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Building Blocks of a Content Marketing Strategy

In today’s episode, Jenny breaks down the fundamentals of building a successful content marketing strategy, using the example of the multi-pronged content marketing strategy Hedy and Hopp built for St. Louis Children’s Hospital with two key components:

  • A separate website to aggregate the content became an “owned” platform that offered a huge SEO boost, and allowed for creative flexibility compared to the main property. It was important to have a platform to aggregate content, too, because actual social channels shift over time.
  • A dedicated YouTube channel the brand to drive more organic traffic, and the SEO value for the YouTube channel is also tremendous. As new social channels pop up, the brand has flexibility to try them without putting all of their eggs in one basket.

Jenny shares a few things to keep in mind when building a content marketing strategy from the ground up, which include the following:

  1. Content Strategy. Understand what topics are trending in the healthcare space you’re in by reviewing monthly search trends. Create a big picture plan quarterly or biannually to stay relevant.
  2. Optimization. Make sure content is personalized by platform, as different platforms require different optimizations when it comes to content length, style, and strategy. 
  3. Goals. Align your content structure with your goals. The original goal for St. Louis Children’s was to improve brand perception by the community (which surveys showed we accomplished), but we have very clear new patient goals also. For example, if a new doc comes on board and needs their schedule filled, you can feature them with a clear “Book Dr. Sally now” CTA and their schedule will fill up if you do it right.
  4. Paid Support. Bolster organic optimizations with paid promotions to ensure new content and topics reach your target audience.
  5. Video Production. Don’t let video resources stop you from creating content. Your videos don’t have to have super high production! While you may want to earmark certain topics and content for higher production value, sometimes lower quality video can be seen as more trustworthy by consumers. One of St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s most popular series for MomDocs came from a Facebook Live that was filmed on an iPhone!
  6. Patient Privacy. Keep patient privacy top of mind. Even if your content is on a separate property, it’s still a part of your organization. Make sure that the analytics and privacy solutions you use for your main property carry over.

Connect with Jenny:

St. Louis Children’s Hospital Case Study:

Jenny: [00:00:00] Hi friends. Welcome to today’s episode of we are marketing happy, a healthcare marketing podcast. My name is Jenny Bristow. I am the host of the podcast and also the CEO and Founder of Hedy and Hopp. We are a full service healthcare marketing agency that absolutely loves the work that we do. So I am thrilled to be here with you today.

One of the topics that we continue to see coming across our desks here at Hedy and Hopp is content marketing strategy. We have really developed a couple of best practices that we find work really well to build a foundation of content. And then also really be able to expand that content out across your entire digital presence as well as a key social media platform, so I thought I’d share that with you today, and I’m going to use one of my favorite projects that we work on with St. Louis Children’s Hospital as the example. So, St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a longtime client of Hedy and Hopp.[00:01:00] 

We absolutely love the work that they do. I’ll put a link to the case study actually in the show notes, you can go check out not only the case study, but the live site itself. But I want to talk a little bit about why it works. So when the decision was made to do a content strategy for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of the first decisions was to actually create a separate standalone website to house that content.

And that happened for a couple of key reasons. The first was that it really helped with creative flexibility. I’m sure all of you marketers tuning in know that whenever you are within the constraints of your primary website, there’s a lot of formatting options that you don’t necessarily have flexibility with.

You may not have flexibility with URL structure, from an SEO perspective, et cetera. And usually a content marketing platform just has a different feel for a consumer than one where they’re actively trying to find a provider. So in this situation, [00:02:00] we chose to make a separate standalone site, Children’s Mom Docs.

And the entire concept was that we were going to have physicians answer questions that parents were struggling with at that time. So again, built a separate website to house all of this content. One of the reasons why we felt it was really important to have a separate website is because we know that social media trends shift, right? 

When the website was launched, Vine was still a thing, right? Like imagine had we built the entire website or the entire strategy on the foundation of Vine. It just really could put you in handcuffs as far as future expandability. So what we always recommend is have a separate website or a subdomain of your current site, whatever, from a digital ecosystem management policy you may have within your organization do that. And then definitely need to make sure that you consider what social media platforms you want to choose to [00:03:00] expand to and then realize that you have to do editing for that content according to the different social media rules.

So we’ll talk about that in a moment. So a few notes of things that you need to be thinking about from a workload perspective and priority perspective. I have six. First one content strategy. So what we do with St. Louis Children’s Hospital is every month we look at search trends. So what are parents actively searching?

This could be related to children’s health in general, it could be related and kind of focus down to key service lines and topics that fall within those service lines. You’ll have to make that targeting decision yourself of how broad or narrow you want to be based off your content marketing strategy and goals, but we always recommend to our clients that even if you create an annual strategy of like how often you’re going to post and the format of how you’re going to post, you need to refresh the topics at a quarterly basis at minimum, because, as we’ve all seen over the last couple of years, life comes at you fast.

