The statistics are clear on the power of branded content: One study found 67% of consumers found branded content more relevant and viewed it 57% more favorably than other kinds of advertising. At GET Creative, USA TODAY NETWORK’S in-house branded content studio, we see it working every day.

We have published hundreds of branded healthcare articles. In fact, it’s one of our most robust — and consistently highest performing — industries. Though it’s clear consumers want to read about health, the topic your brand chooses to cover for your hospital marketing strategy greatly influences the engagement level for readers.

In examining key metrics from local branded content articles, infographics, and quizzes, we’ve learned about what causes people to click and read. When creating a content marketing plan for your company, always remember the two C’s of topic selection: commonplace or curious.

Content that is Commonplace

This is just common sense: The more widespread a health condition, the more likely it is to attract readers who either have it or know someone who does. Heart disease, for instance, affects almost half of the U.S. population, so content that helps people learn how to limit its effects, gain new understanding or manage their symptoms are likely to cast a wide net. Whether we discuss serious illnesses like diabetes and cancer or everyday illnesses like allergies and the flu, there are wide-ranging opportunities to help your hospital system gain eyes and attention.

Here are some additional points to remember when talking about common health conditions:

  • Consider all the service lines with healthcare content, going beyond visible ones like emergency or oncology. Covering topics around behavioral health issues or a sedentary lifestyle, for instance, can engage different parts of a hospital –“ plus, we have found some topics like diet and exercise trends perform consistently well.
  • Branded content must offer new or inside information about common health conditions, not replicate existing content that’s been covered ad nauseam. The best and most effective way to add value for readers is to tap an expert from the hospital or health provider. Our data shows that readers prefer the word of a medical professional.
  • Personal stories offer a way to showcase your hospital’s value-add. Branded content shines when it tells a story with a clear arc — a husband who reverses caregiver roles when his wife is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, or an athlete who overcomes an injury to play once again, for instance. For providers, these stories showcase how they provide quality, compassionate care that literally changes lives.

Content that Promotes Curiosity

A local hospital experimented with topics that some might find embarrassing (issues around going to the gynecologist, for instance) or tackled phenomena like why the residents of their city suffer from a health condition at higher rates than other places. The campaign has been a resounding success.

Many people seek healthcare providers who can answer rarely-addressed questions like: Why do I keep waking up at 4 a.m.? Is drinking every night bad? Do testosterone therapies really work? Don’t get too niche, though, and stick with topics that might be less visible but still widespread.

Curious doesn’t have to mean whacky. For example, through our analysis we know that parents want to read about how to safeguard the health of their children, especially for conditions that aren’t well understood like ADHD or autism spectrum disorders. Having a medical practitioner weigh in on developments or new research is how branded content can prove invaluable.

There are many, many more lessons we can draw from health care, but the biggest are these: Consumers are interested in how your hospital can help them live better, fuller lives through excellent healthcare.

Why Content Matters to Your Hospital Marketing Strategy

It’s important to understand why content marketing is so important for your hospital marketing strategy. It’s not enough for your healthcare brand to simply be “found.” The saturated marketplace has made it easy for healthcare advertisements to be interchangeable; all the messages start to bleed together.

It’s more important than ever to create an engaging marketing strategy that sets apart your messaging, so when potential patients are looking for a provider, they already have you in mind.

Just as the doctors, nurses, and caregivers in your organization put the patient first in their treatment, so too should your content. Content that is informative, relevant, and engaging — that answers the common and the curious questions — connects on a personal level, which matters when people make important decisions about their health.

If your hospital is looking for a way to stand out from the competition with a robust content marketing strategy, contact LOCALiQ or email GCIAMGETCreative@gannett.com to get a plan in place for your team.

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