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January 15, 2021

Five Ways to Improve Your Healthcare Content Strategy

Ease worries and gain patient trust through inclusive storytelling.

COVID-19 has triggered a considerable shift in the use of telehealth. The 11% of patients in 2019 that chose telehealth in place of in-person healthcare visits skyrocketed to 76% interested in telehealth in 2020:

Two pie charts from McKinsey showing how covid-19 has shifted consumer use from 11% to 76%.
Source: McKinsey & Company

We’re making more healthcare appointments online than ever before while accessing medical records and researching and reviewing doctors. Healthcare organizations and their content marketing teams are responding with enhanced digital front doors in light of recent shifts in patient behavior. 

Kanopi Studios recognizes the healthcare industry is under enormous strain, from hospital janitors to first responders and administrators. We understand the pressure put on healthcare content marketing teams to empower the end users while still working to achieve business goals. 

How can you ensure your site continues to meet patients, physicians, and caregivers’ needs? Focus on making your digital experience as straightforward as possible for visitors to complete tasks, ease patient anxiety, and empower your healthcare workforce. 

From inclusive storytelling to reviving your calls to action (CTAs,) here are our five building blocks for improving your site’s content strategy: 

  1. Tell an inclusive story 
  2. Focus on the user journey 
  3. Ensure it’s accessible 
  4. Simplify your words 
  5. Revive your CTAs

Content Strategy 1: Tell an inclusive story 

screenshot of UCSF School of Nursing's homepage, showing an article about 40 nursing leaders under 40, demonstrating storytelling in healthcare content strategy.
Source: UCSF School of Nursing 

Stories have been used for thousands of years to share knowledge and pass on important information. A compelling, relatable story from healthcare providers can comfort and change minds. Everyone responds to stories and remembers information much more vividly when told in story form, particularly if it evokes compassion and empathy.

Inclusive storytelling is about letting the voice of the patient, frontline worker, researcher, or caregiver explain your mission, purpose, and impact, reflecting and representing the diverse communities your organization serves.

Inclusion is about welcoming and embracing all of your users. Does your organization’s story address people’s problems and fears while leaving them more informed, confident, and at ease? 

To begin, try answering the following questions:

  • Is your organization’s current story reflective of the user’s experience with you?
  • What makes your healthcare organization unique to your user?  
  • Does your story focus on that user’s perspective?
  • How is your story being told? 
  • If you are using a form, are questions such as gender needed, and if so, are they asked respectfully and inclusively?

From video and text to images and quotes — every piece of content on your website should assist in telling your healthcare organization’s story to site visitors. Inclusive storytelling can also help you achieve the goals set out in your health marketing strategy. But it needs to go beyond an inclusive image or two; your user research, tone and style, and team structures should all reflect your healthcare organization’s inclusivity.

Take Salesforce’s inclusive content marketing principles, for example. We think they are straightforward, practical, and inspiring and offer a great starting point for developing inclusive content:

Screenshot of Salesforce's inclusive content marketing principles
Source: Salesforce

Read our recent blog on creating an inclusive content strategy if you’d like to learn more about using inclusive storytelling in your healthcare content marketing strategy.

Content Strategy 2: Focus on the user journey 

People expect timely, accurate, and actionable solutions to medical problems. Healthcare marketers are responding with educational content that aligns with community needs. By engaging people early in the healthcare journey, marketers can guide them on a path to improved health and gain trust and brand loyalty while helping them achieve content marketing goals in the process.

What pathways do you guide visitors on when they arrive on a page of your website? Do those pathways help visitors do what they came to your site to do, quickly and easily, while supporting your content marketing goals? 

By creating and exploring the patient journey and developing UX personas, you can better understand how people get to your site, and what they expect to do once there. You can also identify any existing barriers that stop them from completing critical tasks on your healthcare website. 

Take the San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS), for example. Through research and discovery with Kanopi, they were able to pinpoint everyday tasks members wanted to complete. They grouped these tasks and brought them front and center on their homepage, to guide their audience, helping them do what they came to the site to do, fast:

Image of the SFHSS homepage area with the most highly requested tasks grouped together for an improved healthcare content strategy.

SFHSS now has an intuitive user experience, helping them achieve impressive content marketing goals:

  • a 15% increase in new users, 
  • a 45% increase in page views, 
  • a 33% increase in sessions, and 
  • a -19% decrease in bounce rate.

Healthcare content marketing quick fixes: 

  • Banners or alert messages can help bring emergency or vital information front and center for patients.
  • Imagery of healthcare providers wearing PPE can help make the new normal feel normal.
  • From chatbots to call buttons and contact forms, all of your contact methods should be consistently placed and static on every page of your site to help a patient contact you in a way that suits them.

Content Strategy 3: Ensure it’s accessible

Nearly 26% of US adults (22% in Canada) self-identify as disabled. On top of this, people visiting healthcare sites may be experiencing an elevated level of stress that can be a distraction. To help counter this, keep your user journey clear from distraction as you build an accessible web presence. Though Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) go deep into recommendations, here are three quick things you can do as a content strategist to improve your site’s accessibility. 

Ensure your site has simple, straightforward navigation and that all non-textual content on your site has the necessary alternative text that can be picked up by screen readers. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that Google uses alternative text when ranking images. Ensuring alternative text exists throughout your website will impact your site’s visibility on search engines, in addition to boosting your content marketing goals.

