What Healthcare Marketing Can Learn From Target
I rarely go into stores. Ever. If I can get it on Instacart, I will find $30 worth of stuff to buy, just to get my order delivered. Thanks to the pandemic, I think I’m allergic to walking into a store — except for Target.
Target is the only store that I look forward to going to. It’s the only store that my kids look forward to going to. And the reason I still enjoy going there is that Target has taken what would be a mundane experience of running errands and turned it into something special.
It’s hard to put into words exactly what that special something is, but I think most working moms walk into Target and they feel this instant sense of peace. A feeling like everything is going to be okay. It’s always so clean. Everything seems perfectly organized.
We could all learn a lesson from Target — and especially hospitals. Here are some things that I think hospitals can take from the Target shopping experience and make it a part of the patient experience.
1. Anything that can be done at home should be done at home.
Even before the pandemic, Target had this brilliant drive-up service, allowing you to shop in their app, make your purchase, and then pick up your order in the parking lot.
Hospitals, in turn, are learning something from this approach — or rather, they’re remembering something. Before hospitals became the norm in the early 1900s, most medical care was given at home.
We’re going back to this approach in large part because of the pandemic. When no one was able to visit the hospital, the only way certain patients could get certain services was to have those services done at home. As a result, hospital administrators discovered that this led to better outcomes, lower costs, and better patient satisfaction.
Many services can be moved to the home or car space. When you’re having a baby, for example, you have to get blood pressure checks that could be done in the parking lot. No one who is 9 months pregnant should have to ask themselves, “Why did I have to get out of my car for this?”
2. Show — don’t tell.
Target’s desktop website, mobile site, and app all do an excellent job of showing a shopper everything they need at a glance. This is something that all companies can learn from.
Typically, when our clients call us for help with their web content and content strategy, one of the big issues is that everything on their site is buried. The content that consumers really would be looking for is buried. It takes three clicks. It takes several. You have to scroll and scroll and scroll, which is not necessary.
There are different ways that a hospital’s website could be more like Target’s web experience, where they present you with as many options as possible at a glance. With just a quick scan, you can see what you’re looking for, see what you want, and put it in your cart.
Focus On These Website Features
- Mega menus: Users should find exactly what they are looking for — without having to scroll.
- Fat footers: When a user makes it to the bottom of a page, there should still be somewhere to go.
- Tiled landing page: If a user can see it, they can easily click on it.
Retail websites make it easy for the user to do what they went there to do — and what the company wants them to do as well: buy things. By tapping into the web conventions consumers are already used to from their retail experiences, your healthcare website can be more usable and more successful.
3. Brag about your diversity.
When I walk into my Target, they have an entire shelf of beauty products that are created by women-owned companies. They have a display of products from black-owned, black-women-owned companies, Latina-women-owned, and LGBTQ-owned companies.
If you are interested in supporting a certain group by buying their products and services, Target makes it easy. Hospitals could take a cue from that and start to really promote the administrators and clinicians who reflect the groups you most need to reach.
There’s no reason somebody should come to your website and see only white male doctors, or worse — standard stock photos of a bunch of skinny smiling people. If you have a diverse team, broadcast it. Put it out there front and center. Let your patient audience know, “We have people who can relate to folks from all different walks of life, who can connect with your lived experiences.”
4. Show me how beautiful you are.
Target can make anything look beautiful. I mean, they have toilet scrubbers that are just gorgeous. They have storage bins that are stunning. And when you actually go to the store or onto the website, the space where Target displays these products looks a lot like a living room or a kitchen. They don’t simply show you the product, they show you how beautiful this product would be in your own home.
Many hospitals have made a lot of capital investments to increase the beauty factor of their physical location. But how many times do they hire a professional photographer to help them show that beauty off?
If you have invested in sprucing up your space, the next investment should be hiring a photographer or videographer to create some kind of virtual tour of that space. Patients shouldn’t need to come into your hospital to know how beautiful it is.
In healthcare, we could all learn a thing or two from Target. With just a few changes, the patient experience on hospital websites — and in the actual hospital — can be elevated from just so-so to the Target experience.
Looking to beautify your hospital’s website? CareContent can help with content strategy, creation, and promotion.
The Top 15 Digital Marketing Terms For Healthcare Organizations
Gone are the days when patients would ask a doctor for a referral and make a phone call to get their appointment set up. Now, patients head to Google to search for information on illnesses, providers, and healthcare organizations.
What does this mean? Your organization needs to consider how prospective patients want to access information online — and that involves so much more than setting up a website.
Only about 28% of healthcare organizations have a content strategy, but 66% of people online search for healthcare information.
