare content marketing agency?

Obviously, yes. The healthcare sector is complex and you’ll want to work with a specialist that understands the challenges and opportunities of engaging with patients, clinicians, providers and other stakeholders. The more skilled and experienced the content partner, the higher quality work you’ll receive and the fewer edits you’ll need to make. Beyond that, they’ll help you build connections with your core audiences, helping you get closer to achieving your goals.

What should I look for in a content marketing partner?

It depends on your organisation, experience with content marketing and confidence to manage them. At 42group, for example, we work with clients of all sizes to provide a solution that’s tailored to them. That could be as small as a single piece of content or a year-long, multi-channel and multi-audience content strategy.

Alongside the ability to build a bespoke solution, you’ll want a partner with experience of working with healthcare clients and a powerful portfolio. You’ll also want to work with a team that’s fun, friendly and fantastically professional. 

These are the core things you should look for in a healthcare content marketing partner.

Do content marketing agencies manage SEO?

Some do, others don’t. At 42group, we offer content-based SEO support. This includes managing and optimising the behind the scenes stuff like tags, titles and meta descriptions as well as creating a comprehensive keyword-driven content strategy (and then writing all the content).

We don’t manage the technical aspects, like website optimisation, page speed improvements and backlink building. For this, you should work with a specialist agency with the right qualifications and connections. 

Be wary about content agencies that claim they can also manage all aspects of SEO.

How much will content marketing cost?

Every project will need to be costed independently. At 42group, we work on a flat rate of £500 per day. 

When will I see results from my content marketing campaigns?

This is a hard one. Most people consider the impact of content marketing on their search engine ranking. There are many factors that can influence the speed of ranking, but we’d expect your content to start moving the dial within 3-6 months. However, it can often be much quicker. 

On other metrics, like social media engagement for example, you can have an almost instant impact.

Can I get AI to create healthcare content marketing strategies and outputs?

There are two questions here. Can you do it? Absolutely. Should you? No. 

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