Why Healthcare Marketers Use DTC Blog Content
Healthcare marketers are using direct-to-consumer marketing to reach patients, expand awareness, provide patient education, and ultimately increase product use in a cost-effective, scalable manner.
According to Pew Internet, 72% of Internet users say they looked online for health information in 2012. The most commonly researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors or other health professionals. 77% of these searches start with a search engine.
Regulatory Shouldn’t Keep You From Creating DTC Blog Content
Even though healthcare marketers must deal with an added layer of regulatory and legal, it doesn’t have to keep them from utilizing content marketing or doing it well.
— Chris Seper (@chrisseper) August 13, 2013
DTC Blog Content Is Important for Search
If you’re marketing a healthcare product or service, it’s imperative to create content in order for your brand to be found online. This doesn’t have to mean “feeding the content beast,” but it does mean providing valuable resources for your target audience. When consumers go online to solve a problem, your brand can be associated with the solution.
Here are 4 ways to engage patients with DTC blog content (and examples):
1. Help patients cope with their condition by providing tips for common problems
What’s good: Style and tone, voice, fact-supported, relevant to a buyer persona.
What could be better: There’s no call to action (CTA).
2. Dispel common myths patients may have about a treatment option
“6 Common Misconceptions about Electrosurgery” explains common inaccuracies people have about electrosurgery without coming off as condescending or diminutive. Bovie offers a well-rounded perspective, acknowledging that there are other companies that offer electrosurgery besides their own.
What’s good: Style and tone, content organization and flow, easy-to-read format and length.
What could be better: Introduction of some jargon without first explaining what it is.
3. Provide patients and caregivers with the latest research
“Study: Eldercare options improving in the workforce” on the Independa blog provides highlights from a new study by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) about workplace benefits for caregivers, illustrating Independa’s understanding of the challenges caregivers face.
What’s good: Relevant information for the target market, tied back to what Independa is selling, clear CTA at the end of the article asking for caregivers to share their story on the Facebook Page.
What could be better: Business tie-in could be a little bit less of a direct product push. Ideally, they should deliver on what the title of the article suggests the content is about, and then offer a CTA button to send interested readers to a landing page. This is where you can take it one step further and offer a valuable item or more information to people who submit contact information.
4. Answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) about product use
“Starting Insulin Pump Therapy: 8 Frequently Asked Questions” on “The Loop,” Medtronic Diabetes’ blog, provides answers to common questions in a friendly, conversational format from a certified diabetes educator who also has diabetes.
What’s good: Extremely relevant, useful information for the target market, conversational delivery, information is coming from an established expert who is part of the community.
What could be better: The article has a few images that rotate in a slideshow type fashion on the top of the page, but these images are small and are only visible when the reader is at the very beginning of the article. There could be more compelling, larger images to keep the reader interested. This would also be better for social sharing, especially on sites like Pinterest.
5. Help humanize your company
“Antibiotic Resistance – A Threat That Isn’t Going Away” on the Allergan CEO blog, their current CEO Brent Saunders provides both insights about current Allergan products as well as issues that are taking place in our world that their company is trying to combat.
What’s good: I’m not sure how many CEO’s are putting out original blog content, let alone one of a multi-billion dollar company…but it’s certainly a nice touch on their part to showcase their leader in a humanistic way.
What could be better: It’s a relatively new blog so they are only five posts at the moment, so only time will tell how they unfold in the future. However, currently, I can’t knock anything since it appears to focus on the CEO’s general concern and wellbeing for the patients his company treats.
Important tips for writing DTC blog content for healthcare marketing:
- Always stay focused on what is interesting and relevant to your target market
- Stay aligned with the brand strategy and overall business objectives
- Focus on delivering easy-to-read content that’s optimized for digital consumption
- Don’t be afraid to speak conversationally with patients
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.