Source: The New York Times
If you aren’t staying current with digital marketing for your healthcare organization, you may be missing out.
Patients expect educational articles, social media updates, and provider profiles from your content. It can be challenging to keep up with current healthcare marketing trends, but knowing a few marketing terms may help.
Here are 15 digital marketing terms to add to your vocabulary.
Reach Your Audience
Your content needs to reach audiences, and this can be done through posting your own strategic content or through patients sharing and creating content about your organization.
1. Earned Media
If a patient gives a great recommendation on Yelp or if the local newspaper highlights a new program your organization launched, you earned attention without extra work or money.
2. Shared Media
When someone shares your content, such as a blog article or Facebook post, to their friends or followers, it’s called shared media. It can gain you more views and, hopefully, more patients every time your content is shared.
Increase Your Exposure
It helps to know who your ideal audience is, where they look for information, and how they search for it.
3. Target Audience
Before you create content, you have to know which patients you want to reach — your target audience. Different target audiences need different types of content and platforms to access it. For example, retirees looking for diabetes management and college students wanting the same information may look for the content in very different places.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
People don’t always (and often don’t) land on your website pages by typing in the URL. Google, the most popular search engine, uses search engine optimization (SEO) to try to make an educated guess about what the user is trying to find when they type in a few words.
Keywords are the words and phrases you use in your content to ensure your target audiences see your content in their search results.
A free or paid keyword search tool can show you what keywords you should be using, and how high those keywords are ranking.
6. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is when you overstuff your content with keywords to fill a made-up requirement. This is exactly what you don’t want to do when creating content. Natural writing, great titles, relevant content, and headings with keywords will reach your target audiences better than content unnaturally stuffed with keywords.
7. Content Strategy
Content strategy is a plan that identifies how you will use your content to reach your business goals. It lays out what already exists on your site, what should be created, and why. If you don’t have a content strategy, it’s like having all your bags packed, your car gassed up, and no GPS signal — a surefire way to not reach your destination.
8. Engagement Rate
The engagement rate tells you how much your audience is interacting with your content. For social media, this means they are sharing, commenting, or liking your content. With websites and other content, your audience may be booking appointments or leaving comments.
Use The Right Content Type
You can have great information, but if you don’t deliver it in an interesting way on the right platforms, your patients will never see it.
9. Visual Content
Visual content — such as infographics, videos, and pictures — rules in the online world. Many people read on their devices, which makes long form text-based information less effective than image-based content.
Visual content engages your audiences across all their devices and is helpful when they are short on time.
10. Video Content
Video content includes any kind of videos you include on your site. Some organizations create videos on platforms like TikTok or YouTube and then share them to their social media channels or simply upload videos directly to their website.
11. Interactive Content
Interactive content gets your patients to do something — take a quiz, read an e-book, or click on an interactive infographic, such as a map.
Measure Your Success
There’s only one way to know if your content strategy is a success: Do some measuring.
After you update your website or post social media content, you will want to see how well your content is performing by using your website or social media management tools. This is called analytics.
13. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
A SERP is the page of results you’re given when you enter a search into Google. Google knows which results to display by looking for information on your website as well as your page URLs, images, and content. You’ll want to make sure your website is optimized so you show up in patients’ search results.
14. Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate tells you how many people selected the link they’ve seen. For example, if there’s a Facebook ad, the rate is determined by dividing how many people clicked on it by the number of people exposed to the ad.
15. Bounce Rate
Someone may click on your website or link, but if they hop off of it without doing anything else, you could end up with a high bounce rate. Analytics will tell you if patients are interacting with your webpage by clicking on a link to another article, taking a quiz, or making an appointment.
Digital marketing is always evolving — and so is its terminology. Just as you stay on top of marketing trends, do your best to keep up with new digital marketing terms that might impact the way you create and promote your healthcare content.
Contact us to create a healthcare content strategy and engaging content personalized for your organization. That way, you can focus on what you do best — serving your patients.
5 Parts Of A Quality Patient Testimonial
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing out there. When looking for a qualified babysitter, a go-to restaurant, or a new car, people rely heavily on the opinions and experiences of others.
When it comes to healthcare marketing, word of mouth isn’t just helpful — it’s absolutely critical.
Patients have options when choosing where to receive care. Whether they’re searching for a new primary care provider, a place to have surgery, or a place to deliver a baby, many will turn to one of the vastest resources out there — the internet.
Roughly 70% of patients say online reviews are a top reason they choose their healthcare providers.
Patient testimonials are where the internet meets word of mouth. They offer your healthcare organization the ability to showcase your excellent care in a high-traffic and controlled environment, like your website.
