A healthcare content marketing strategy is a comprehensive plan which sets out your target audience, content marketing activities, and KPIs. In your content marketing plan for healthcare, you should provide clarity for internal stakeholders and any creative agencies you may work with. Your healthcare content plan offers a single source of truth that will help you work together to
This guide to healthcare content marketing strategy is a rapid walkthrough of how to create one. Throughout the article, we will link to other resources on the 42group site that you can use.
Critical steps to creating your healthcare content strategy
There are some critical steps that you must go through to build a comprehensive and patient-centred content strategy. These steps are:
- Understanding your audience
- Setting clear objectives
- Developing a healthcare content plan
- Content distribution and promotion
- Engaging with your audience
- Measuring success and adjusting strategy
- Ensuring accessibility and compliance
In this guide, we will walk you through each of these steps, helping you to understand what they involve, why they’re essential, and how to incorporate them into creating a content strategy. If you’re not interested in reading the text, we’ve provided takeaways for each section with the important things to remember.
Understanding your audience
A deep understanding of your audience is the foundation of any successful healthcare content marketing strategy.
Too many health campaigns don’t develop detailed audience personas or insights that can drive truly patient-centred content campaigns. The better your audience segmentation and insights, the more effective your campaign will be.
What makes it challenging is the sheer diversity of the audience. Healthcare campaigns can have multiple audiences, including patients and their families, clinicians, and key stakeholders.
Each segment seeks different types of information and uses other content channels. While social media may be effective at reaching younger people, older people may prefer more traditional and direct content and communications.
We recommend that all clients build a series of personas for each campaign. These are often crude pen portraits of groups and are necessarily reductive, but they are a powerful way for your content team (including external providers) to understand who you want to communicate with.
Audience insights should include details on content preferences and content channels, the type of information required, and the outcomes you want from each group. While you’ll likely have a clear picture of your audience in mind, you should support this with research. Ideally, you’d undertake primary research, but secondary research, social listening, and keyword research can help you build a fairly accurate understanding.
Remember, the greater the investment in audience research, the more targeted and effective your campaign will be.
Key takeaways: Understanding your audience
- Identify your primary audience (patients, healthcare professionals, or both).
- Dig deeper and seek to understand their pain points, needs, and information-seeking behaviour.
- Use keyword tools, social listening, and secondary sources to build a clear picture of your audiences.
- Review and refine your audiences throughout your campaign.
Setting Clear Objectives
You should now know who your audience is, but what do you want to achieve with your healthcare content marketing campaign?
The objectives of a healthcare content marketing strategy should be aligned with the broader goals of the organisation. In this article, we’ve outlined some reasons you might be developing healthcare content marketing campaigns.
Campaigns can be used to raise awareness of services, promote healthtech products, enhance brand visibility, improve patient engagement, establish thought leadership, and drive conversions.
Whatever you want to achieve, you need to set clear and measurable goals. This clarity enables you to create focused content and establish relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). These will be highly specific to your campaign but can include website traffic, SERP performance, engagement, lead generation, and conversion rates.
Key takeaways: Setting Clear Objectives
- Establish your goals as a priority. Goals could include brand awareness, patient engagement, or thought leadership.
- ·Ensure these goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound
- Set KPIs like website traffic, engagement rates, lead generation, and conversion rates.
- Agree at the outset on how these will be managed, measured, and reported on. We prefer a simple and easy-to-read dashboard rather than pages of analytics reports.
- Ensure regular reviews are scheduled that involve key stakeholders.
Developing a healthcare content plan
Successful content marketing in healthcare is simple: you create content that provides value for your audiences and is shared on the channels they use. By understanding your audience and the content they want and need, you’ll be able to begin developing a healthcare content plan.
Your plan is a critical document which provides a snapshot of all the content you are producing, the audience, type, key message, and outcome. As well as the content you’re producing, it also details the promotion strategy to ensure it’s visible and accessible and delivers an ROI.
This involves a careful selection of content types—ranging from educational blogs and in-depth research articles to interactive infographics and compelling videos.
Some common healthcare content channels include:
- Patient communications materials, including leaflets
Your content plan can be a Google Sheet, spreadsheet, or (if you’re like us) on a dedicated workflow platform like Asana or Monday. We’ve written a guide on how to create an effective content calendar here.
Key takeaways: Developing a healthcare content plan
- Use audience insights to determine the best mix of blogs, videos, infographics, whitepapers, e-books, and podcasts.
