The 2016 New England Society for Healthcare Communicators (NESHCo) conference promised a reboot and reimagining of health care strategy. And one thing is clear: We’re rebooting it with content, and lots of it. Content will win the day with meaningful consumer engagement, fostering new patient relationships and creating ongoing dialogue and brand loyalty.
Across the many valuable sessions 3 themes emerged for producing successful content:
- Be Simple
- Be Nimble
- Be Practical
Dropping the medical language is mandatory to create useful content for consumers. Some tips to keep it simple include addressing concerns immediately, using laymen’s terms in describing conditions and procedures, and providing assurances to help ease the minds of worried patients. Get that out of the way first, then dive into more technical information as the topic requires. Some internal communications may be needed here to ease any provider concerns with simplifying language.
The most relevant content aligns with real time opportunity. This means crafting content quickly to engage with emerging news or respond to consumer engagement related to existing content. In order to be nimble, have some processes in place that allow you to take advantage of content opportunities quickly. This might include ready access to a few key physicians or specialists that can provide soundbites, as well as pre-existing templates that can be immediately leveraged for new content. And remember, content doesn’t always have to come in highly produced video form (though that can be nice), so look for other vehicles to get it out fast.
Often health care marketers read “content” as “expensive.” Indeed, content cranking can easily become a drain on valuable time and resources. But speakers at NESHCo insisted that a marketing department of 3 people and limited budgets is not a good excuse. And we happen to agree. Control the content flood gates by beginning a pilot with a few best-fit service lines or initiatives. Supplement original content creation with strategic curated or syndicated content services that offer ready-made content carrying your brand. Finally, think ahead in planning campaigns about how materials can be repurposed for additional content use across your channels. Considering re-purposing needs in advance can set you up for success with a steady stream of content on the back-end.
We’re sure to review all kinds of rules of the health care content road as this topic continues to trend and evolve. But one thing is certain – the era of content in marketing is here to stay, and its health care strategists turn to get on board.