If you’re taking the time to create content for your practice’s website or blog, you want to make sure you’re creating the most effective content possible, and that people actually want to read it.
Content marketing involves lots of planning. When you’re first starting out, you may have to try a few things to see what works. But where do you go after you’ve put out that first batch of content? What should you write next?
Don’t just continue to create content without a clear direction of where you are going. The right research and preparation can inform your next steps. Ask yourself the following questions when planning your content.
1. What is the desired outcome of your content marketing efforts?
Your overall goals with the content inform both what you should write and where you should place that content on your website. For example, if you want to write content explaining your practice’s specialties, that is a different level of intent than writing a blog post.
Blog content is typically seen as more of a quick read–your patients typically expect things like health tips or news-related content there. By contrast, content about your specialties is more “evergreen.” It’s always on your website, and should be easy for patients to find at anytime. That kind of information can get buried in blog posts, so you should consider keeping it separate.
If you need content about key procedures and services that potential new patients can access at any time, then creating content in a Specialties section makes the most sense. If you’re trying to provide quick tips or updates to your patients that you can share via newsletters, social media, or email, then your content might be best placed on your blog.
2. What topics are your patients seeking information about?
It’s important that your new content helps you achieve your goals as a practice, but it’s also important to consider your patients’ needs. When patients come to your website, what types of information are they looking for?
There are a few different ways you can go about tracking down this information. First, consult your analytics on the content you currently have. In the Behavior section of your analytics account, click on “All Pages” under the “Site Content” dropdown. This will give you a breakdown of the pageviews for each of the pages on your site. Look for any content you already have about your key procedures and services, even if you only have patient education. Look for any trends you can identify. For example, are articles about knee injuries and conditions getting more traffic than articles about hip injuries and conditions? This may indicate that you should write more original content about knee injuries, since that is what patients are most interested in.
Likewise, if you have blog content already, you can look for common themes. You might find that articles on a particular topic, like arthritis, are more popular than other topics. Even if you don’t find that a particular topic is more popular, you may find that a particular article format is more popular. For example, you may find that articles in a list format are more popular than long-form articles. This information will give you an idea of the kinds of articles your patients like to read.
Social media can also give you an idea of what kinds of content or topics your patients want. If you’re sharing content on your social media pages, you can compare the likes/shares/retweets to see what patients respond to the most. You might also find some common questions in the comments section that can help inform new content topics.
3. What questions do patients have about your chosen topics?
Once you’ve settled on the topics you want to write about, the next step is figuring out what information to include within the content. No matter the desired end goal for your practice, it’s critical that you give patients the information they need to take those desired actions.
Market research is a great way to find out what patients are searching for around a particular topic. It can also help you determine the demand for keywords related to your chosen topics and how much competition there is to rank for a particular keyword.
For example, you may want to rank for a particular keyword like “hip replacements,” but there may also be other practices in your area vying to rank for it too. Market research can help you identify how often patients are searching for a particular topic and how much competition is surrounding a particular keyword, so that you know how much content you should write on that topic. Market research can also help you identify common questions about your topic, and incorporating answers to those questions within your content can improve your chances of ranking for those topics.
4. How close are you to achieving your goals?
Whether your goal is to improve your ranking for a key procedure, get more social media activity, or get more appointments, it’s helpful to know how close you are to achieving those goals.
If your goal is to improve keyword ranking, you should have an idea of how you are currently ranking. We use a tool called SEMRush to track keyword ranking, though there are many tools that you can use for a similar type of service. In SEMRush, you can track the keywords you are targeting with your content and see how your ranking changes when you add new content. Also, if you’re already close to ranking how you want, you may not need to push as hard on content as you would if you were not ranking at all.
If your goals are to increase social media engagement or appointment requests, it’s also important to regularly monitor these stats so that you have a baseline to compare to. As you add new content, you should be checking to see if there are any increases. If not, then you may need to add more content, change your strategy, or tweak the content you currently have.
At the end of the day, the goal with content marketing is to provide patients with the information they need to take the desired actions. Trends and keyword rankings are constantly in flux, and you need to be able to stay on top of it to create the most effective content. After all, why bother creating content if people don’t want to read it, or if it won’t help you achieve your goals?