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Engaging Healthcare Consumers: Effective Strategies for Patient Outreach

Engaging Healthcare Consumers: Effective Strategies for Patient Outreach

Reaching healthcare consumers as your healthcare organization’s target audience and engaging with them is essential in achieving an impactful and successful online presence. This is where utilizing SEO strategies comes in. Beyond creating content that addresses their health-related queries and concerns, an SEO-friendly blog post is also crucial to strengthen relationships and increase patient loyalty in the rapidly growing digital healthcare industry.

Understanding your target audience is essential for the success of your healthcare business’s blog, website, and social media pages. Effectively engaging healthcare consumers, especially targeting patients in promotional activities, is crucial to ensure that the services offered by healthcare organizations and providers reach those who would benefit most. This blog post will delve into the importance of comprehending and connecting with patients as a target audience and outline the most effective strategies for reaching out to them.

How to Create an SEO-friendly Blog Post to Reach Healthcare Consumers

Before posting to your blog, it is essential to pinpoint the audience you are trying to reach, called the target audience. The first way to reach your healthcare consumers is to assess who your healthcare business caters to and what services it provides. If running a chain of nursing homes is your business, then your target audience would be those residing in nursing homes and their families. Once you’ve identified your audience, you can use SEO to reach your patients.

What is SEO? SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization and involves optimizing your website and the content you create for search engines, such as Google. An algorithm determines where in the search engine your page populates when a user searches for a word or group of words based on your content. According to these operations, your social media marketing strategy needs to be SEO-friendly, so your content can reach more users.  

How do you develop an SEO-friendly blog post? Strategize the content you put out in the world. Use a keyword research tool to find high-ranking keywords. Assess the effectiveness of the keywords you choose and adjust the ones you use based on those findings.

Optimize your title tag and meta description. The first thing users will see is your title tag, and the meta description is the description provided below. Be sure to customize your URL, or web address, to include the target keyword. 

5 Strategies to Increase Patient Engagement with Your Blog Post

Now that we have covered the importance of using patients as your healthcare consumers and how to create an SEO-friendly post, we will segway into five strategies to increase patient engagement with your blog posts. 

1. Use Target Market Segmentation

You have established that healthcare consumers are the population you serve. This group is likely to contain many people, each with unique aspects to their care. Implement a content strategy that speaks to those individual qualities. Focusing on the distinct needs of your patients may not apply to the entire population, but it will expand the information provided to your audience. This method of reaching subsets based on more personalized aspects of your audience is called target market segmentation.

2. Humanize Yourself

Some patients experience iatrophobia, or the fear of physicians or medical professionals. But we live in a time when we can really engage with our patients on social media through blogs and websites. They must see that we, too, are human.

3. Talk to Your Audience, Not at Them

As healthcare professionals, we can get caught up in talking generally, as most of our charting is worded “The patient is…” and is highly impersonal. However, we can improve communication by speaking to them through blog posts and using “you” and “your” language. Make them feel included through the content they are reading. Encourage comments or ask your readers what they want to see in the future of your blogging.

4. Learn from Your Patients

When you encourage your healthcare consumers to give their opinion, ask questions or provide suggestions, learn from them. This process is what makes us unique as providers and why clinicians drive healthcare content creation. Make future blog posts about these topics, reach out to them personally to see why they think that way, and use their recommendations by altering the treatments you provide. They will remain engaged with your content if they know that you listen to their concerns.

5. Ask for Reviews

You can use your blog content to advertise your other social media pages. When your patients are in the office, tell them about your blog and social media pages and how your content can help them. Ask your patients to ask questions, leave reviews, or contact you with their questions. This process will provide you with more content and foster engagement with your patients, all the while providing advertising for your institution.

How to Optimize Your Blog Post Content for Healthcare Consumers

How do you optimize your content for your healthcare consumers? Let’s go through a few steps to elaborate further on this topic.

  • Ensure Readability: Providing your readers with digestible information is essential to running a successful blog post. The best method to achieve this is to write at the sixth-grade level and reduce medical jargon. Tools like Growthbar and Semrush can help you with readability and SEO to ensure your readers’ return.
  • Optimize the Length of the Post: Some audiences don’t want long blog posts. Monitor the statistics of the traffic you receive on the posts you publish and use that as feedback to adjust the length of your posts. One of your writing strategies could be breaking up a longer post into multiple shorter posts if that is easier for your audience to digest.
  • Use Infographics: Individual people have distinct learning styles. Some respond better to videos, some grasp concepts by reading, and some are pictorial learners. By understanding how your audience learns, you can tailor your posts to accommodate each learning style. You can also do this by posting a poll on your social media pages and using the results to optimize your content further.

Smiling mid-adult Asian nurse or doctor is on the phone with a patient with open laptop at her desk.

How to Use Your Blog Post to Build Relationships with Healthcare Consumers and Increase Patient Loyalty

Humanize yourself, determine what your audience wants to see, and provide it. Encourage interaction with your posts, and if you have a patient you have an upcoming appointment with, and they interacted with your post, thank them in person. This gesture aids in humanizing you and letting your audience know that you see them and are genuinely appreciative.

Remember, use writing tools and keep your information at about the sixth-grade reading level to ensure readability. Define all medical jargon that slips in and keep it to a minimum. This effort will most effectively educate your audience on the topics you are writing about and keep them returning for more.  

Utilizing technology to reach our healthcare consumers is becoming the norm in our society. We can put information into the world and help them grasp concepts they may be struggling to understand. We also have the luxury of using our social media pages to reach beyond our audiences. Let us help you optimize your content strategy and build lasting relationships with your patients as your target audience.

References

American Marketing Association. (2022, January 25). What is SEO marketing?. https://www.ama.org/marketing-news/what-is-seo-marketing/#:~:text=SEO%20marketing%20is%20a%20subset,major%20search%20engines%20like%20Google.

Lake, L. (2022, December 30). What is a target audience?. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-target-audience-2295567 

Newberry, C. (2022, October 5). What is a target market (and how to find yours in 2023). Hootsuite. https://blog.hootsuite.com/target-market/  

About the Author

Kirsten Gonzalez MSN, APRN, ACNPC-AG
Kirsten Gonzalez MSN, APRN, ACNPC-AG

Kirsten has worked in the nursing profession for ten years and currently writes blog posts and works as a Cardiothoracic Surgery Nurse Practitioner with End-Stage Heart Failure patients. She enjoys spending time with her kids, husband, and dog and loves traveling to explore new places and trying out the local foods.

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