Patient testimonials are effective, but quality patient testimonials take work. Here are 5 components of a quality patient testimonial.
1. A Patient Who Is Excited About Your Healthcare Organization
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it often gets overlooked. When you’re choosing a subject for a patient testimonial, reach out to patients who have had an excellent experience they’re excited to share.
Some ways to find these patients include:
- Scour existing online reviews. Then, ask positive reviewers if they’d like to share their experience.
- Leverage your website. Dedicate a place on your website and in your e-newsletter where patients can request to share their stories.
- Recruit your team. Encourage your providers and staff to let you know when a patient has been particularly satisfied with their care.
- Use old-school signs. Place a few signs throughout your building that explain how patients can help support your organization through patient testimonials.
Note: Always, always use real patients in patient testimonials. Fabricating stories isn’t just unethical, it seriously diminishes your credibility as an organization.
2. An Engaging Title
There is great power in headlines. A boring title may get overlooked, but an enticing title will lead users to click on and read your patient testimonial.
With a great headline, your page traffic can vary up to 500%.
Source: Neil Patel Digital
Encourage people to read your patient testimonial by making it:
- Unique: While you may target a common keyword, make sure your title is one-of-a-kind and engaging.
- Specific: Let readers know exactly what they’ll learn by reading this testimonial.
- Useful: Help readers understand why reading this post will benefit them.
Here’s an example of a bland, vague, and unuseful title:
Patient Undergoes Heart Surgery to Save Life
Here’s an example of a unique, specific, and useful title:
Routine Screening Leads to Heart Surgery: How a Blood Pressure Test Saved Katrina’s Life (and Might Save Yours, Too)
3. Content That Is Both Accurate And Easy To Understand
Patient testimonials are promoting more than just your brand — they’re also promoting the service itself. For instance, a patient testimonial about heart surgery should highlight the importance of heart care and why a patient should receive care at your organization.
That’s why your content needs to be accurate, useful, and patient-friendly.
Take that heart surgery patient for instance. Their testimonial should include:
- An explanation of their heart condition, including risk factors and symptoms
- Types of heart screenings and who should get them
- Accurate, easy-to-understand information about the medical procedure
- How patients can learn more about this condition
In order to meet the needs of your users, keep your content easy to understand. Over half of adults in the US read below a 6th-grade reading level, so it’s important to use simple language and define everything that they might need to know.
4. Engaging Details About The Patient And Their Experience
The beauty of a patient testimonial compared to a generic online review is that patient testimonials tell a story. These narratives provide useful information, but they’re also detailed and engaging. This keeps users on the page longer, learning more about your organization.
Writing an engaging patient testimonial starts with keeping your patient front and center. Paint a picture of them by including:
- Who they are, such as family, career, hobbies, and life goals
- What landed them at your facility to begin with, such as a routine screening or an emergency
- Direct quotes from the patient
5. Images, Video, And Other Multimedia
No matter how engaging your story is, no one wants to read a text-heavy page of content.
Images, video, and other multimedia are a content writer’s best friend. They enhance your content by making it more exciting and easier to read.
Strategically place images throughout your text. While you should definitely use images of your patient (with their permission), consider using other images, such as ones of your facility or a machine that you describe. Always choose high-quality images that support your content.
Don’t forget — be sure to use alt text (alternative text) to ensure your images are accessible and able to be indexed by search engine crawlers.
Leverage Your Patient Testimonials On Your Website
Once you have a quality patient testimonial, use its content throughout your site as much as possible. Posting it to your blog or patient testimonial section is a great start, but you can also incorporate it (or parts of it) on landing pages, social media (like TikTok), or other marketing materials.
As a healthcare organization, patients have always been at the center of what you do. Patient testimonials allow you to highlight the excellent care you provide as well as highlight how other patients can benefit from your services.
Looking for help creating patient testimonials or other content for your healthcare website? We can help with content strategy, creation, and promotion.
What’s Your Social Media Style?
Social media style is like fashion style — everyone has one. You may have a few statement pieces, or maybe you’re a thrift shop queen. You might know your signature colors, or maybe you’re just making it up as you go along.
When it comes to the actual clothes you wear, knowing your personal style can help you choose the outfits that make you feel your best.
Social media style is no different — figuring out what your style is can help your digital presence look its best, too. With the right tools (clothes) and approach (how you put your outfit together), your social media style can help you achieve your business goals.
Is your social media presence trendy? Vintage? Business Casual? Artsy?
Take this quiz to find out!
Think we’d make a great team? Then shoot us a message, and let’s chat!
