Blogging has been a popular content marketing tactic for hospitals since 2009. But while talking to clients, we are finding that more of you are dissatisfied with how your hospital’s blog posts are performing.

Every now and then, you may have a post that gets a lot of attention. But in general, it seems that blogging is starting to feel like a drag: Tremendous amounts of work and energy, little ROI and not enough attention from your intended audiences.

So how do you fix it? Read on to learn 3 common reasons why your blog feels ho-hum and how to remedy the situation.

3 Challenges with Hospital Blogs

  1. No strategy: Strategy is very challenging. When hospitals come to us and say, “We want to start a blog,” we ask questions: What are your goals? Who are your main target audiences? What positioning are you going to take in your marketplace? The answer is almost always the same, “We want to use blog content to build more likes and follows on social media.” But if that’s your goal, you might not need a blog. A blog should help to establish your hospital’s or health system’s reputation: Publish a blog to position your hospital as a leader in specific things you do well. If you have a strong maternity program, consider a blog focused on pregnancy and maternity. A well-known oncology program? Try one that is focused on all aspects of cancer care. A generic hospital blog is probably not going to help you accomplish your goals unless you are willing to spend the time to build a strong strategy and plan. When we implemented a content strategy for one hospital’s blog, we saw a 330% increase in traffic. Read the case study.
  2. Boring subjects: It’s tried, but it’s not true: Let’s follow the American Hospital Association’s calendar of events. So every October, we’re going to do a plethora of breast cancer blogs. Lung cancer awareness? That’s our blog topic for the entire month of November. The challenge with following that calendar is that everyone else is following it, too. Instead, you might want to try taking creative points of views on those subjects OR drop that calendar in favor of your own editorial calendar that speaks to your goals for that month or quarter. When there’s so much saturation in the market around a specific topic, your intended target audiences are going to suffer. And that brings us to content shock…
  3. Content shock: Mark Schaefer first described content shock in January 2014: Audiences are overwhelmed by information density. As more publishers create high-quality content, it is difficult to separate your offerings. If you’re going to spend time and energy blogging, you need to make sure your topics are sparkling and, for the most part, evergreen. One of the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub’s most popular infographics was about the colors of urine and what they said about your health. As Joe Pulizzi recently said, “The content tilt is that area of little to no competition on the web that actually gives you a fighter’s chance of breaking through and becoming relevant. It’s not only what makes you different, it’s so different that you get noticed by your audience. That audience rewards you with their attention.”

So focus on the content tilt. Don’t be afraid to publish blog posts that are fresh and interesting and help your audiences understand what makes you different. We wrote a blog post for one hospital’s blog called “Is Your Fitness Tracker Making You Fat?” and it was one of their most popular posts. Be creative! The whole goal of blogging is to show them who you are. Creating general, vanilla content won’t get you there.

Need help with your hospital’s blog? Let us know. Contact Ahava today.

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