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Part II: What Types Of Content Marketing Do Patients Want?

Note: This is the second post in our three part series about content marketing for medical practices. Click here for Part I and Part III. This post covers the topic of what types of content marketing healthcare patients are looking for when they visit your website.

Your content marketing should be patient-centered.

Before you come up with topics or choose the particular medium you’ll publish in, consider what your patients want and need.

Sports medicine providers, for example, will need different types of content than pediatricians.

Short Attention Spans

Let’s use sports medicine as an example.

Say you are a sports medicine provider who specializes in treating amateur athletes, patients in their 30s who run marathons or play tennis in their spare time, for example.

This group skims content on their smartphones while they wait for their coffee. They scroll through newsfeeds, glancing at articles that catch their attention and click on only the headlines that grab them.

They have attention spans shorter than goldfish, and they’ll stay on a page for about 4 seconds unless it captures their interest.

If you are trying to attract this audience, you’ll need to provide content that can be digested in short, manageable chunks.

8th Grade Reading Level

If you’re used to writing for medical journals, you’re going to have to rethink your writing style.

Aim for an 8th grade reading level (you can check how difficult your writing is to read by running it through a readability score website).

Brief informational videos, image-based content like infographics, or skimmable articles and emails will be your best bet. Each provider’s audience will be different, so take the time to understand yours.

Informational Content, Not Advertising

Keep in mind that your content should not sound like advertising.

The best marketing content doesn’t necessarily talk about the great care patients will receive at your practice.

Patients won’t even be extremely interested in staff bios. And you can be sure that they won’t take the time to read anything that sounds like an ad.

Instead, they’ll be more drawn to informational content that helps them make decisions about their medical care.

Your content will humanize your practice, help patients understand conditions and injuries, and put them at ease about visiting your office.

Be careful also to avoid medical advice online unless you’ve checked with your lawyer. Even answering questions posted in the comments with medical advice can turn into a legal issue. Save that for an in office visit.

What Does Valuable Content Look Like for Your Patient?

While each type of practice will have different types of content they should focus on, some might be:

  • How-to blog posts
  • Short videos
  • Informational emails about taking care of health
  • Helpful infographics

For example, a sports medicine provider could write a blog post about nine ways to exercise to prevent injury.

He could send an informational email about the best exercise gear to wear for different types of exercise.

Or he could post an infographic about how a certain injury occurs and how to prevent it.

Click here to read the third, and last, post in our series about how to make content marketing work for your medical practice website.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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