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Healthcare "News You Can Use": A Guide for Newsjacking

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Newspaper showing "Health News"The first thing I do when I see healthcare news that interests me or scares me (or both) is go online and try to find more information. It's a common modern reaction to search for a meaningful explanation of a new treatment or resurgent disease. And hopefully I can find more than a few comments on Facebook or a "hot take" with no supporting research or expertise.

Healthcare organizations, health systems, and hospitals have the opportunity to leverage trending news stories for marketing purposes and to provide a place for patients to find reputable information. Let's talk about "newsjacking."

How Newsjacking Is Used by Healthcare Content Creators

Newsjacking is a term coined by David Meerman Scott to describe the concept of adding your input to a trending news story in your industry for potential PR or marketing benefit. If you’re considering adding your take to an element of the news, you’d be far from the first. This tactic has been used by healthcare organizations for many years to benefit patients and organizations alike.

Some examples of healthcare newsjacking:

  • A blog post from a hospital or practice that expands on vaccine options as news outlets continue to report on the spread of measles.
  • A physician’s take on a new clinical trial or treatment in your specialty.
  • A closer look at how a new regulation will affect doctors (from a company that hopes to reach more physicians and practices).

Doctors have the opportunity to add their expertise to an international, national, or local health-related conversation. With so much misinformation available online, it’s important to have more reputable voices participating. In addition, newsjacking can be a major boost to your public relations and marketing strategies.

Benefits of Healthcare Newsjacking

Newsjacking is just a small part of a balanced marketing strategy, but there are many advantages to jumping on a news story early and insightfully (as long as you do it right!).

  1. You can improve your website's search engine optimization by taking steps to help your article rank for a trending term.
  2. You can help people find an informed assessment from a legitimate medical source.
  3. A successful post can lead to earned media from news outlets that want to interview you or your team.
  4. You may boost your reputation as a "thought leader" in your field.

However, potential benefit depends on how often you try the technique, whether your take on the subject matter is unique, and how quickly you're able to leverage the content (without waiting too long to press "Publish" on that post).

Tips for Leveraging Healthcare News

  • Follow news sources your patients/clients are reading. Remember, patients probably don't read the same industry news sources as you do. Consider popular blogs and support forums for patients and healthcare news sources like Yahoo or the New York Times.
  • Keep your stories sorted in an RSS feed that provides alerts for key terms. Use a service like Feedly to save the news that’s most important to you.
  • Act fast! The timeline for relevancy in some cases is just a few hours, and in most cases a few days. 
  • Be original. In order to be successful, find a fresh take on a topic. Avoid sounding like the dozens of other thinkpieces published that week.

Related: Avoid the Pitfalls of Healthcare Newsjacking

Finding the Right Healthcare Content Strategy

The truth is that newsjacking may not be the right strategy for every organization—at least not on a regular basis. There is a limit on the timeliness of the story, and you will have to act fast. 

In addition, it can take quite some time to build enough of an audience to gain recognition for your post. Search engine optimization will not improve overnight and requires many other factors aside from a successful blog post to gain traction.

What's most important is that your content strategy does the following:

  • Helps patients get the information they need.
  • Guides patients to your organization for further information and treatment.

Other than that, it's a matter of finding the right resources and using the right platforms to strategically share your content.

For more information on content strategy or to talk to a doctor marketing strategist today, call Healthcare Success, a full-service marketing agency, at 800-656-0907.

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