How Healthcare Organizations Can Leverage TikTok
As a mid-90s baby, I sit at the intersection of Millennial and Gen Z. We had a landline at home, and I had a couple of Razr flip phones before the widespread adoption of the smartphone. I’m a digital native, but I still took a typing class in school. I learned cursive and slipped out of public education just before Common Core. I remember Vine.
I’m a part of what experts call a “Cusp Generation” or a “Cusper” (being born within a few years of the end of a generation), and I tend to feel a bit nomadic — not-quite-belonging to either generation. And this is only exacerbated by the massive digital boom that happened alongside my own coming-of-age.
Despite not fitting perfectly into either category, I have a few years left of being the resident young person — meaning I get to write about the thing that almost 30% of teens say is their favorite social media platform: TikTok.
A Good Reason To Invest In TikTok
In 2019, the average session length for a user on TikTok was 10.85 minutes — more than double the amount of time compared to an average session on:
- Pinterest: 5.06 minutes
- Facebook: 4.82 minutes
- Twitter: 3.53 minutes
- Instagram: 2.95 minutes
Producing content on TikTok means learning a new language, a new set of references, and new rules. Trends catch on fast and land in a digital graveyard just as quickly. For a seemingly simple video platform, there can be a bit of a learning curve.
But TikTok can also be a digital land of opportunity.
Here are 4 ways your healthcare organization can leverage TikTok to meet your business goals.
1. Reach A Wider — And Younger — Audience
TikTok boasts having over 1 billion users globally. In 2020, approximately 65.9 million of those users were American, a figure that is expected to increase by 22% each year.
This is a huge, and potentially untapped, market — especially when 47% of US TikTok users are under 30 years old.
By expanding your content strategy efforts to include TikTok, you can reach younger audiences. TikTok users in the Cusp Generation like myself are just about to or have just turned 26. We’re navigating the healthcare system in a different way, thinking about our medical and financial futures, and we are some of the newest consumers on the market.
With the challenges this period of life presents, trust me — I would LOVE a TikTok to walk me through the difference between a premium and a deductible. By jumping into the healthcare TikTok scene, you can make a younger market aware of key information — and your brand identity.
2. Share Important Health Information In A Bitesize Package
Health information can be complicated, and sometimes the language of the medical industry leaves the everyday person drowning in jargon.
TikTok’s short videos can have a big impact on your content strategy. Sometimes, you just need a new angle — or a new platform — to help you think about your content in a different way.
TikTok videos can help you focus on:
- Accessibility: Easily add captions to videos so anyone can view your content.
- Creativity: Share health information in a dynamic way — you’ll have to think outside the box.
- Search and Scrollability: Use hashtags to show up in relevant searches — more people will see your content.
Note: In 2021, TikTok expanded its video length limit from 60 seconds to 3 minutes.
3. Create A More Personal Digital Persona
TikTok is driven by people, individual users, content creators, and influencers. It’s not only about the content, but the personalities behind the content. If you’re looking for ways to humanize your digital presence, TikTok might be the answer.
TikTok can give a face to your healthcare organization. A short video could include a provider reminding users to wear a mask or get vaccinated. Or your system’s dietician could discuss the dangerous nature of fad diets. With a face to your brand, you can boost your online reputation and personalize your image.
But, while making TikToks with your team can be a lot of fun, it’s important to remember that it also opens up the door to liability and scrutiny.
As a healthcare organization, your TikToks should be created with the same care and attention as the rest of your content. You might want to include a provider as the face of your TikTok, but it may not be the best idea to let them run wild — especially when just starting out.
Take some time to watch TikToks like the ones you want to create to help you avoid pitfalls that can be misinterpreted. Checking out the comments on a video can also help you know what users respond positively and negatively to in different videos.
4. Understand Current Trends And Issues
Even if TikTok isn’t the right platform to add to your content strategy, you can still utilize the video app as a listening tool.
One way to use TikTok without even making a video is to search for a common disease or specialty at your healthcare organization. Watching videos where people talk about their lived experiences can give you a new perspective on a specific chronic illness, for example.
TikTok can also provide insight into different forms of disinformation. This can direct future campaigns, whether on TikTok or your other content channels. Knowing what’s out there — and the beliefs or assumptions your patients may be coming in with — can help you provide accurate and compassionate information to the people who may need it most.
TikTok As A Part Of Your Content Strategy
There are just as many reasons to be on TikTok as there are reasons not to be. As the token young person writing a blog about TikTok, even I feel conflicted about what goes on there.
As an individual user, I’m wary of the way my friends lose hours scrolling through a never-ending content rabbit hole. But as a content writer who believes in the power of digital media as a tool to connect important information with young people, I’m captivated by its social value.
As the social media landscape evolves and different platforms mature, TikTok will continue to be one to watch — and invest time, energy, and creativity into.
