With more than $1.62 billion invested in the digital health space in Q1 of 2018 alone, payer and provider organizations are faced with more enterprise, mobile, and IT options than options to improve patient care and business operations.
For health tech and SaaS vendors, they must have a well-planned and executed marketing strategy to remain competitive. Not surprisingly, a critical piece of any marketing strategy is content. While marketing content can appear in many forms—videos, blogs, infographics, etc.—the written component is ever-present. Effective videos use scripts, infographics need text, and–of course–blogs don’t exist without copy.
Because of the vastness and complexity of the healthcare industry, health IT writing differs from other types of B2B content writing. Your content writers must have a clear, focused understanding of healthcare, and where your solution fits in, so they can speak the language of your buyers.
Here are five tips to help you address your healthcare audience’s most salient pain points and speak with authority.
1. Know What’s Going On with the Major Health Tech Players
Staying in the loop about industry news is a critical component of the research process for writing any content piece. You need to know what issues, trends, and regulations your target audiences are facing on a daily basis, so you can meet them where they are. It’s even more important in healthcare, given the volume of ever-changing regulations and the ongoing rate of innovation — whether it’s at the bedside or in the finance office. Be sure you’re up to speed on what organizations like CMS, ONC, HIMSS, and CHIME are saying; these are some of the loudest voices in the industry. If you’re paying attention to them, you’ll be in tune with what your customers are hearing. The latest healthcare and health IT news is widely available, including: HIStalk, Becker’s Hospital Review, Modern Healthcare, and Healthcare IT News. Reference these sources and industry authorities to add credibility to your content, whether in a blog post, white paper, or social media post.
Industry News Guides Informational Content
According to the 2019 B2B Content Marketing Report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers have prioritized their audience’s informational needs in their sales/promotional messages. This means rather than diving straight into features and pricing, these companies lead with broader messages around what their solutions do. When you’re well-versed in what’s going on in the healthcare world, you’ll be able to more easily craft content that meets their informational needs.
2. Tailor Your Content to Specific Audiences
The healthcare ecosystem is vast and complex. There are a lot of different players with a hand patient care, business operations, finance, and technology. If you sell to hospitals, directing your content to a general “provider” audience just won’t cut it. Instead, identify your specific buyer and keep your content focused on that buyer’s primary concerns. A Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) cares about different issues than a physician or a revenue cycle manager. Put yourself in the shoes of who you serve to understand how your solution addresses that person's day-to-day functions. Just remember to tie it all back to the macro impact of your solution on the organization. That’s where you show real value.
Persona Development Is Key
To really know your customers and ensure your content is geared toward them, we always recommend developing buyer personas that focus on real market problems and your buyers’ skills, and are adaptable over time as the industry changes and your solution evolves. Having this narrow understanding will greatly help you deliver customer-centric marketing messages that truly resonate with your audience.
The 2019 CMI B2B Content Marketing Report also found that 77% of top performing B2B content marketers use personas for content marketing purposes, but only 42% of them are having conversations with customers for audience research. This is something that needs to change for marketers to really hone in their audience. If you’re not in a customer-facing role, connect with someone in your organization who is and pick their brain, or better yet, have them set up a call with a customer so you can get first-hand info for your personas.
3. Bring It Back to the Patient
No matter who your buyers are within the healthcare ecosystem, their customers are ultimately the patients. Even if you’re targeting a CFO or CTO, these executives still must focus on improving patient care and the patient experience to excel in their roles.
Healthcare is inherently human because real people’s lives are at stake. While your company’s IT solution may be several steps removed from patient care, it still plays a part in making the system work to save people’s lives. Make sure you humanize your brand and remain focused on the industry’s overall goal of improving patient health.
Write with Patient Care in Mind
When writing marketing content, don’t forget the patient perspective. You’ve no doubt been a patient before and have interfaced with the healthcare system in some capacity. Knowing this, you can put yourself in the position of your customers’ customers and identify how your solution or service ultimately impacts patient care. Find subtle and overt ways to incorporate that perspective into your writing.