Next, using easy to read fonts and colors with significant contrast can ensure the content on your site is readable by site visitors with vision and cognitive impairments.

Finally, ensure your site has a robust content heading structure. That means a single H1 tag (usually your page title), and then the other header tags on your site in sequential order — coming back to H2 to restart the sequence. This sequential heading order helps assistive technologies better navigate your site while indicating to Google the importance of the words used. It can even impact your search engine results page (SERP) display. 

Accessible content strategy quick fix:

WAVE is an evaluation tool that can help you make the content on your website more accessible to individuals with disabilities, helping you identify accessibility and WCAG errors. It scans your webpage for link errors, alternative text, form labels, and structural elements like headings, navigation, search, and footers. Wave gives you a clear picture of how accessible each page of your site is and exactly where to make improvements: 

Image of the Ronald McDonald homepage with the WAVE tool applied to show accessibility issues so they can improve their healthcare content strategy.
Source: Ronald McDonald House

Content Strategy 4: Simplify your words

We read differently online than they do offline, especially when under stress. It’s vital to understand the difference in order to craft content for your healthcare site that suits online reading and supports your content marketing goals.

Keep in mind that English is a second language for many while writing content on your website, or think about action you could take to make it easier for users to translate your site into other languages. 

The truth is we read very little online. Instead of reading every word, we scan web pages for the information we need. First, start by making sure you’re using clear and straightforward language, bullet points, buttons, and bold text to assist visitors as they scan your site, looking for solutions to their healthcare problems.

Next, avoid using all capitalization. Your healthcare content’s readability is reduced with all caps because all words have a uniform rectangular shape, meaning readers can’t identify words by their shape. Checking your site doesn’t use all capitalization also ensures it’s accessible to the 15-20% of the population experiencing dyslexia, as all capitalized letters are harder for them to read.

Medical jargon, although sometimes necessary, can confuse site visitors. Try to keep the use of complicated terminology to a minimum to keep site visitors engaged and give your content marketing efforts a helping hand. When this is unavoidable, be sure to offer links to definitions, tool tips, or simply spell out acronyms the first time they are used to ease the user’s journey. 

Review if text is the best way to get across essential information. For example, could an infographic with key stats or an interactive data visualization better serve your healthcare site users? Could a short video help get vital information to site visitors more effectively than words? 

Explore how you can visually validate the work you do and the care you provide to patients.

Content Strategy 5: Revive your CTAs

Our final suggestion for boosting your healthcare content strategy is taking a closer look at your call to actions (CTAs.) Your healthcare CTAs should do a few things. They should:

  • tell site visitors why they should do something, 
  • what they should do, and
  • weave in your inclusive story.

The best-performing CTAs are also concise, which can make crafting the perfect healthcare CTA tricky to get right.  

Common actions you want visitors to take should take the form of big and bold buttons and include accessible fonts and colors. 

Let’s take a look at the University College of San Francisco’s Department of Urology (UCSF Urology) website and their CTAs that support their content marketing goals:

Screenshot of UCSF Department of Urology homepage, demonstrating clear CTAs as part of their healthcare content strategy

They ensure new and established patients know they are open and can offer immediate telehealth visits – directly from their homepage hero with a “learn more” button. Prominent and static CTAs exist across all pages of their site, including “Make an Appointment,” “Make a Gift,” and “Refer a Patient” buttons. 

UCSF Urology also provides easy access to information about their physical locations, including GPS directions that are mobile-friendly with just one click:

Screenshot of the UCSF Department of Urology contact page on mobile, showing their attention to healthcare content strategy

A simple, reassuring healthcare experience

Dealing with healthcare can be stressful. We are all a patient or a caregiver at some point in our lives, sometimes under an emergency situation. Your healthcare website’s user experience shouldn’t impede access to vital information needed to improve your or your loved ones’ health. 

The more you can do to make it easier for anyone to access your site, the better. When considering or implementing improvements to your site, continuously test changes to get real-time feedback that ensures things stay  as stress-free and straightforward as possible. Think about what’s going on outside of your web experience that could impact your user’s state of mind and build a content strategy that doesn’t burden users during an already difficult time. 

Kanopi strives to make healthcare better, one site at a time 

Kanopi has partnered with many healthcare organizations over the years, enabling us to develop tried and tested best practices for healthcare content strategy. 

We have a solid understanding of the unique challenges you face with delivering your healthcare content strategy. We work collaboratively to find improvements and enhancements to your online presence that bolster your content marketing efforts and help meet business needs while helping your users complete the tasks they came to your site to do quickly and easily. 

Our nimble approach helps healthcare marketing teams with securing internal buy-in and accurately measure ROI of digital transformation efforts. We can help you with the development of a data-driven content marketing strategy.

Through inclusive storytelling, focusing on the patient journey, and ensuring your site is accessible, you can create a site that meets your users’ needs and your content marketing goals. 

Contact us today to ensure your site meets your users’ needs and your content marketing needs through a robust content strategy, an intuitive user interface, accessible and inclusive content, and a comfortable mobile experience. We hope you’ll give us three thumbs up UCSF Urology did!