Content Marketing for Doctors: How to Create Content They Want & Need

Content Marketing for Doctors: How to Create Content They Want & Need

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Welcome to part three of our “Marketing to Doctors” blog series. This series is a comprehensive playbook for healthcare businesses, device and supply companies, SaaS, or anyone who wants to market their products and services directly to doctors (physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals).

As mentioned, marketing to doctors can be extremely challenging, complicated, and expensive. 

In part one, we shared lead generation that works, and in part two, we helped define your target audience. If you haven’t read these yet, I highly encourage checking them out first.

This post focuses on content marketing for doctors and why it’s essential for your business.

I share:

  • The power of content marketing for doctors,
  • How to create content that satisfies doctors and meets their needs,
  • The doctor’s journey,
  • How to choose the right formats and channels,
  • And ten tips on creating content that doctors want.

The Power of Content Marketing for Doctors

No matter what you’re selling, you must invest in strategic content marketing if you want to leave a lasting impression.

Content marketing can attract, retain, and convert. When combined with an effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, content marketing also has the power to boost your SERPs (search engine results page), rank for highly desirable keywords, and fuel other marketing efforts, like traffic and lead generation.

Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI. But, creating healthcare marketing content for your blog, website, and social media requires more than just quantity. 

You need to post high-quality, keyword-rich content consistently to:

  • Enhance your credibility
  • Improve engagement rates
  • Attract and retain your targeted doctors, physicians, and other healthcare professionals
  • Establish, nurture, and grow relationships
  • Inspire digital influencers to promote your products and services and extend your reach
  • Stay top-of-mind

How to Create Content That Satisfies Doctors and Meets Their Needs

When creating content for doctors, it’s important to understand them inside and out—no matter what you’re selling.

It’s equally important to remember that doctors are people with emotions and feelings—just like you. While they’re used to reading clinical research, you can often win deeper engagement with compelling storytelling and captivating visuals.

The first step in creating effective content for doctors is understanding their buyer’s journey.

Understanding The Doctor’s Journey

The doctor’s journey is the entire experience a medical professional has when interacting with your company and brand and can extend to both online and offline marketing. 

Here’s a visual representation of a typical doctor’s journey:

When content marketing for doctors, you need to make sure that your content targets each stage of the doctor’s buyer journey.

There are a few ways, or strategies, content creators can accomplish this:

  1. The Funnel Approach
    The funnel approach creates individual content assets for each stage of the journey. 

Here’s an example of how to develop content for each stage of the funnel:

Awareness stage:  A blog post that tells a story about the classic pain points experienced by doctors, which then introduces them to the solution – your product or service. 

Consideration stage: A visual, downloadable comparison chart featuring the benefits and features of your service compared to your competitors. 

Decision stage: A demonstration of your product can be scheduled for the decision stage of the doctor’s journey. 

  1. The Content Playground Approach
    The content playground approach ensures each piece of content satisfies every stage of the journey. 

Also known as the content playground strategy, this approach ensures that the target audience enjoys the entire content experience and receives information that satisfies each stage of the journey no matter where they are in the funnel. 

With the playground approach, the doctor is ideally engaged and influenced at every touch-point, as opposed to being rushed through a funnel with as few “touch-points” as possible.  

Once you better understand the journey, you can then select the right content format and the best channels to distribute your content. 

Choose the Right Formats and Channels

Here are some popular formats and why your doctor audience might love them:

  • Email
    65% of doctors identify email as their primary preferred communication method with industry professionals (e.g., pharmaceutical, medical device, healthcare insurance, etc.) for industry news, product updates, and research/educational opportunities. 
  • Webinars
    55.8% of doctors believe webinars are better than conferences or continuing medical education (CME) activities. This format is also useful for busy doctors who want to register and receive the recording for later viewing. Use this interactive and actionable format to engage with a broader audience, boost brand awareness, generate new leads, nurture quality leads, and position yourself as a thought leader in your space. 

Webinars often perform best at the awareness stage of the buying journey but can be effective at any stage. 

  • Podcasts
    According to a 2019 Digital Insights survey from Kantar Media, 75% of healthcare professionals used smartphones to listen to podcasts, implying they appreciate the convenience and speed of information delivery from this format. 

Podcasts are a great way to reach younger doctors and physicians at the awareness or consideration stage of their buying journey. Use this format to humanize your brand and improve thought leadership. You can also be a guest on a reputable podcast or host key influencers or a client that’s had success with your product or service.

  • Video

88% of physicians surveyed said they valued video-based learning over text-based digital content. Use this format to educate and build trust with your target audience. 

Video makes learning convenient and is an excellent way to engage your audience and persuade them to take action (e.g., convert).

  • eBooks and White Papers
    Doctors and physicians must stay up-to-date on medical research and data. They regularly read through eBooks and white papers in addition to medical research to ensure they have the latest information. 

eBooks are more conversational and tend to perform best at the awareness stage of their buying journey. White papers are effective tools for positioning your brand or business as a thought leader and perform well for senior executives in the decision stage. Use this format when you have high-quality medical statistics and data that support your business objectives.

  • Blog Posts
    Clinicians gain valuable insights from blogs and have an opportunity to comment in real-time on medical and health care issues. Use this informative format to engage with doctors and healthcare professionals in the consideration or decision stage of the buying journey. Blogs provide a strong foundation for marketing. 

