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Write for Patients, Not Your C-Suite

by Sara Foster | Nov 18, 2019

This article was written by Jessica Levco, a healthcare writer who covered HCIC19 for Greystone.Net. write-for-patients

Don’t let internal politics drive your content. If you do that, your patients will suffer.

That’s because when you’re listening to all the voices and noise (cue: “This cardiologist wants more patients!” or “This treatment center needs a newsletter!”), your patients won’t get what they want. They’ll just get what you want to tell them.

This was the key message that Amanda Todorovich, senior director of health content at Cleveland Clinic, gave to a packed room of attendees at the 23rd annual Greystone.net Healthcare Internet conference in Orlando. She was joined by Nathan David, founder and lead consultant at Meta Impact, for their presentation, “Integrate Data into Your Health Content Strategies.”

Of course, Todorovich can measure the ROI and show how each page can lead to appointments (she is our 2019 Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame inductee, after all), but to her, that’s not the point. The point of healthcare content is to build trust and create relationships.

“You can’t push services at people and try to make them take action on something they don’t want to do,” Todorovich says. “Our strategy is simple. We want to be there for patients when they need us.”

During her presentation, she highlighted Health Essentials, a Cleveland Clinic website that’s full of patient-friendly news and tips about health and wellness. Her team has been churning out three to five articles daily for the past five years. Right now, about 7 million people visit this site each month.

But when Todorovich started at Cleveland Clinic a few years ago, the numbers weren’t like that. It was getting about 200,000 views a month. But in just six months, she increased website traffic to a million views.

How?

She did a simple thing. When she was hired, she was given a spreadsheet of 50 pages of what service leaders thought were priority topics for Health Essentials. She chucked it aside (politely). Instead, she focused only on what current readers were clicking on and tried to figure out more of what they wanted — not what service line leaders said they did.

“Nobody wants to ‘follow’ your hospital and if they are sick, nobody wants to be reminded of it 24/7,” Todorovich says. “We wanted to give our readers something that mattered to them, instead of just trying to push them through a marketing funnel.”

She loves it when someone comments at the end of a Health Essentials article, “You read my mind.”

“We want to give them content they want, even if it doesn’t mean an appointment,” Todorovich says. “In the future, if they need to make an appointment or need to help a family member, they’ll remember how we were able to help them or answer their question.”

She and her team are always working on SEO strategies and optimizing content. For example, one of their most popular articles from a few years ago is about leg cramps. Instead of just letting it “sit there,” they update the content with new videos, pictures and content.

“It’s like tending a garden,” Todorovich says. “You have to pay attention to everything. It’s easy to get comfortable with what you’re doing and what’s working. But you’ve got to keep tweaking and tinkering.”

David explained how the marketing team doesn’t spend much money on fancy analytics tools, software or technology. They use a variety of free Google platforms (Google Trends, Google Correlate, Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics and Google Optimize, Google Data Studio) to crunch numbers and analyze their content.

“Instead of putting the money in tools, I’d rather put the money toward content creation,” Todorovich says.

  • nathan david
  • amanda todorovich
  • HCIC19
  • healthcare internet conference
  • cleveland clinic
  • HealthCare Digital Marketing
  • HealthCare Content

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