Need help with your content strategy? From creating video content to expanding into new social media channels, we can help. Contact us today.
What Makes An Engaging Healthcare Website Video?
A lot has changed in the last 18 months. You might find yourself going to physical stores less. You may be working from home full time. Or maybe you’ve gotten real tight with your local delivery drivers.
COVID-19 has altered the fundamental ways we go about accomplishing many different tasks. And in the process, digital marketing has become even more essential — not to mention more competitive.
If you’re producing many different types of content already, you’ve taken a step in the right direction for staying relevant and engaging to your audience. Videos might be a key part of your content strategy, but if your videos are boring, you may actually be doing more harm than good.
“Videos convey tone and emotion associated with your brand in a way that words cannot. You can tell your prospective audience that you’re an organization that truly cares about and listens to patients — or you can show it through curated audio and visuals.”
Nicole Pegues Riepl, Multimedia Content Designer, CareContent
In order for your video to stand out and be more than just background noise, it needs to be engaging. It needs to be interesting. It needs to be good.
Here are 3 ways to make sure your healthcare website video is worth watching.
1. Capture Audience Interest With Strong Characters And Storytelling
Take a second and think back to a book or movie that you didn’t finish. Maybe it was boring. Maybe the characters didn’t seem real or compelling. Maybe it was about a topic you just weren’t that interested in.
The same applies to the videos.
Finding The Right People For The Job
“If you’re creating a video where people are speaking, finding the right people is absolutely key. They can enhance the authenticity and attractiveness of your organization — for prospective patients and employees alike.”
Nicole Pegues Riepl, Multimedia Content Designer, CareContent
There are 7 basic story plots that can help you flesh out a video for your healthcare website. These basic story arcs are not the only ways you can tell your story, but they are the tools writers have used for thousands of years — from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the most recent plotlines on your favorite sitcom.
Here are the 4 that can best help you frame your own videos and stories.
- Overcoming the monster: Your subject has overcome a great obstacle or challenge that is threatening them or their family. This plot can be useful for framing patient testimonials where they have overcome an illness or injury.
- Voyage and return: Your subject travels somewhere new and brings new knowledge back. This can be a great story arc for providers or for resident video bios.
- The quest: Your subject sets out to acquire something or go somewhere. This is another useful plot for patient — or procedure videos — especially if a patient was able to travel to your hospital to receive care they couldn’t find elsewhere.
- Comedy: A light or humorous story with a happy ending. A comedy plot doesn’t necessarily mean that the story is “funny,” but rather that it has a lighthearted tone and a happy ending. This can be a good angle for any videos featuring children or families.
Learning more about how storytelling works is just one way you can tell better stories through the healthcare videos you produce.
2. Use Your Time Wisely
If you’ve ever been to a long meeting and thought, “This could have been an email,” then you know what having your time wasted feels like.
Don’t make your audience members feel the same way. If they’re taking time to watch your video, each and every second should add value either in the form of new information, an answered question, or simply entertainment.
To make sure your audience actually gets to that information, answer, or entertainment, you have to draw them in right away.
You only have 8 seconds to capture the attention of Gen Zers, and that number only goes down for video consumption. According to Facebook, you have 3 seconds (THREE SECONDS!) to capture a viewer’s attention — regardless of their generational status — if you want them to keep watching a video.
Whether you’re in the planning, recording, or editing stage, keep in mind how you can best fill the time frame you have. Whatever story you’re telling or service you’re selling — jump right into the important stuff and get to the point.
3. Be Real
While healthcare continues to become more consumer-oriented, patients have more choice than ever about the care they receive. This is a driving force in many changes to healthcare, but two main points stick out:
- When it comes to the patient journey, your organization is selling a service — one that patients will get cheaper, better, and more conveniently elsewhere if they can.
- While your healthcare organization may be in the business of selling, you don’t want your marketing to just be about the selling.
And since you are selling a service, your healthcare videos should be engaging and well-produced — but they should also be genuine. This is where videos can make a key difference.
Setting An Authentic Tone
“Don’t claim that your organization is one way in your video messaging, but in real life, it’s the opposite. People will either see through that or discover the truth when they use your services, and they won’t hesitate to be vocal about it as a warning to others.”
Nicole Pegues Riepl, Multimedia Content Designer, CareContent
This means using patient testimonials that capture the energy and personality of your patients. It means getting that candid B-roll of your providers doing their job to cut in between an interview. It means having conversations with your marketing team about the voice of your organization.
There are many definitions of “realness” — and your version of real might look completely different from another organization. The important thing is that you decide what that target is and orient your videos toward it.
