The Coffey Blog

MozCon 2017: Top takeaways for healthcare marketing teams

Posted on: Monday, July 24, 2017

Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor
Jordan Knapp, Client Advocate/Project Manager

Content marketing best practices are always changing. That's something we say at Coffey on a regular basis. To stay on top of the trends, we head to conferences to learn from industry pros. And we're fortunate that one of the best content marketing conferences available is held each year in our state. Yup, we're talking about MozCon.

This year was our fourth at MozCon. As with previous years, we found ourselves inspired by the speakers. More importantly, we're excited about the tactical tips and cutting-edge strategies we picked up. We'll start putting them to use for the hospitals and health plans we work for right away.

Here are some of our top takeaways from MozCon 2017:

Work within your limits to do something that moves the needle.

A comment we often overhear each year at MozCon is: "I sure wish I had the time/budget for something like this."

This year, a number of speakers addressed this comment.

Phil Nottingham, in his presentation "Thinking Smaller: Optimizing for the New Wave of Social Video Platforms (PDF)," offered some great advice: Rather than obsessing over making a great video, try making smaller, inexpensive videos. Use them to learn more about what will resonate with your audience.

Ian Lurie offered a variation on that same idea in his presentation "Size Doesn't Matter: Great Content by Teams of One (PDF)" when he advised marketers to, "Use what you have, not what you wish you had."

Lurie also provided one of our favorite content tips from the conference: If you need to edit your own work, try reading the content backwards one paragraph at a time and then one sentence at a time. This will help you get a fresh perspective on your words.

What healthcare marketers can do: Lack of time, resources and budget are problems many healthcare marketers know well. If you're facing them, try these ideas.

  • Repurpose. You can make the content you create go farther by repurposing it for different channels.
  • Enlist other content creators. Your service line managers, customer service representatives and other staff can be great sources of content. They don't have to write to be helpful either. Use questionnaires to help them put together basic information and then refine that info for use on your blog and social media channels.
  • Outsource. Third-party vendors (like Coffey) can help you scale up for big projects (like a website content overhaul). Vendors can also provide expertise in technical areas (like search engine optimization). In some cases, an outside vendor can also offer video and other content that you can localize with your own branding and call to action.

"Be the content you wish you found."

This quote, from an exceptional presentation by Wil Reynolds (PDF), is the simplest and best advice any content marketer could get.

This theme was echoed by a number of presenters, but we particularly loved this actionable advice from Joel Klettke's presentation "How to Write Customer-Driven Copy That Converts (PDF)."

On each page of your website, answer the questions that brought people there:

  1. Why should I care?
  2. What is it?
  3. Who is it for?
  4. How will my life improve?
  5. How does it work?
  6. Why should I trust you?
  7. What happens next?

What healthcare marketers can do: Review your website's content and structure from the perspective of a healthcare consumer. Is the site helpful in solving problems and in answering the questions listed above? If not, it might be time to make changes.

Prepare to be disrupted.

In digital marketing, change is always right around the corner. Whether that change comes from Google, a competitor or from a change in how your organization does business, it's important to be prepared to change tactics.

Joanna Lord (PDF) summarized this nicely in her presentation about increasing growth: "Realize nothing is precious."

While that advice works great as an across-the-board approach, MozCon presenters also offered detailed tips on dealing with some very specific and potentially daunting disruptions that are happening right now.

A presentation by Dr. Pete Meyers, "Facing the Future: 5 Simple Tactics for 5 Scary Changes (PDF)," provided great advice for marketers who are wondering how to retain traffic in the face of several big changes in the way Google is ranking websites and presenting search results.

What healthcare marketers can do: Dr. Pete offered several tips that healthcare marketers can put to use right away.

  • Write for people, not search engines. Google's artificial intelligence program, RankBrain, is helping the search engine better understand natural language. While this doesn't mean keyword research and other tried-and-true SEO tactics can be ignored, it does mean we can tighten the focus on our readers and skip some less-than-reader-friendly tactics, such as using a specific keyword phrase multiple times.
  • Make your website secure. Dr. Pete predicts that, by the end of 2017, around two-thirds of sites on page one of a Google search result will use HTTPS. His advice? "Just do it."
  • Offer the best answer. Healthcare marketers often ask us about optimizing for voice search. One of the best ways to do that: Earn a featured snippet for a desktop search. And how do you get a featured snippet? One way: Provide a better answer to a question than your competition does. Dr. Pete recommends using the tried-and-true journalistic technique of the inverted pyramid. Answer the question at the start of your content, then dive deeper.

This stuff is hard—let Coffey help.

Regardless of the topic, nearly every presenter at MozCon noted that what they were recommending wasn't easy. Whether you're working on a website migration, a content rewrite or a social media initiative, there won't be shortcuts to doing great work.

Coffey can be the expert partner you need to make sure your digital healthcare marketing efforts meet your goals and that the work you create stands out from the crowd.

To learn more about our services—or to chat about any of the things we learned at MozCon—email us at