The healthcare industry is becoming more and more competitive. Access to information has transformed the average patient into a savvy consumer, demanding not just the best care but top-quality customer service as well. At the same time, the number of people looking for care is growing, thanks to natural population aging and an increased prevalence of chronic and acute diseases.
Deloitte estimates global health care spending to continue growing at a 5% rate through 2023, and there’s no shortage of new companies stepping up to vie for that spending. According to Crunchbase, more than 9,700 healthcare startups exist, most of which are for-profit.
Whether you’re a startup or an established player in the healthcare industry, standing out is more important than ever. One of the best ways to do so is with high-quality content—articles, posts, and papers that show your expertise and give patients the information they need.
Why Content Matters to Healthcare Companies: The Top 4 Reasons
Healthcare is undergoing a major digital transformation. If you aren't convinced, just take a look at these statistics:
- 78% of patients would like to access their medical histories online
- 59% of millennials would switch providers to get better online access
- 66% of patients are willing to use mobile apps and wearables to monitor their health
When you consider that the average internet user spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day—nearly a third of their lives—this preference for online access to health information is hardly surprising. But that’s not the only reason why content should be a priority for healthcare businesses—here are four more.
1. Patients go online first.
In the information age, the family doctor is no longer a patient’s primary source of health information. The average citizen has massive amounts of health information right at their fingertips, thanks to the internet, and they’ve come to depend on it.
About 93 million Americans—80% of all internet users—have searched for a health topic online. That’s an increase of 81 percentage points since 2001. Many people search for this information to diagnose themselves, something that 65% of surveyed patients admit to doing.
Almost three-quarters of these internet diagnosticians have found the process stressful, often because the information they find is wrong. There’s a pressing need for trustworthy content that can not only help patients understand their symptoms but also understand how to make the bridge to seeking medical attention.
2. Patients research doctors, hospitals, and medical products.
According to a survey from SoftwareAdvice, 71% of patients use online reviews as the first step in choosing a medical provider. By the time they make their choice, 90% have considered what people are saying online.
Reviews are important for non-provider healthcare organizations, too. The Spiegel Research Center has found that 95% of all consumers read online reviews, and Testimonial Engine estimates that 72% of people won’t buy unless they’ve read reviews. That means if you manufacture over-the-counter medications and wellness products or sell health insurance, consumers will look for information about you online.
Self-generated content helps you to point customers toward the reviews you want them to see. By linking to your content in your review site profile or linking back to positive reviews on your blog, you can enhance patients’ perception of your organization.
3. Local SEO brings patients to your door.
If you serve a local population—and most healthcare organizations do, in some way or other—you need to rank well on local search results pages.
When someone searches for a local business on Google, a local pack appears at the top of the page. Also called a “map pack,” this section includes three results with their locations pinned to the map.
Bright Local has found that the top-ranking local pack result gets the second-highest number of clicks on a result page, behind only the top-ranking organic result. Valuable authoritative content, as part of a robust online presence, can help you to rank higher for those local searches and get more patients.
4. Content establishes credibility.
Patients know that not all health information online is accurate, and so does Google. That’s why its search engine algorithm prioritizes health content that is:
Whether or not your organization provides direct patient care, you can create content that meets all three requirements. The more high-quality content you produce, and the more traffic you drive back to your website, the higher you can rank and the more authority you’ll build for your practice or brand.
Which Healthcare Companies Need Content?
In this day and age, every healthcare company can benefit from creating online content. Whether you provide direct patient care, sell equipment or pharmaceuticals to hospitals, or serve the insurance sector, content can improve your visibility and standing in a competitive market.
Private Practices, Clinics, and Medical Centers
Gone are the days when there was just one doctor in town, and everyone saw that doctor. Today’s patients have a lot of choices, and while location is a significant contributing factor, it’s no longer the only one.
No matter what kind of care you provide—behavioral health, specialty care, primary care, physical therapy, and so on—patients choose between you and similar providers in your area. Content helps you to stand out from the crowd.
If you’re still not convinced, look at the Mayo Clinic. Its content ranks on the first page of Google’s search results for numerous healthcare keywords including heart attack, diabetes, and cancer.
Pharmaceutical Companies and Wellness Product Manufacturers
Of the 93 million Americans who search for health information online, 34% look up prescription or over-the-counter drugs. If you research, produce, or distribute medications, it’s important to stay on those results pages. To do that, you need to produce timely content that keeps up with the industry.
Health Tech Companies
Allied Market Search reports that the health tech industry is projected to exceed $149 billion in revenue by 2025, up from $61 billion in 2017. In the last five years, investors have channeled $80 billion into new health tech developments.
For today’s health tech companies to stay competitive in this ever-shifting market, they need to be on the radar of investors, hospitals, patients, and other stakeholders in the industry. Producing content, particularly timely content like press releases and blog posts, can help to get and keep you in the spotlight.
Health Insurers, Brokers, and Agents
Three U.S. states and the District of Columbia require health insurance, and many companies provide health insurance to at least 95% of their employees. It’s a topic that affects all Americans, yet the laws and regulations around it may be hard to understand. By producing great content, health insurers can earn the trust of employers and subscribers as they shop around.
Elder Care Facilities
There are nearly 29,000 assisted living communities and more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States. Deciding where a loved one should live is a big decision, and families are always in need of information. Compassionate and up-to-date content can earn families' trust and put your facility on the map (sometimes literally, if you can get your site to appear within search results’ local pack).
One great example is the Caring Times Blog from Griswold Home Care.
Caring Times posts on a variety of elder care topics, from managing elders' loss of appetite to recognizing signs of suicide risk. The blog’s main page also includes offers of content downloads, including the Guide to Home Care, and links back to Griswold’s services page.
Content Ideas for Healthcare Companies
No matter what services you offer, content can increase your traffic and drive leads at all stages of your sales funnel. Here’s a quick look at how different types of content might fit into your marketing strategy.
- Blog posts make great content for healthcare companies. They let you reach top-of-funnel searchers with timely, relevant info related to your practice or organization. By linking your blog posts to related pages on your site, you can get onto patients’ radar faster.
- Landing pages can drive traffic from people who are looking for a particular topic, like heart-healthy nutrition or exercises for older adults. These pages are also great early-funnel healthcare content because they live on your website, so they make it easy for readers to learn more about your services.
- Case studies can seal the deal with audiences who are getting close to a buying decision. They go into more depth about particular situations and work that you’ve been doing. They can get fairly detailed, so they’re particularly effective for building your reputation with colleagues and may even earn links back to your site.
- White papers help you to connect with industry clients who want to learn more about your organization. These in-depth studies can also help to position your brand or yourself as a thought leader in a particular space.
No matter what you do in the healthcare industry, content is an important tool for strengthening your reputation and driving more traffic to your website. It may be hard to think about adding another task to your marketing plate, but this one is easy. You can outsource the content creation itself, and then all you have to do is check it for accuracy before you publish it. It’s easy and a great investment in keeping your organization competitive.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Laura DeCesare.