Lights, Camera, Action
Video can be used for patient testimonials, physician introductions, virtual tours, or even to explain a procedure — and that’s just scratching the surface. A well-produced and engaging video can give your healthcare website a fresh feel while also communicating important information to your audience.
At the same time, while it can be tempting to turn everything into a video, slow down. It’s better for your time and strategy to determine what will most benefit your audience and what you can effectively produce.
Focus on the videos that will best serve your goals and your audience’s needs. Then, set out first to do both of those right.
What should an engaging video for my healthcare website actually look like? Check out some of these client videos produced by CareContent.
How Healthcare Organizations Pivoted on Digital Strategy During COVID-19 [Webinar]
The COVID-19 pandemic is synonymous with “change.” Across the world, we’ve changed how we work and socialize, and how many rolls of toilet paper we add to our grocery lists. And in the world of healthcare content marketing, we have not been spared from change.
So, how exactly have healthcare organizations made changes to digital strategy during COVID-19?
On April 30th, I co-hosted How Healthcare Organizations Pivoted on Digital Strategy During COVID-19, a webinar with 50 participants and four digital marketing experts who shared their insight with the Chicago Content Strategy Meetup about how COVID-19 has challenged their teams to pivot, experiment, and learn new ways to reach their audiences.
Chris Hester, Content Strategy Consultant
Jen O’Brien, Content Strategy Consultant
Kadesha Thomas Smith, Founder/CEO, CareContent
Stephanie Heying Bach
Watch: “How Healthcare Organizations Pivoted on Digital Strategy During COVID-19″
Watch below or view on YouTube.
Part 1: A Day in the Life
Part 2: Lessons Learned
Part 3: Successful Tactics
Part 4: Life After COVID-19
Part 5: Content Strategists
Is your healthcare organization looking for help with content strategy after COVID-19? Contact us to set up an intro call and learn more.
Content Takeover: If Millennial Physicians Aren’t Joining Your Medical Association, Try This
Dear Professional Medical Association Owner/Marketer/Etc.,
Are your membership numbers dropping?
It might be because baby boomer physicians are retiring (more than a third of all active physicians will be 65 or older within the next 10 years) and millennial physicians are taking over.
And they’re not joining medical associations in droves.
Not everyone agrees on the exact age that constitutes a millennial, although the general idea is millennials = those born between 1981 and 1996, so ages 23 to 38 in 2019.
It’s not that millennial physicians don’t see any value in medical associations — nearly 75% of physicians under age 40 believe that professional associations and communities are useful.
However, there are some revealing statistics that should be a red flag for associations:
- About 25% view associations as “old school.”
- 45% have left associations because they are too expensive.
- 55% say that professional associations and organizations are not tech-savvy.
Old, expensive, not tech-savvy — these are three things that will make millennials run for the door.
Also, while medical associations may provide valuable content, they have some stiff competition. There is plenty of free information on the internet, so strapped-for-cash millennials are a little less likely to shell out the big bucks for content they could find without spending a cent.
You can’t afford to lose millennials. They are the largest generation in the US workforce, comprising about 35% of US labor, and that percentage is set to become even greater.
As baby boomer physicians retire, they may let their professional memberships lapse. You need to reel in millennial members in order to avoid taking a major financial hit and to ensure that young physicians are receiving the expertise that you have to offer.
So, what do you do?
Content is a craft: Perfect it. Curate content that appeals to millennials on every level. Millennials may be a little picky about what they open their wallets for, but they will spend if the product is valuable.
Millennials hate waiting and reading unnecessary content, so let’s just get this thing started already.
1. Create content that meets needs and piques interests.
No one likes to waste time reading content that’s not valuable to them, and millennials are no exception. When you’re putting together a content strategy (literally the most important thing you can do for your site), get creative and find topics that interest millennials. What’s keeping the boomer docs interested might not capture millennials’ attention.
What Do Millennials Want To Know About?
ℹ️ Evidence-based medicine: Millennials like data-driven information better than expert opinion or experience.
🗓 Work-life balance: 92% of millennials say that balancing work with family and personal responsibilities is important, but only 65% feel that they have achieved it.
💰 Finances: 75% of medical students who graduated in 2018 did so with debt — an average of $196,520. Finances are also a major contributor to the career paths that physicians choose.
📝 Future career options: 80% of millennial physicians want to work in a related field beyond patient care at some point, such as healthcare consulting or academic research.
2. Go mobile.
In the US, internet use on computers is declining. Instead, it’s all about smartphones. About 93% of millennials own smartphones. And among physicians under age 35, almost 90% use their smartphone for professional purposes.
This means that if they’re reading your content, it’s highly likely that they’re doing so on their phone. It also means that your content needs to be easy to read on a tiny screen.
