The Importance of Content in Digital Marketing

by Hillary Eames - 04/17/19

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These four reasons highlight why healthcare digital marketing requires, first and foremost, excellent content.

When we consider the importance of content in digital marketing, the history of content marketing itself comes immediately to mind. In 1895, John Deere’s company published The Furrow, arguably the first example of content marketing. It was a simpler time, whereas now Forbes reports most Americans see roughly 5,000 ads per day—out of which, most consumers interact with only 12.

Marketers face even greater odds when trying to create engaging digital content. Of the "hundreds of billions of webpages" in the Google Search index, more than nine in 10 get no organic traffic from Google.

For healthcare marketers, that’s a lot of noise to cut through. While content has always been a method of marketing, the importance of content in digital marketing has become all the more evident.

We’ve compiled a list of four reasons why, as well as tips to help your organization create excellent content.

1. Content Educates Your Audience

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 90 million Americans have low health literacy.

When creating content for your website, consider what questions patients have about their health, healthcare and your organization and seek to answer them. In an age of information (and misinformation), you can become a trusted source for your audience.

Pro tip: To spark content ideas and inspire your editorial calendar, here are Google’s top 10 trending health questions from last year.

2. Content Makes You Visible

A Pew Research survey states that 80% of adults use the internet to look up a health concern—up nearly 50% from just five years ago. The majority of online health questions begin on a search engine. Information is at consumers’ fingertips, and they intend to use it. Making your organization heard can seem daunting, but without engaging, educational content, it would be impossible.

Custom content is the key to search engine optimization, which requires backlinks, keyword placement and website visitors. All of these elements are impossible to maintain without a steady supply of quality content.

Pro tip: Consider SEO as a critical step in creating content. If search engines cannot discover your content, you’re not maximizing the reach and impact of your message for those actively seeking solutions to their health problems.

3. Content Enhances Your Social Media Presence

Our favorite definition of a brand is what your customers say about you, and engagement on social media gives you real-time feedback on how your audience views your organization. It also gives you a chance to drive traffic to your website, grow an audience for your newsletter and generate leads for key service lines. However, like any other marketing channel, quality content comes first.

While engaging, social media is limited. There is only so much that can be said in a Facebook post or a tweet. Linking to an engaging, well researched article on your website allows your audience to build a connection with your organization. Your audience is active on social media, so it makes sense to meet them there with content that's relevant to their interests and health needs.

Pro tip: Convince & Convert’s study on the 20 most successful hospital Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts highlights best practices and healthcare brands who are doing it well.  

4. Content Humanizes Your Organization

There’s a reason why the Wendy’s Twitter account has become a viral sensation. Content gives your brand a distinct and engaging voice, which many consumers believe is missing in health care.  

Amanda Todorovich, senior director of content and creative services at Cleveland Clinic, sites that 75% of customers believe hospitals care more about profit than patients.

Consumers want to feel like they are being cared for as a person, not a bottom line. In contrast, 70% of consumers believe companies that create and share custom content are interested in building and maintaining a relationship with their customers.

Pro tip: To humanize your brand and create an emotional connection with your audience, share patient stories and caregiver perspectives in your blog and social media content. Even topics like construction and technology can be engaging when featuring the names and faces of people who are advancing your mission through these initiatives.

Why Content? The Science Behind Brand Stories

The data is clear: Content will help consumers see your brand as an authentic, helpful and positive voice in their community. It will also offer a bonding experience between consumer and company.

Harvard Business Review found that our brains release oxytocin in response to character-driven stories. By their nature, healthcare facilities have numerous stories like these. Capitalize on success stories and the lives your organization has improved—your audience wants to know.

Find the questions that your audience is asking and begin to answer them in your own unique way with quality content. Utilize research, quotes from experts in your organization and strong patient stories to draw the reader in. You will reach your audience and build brand loyalty—that’s the importance of content in digital marketing.

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