Supply and Demand in Content Marketing

You know that you need great content to attract new patients to your website, so you write all sorts of informative articles about your procedures and services and put it on your site. You sit back and wait for all of the new traffic to start coming in to your website, and…

Nothing happens.

“All of the marketing experts keep talking about how content marketing will drive more traffic to my website,” you think to yourself. “I’ve got the content, now where is the traffic? Was my content not as good as I thought it was?”

More than likely, your content is fine. However, content marketing is a bit more complicated than just adding tons of content to your website.

Great Content Won’t Help You if People Aren’t Searching for It

In the past, we’ve had clients who wanted to promote a particular procedure or service, so we created content describing those procedures and services. In theory, that content should help out, but in some cases, we didn’t see a big jump in traffic after the content was added to their websites.

Upon doing some research, we figured out that not enough people were searching for the procedures and services those articles covered. For example, if you create content for shoulder replacement surgery, but people in your area are searching for information about knee replacements, shoulder replacement content isn’t going to make much of a difference in the traffic to your website. It doesn’t mean the information is bad or unhelpful, but it’s not the information people were looking for.

Maybe some procedures are needed more by local patients than others. In other cases, a procedure or service may be so new or advanced that most people don’t know about it yet. Either way, if people aren’t searching for the content you create, you aren’t going to get much of a return on your investment, no matter how good the content is.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t create content for those other procedures and services, but they shouldn’t be your top priority. Focus on the content that people want to know about, and use the marketing methods that will help you reach your patients most effectively.

The Case for Market Research

When you decide to move forward with content marketing, you might be tempted to just start creating lots of content, but that might not be the best way to go about it. If you create content for topics people aren’t interested in, you’re not going to get a very good return on your investment. By doing market research, you can find out what people in your area are searching for and what language they use to describe those topics. Only after you’ve established this baseline should you create content based on that information. It’s the concept of supply and demand–give the people what they want.

This is the typical process we follow when conducting market research:

1. Identify your desired topics. Select the procedures and services that you’d ideally like to improve your ranking for.
2. Look up search volumes around those topics. We use a tool called SEMRush to help gather search volume data, though there are other similar tools out there. SEMRush gives us search volume data on a national level; if people are not really searching for a particular procedure on a national level, they’re even less likely to be searching for it in your local area.
3. Finalize your topics. Based on search volume data, select the topics that patients are searching for the most and prioritize creating content for those procedures and services. Search volume data can also help you identify page titles. For example, patients search more for “partial knee replacement” than “unicompartmental knee replacement,” so it’s best to use the former as the page title to align with how people search for the procedure.
4. Note what patients are searching for around your chosen topics. Market research can also help inform the actual content of each page, beyond just the topics themselves. Tools like SEMRush will show you keywords related to the ones you are researching, which can help to identify questions patients might have around a particular procedure or service. If you can answer those questions in your content, you’ll have a better chance of ranking in those searches.

Market research can take some time, but it’s well worth it. By taking the time to identify what people are searching for before writing the content, you will save yourself time in the long run and may see results more quickly than if you wrote a bunch of content about several different topics.

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend on content marketing, why waste that time creating content that people aren’t interested in? After all, the ultimate goal is to give your patients the information they want to know so that they can make informed decisions about their healthcare.