Break text into small chunks rather than large paragraphs, and use lots of headers to break things up. Bullet points, lists, and mini infographics can also be invaluable for making text easier to read.
If possible, you may want to consider building a mobile app. Users spend 16 times longer on apps than on mobile websites. Just make sure to have a good app logo — 21% of millennials have deleted an app simply because they didn’t like the logo.
3. Don’t forget about visuals.
While on the subject of aesthetics…
Videos and images should be your best friend.
Be creative — 30-second “behind the scenes”-style videos, cartoons, infographics — you name it.
Just remember that while pictures and videos are great content tools, media platforms like Flash don’t always work on mobile, or take too long to load.
4. Meet millennials where they’re at.
If there’s one thing that millennials can’t stand, it’s being talked down to. They don’t want information “dumbed down” for them.
That being said, they don’t want boring, drab text and they don’t want to have to dissect each word to figure out exactly what the text is saying.
The trick is to get directly at eye-level. Write content that is conversational and in plain language, but not condescending or first-grade storytime in tone. Don’t be afraid to write in second-person and address the reader personally.
5. Don’t overcharge for content.
They won’t pay.
6. Remember that variety is the spice of life — and content.
In addition to varying content, change up how it’s presented.
There isn’t a magic length for content — in fact, people are very much divided on ideal length.
Millennials like short and sweet. But, there are topics that require a substantial amount of text, and some millennials do love to read longer content. Don’t set one specific length. However, if you notice that you’ve made a bunch of short posts recently, switch it up and do a couple of exposes (or vice versa).
For example, one of the next posts CareContent publishes should probably be shorter than this.
Also, vary up the authors. Some millennials respond to first-hand accounts, while others want a more anonymous voice.
Include millennial authors. More than 65% of millennials prefer to join an organization that was founded by peers their own age. While your founders may be older than the millennial generation, giving millennials a voice can at least frame your organization in a younger way.
7. Don’t call us millennials.
Millennials don’t like being called millennials. I’m going to switch to first-person here — as a millennial, I can vouch for this claim.
Even though we’ve proven to not be the duds we were predicted to be (well, for the most part), the damage has been done. The word “millennial” has a negative connotation, and is often associated with laziness and entitlement. So, it sort of rubs us the wrong way to be called that.
Okay, back to second-person.
8. Stay ahead of the game.
Millennials want what’s next. They don’t want to be left behind — which means you can’t afford to be left behind, either.
Revisit your content strategy frequently. The healthcare landscape is constantly changing — does your content represent that? Technology and ways of consuming information via technology are also always changing. Is your content optimized for those changes? Will the format and way in which the content is written — not just the actual content itself — appeal to your readers?
A Final Piece Of Advice
Do your research. And that means going to your target audience.
Ask your readers for their feedback and have them submit ideas for topics they want covered. You can’t give them what they want until you know what they want — and there’s no source better for figuring that out than their own mouths.
A Millennial Who Doesn’t Mind Being Called a Millennial (but still, avoid calling millennials “millennials”)
Starting A Healthcare Blog: 3 Factors To Keep In Mind Before Launching
It probably seems like everyone and their mom has a blog these days. And maybe that’s true. But that doesn’t mean that all blogs are created equal. Blogging can be a powerful marketing tool for your healthcare organization—if it’s done right.
So, how can you set your company’s healthcare blog up for success? Here are 3 factors to keep in mind before you even think about publishing that first post.
1. Figure Out Your Target Audience.
As an August 2013 Forbes article explains, having a clear target audience is key to creating a winning content strategy. And, as the second point in this post (see below) will explain, a strong content strategy is critical if you want your organization’s healthcare blog to succeed.
Instead, ask yourself: Is there a specific service line that we should focus on?
For example, let’s say your organization is about to build a new diabetes clinic that will offer comprehensive, multi-speciality care and support to adult patients. Maybe your target audience is working people with Type 2 diabetes who are struggling to balance jobs, family, and taking care of their own health.
2. Start With A Strong Content Strategy.
According to Forbes, identifying your target audience allows you to do the in-depth research and planning needed to create a content strategy that will set your healthcare blog up for success.
But what on earth is a content strategy?
Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina sums it up best when he says:
“Content strategy is about planning the creation, promotion, and measurement of content. This content attracts visitors to our website, creating meaningful interactions that meet the needs of our audience and our business.”
Creating a great content strategy means really getting to know the wants and needs of your target audience. It requires knowing the ins and outs of search engine optimization and keyword research. The content strategy should include a content calendar full of engaging post ideas. Your organization will also need to know how to track and interpret analytics—and adjust the strategy as needed.
