Most people don’t use “diapers” and “healthcare marketing” in the same sentence, but thanks to a chance encounter, I do. Years ago, my son was chosen to model diapers for a major diaper company, and while it was an exciting event it was also illuminating and frustrating.
When we arrived at the shoot, I soon learned that it wasn’t just one diaper he would be modeling, but many, representing all sorts of different countries. We were there all day, and they took over a 1,000 pictures that required two years of legal review.
Two years for one baby diaper modeling shoot.
If you think about it, healthcare content marketing faces a similar challenge. Not only do you have to address many different audiences, but because of HIPAA laws, Affordable Care Act stipulations, and increased government regulations on outbound communication, delivering great content is often restricted by an exhaustive legal review process. And as many have noted, Ad Age most recently, the healthcare industry is one of the last to adopt a customer-centric mindset.
At the same time, the healthcare industry is growing and changing like crazy. It’s estimated that by 2020, the United States will spend $4.6 trillion annually on healthcare. New innovations are supporting healthcare infrastructure—like the new analytics technology to help improve supply chains and cloud-based intelligence software.
When you combine the new infrastructure support with the latest technologies for patients and practitioners—3D printing, artificial intelligence—as well as medical advances such as new blood collection procedures, antibody-drug conjugates designed to treat certain advanced cancers, and mind-controlled prosthetic arms—you generate enormous opportunities to tell engaging stories.
But traditionally, healthcare brands haven’t.
While there is so much innovation, very few brands have been able to showcase it in one place. And that means lost opportunity to educate and engage the medical community. What the healthcare industry needs is for someone to step up and find a way to create great content, engage audiences through stories, and deliver them in a highly accessible and timely fashion.
Dignity Health (a Skyword client) and its Hello humankindness blog is a great example of inspiring content in the healthcare industry. The brand publishes stories on the health benefits associated with human connection, like reducing blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and reducing stress. People helping people.
The brand not only publishes content that is inspiring, it’s also interactive. Guests are encouraged to share their own stories of kindness whether they were the recipient or the giver. The Hello humankindness platform is inherently engaging and it calls for action while it informs.
Another healthcare provider creating effective content is Cleveland Clinic. For more than three years, its Health Essentials site has published engaging articles and videos aimed at helping people get accurate information. When it launched the website, this was the aim: “We want to help the patient separate fact from fiction and sort good science from suspect advice. We want to help you make the best decisions about your healthcare.” Given that misinformation about health questions runs so rampant, Health Essentials is providing the general public and healthcare staff with a wonderful service.
GE describes its healthcare website as the “GE health cloud,” a resource to help manage healthcare data. The site is smartly designed with a scrolling ticker (much like 24-hour news companies have been doing for years) of information mainly related to GE Healthcare. The content is heavily dominated by ground-breaking technology. For example, an article titled “Tap, Swipe, Scan: The Ultrasound Technology Speeding Up Injury Diagnoses” is a story about how doctors are using a new portable ultrasound system.
People who visit The Pulse are exposed to a lot of information about the latest developments in healthcare, and how they relate to you.
While Dignity Health, Cleveland Clinic, and GE Healthcare are on the right track with healthcare content marketing, the industry is wide open for other brands to tell amazing stories.
There is a wealth of potential for a healthcare marketing executive to lead their industry in content marketing.
One side of the healthcare industry uniquely positioned to take the marketing content lead are group purchasing organizations (GPOs), the entities that help healthcare providers save time and money by handling their purchasing volume and negotiating discounts. To provide their members with the best innovations and solutions, they’ve been teaming up with startups and other cutting-edge inventors. They have their finger on the pulse of healthcare innovation.
GPOs could seamlessly share their innovations with the healthcare companies that they represent, effectively connecting these brands so that doctors, nurses, and other staff members can help each other, and ultimately, the patient.
If a GPO can find a way to create engaging content and share all that they know to their members, while also inspiring members to connect with each other, it could be a game changer for the industry. And in the end, it would lead to better patient care and patient safety. This can be provided in one amazing publishing destination, all without taking two years to do it.
When the major diaper company finally ran their ads featuring my son, I was a very proud mom. And it was cool to think that he wasn’t just being seen in the United States, but around the world. But healthcare content marketing doesn’t have the luxury of every deliverable taking two years to go through rounds of legal approval. With smart content and a better process, it doesn’t have to.
Which brands will lead the way?