Updated May 2023
Your digital newsletter is a warm, friendly “Hey there!” to subscribers. Newsletters done right result in a “Hey!” back and maybe an “I enjoyed reading that.”
Newsletters are a relatively simple and inexpensive way to build trust among current patients and develop relationships with prospective ones. But the digital landscape is crowded with thousands of other health newsletters.
How can you stand out? We offer four tips for making your newsletter irresistible, leaving subscribers eager for more.
Anatomy of a Successful Hospital Newsletter
So how do you stay in your subscribers’ good graces and avoid the dreaded unsubscribe button? It boils down to a few basics:
Successful health newsletters
The newsletters that work best:
- Give readers health information they can use
- Have a niche, like heart care, and are not a hodgepodge of organization-wide news
- Deliver high-quality content regularly
Ones that drive users to unsubscribe
Newsletters that make readers go “ugh”:
- Hit readers over the head with overt asks, such as pleas for donations or appointments
- Read like stiff press releases about organization news or clinical services
- Focus on what the hospital wants to say instead of what their subscribers want to read
Our 4 Tips for Creating Newsletters Your Readers Will Devour
How can you put these best practices into action? Check out our tips and 4 exemplary hospital newsletters.
Tip #1: Keep the tone light by making it newsy
People who sign up for your chronic disease newsletter do not need to be reminded they’re sick. Don’t post worrisome statistics or basic disease information. Instead, emphasize how to live *well* with the condition.
Who does it well?
Saint Luke’s Cardiovascular Associates “From the Heart”
Lee’s Summit, Missouri
The title of this newsletter nods to its focus on cardiovascular health while implying that articles will be informative, honest and compelling.
Check out the table of contents from this sample newsletter:
If you were expecting a heart-healthy living manifesto, you’d be wrong. This newsletter is brimming with stories about wellness. Find out how former U.S. president Harry Truman (whose hometown is near the clinic) took daily walks. Or how a diet of natural, unprocessed food slows the progression of chronic disease. Heart disease is a theme throughout the newsletter, but a subtle one.
Tip #2: Use health newsletter articles to drive readers to your blog
Why reinvent the wheel? If you’re already creating strong blog content, use quick synopses in your newsletters to invite readers to check it out. Patients and families who may not know about your blog may become regular visitors, improving your web analytics.
Who does it well?
Seattle Children’s Hospital “my Good Growing”
High-quality stock photos, easy-to-scan headlines and succinct descriptions make it simple for time-pressured parents to find content. Articles are grouped by broad topics, such as injury prevention, and life stages, from toddlers to teens. And they include links to articles from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Learn more about how to repurpose your content from the Aha Media blog: Turn Hospital Website Content Into Social Media Material
Tip #3: Create well-rounded content
Your subscribers lead busy lives, but health and well-being are always on their minds. Hook them with topics that pique their interest, answer a burning question or offer surprising health facts.
Who does it well?
Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials Blog
Cleveland Clinic’s award-winning health newsletter includes content that interests a wide variety of readers. It includes evergreen topics such as sun protection and newsy, trendy issues, like their take on the latest weight loss drug. All articles have a health angle and a general interest appeal, such as getting kids to eat veggies.
Robust content helps you appeal to health-conscious audiences who might not require your services. Providing click-worthy, easy-to-read content establishes your brand as a credible source of information. And if their health needs change, they are more likely to turn to your organization for care.
Tip #4: Crowdsource your content
Some of the most compelling articles and story ideas can come from your audience. Why not tap into people who have had a positive experience with your hospital?
Who does it well?
Bridges: A Newsletter for Survivors from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY
This newsletter is all about patients’ well-being. Articles feature stories of survival, including a patient who’s going strong 10 years after treatment. The cover story is of a young adult patient whose cancer journey inspired her to pursue a career in pediatric oncology.
Crowdsourcing ideation is another way to gain the inside scoop on topics your audience is curious about. You can also send periodic surveys to your readership or create prompts on your sign-up page to capture input from your newest subscribers.
More Hospital Newsletter Intel
Now it’s time to make your newsletter the highlight of your audience’s inbox! These tips can help you turn a ho-hum newsletter into content that connects.
Explore more about writing healthcare newsletters:
- 10 Email Tragedies to Avoid in 2023
- Stats You Need to Know Before You Send Your Next Email
- Subject Lines: You Have One Line. Use It Well
- 4 Ways to Up Your Email Open Rate