Keyfactor*, a market leader in comprehensive digital security management, does this well. In this post, the company discusses how to protect data hosted in electronic health records (EHRs) at scale through automation. The post highlights how patients regularly share their personal information with healthcare providers. Patients will ultimately suffer if EHR data is compromised, and Keyfactor appropriately acknowledges this.
*Keyfactor is a client of Golden Spiral and our content specialists write and/or help prepare the company’s blog posts.
4. Use Examples to Simplify Complex Issues
The healthcare system is multi-layered, especially given the changing nature of care delivery, payer-provider relations, and reimbursement. Even basic processes can be challenging to fully understand, let alone the intricacies of how your technology fits into specific workflows. It’s important to remember you may not be writing to someone who is in the IT weeds every day — you’ll need to bring your content up a level to reach broader audiences. This is where examples are particularly useful.
Paint Clearer Pictures
Examples help your readers visualize exactly how a solution would be used in a real-life scenario. They can put themselves in the shoes of the players in the example and get a better sense of the technology’s functionality and benefits. For example (see what we did there), Santa Rosa Consulting* published a white paper on test automation for healthcare organizations and included the following example:
“Additionally, all orders (medication, labs, radiology, etc.) should be completed via test automation. Doing so can mean starting the test in the EHR, moving into a downstream system to record the result from the order, and going back into the EHR to validate that the result returned as expected. This eliminates the need for experts to be “on-call” and prevents delays in manual script completion.”
This examples provide supporting detail for Santa Rosa’s rule that “automation should cover 80% of all testing activities in an EHR implementation or upgrade,” which is previously outlined in the white paper. Given the target audience, the reader will likely be very familiar with these tasks (or manage people who are), and the example can help them better understand how to apply automation.
*Santa Rosa Consulting is a client of Golden Spiral and our content specialists write and/or help prepare the company’s white papers.
5. Let Data Drive Your Content
True integrated marketing is data-driven, and this means your content strategy should also be rooted in data. When you start with data, you can have greater confidence that your content will reach the right audience at the right time. In this Entrepreneur article, Shajesh Menon, founder and CEO of Younion, states that marketers should collect both descriptive data and behavioral data to identify patterns that can be used for communicating to specific audiences. He also emphasizes how data is critical for developing personas that shape targeted messages. Rather than simply making guesses about how your prospects are interacting with content, you can use data analytics tools to get concrete evidence of their online behavior. It guides your decisions for the type of content you produce and the topics you cover.
You Can’t Get by without SEO
We can’t talk about content without talking about SEO. That’s because without a comprehensive SEO strategy, your content won’t be discovered by the audiences you’re trying to reach. As discussed in our Complete SEO Guide for B2B Tech Marketing, in order to ensure your content is visible online, it needs to be:
- Relevant: Cover key healthcare terms, core industry concepts, and sales keywords.
- Authoritative: Reference (and be referenced by) links to outside sources and healthcare authorities to support your points.
- Credible: Focus on user engagement, content references, and consistency.
While keywords shouldn’t be the main focus of your content strategy, you’ll want to research what your prospects and customers are searching so you can tailor your content accordingly. It’s important to look for terms both C-suite executives and analysts are searching for, so you’re able to get in front of your decision makers and users. Keyword research can even inform word choice for a topic. For example, consider the chart below depicting search volume for Health Tech and Health IT keywords:
Even this cursory amount of keyword researched reveals that focusing on keywords close to "Health IT" will be the best option for this post, as it sees roughly 70% more search volume on average than the other keyword variations.
There is so much healthcare industry data out there ready to be used. Put data front and center, and your content marketing efforts will go a long way.
Writing content for healthcare IT audiences requires industry knowledge and a focused effort. When done well, you can use this content across a variety of platforms in your marketing strategy to create a cohesive, effective message.
Golden Spiral has invested many years in writing for health tech, health SaaS, and health enterprise partners. Through our integrated approach, we provide the expertise and content you need to develop your content foundation, or increase your frequency and reach. Schedule a strategic consultation today to discuss how Golden Spiral can help you. We’d love to tell you more.