In order to make a true impact on patients using social media, it's critical that your content be focused on them, and not you.
Ask yourself: How well does your practice's website content score on these measures:
• Does your content understand?
• Does your content serve your community?
• Is your content consistent?
• Does your content demonstrate expertise?
• Does your content provide unique quality to your patients?
Focus on your patients and provide what they are looking for.
The good news is that you already have this content. Every physician is a teacher on some level. At the very least, we educate our patients; some of us occasionally teach medical students, residents, and colleagues – at grand rounds, at classes, or just at the conference table. Many of us have PowerPoint slide decks or handouts for these teaching activities. This is great content for your content brand.
Inventory your existing content through a "content audit." The first place to look for physician-generated content is at your practice. Every practice has a surprising amount of high-quality content used for patient education — as hand-outs, pre-op tip sheets, post-op complication warning sheets, directions for when to call, directions for seeking urgent care, or other healthcare tips.
Most of this content has been developed by physicians and nurses. You may have produced some of this content yourself; some of this content is often from a national medical board or professional organization in the form of brochures, flyers, and patient guides. These are available for every specialty.
These should be organized and made available on your website as educational material. Make it user-friendly. Make it easy.
This sort of content is replete with the keywords that your patients are using to find answers. These keywords are "findable" by search engines, and will elevate your ranking in those searches.
Now develop some content that connects.
Your next step is to use your patient questions log — the frequently asked questions (FAQs) patients ask you all the time and that you document — to guide your efforts. What topics are your patients most concerned about? What do they need help with?
Look at your collection of content from your content audit for information you can develop further into short and informative articles.
Expand your content format beyond text:
Graphics: Consider taking your patient FAQs and your slide decks to a graphic artist and having them create an informative infographic.
Video: Consider sitting down in front of your smartphone or other video-capture device and recording a two-minute description of your specialty. Record a two-minute answer for each of the top five (or more) of your patient FAQs. Why two minutes? Because studies show that two minutes is the upper limit for our attention span in the digital world (sad, but true). Now you have at least six videos that you can upload to YouTube. Then have those embedded on your website.
Audio: Have the audio track from your videos uploaded to iTunes and other audio websites. They can then be downloaded for free by people who are looking for the answers you are providing.
More text: Have the audio tracks from your videos transcribed to text. Include those transcriptions in the Information section when you upload your videos to YouTube. Whereas videos are not searchable by search engines, this text is searchable, and full of keywords that your patient community will search for. You just became more "findable!"
You don’t need to do all of this yourself. A physician’s time is the most expensive asset in the system. So don’t spend your time on clerical or artistic work — outsource it.
For minimal investment, you can find help on Elance and other for-hire sites. These sites provide experts to help you with editing; artistic types to help create infographics and other image-heavy content; transcriptionists to transcribe your audio to text; and, if you’re not technically savvy, technical folks to help you set up a YouTube channel or upload your audio files to iTunes; or anything else you need help with.
If you invest even 10 minutes to produce a single two-minute video, then a total of 30 minutes on Elance to have that transcribed, edited, and uploaded to YouTube, your total investment will be less than$50 to $100. The potential return on that investment is extraordinary, and simply cannot be matched by traditional marketing methods.