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There’s an insatiable need for consistent, quality healthcare content, and with a vast universe of topics at your disposal, part of the challenge is knowing where to start, and how to be proactive in finding topics that strike a chord with patients. So, what’s the answer?

Worthwhile content ideas aren’t as elusive as you may think! People naturally exhibit strong emotional attachments to their health, and in fact, the third most popular thing people do online is search for healthcare content that meets their unique needs. So in an environment where content lies at the center of any effective inbound marketing strategy, here are three methods for deriving your next great content ideas.

1. Engage & Empower Your Team

While content represents your company’s “voice” in the digital age, great content ideas often start with you listening and facilitating effective, consistent sharing of information across your organization. For example, what comments are patients posting on your Web site and social media outlets? What questions are they asking your sales team? And, perhaps most importantly, what general concerns are they expressing in person to doctors and medical personnel?

Ensure you have procedures in place to receive this vital information in compliance and in a timely fashion, and make answering patients’ questions a focal point of your overall content strategy. Doing so will immediately ensure you’re producing consistently relevant healthcare content that patients desire most, not to mention help position your organization as a trusted source for information within the industry.

And, don’t forget what could be your biggest competitive advantage of all: Your free access to doctors and trained medical professionals! With regular, open communication, you can rather easily solicit timely content ideas, procure valuable quotes and health-related stats and figures to bolster your writing, and maybe even develop a stable of expert guest contributors on your current staff.

2. Look to the News, Industry, & Society for Inspiration

Original healthcare content gives your organization a unique ability to rapidly respond to news and the ever-changing care environment. And, you can find inspiration everywhere, from TV and print media, to specialized industry publications, trending topics on social media, and breaking news stories from around the world each day.

To parlay news into content ideas, closely monitor reliable news outlets, subscribe to leading healthcare industry news feeds, and use these specialized content marketing tools in conjunction with news and trends being seen across the healthcare industry and society as a whole:

  • Newsjacking – Involves leveraging current and breaking news stories to inspire content ideas and benefit your company’s business. For example, being among the first to publish a blog post in response to breaking news about Zika, norovirus, the newest flu strain, or other health topics patients and the general public are, or will soon be, talking about. Newsjacking is especially useful in response to high-profile and/or celebrity health topics as well.
  • Content calendar – Plan and coordinate your best healthcare content ideas in advance using a content calendar. Take into account such factors as holidays and special observances, news and trending topics, and nearby content offerings to maximize diversity and timeliness. Ensure relevance by planning targeted content for release at the most opportune times, like tips for managing high blood pressure during national heart health month (February), for example.

3. Keep a Close Eye on Competitors

While building a solid long-term content strategy requires innovation, there’s room for some imitation, too…provided you do it better, of course! Closely monitor your competitors’ content and that of the industry leader(s), and don’t be afraid to create overlapping content. Set yours apart, though, by creating a unique and stronger headline, including more detail and/or helpful graphics, and imparting your own, benefit-driven call to action, like a link to a topical white paper, eBook, or related video content.

One caveat, though: Don’t take this reactive approach to content production all the time. Unique content generates, on average, 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and may save an average of 13% in overall cost per lead (source). So for healthcare marketers, use coordinated methods to originate engaging, impactful content and produce desired marketing results, from more patients, to heightened SEO rankings, a decidedly favorable online reputation, and more!