Technical Content is Driving Healthcare Marketing Transformation
By Kyle Harper on March 29, 2019
There is one particular challenge that all marketers face, regardless of what brands we work with or industries we fall into, and that's explaining what we do to our families.
I learned this firsthand when I visited home shortly after having started my first job out of college. My mom and dad-both seasoned healthcare professionals-were very supportive, although clearly confused, when I tried to describe to them all of the neat tactics I was building and deploying through our customer relationship management (CRM) platform. I tried to connect my project to any ongoing healthcare marketing transformation efforts they'd be familiar with, and examples of how my work could tie into experiences they may have had with brands at some point in their careers.
I'll never forget my dad's reaction to my rambling: "I honestly haven't a clue what this CRM thing is supposed to do, but it certainly sounds like you're having fun doing it!"
Fast forward a few years and the latest healthcare technology market strategy has taken my parents' hospital by storm. Vendors for all sorts of tech, software, and equipment stop by their nurses' stations and admin offices alike. With yearly training for new systems now the norm, and a sudden need for more frequent online credentialing. And, in a fitting turn of events, their electronic medical records system has upgraded to look quite a bit like a CRM.
Subsequently, my parents and I have reached a new level of understanding about the challenges of working in a tech-enabled field: The mix of excitement for new tools and techniques, which is often dampened by the knowledge that you'll have to constantly keep up with learning-or risk being left behind.
This space for constant learning provides an enormous opportunity for content marketing teams to engage and educate all at once. Here's how it's helping thousands of medical professionals keep up with ever-evolving tech and embrace healthcare marketing transformation.
Image attribution: Zach Vessels
Inward and Outward-Facing Content
Technology education is an interesting vertical to tackle, primarily because your audience isn't what you'd expect. For example, if I'm a content strategist for a healthcare brand, my goal would likely be to reach my incoming audience with content-not my internal staff. This presents your content team with an initial strategic decision: Do you build two separate content hubs, or is there a way your content space can support both audiences at once?
A separate space for training content likely already exists within your company's resources. With that being said, content professionals don't need to be responsible for technical training. Instead, self-education materials are the kind of content that excels.
Built effectively, this style of content can end up serving three audiences: it can support your internal staff, attract potential staff from outside your team, and demonstrate to your audience that your institution and staff are on the cutting edge of health tech.
While there is no exact formula for building articles, infographics, or videos that achieve these goals, there is a general framework that most successful content in this space falls into. Robust, engaging, and informative healthcare marketing transformation content will typically:
- Engage at the High Level, Develop into Detail: It's very easy to get lost in the weeds on many healthcare tech topics. Successful content will often open with a brief summary or overview of the topic it's addressing so that even cursory readers will still feel like they learned something.
- Directly Tackle Hard Questions: Marketers have never had better research tools to find what questions people are searching for online. A great healthcare technology marketing strategy typically centers around one or a few key questions that the reader has, and then answers them in a specific and direct manner.
- Tell Us Why It Matters: Lastly, much of this content tends to be bookended with context around why this tech or topic is important. This gives an incentive to your healthcare professionals to take the time necessary to learn. For lay readers, any peek into what their healthcare providers' priorities or goals are can help build understanding and trust in your brand.
Learning by Example
There are a handful of healthcare brands-both on the technology side and the provider side-that have dived into this style of content creation with lots of success. One particular example comes back to that CRM-like system that my family encountered. I'm speaking, of course, about the wildly popular Epic electronic hospital record system.
Epic Systems has been working its way into many major U.S. hospitals over the past few years, and the response from medical staff has been passionate. Initially, the system can be very daunting for new users, which is why hospitals often coordinate extended training periods where they have teams of consultants on-site to help staff with hands-on training and configurations of the system. Following training, most users find themselves capable and happy to use the system-but it doesn't mean their learning is done.
Image attribution: Epic Systems
To meet the questions and needs of hospital staff in response to new releases, expanding responsibilities, or even just common obstacles, Epic has built a robust content hub simply referred to as the "Epic Community." This space provides visitors with an engaging mix of content: From snapshots into deployment strategies from other institutions, to patient-oriented stories, to general medical news and coverage. This consistent flow of content turns Epic's space into a welcoming stop for readers at any level of technical knowledge, and doesn't take away from the more dedicated training resources that Epic also provides.
The key to success here when creating technical healthcare content is in combining a mix of query specific information with high-level, story-driven content which engages your visitors. This mix of inviting material loaded with helpful information can help keep your staff savvy during times of technological change; while also signaling to your external audience that you not only understand the tech that can help them, but you also understand how it impacts and improves their lives, too.
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Featured image attribution: Blubel