When a hot topic about medicine goes viral, it is a golden opportunity for physician marketers. Health topics provide fodder for custom content in a wide variety of mediums. Here are four ways physician marketers can take advantage of trending headlines:
When an important health topic hits the news, take advantage of the topic’s visibility by addressing it in a blog. For example, the recent Ebola outbreak raised many questions about how the virus is transmitted and the risks associated with being exposed. Addressing misconceptions, concerns, and providing advice on how to stay healthy are excellent ways to engage patients. Even if your practice is very unlikely to ever treat patients for Ebola, providing helpful information on a topic your patients are interested in is an excellent way to increase engagement between office visits.
When a health topic is trending in the news, addressing the topic via social media is another way to increase engagement and bolster your following. For example, the recent debate on the measles vaccination provides thought-provoking fodder that will entice followers to comment and debate. Offering helpful, constructive advice, linking to articles, and sharing photos or videos is a surefire way to increase user engagement.
Sharing news relevant to patients is particularly effective in email newsletters. Consider formatting your email newsletters in a digest format. This format yields a higher number of click-throughs than other layout formats. On average, digest layouts yield a 44.2% click-through rate, while other types of layout have a 17.8% rate. News headlines are perfect for a digest-style layout because links direct patients to the physician’s website, where he or she can discuss the topic in greater detail in a blog post.
When a news topic is relevant to your practice, consider holding a clinic to attract new patients and to engage existing patients between visits. When a news story is relevant to a certain region, such as the measles outbreak in California, there is likely to be heightened interest. Holding a vaccination clinic, for example, where physicians can answer questions face-to-face and actually administer treatment helps doctors form a connection and build trust with patients. Choosing a broader topic that is frequently in the news, such as the obesity epidemic, will still hold interest for patients and allow the physician to address the same topic more than once. In-person clinics that address hot-button issues provide useful information to patients and allow physicians to bolster trust in their community.
With more and more people turning to the Internet and social media for medical information, it should come as no surprise that hot topics in medicine are often highly visible to users. People will often turn to physicians for answers when a controversial medical news story goes viral. Thus, these news stories provide the perfect opportunity for physicians to dispense valuable information to patients and for marketers to engage patients in between visits.