And so the topics and things that parents are going to be searching [00:04:00] for are going to shift rapidly. So your processes need to adapt to that. Second optimization strategies vary by platform. So it could be content, length, style, optimization approaches. What’s going to work for Tik TOK is going to be very different than what’s going to work on YouTube, but guess what?

It can be the same topic. It can be the same question, and then it can be shot multiple times or shot once and then edited down according to the channels. So really thinking about what is our POV or what is our topic and point of view that we want to talk about for this day or for this particular content piece. And then how are we going to optimize per channel? 

Next is goals. The original goal for St. Louis Children’s Hospital back when this originally started eight years ago was to improve brand perception by the community. They wanted their brand to feel more approachable, more likable. And so our solution was actually putting the doctors out front and center answering the questions.

Let’s make them real. Let’s make them real humans. Instead of a faceless, scary building. And it’s worked [00:05:00] really well. Brand perception studies that have been done over the last few years have really shown that it has really increased the likability and comfortability with folks going to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

But maybe yours is different. Maybe your goal is to promote a specific service line, or maybe your goal is to raise awareness for a specific service line that is new. Sometimes you may see that a goal, and we’ve intertwined this with some of the work at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is when a new doc comes on board.

By featuring them in the series that can fill their schedule up pretty quickly because it makes them more well known. And really get some visibility out into the community about that doc. So gotta to keep your goals top of mind. Number four, you got to support it with paid organic optimization is phenomenal.

And a huge volume of traffic for St. Louis Children’s and their content series is organic, but we find having a short term push of each new content piece. And this goes beyond just Children’s. This is for all of our clients. We do content work for short term pushes of paid really accelerate the [00:06:00] organic optimization and listings. 

And we all know, theoretically, like that shouldn’t exist. Like paid shouldn’t help organic, but it does. So we recommend really figuring out what kind of paid can you use to support this content and what channels and in what frequency or duration do you want to do it? Is it going to be per episode?

Is it going to be per month? Figure that out and stick to it, but you have to have some sort of paid to ensure there’s eyeballs on your content. Five, video production. Video does not have to be highly produced folks. One of our most successful content series was a Facebook live that we shot on our iPhone.

It was great. Had hundreds of people tuning in every single week, engaging, asking questions during the video series. It was extremely successful. That was on an iPhone. Now I will say that not only with St. Louis Children’s, but also with some of our other content clients, they do choose to use video production services or vendors for [00:07:00] some content pieces, perhaps content pieces that they know would get additional visibility, or they want to be higher priority.

But then you can actually do lower quality video content or use the resources that you have within your own team for other pieces. So do not hinge a content strategy and a video strategy on if you have internal video services or a video agency that you really like. That should not hold you back.

People do not expect that. And in fact, some studies have shown that people actually trust video content more when it isn’t highly produced. Good thing to keep in mind. And number six, the final tip is patient privacy still matters. So even if it’s a separate website, you still have to pay attention to all the patient privacy stuff happening right now.

HIPAA rules, state laws, all those things still apply, especially if you’re talking about service line specific content and then linking to the schedule and appointment now. On your main website. So whatever patient privacy solution you’ve implemented on your main website, you need to carry those best [00:08:00] practices over to this content platform to be able to make sure that patient privacy is still top of mind. And number one. 

So hopefully that was helpful. Hopefully these tips give you a little bit of an idea about if you’re thinking about doing a content strategy, some ways that you could optimize it. One thing that I want to give a quick shout out on is if you are still struggling to figure out patient privacy and what you want to do moving forward, please call us.

Q4, we launched a patient privacy solution where our team is implementing server side Google Tag Manager. You’ll have a BAA with Google. You’ll have a BAA with us. It’s the most cost effective and compliant solution out there. You’ll still get to use Google Analytics but all patient information, PII as far as device ID, IP address, et cetera, location, et cetera. All of that will be wiped as part of the server side tag manager solution. So, we are leaders in this space. We’re helping lots of folks overcome this hurdle. And if you’re still in the decision making process of, what path do we go down?

Give us a call. [00:09:00] Let us help out. We’d love to be here for you. So thanks for tuning into this episode of We Are Marketing Happy. Hope to see you on a future episode. Take care.



About the Author

The Hedy & Hopp digital production team is the glue that keeps all activation work running. From auditing websites and tagging, to content strategy and CRM implementation, our digital production unicorns ensure the tiniest detail is reviewed and accurate before it gets to our clients. Their determination in finding solutions for any challenge makes this team marketing happy.

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