After generating and prioritizing your list of subtopic content ideas in step one, the second step to building your practice’s online marketing program is creating a content calendar to help you direct and coordinate the necessary action.
The second step involves assessing your resources to complete the type of content needed to reach your patient audience.
What Methods do Medical Practices use to Reach Patients Online?
Medical Practices reach their largest audience by promoting content off of their website and producing content on their website. Practices that are promoting in the right channels ensure a continual stream of new prospective patients who consume (and relate) to content anywhere online about their practice (including their website) to convert them into new appointments.
Use your content grid (created in step one) to compare content (or lack thereof) for high yield treatment, condition, and specialization search terms.
Each of the next exercises can be done for each of your subtopic content ideas from the first step.
Building a content calendar forms a schedule for what content to build and what type of medium or channel to use to best reach your patient.
3 Ways to Evaluate your Prioritized List of Content Ideas
Performing this evaluation well help you put order to what you need to produce (and eventually how to promote) materials to reach your audience. The overall idea here is to assess based on practicality (ability to produce) and by looking for missing content on the highest priority subtopics from your content grid.
1. Begin with the easiest to produce and highest value content first.
Check fundamentals: condition and treatment pages on your website. These need to be prioritized first. Followed by blog content talking about treatments and conditions that you provide. Followed by high by resolution images.
Any missing condition pages and treatment pages should be completed first, followed by at least one blog (bonus points if it includes a video interview with the practitioner).
Create a spreadsheet that lists your prioritized list of 100 subtopics, delete subtopics from this list that have at least one of all three page types (condition, treatment, blog post). Depending on how many entries there are, you may need to further prune down the list so as not to waste time creating treatment, condition pages, and blogs for low yield subtopics.
The new spreadsheet you just created is your primary list. This is your first priority to complete your content calendar. These are listed first because:
- They provide a foundation for nearly all other types of content: product pages, service pages, videos, lead magnets, (references, articles, and presentations), posts and interviews on other websites, promotion on social media, book sales and seminar booking.
- They are the easiest to create: Writing requires the least amount of creativity and resources to promote your practice online. You simply need to talk about what you do and how you do it the best.
- If you decide not to pursue advertising and promotion off-page (not on your own website), you can maintain and steadily grow search traffic and keyword rankings just by working on these three areas.
2. Missing Back Links (Guest Posts) should be completed next. (Add Product and Service Pages here as well, depending on your practice)
Create a second spreadsheet listing your 100 prioritized subtopics, and delete subtopics that have at least one Guest Post or 3rd party backlink.
Guest posts, or 3rd party back links are websites that contain a link back to your practice website. (Bonus points for do-follow links).
These could be anything from a 1998 geocitites website listing your practice’s website on the local tee-ball team that you’ve been sponsoring to a popular medical related online magazine or blog that patients might be reading. Basically any mention of your practice’s website listed on a 3rd party website are included in this category (it’s possible to further rank these by authority, if you need help contact me).
This second spreadsheet is your secondary list. This is your next priority to complete your content calendar.
Guest posts, and backlinks are listed after treatment, condition, and your blog pages because:
You’ll have already built some authority as a subject matter expert by referencing content already existing on your website.
These are often free, but they are more time consuming than your primary list because they require you to reach out to other companies and both: 1) Pitch them on adding content you’ve created 2) Creating the content (weather it be written, video, or an interview)
If you decide to only focus on promoting your practice in one area outside of your own website, 3rd party links are considered to be one of the highest valued activities. This is because search engines like google heavily consider them as a ranking factor which results in a larger audience size.
3. Diversifying Media should be completed last.
Create a third spreadsheet with your list of 100 prioritized subtopics and delete subtopics that have at least one video. Videos, and other media like podcasts (you may also evaluate high resolution images in this step instead of the first step) greatly enhance the subtopics you are an expert in.
This third spreadsheet is your final list. This is your last priority to complete your content calendar. Diverse media is listed after guest posting/backlinks, treatment, condition, and blog pages because:
You now have internal and external resources online to promote this content.
These are typically the most expensive, and time consuming (depending on your hobbies) activities compared to written content.
Although patients love this content, and 3rd party websites are eager to place it, most of your competitors won’t be doing this, so this is a method to employ when you’re really trying to pull ahead of the competition.
Nice job! Now create your content calendar!
The key to step 2 is taking these three spreadsheets, and putting dates next to each item. The dates need to be achievable based on your time and resources.
I like to list these in a project management tool, but you can add them anywhere: like your email calendar.
This is critical. Don’t fool yourself. Setting aside a few extra precocious hours as a medical professional can be difficult, especially if you are already successful enough to be considering marketing activities on a blog such as this.. If you can’t set aside a few hours each month because you’re busy with patients and if you don’t have time to produce this content, it’s important to establish a point person in-house, or a relationship with a online marketing company for healthcare clinics or who can provide a steady flow of new content and direct successfully executing on a content calendar.
The slower the content flow the slower your practice’s online presence and audience will grow.
If growth isn’t a priority, or if you are in a noncompetitive market, creating all necessary treatment and condition pages could all year (because you can only write one a month). No matter your level of urgency, successful healthcare practices commit to content marketing calendars and relentlessly make steady progress to build a moat around their practice’s online presence.