The Coffey Blog

Publishing with purpose: 5 steps for setting goals for your healthcare magazine

Posted on: Monday, August 22, 2016

Josh Moulton, Client Advocate/Project Manager

Editor's note: We tackled this topic about this time last year, but it's important enough that we asked Josh to help us revisit it and our best tips. As Josh says, "Ready, set, goals!"

With all the daily deadlines and commitments a healthcare marketer has to manage, it can be difficult to find time to stop and set goals for a print publication. But it's important to carve out this time.

Clear goals can help you separate what's important from what's not. Goals are reminders of what you want to achieve and how your publication can help.

The investment you make in setting goals now will only make your job easier—and your publication stronger—in the future.

Ready, set, goals! Tips to get started

These smart tactics can help you start the publication goal-setting process:

1. Begin with the end in mind. If you don't know where you're going, you can't take steps to get there. Do you want your publication to increase usage of the hospital's birth center? Get donors to contribute to a capital campaign? Build rapport with people who just moved to the community? Let the brainstorming begin. Start by letting the ideas flow freely. You can prioritize later.

2. Research and reach out. Fact-finding is often an important early step in setting goals. What do you need to learn about your marketplace? Do you know who your publication's readers are and what they want from you? Maybe it's time for a consumer survey.

Talk with the stakeholders in your organization too—from the CEO to the chair of surgery to the director of health education. Getting their input and feedback now will help you secure their buy-in later.

Pro tip: Keep your data current. Set up a system of surveys, reports and chats that will keep a steady stream of quality info flowing your way.

3. Think specific and measurable. Goals help you measure progress. If the goal isn't specific and measurable, how will you know if you're moving in the right direction?

Here's an idea we're fond of at Coffey: Embrace the word by. It can take your goal from lofty and vague to rock-solid. Check it out in action:

  • Original goal: Increase the use of our interventional cardiology services.
  • Add an amount: Increase the use of our interventional cardiology services by 20 percent.
  • Add a time frame: Increase the use of our interventional cardiology services by 20 percent by January 2018.
  • Add action steps: Increase the use of our interventional cardiology services by 20 percent by January 2018 by sharing compelling patient success stories and strong calls to action.

4. Plan your approach. You've got a destination in mind. Now it's time to map out a route that will get you there. First, prioritize. Focus on goals that will have the most impact for your organization. These can be short-term or long-term.

For each goal you set, think through how it will influence the topics and tactics you use in your publication. And break down mini milestones on the way to your goal that will tell you if you're off track or right on schedule.

Pro tip: Revisit your goals regularly. Priorities shift. Communities change. New ideas emerge. It's good to have plans, but the best ones are flexible.

5. Remember, it's about readers. The primary goal for any healthcare publication should be to engage readers. Don't get so focused on your marketing initiatives that you lose sight of what people are truly interested in. Create an editorial plan that offers them value and variety.

A good question to ask about any story in your publication: What's in it for my readers?

Talk with experts in custom healthcare publishing

Need help setting goals for your healthcare magazine or newsletter? Or want to learn more about reader surveys? Coffey specializes in healthcare content creation and strategy. To learn more about how we can help you, call 888.805.9101 or email us.

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