Providing value with your healthcare content: An opportunity to engage, educate and empower readers
When you develop content, there's a certain someone that matters most: Your reader.
The Coffey Team
As a healthcare marketer, you have people to please. You're working hard to satisfy bosses, board members, clinicians and colleagues.
But when you develop content, there's a certain someone that matters most: Your reader.
In Everybody Writes, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, speaks to why it's essential to put readers first. She urges marketers to ask, "So what?" Why should people care about what you're saying—and what should they do with the information?
As Handley says, "What matters now is creating useful content that solves customer problems, shoulders their burdens, eases their pain, enriches their lives."
What's that mean for healthcare marketers?
Your readers, like all of us, have a crazy wealth of information to choose from. By passionately and persistently focusing on the healthcare consumer's needs and wants, you can create messages that resonate, provide value—and get read.
Of course, putting the reader first doesn't mean losing sight of your goals. You have services to promote, revenue to generate, campaigns to launch.
Here's what it does mean: When you create content—whether it's for your hospital website, direct mail publication or other marketing materials—think about how your organization's goals mesh with what's valuable to your reader.
That's your marketing sweet spot: Where what you have to share can make a difference in people's lives.
One example of valuable reader content: The patient journey
People like to read about other people—and that includes stories about people who are either working to overcome a health-related challenge or have conquered one. Their experiences are often framed as a journey.
The patient journey is also known as the patient engagement journey, care journey, health action path or consumer journey. But no matter what you call it, a journey map can highlight opportunities for engaging, educating and empowering patients with your healthcare content. It's about:
- Meeting people where they are in their personal health journey.
- Serving up content that's relevant, timely and valuable.
- Moving people toward a desired outcome.
How patient journey content connects and delivers
Healthcare marketers can use a patient journey model to solve problems, ease the way for people and inspire action. This type of content can:
- Encourage awareness, education and shared decision-making.
- Engage people early in their care journeys—or at key stages such as when they first experience symptoms, diagnosis, treatment or recovery.
- Highlight service lines, programs, resources and other solutions.
- Influence health behaviors, self-care and self-efficacy.
- Improve patient experience, compliance and outcomes.
- Promote disease management.
- Provide timely calls to action—to call centers, message services, virtual assistance, telehealth, etc.
- Reduce hospital readmissions.
Creating effective patient journey content
There's no single formula for planning the content components for a patient journey or health action plan.
That said, here are five basics that can help guide the way:
1. Begin with the purpose. What problems are you trying to solve? What actions do you want people to take? For example, you might need to increase attendance at joint replacement surgery seminars. Or perhaps as part of a disease management program, you want to encourage people to monitor their blood sugar levels or blood pressure at home.
2. Recognize different paths and potential obstacles. As you consider the journey, think about where people may be starting and what might be getting in the way of them reaching the desired outcome. Recognizing those entry points and hurdles can help you create content that engages, educates and empowers.
With the joint surgery example above, someone could just be beginning to explore the idea. They would need to know whether they may be a candidate for surgery, as well as the possibilities, benefits and risks. Another person may be well-informed but anxious about what the recovery will involve.
3. Focus on the experience. You want to create an enjoyable digital experience that allows for consumer interaction and personal preferences. People can interact with integrated and dynamic content like microsites, chatbots, quizzes, decision tools, infographics, workbooks, videos, checklists, quick tips and text messaging.
Here are three more hints on giving consumers a positive experience with your content:
- Consider health literacy.
- Impart hope and write with encouragement and empathy.
- Avoid dead ends. Consumer should know what to do next or be able to access additional information.
4. Track, revise, enhance. No content plan is complete without strategies for tracking data, reviewing engagement and making changes for continuous improvement.
5. Ask yourself: Are you telling compelling, human stories? True and genuine stories about people in your community—lives changed and touched by your expert, caring staff—offer a truly unique value. They engage and move readers—and they're stories only you can tell.
Learn about Coffey's healthcare content services
To reach your marketing goals, you need to reach readers with high-quality content.
That's where you can count on Coffey.
Our team of healthcare content creators craft compelling stories that people want to read. Our staff includes experts in health literacy, design, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media.
We'd love to tell you more about our healthcare content services. Schedule a meeting with one of our business development consultants.