Creating Effective Health Education Content at Scale

Steven Franklin, Product Marketing Manager

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For healthcare marketers, much of their efforts are focused on developing effective content to attract and retain patients and consumers.

Creating effective content at scale for larger campaigns can be time-consuming and expensive. For example, let’s say you want to create condition-focused pages on your website to promote your service lines to the community. You would need to create hundreds of pages for all the conditions you serve across a huge number of topics.

One way to create the content is to write each page individually. Either you, your team, or an outsourced marketing group could create them one by one. And while this does get the content written (eventually), there are a few drawbacks to this approach.

  1. Expense. Individual page content creation is expensive and time-consuming.
  2. Clinical accuracy. The content should be written by clinical professionals with expertise in the condition areas to ensure it covers the topic thoroughly and accurately.
  3. Reviews and updates. Medicine changes, and the content you write today may change over time. So, trustworthy health content requires monitoring and updating in the future.

Seems like a lot to worry about, doesn’t it? You can solve all these problems easily. Instead of creating  health education content yourself, use a full library of award-winning, templated content that’s also designed for programmable delivery. What does that mean? Read on for more details.

What is a programmable content strategy?

Programmable content allows you to build assets faster and smarter without having to plan, write, and deploy every single page of content individually. This enables you to scale content marketing across hundreds of pages without hand-selecting each piece of content you display, creating efficiency and reducing your costs to develop content.

For example, you want to create a library on your website with information about your audience’s most common conditions. (This is a typical content strategy for healthcare organizations.)

With programmable content, you would create a template for the condition pages, and each page section would be designated for specific pieces of content. These sections might include things like an overview, symptoms, tests, and treatments. Once you’ve designated the sections, you would simply pass in the condition name via code parameters, and the code automatically fills in the content for that condition in each section.

While this works great for creating a single page, the magic happens when you create dozens or even hundreds of pages using the template simply by telling it what condition to populate the content for.

The key to making programmable content effective is to have a well-organized content-as-a-service library. Many content libraries have great content, but they require you to manually select each piece of content you need. Unfortunately, content libraries that require this level of manual curation don’t let you use a templated, programmable approach.

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Steps to get started with a programmable content strategy

  1. Develop a strategy

    When implementing programmable content, you may feel like you want to deploy content everywhere all at once. However, a focused strategy will help you deploy, test, and improve to make the biggest impact possible.

    First, identify the marketing goals the content can support. Do you want to improve organic search rankings? Do you want to create service line landing pages that attract more patients?

    Second, consider the types of content you need to create. Two of the most effective types of content in healthcare are condition libraries and descriptions of service line capabilities.

    Finally, decide where to start. You won’t be able to do everything all at once, so start with the most meaningful areas for content that can create the biggest impact for your organization.
  2. Consult with your IT team

    Your IT team will play a crucial role in deploying your programmable content strategy. Include IT early in the process so you can be sure your strategy will work. Your IT team will have many questions about the content delivery (typically it’s via API) and how to build the pages you need. It may be helpful to have a project manager and/or a product manager oversee this process. At a minimum, your IT team will need the parameters to create templates within your CMS that allow marketers to customize content on the front end.
  3. Design your template for a single topic area

    Your template will indicate exactly where and how you want the content to display. Creating the template typically involves a web designer, a user experience strategist, and possibly a content strategist.

    Depending on the content you’re creating, you may need multiple templates. The templates should be consistent for the users, but unique to the topic they cover.

    The templates you create should also be optimized for search engines and leverage the page structures that are easily read by search engines. This includes ensuring crawlability, coding the appropriate schemas, and using the right keywords to boost your SEO strategy.

    You should perform user testing on your pages to ensure they are easy to navigate and resonate with your users.

    Finally, your templates should be designed with calls to action (or CTAs) that direct your visitors to the services they need.
  4. Find a structured content health education library

    You can’t deploy a programmable content strategy without structured content. Simply put, structured content is small, well-organized pieces of content that can be plugged into your templates where you need them. Without structured content, you would have to write each page individually.

    Select a structured content vendor that offers heath education content you can use out of the box, including thorough taxonomy, metadata, and reporting/analytics.
  5. Deploy your pages

    Once you design your templates, your IT staff is on board, and your programmable content in place, you are ready to deploy your pages. Deploying your pages will look different depending on your technology and content management system.
  6. Monitor and adjust

    Monitor your pages and make adjustments if needed. The beauty of programmable content is that you should be able to make changes to your template and those changes will then populate across all content created using the template. We don’t recommend frequent large-scale changes, but the option is there if it’s needed.

Creating and deploying a programmable content strategy based on structured content can be a cornerstone of your patient attraction and retention strategies. Learn more to see how we can provide evidence-based, clinically reviewed structured health content to power your programmable content strategy.