- Ensure content is accurate, trustworthy, and reviewed by healthcare professionals.
- Always tailor your content to the interests and needs of your audience.
- Use relevant keywords and optimise all content for search engines to increase visibility.
Content distribution and promotion
A multi-channel approach is vital in ensuring that your content reaches its intended audience. We recommend developing a comprehensive content plan that harnesses the benefits of all platforms, including your website and social media platforms.
Depending on the purpose of your campaign and audience, you should consider email campaigns and collaborations with other healthcare providers.
One of the benefits of developing a calendar is you can see the cadence of your content planning. It’s easy to identify priority channels and ensure there’s a consistent flow of content. You can also plan around priorities, including key dates, events, or even seasons.
At 42group, we automate as much as possible. That means pre-loading content to be published on sites, social posts, and any other content you have going out. This ensures content consistency, avoids errors, and ensures that we’re able to respond rapidly to any emerging issues – and with healthcare, there’s always something.
Key takeaways: Healthcare content distribution and promotion
- Ensure you’re using all content channels to your advantage, including your website, social media, email newsletters, and online communities.
- Use your content planner to identify content gaps.
- Consider partnerships with other healthcare partners, providers, and publications to extend reach.
- Aim to maintain a consistent posting schedule and pre-programme or automate as much of your content as possible.
Engaging with your audience
Too many healthcare campaigns are passive, with organisations pushing information. But content works best when it stimulates a conversation. To be most effective, you should consider content as stimulating a two-way communication process, where feedback is actively sought and responded to.
How? This engagement can be enhanced by building a community around the brand through forums, webinars, and Q&A sessions. You can use your social media presence to engage your audience, ask questions, and provide answers.
One of the main benefits of community building and engagement is deepening your understanding of your core audience. This can help you refine your content, ensure you’re responding directly to their questions, and build trust. A positive byproduct is your content will resonate with your audience and deliver more clicks, which can boost SEO.
Don’t forget our first lesson: The better you know your audience, the more effective your content campaigns will be.
Key takeaways: Engaging with your audience
- Encourage comments, questions, and discussions on your platforms from patients, the public, and key stakeholders.
- Some ideas include hosting webinars, Q&A sessions, and social media chats.
- Regularly monitor and respond to feedback, especially any negative responses.
- Aim to use content to create a positive sense of community.
Measuring success and adjusting strategy
You should regularly monitor the impact and effectiveness of your healthcare content marketing strategy. If you’ve followed our advice, you’ll have a clear set of KPIs with regular reporting that’s collated in a dashboard.
Content campaigns are hard, and you may not see immediate results. If you’ve done the hard work, you should have faith that it will deliver results – but the data doesn’t lie.
We recommend scheduling regular catch-ups to review data and explore any issues and areas for improvement. Content strategy shouldn’t exist in a vacuum, either. You (or your healthcare content marketing agency partner) should respond to any changes quickly and decisively.
As well as unexpected issues that emerge, keeping up with healthcare trends and evolving audience needs is also crucial for maintaining the relevance and effectiveness of your content. Here are our healthcare trends to watch for 2024.
Key takeaways: Measuring Success and Making Adjustments
- Regularly review analytics and reporting dashboards to gauge the performance of your content.
- Adjust your strategy based on data-driven insights.
- Stay updated with healthcare trends and advancements.
- Continuously refine and update your content to maintain relevance and accuracy.
Ensuring accessibility and compliance
Healthcare organisations have a duty to ensure their content is accessible, open, and relevant to all audiences. NHS organisations, in particular, have a legal duty and responsibility to ensure content is accessible.
It also makes common sense to ensure the largest possible audience can view your content.
Accessibility and legal compliance are core requirements within your content production. You should also regularly perform checks and ensure that content is clear, accessible, and relevant to all your audiences.
Key takeaways: Ensure accessibility and compliance
- Regularly review content for compliance with healthcare laws and regulations.
- Accessibility isn’t just a legal requirement; it’s better for your organisation, so always work to ensure your content is available for everyone.
- Ensure patient privacy and data protection in all your content.
- Avoid sensationalism and fear-mongering with your content, and act responsibly.
- Always prioritise the well-being and informed decision-making of your audience.
Build a better healthcare content strategy
This guide provides a basic outline of how to create a healthcare content strategy, but we can do much more than this. If you want to create a healthcare content strategy that builds human connections with your key audiences, get in touch.Get in touch