They're a great way to share ideas, generate new ones, and build a community of like-minded and engaged people. They're also essential for improving organic SEO and driving traffic to your website.

  • Infographics
    As noted earlier, infographics are a terrific way to share lots of data in a memorable, engaging way. They’re often used to summarize medical research literature, giving doctors an effective snapshot of the key takeaways. 

When appropriate, doctors may display them as patient educational tools in their offices and exam rooms. When used online, they may also help improve decision-making, credibility, and SEO. Use this format to nurture leads into the consideration stage of the buying journey.

Once you have a clear picture of your ideal doctor buyer persona and which channels are most appropriate, you can tailor your overall message for each stage and customize it per channel. 

This strategy allows your prospective clients to identify problems (including problems they may not even know they have), choose viable solutions, reinforce their decisions, and guide them to make a specific purchase decision.

10 Tips on Creating Content Doctors Want

Doctors are smart, educated, curious, and extremely busy. It can be difficult to attract—and keep—their attention. What’s more, 55% of healthcare professionals worldwide are overwhelmed by the amount of content they receive. 

Here are a few ways you can create a strong writing style guide and create engaging, easy-to-use content marketing for doctors:

1. Make it Educational 

Healthcare professionals want educational, relevant, easy-to-consume, and impactful content. They’re more often engaging with educational content, new clinical data, and patient materials rather than marketing or promotional-led content.

To increase engagement and conversions, share educational content unique to their specialty or primary area of focus.

2. Avoid Medical Jargon

Even the most educated among us prefer content that’s easy to find, understand, and use. Doctors are accustomed to reading highly technical clinical studies filled with complicated information and medical jargon, but they enjoy reading well-written, entertaining content.

Opt for clear, simple language instead of complicated terms and industry-specific jargon to make a lasting impression.

3. Make it Scannable

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 79% of users scan content, while only 16% read every word, so giving your audience the content they need quickly and easily is essential.

Some websites have employed a content chunking method giving doctors and other healthcare professionals three ways to consume their content, depending on how much information they need (or have time for):

a. Bite
Key insights at the beginning of the article with jump links to relevant sections. Typically 1-2 sentences.

b. Snack
A concise summary at the beginning of the article outlining key findings.

c. Meal
The full-length, original article.

4. Write With Emotion

Appeal to the human inside the lab coat with language that evokes emotion. When possible, avoid formal or clinical terms and be more conversational. Remember, even though doctors tend to be skeptical, you can win them over and keep them engaged with smart, emotional copy.

5. Use Active Voice

Doctors are extremely busy and inundated with content every day. Keep your content moving with simple sentences that create a sense of immediacy. Active voice uses fewer words, making your writing more concise and efficient. It also creates a faster-moving narrative and helps you avoid grammatical mistakes. 

6. Optimize the User Experience (UX)

Meaningful UX is vital for websites that market to doctors. It provides positive, engaging experiences, allowing you to identify the most successful customer journey paths that generate business.

7. Use Storytelling 

Good storytelling helps your audience remember important details to absorb and act upon them. It also allows you to develop a stronger connection with your target audience. Doctors are people, too, and are more likely to retain information if it’s told in an engaging, relatable way.

8. Share Data Visually

Like content, data is easier to connect with and remember when shared in an engaging format. Infographics are a popular way for doctors and other healthcare professionals to consume content because they're visually appealing and turn complex information into something that's easy to read, understand, and remember.

9. Get Specific with the Subject Matter

Have we mentioned doctors are busy? The more concise your subject matter, the more likely you will engage and connect with them regularly. 

Here are a few ideas to help you get started with content marketing for doctors:

a. Introduce your business
Tell them what you do, the features you offer, and why you do it. Let them draw conclusions about why your product or service suits their needs. Try this in emails and eBooks.

b. Show them why they need your products or services
Once you’ve introduced yourself and your business, it’s time to sell. Show them what makes your products or services unique, include data, statistics, and cite case studies. Try this in emails, eBooks, blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and other video content.

c. Add credibility with reputable third-party data
If applicable, support your research and findings by sharing credible third-party research papers, clinical case studies, and other reports. Try this in white papers, analyst reports, and clinical trial results.

d. Tie your products and services into current events
Leverage current events if it supports your sales strategy while not detracting from it. Try this in emails, webinars, and eBooks.

e. Let them know you’re listening
If you have a list of frequently asked questions (or not so frequently asked, but just as important), share them with your subscribers and readers. This improves your relationship with your audience and creates valuable, SEO-focused content, and positions you as a thought leader in your field. Try this in blog posts, sales PDFs, and your FAQs webpage.

10. Consider What Doctors Respond To

As you plan your communications calendar, keep in mind key factors that doctors influence doctors:

  • Doctor-centric writing
  • Frictionless user experience (easy access to information)
  • Data, statistics, and facts presented in a visually engaging way
  • Peer reviews, interviews, and feedback
  • 3rd party validation
  • Credibility, credibility, credibility
  • Smart content that evokes emotion
  • Products and services that make their lives easier
  • Ethical ways to grow revenue

When you have strong content marketing for doctors supported by strategic SEO, you will increase organic website traffic and grow your business. High-quality content builds trust, develops relationships, generates leads, and improves conversions.

In the next step of this blog series, we’ll discuss how to promote and distribute your content effectively to doctors and other healthcare professionals.

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