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 can inform your next steps.
If You Are Writing about Pathologies or Procedures for Your Website…
Writing content explaining your practice’s specialties is different than writing a blog. With this type of content, you’re showcasing the procedures and services your practice offers, so you need to make sure you are providing the information patients want to know.
The first thing you should do is perform market research. We actually recommend that you do market research before you even start writing content. You only need to do market research once; repeating the process isn’t likely to be helpful. However, if you’ve already started creating content without market research, your findings can help you figure out if you are on the right track and what content to create next.
Market research will help to identify what procedures and services patients are searching for in your area. It helps to determine the demand for keywords related to your practice and how much competition there is to rank for a particular keyword. 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 to identify how often patients are searching with a particular keyword and how much competition is surrounding a particular keyword, which can in turn help you decide what content you should write. For example, if patients in your area are more interested in information about hip replacements, it won’t be very helpful to write content about knee replacements.
If you already have content about some of your specialties, you can also can also check your analytics and keyword ranking to see if the content is driving more traffic to your site and improving your keyword ranking for related terms.
In Google Analytics, you can see which Specialties pages got the most traffic. In the Behavior section of your analytics report, 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 the pages you created about your specialties. 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 content about knee injuries, since that is what patients are most interested in.
You can also look at your keyword ranking to identify areas where you need to improve. We use a tool called AuthorityLabs to track keyword ranking, though there are many tools that you can use for a similar type of service. In AuthorityLabs, you can track the keywords you are targeting with your content and see how your ranking changes when you add new content. If you aren’t ranking well for keywords related to a particular procedure or service, you may want to create new content that explains that procedure or service to improve your chances of ranking for those keywords.
If You Are Writing Blog Articles…
If you are looking for your next blog topic, your analytics may be a helpful place to start. As you would with your Specialties articles, look at your analytics to see which blog articles are the most popular. Is there a common theme? 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 people like to read.
Social media can also give you an idea of what kinds of content work for you. If you’re sharing your blog articles on your social media pages, you can compare the likes/shares/retweets for your articles to see what works for social media. Ultimately, the goal of a healthcare blog is to engage patients beyond the interactions you have in your office. If certain topics or article formats drive more engagement on social media than others, that is a pretty good indication of direction you should take for your future content.
If you’re not finding any clear trends among your blog articles, you can also draw ideas from current events. Write about topics that are popular in your specialty or the latest health and fitness trends. For example, the issue of concussions and CTE in football is a hot topic right now, and would be relevant to a sports medicine practice.
All of these tips are meant to help you find out what your patients need to know. 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? With an effective content strategy, you can extend the mission of your practice beyond the office and into patients’ homes.