And no successful content strategy is complete without a solid promotion plan.
3. Produce Less, Promote More.
It goes without saying that your organization’s healthcare blog content should be top-of-the-line as far as quality is concerned. But while it would be great if standout blog content spoke for itself and attracted readers through osmosis, unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
This is where the promotion part of a successful content strategy comes in.
In fact, as an August 2016 Content Marketing Institute article makes clear, the majority of a marketing team’s efforts should go toward promoting content, not creating it.
Think about it this way: If your organization’s blog is pumping out blog posts daily, you’ll want to promote each post thoroughly. But not only is it very difficult to produce that much quality content at that rate, promoting it might actually be harmful to your company’s cause.
This is because trying to promote that many posts at a time will quickly saturate your organization’s social media feeds—and drive people away. And that’s the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.
Instead, take time to create quality content, then dedicate even more time to promoting that content.
This might seem like a lot of work just to launch a healthcare blog. But a well-planned blog can help your organization meet its marketing goals. In the end, all of this up-front effort will be well worth it.
At CareContent, these three points are always on our mind when we help our clients launch new healthcare blogs. Let us help your hospital or healthcare organization create and promote standout web content. Contact us today to get started.
12 Reasons To Consider A Content Marketing Agency For Healthcare Content
You’ll often hear of content marketing as “feeding the beast.” That describes the ongoing labor of creating content to keep a content strategy working.
Although many healthcare organizations have embraced the importance of content marketing, many are struggling to produce enough content to keep their key patient audiences engaged. Even a weekly blog can become a challenge.
So, here are your options:
- Continue to crank out content yourself—when you and your team have time.
- Hire freelancers.
- Hire more full-time employees, who will be dedicated to content.
- Contract with a web design or branding agency you’ve already worked with.
- Partner with a content marketing agency.
Shameless plug: This blog post will endorse option five, because, well, CareContent is a content marketing agency.
Here are 12 reasons why the first four options don’t stack up to partnering with a content marketing agency.
Option 1: Crank out the content yourself.
Why this doesn’t work…
If you spend most of your days creating content, you probably aren’t focusing on strategy or promotion or the other moving parts that make content marketing successful.
You’ll also have to stay on top of all the changes in search algorithms, social media, design, and content marketing trends. Content marketing has become so competitive that if you’re not going to do it well, it’s best not to do it at all.
The title of this blog is Out-By-5. That’s probably not what you’re doing if you’re creating content. Most of the time, content is added to an already long to-do list.
Option 2: Hire a freelancer.
Full disclosure: Before CareContent, I freelanced for healthcare organizations. Okay, carry on.
Why this doesn’t work…
Freelancers have limited skills. They usually won’t know how to optimize a post for search, create visual designs, or develop and execute a plan for promoting the content. And, you may still need to do significant editing. Freelancers rarely have outside editors review content before they give it to you.
Freelancers have limited time. You’ll have to budget your content marketing projects based on the availability and capacity of just one person. Unlike a content marketing agency, the freelancer is probably not allowed to delegate work among a team.
Freelancers are cumbersome. Managing a group of freelancers can be a headache—answering their emails, tracking their invoices, negotiating rates, remembering what that rate was. And if your favorites are unavailable, do you have time to recruit replacements?
Option 3: Hire full-time employees to do it.
Why this doesn’t work…
It’s not just another person. It’s a team you’ll need to hire—and everything that goes with that: salaries, plus all the benefits like health insurance, sick days, holidays. Not to mention the time you’ll spend helping that person climb the learning curve and managing their workload.
Full-timers tend to get stuck in meetings. Once they’re in your organization, how much time will they actually be able to sit, head down, to focus on creating content? Most healthcare marketing managers and coordinators have so many meetings that they can’t focus on content until after 5.
If you hire someone to write the content, it’s unlikely that the person will also be able to optimize the content for search, add visual design, self-edit, keep up with best practices in content marketing, etc.
Option 4: Let your agency of record do it.
Why this doesn’t work …
It might not be their primary skillset. You originally hired them for branding, web design, or advertising. Those capabilities do not usually translate to content marketing.
They might try to subcontract with a content marketing agency and mark up the price. That means their content services will come at a higher cost than if you’d partnered with the content marketing agency directly.
Even if they create content, they may be missing other elements. For example, if some of your content was best formatted as an infographic, a patient guide, a podcast or a quiz could they do that? Or would they be limited to one type of content?
Here’s the bottom line: Content comes first. It shouldn’t just be riding shotgun. It should be the driver of every website, social media channel, and digital campaign. It’s time for healthcare organizations to add a new partner to their vendor speed dial: A content marketing agency.