5 ideas for getting digital hospital content out of zombie marketing land

State-of-the-art. Mutidimensional. Complex.

How often do we hear these words in healthcare marketing? And do they really mean anything to the people who read them?

In a presentation at Content Marketing World Health Summit on Wednesday, AHA Media Group digital strategist Ahava Leibtag encouraged healthcare marketers to stop doing the same thing over and over again expecting better results.


In marketing, there’s internal-external tension between what doctors and executives want people to know and what patients actually want to know.  A lot of the decision makers in healthcare are from a different generation and aren’t sure how to get over some of the barriers in delivering content, Leibtag said, so marketers shouldn’t be afraid to sit down with resistant executives and lawyers and explain how younger generations are accessing information today. Sometimes, it’s fear or lack of knowledge that keeps hospitals from moving outside of the box.

Here are her tips on creating great content marketing.

If you want to be treated differently, act differently. What you’re doing can’t be the same as what everyone else is doing. Here’s an example from a campaign for breast self-exam in Canada, which uses humor to motivate women to take action.

“Another thing you can do is focus on health and not illness,” Leibtag said. Florida Hospital did this well, with its website. They took ordinary, off-the-shelf tools like articles, deals and a BMI calculator, and re-branded them in this way to create a package targeted specifically toward a certain constituency.

There’s a difference between content and content delivery. There are three parts to content: information, content type and delivery vehicles. You want your audience to know something. That’s information. Then you pick a recognizable content type – blog posts, videos, white papers. Then you pick the vehicle – Facebook, email newsletters, websites. Good marketers should think about all three of these parts.

Begin with the end in mind. Remember that even though you need to be creative, you’re trying to change people’s minds, inspire them and build trust. Rhode Island Hospital gets the message across with this video:

Create value. Every piece of content that you create has to be in service to the audience. If you truly want to create trust, instead of asking, does this serve the needs of my brand?, content marketers need to ask, does this serve the needs of my audience?

Tell stories. But do it in an atypical way, because these are the ones we remember. Broward Health Orthopedics promotes its joint replacement procedures this way.

All Children’s Hospital does this with social media by using infographics, photos, videos, links and articles to share stories on its Facebook page.