The 7 Deadliest Content Marketing Sins in Healthcare

“Content is king.”

Ever since Bill Gates’ bold declaration back in 1996, marketing strategies have evolved to respond to how people research, engage, and make buying decisions online.

Content marketing has birthed not just a different way of thinking, but an industry of eager bloggers, consultants, and other marketing experts quick to praise it.

You’ve certainly heard about content marketing’s potential…

But unfortunately, far fewer of us experience those results in our own efforts. Many healthcare marketers struggle to make content marketing work because they keep making similar mistakes.

Once we identify the most common issues, we can take action to fix them and start seeing the leads, engagement, and customers we’re looking for.

So, without further ado, here are seven of the “deadliest sins” of healthcare content marketing.

1. Falling into a Data Black Hole

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You created a great piece of content.

What happens next?

This is the dilemma some marketers face. They are unsure how their audience engages with their content—or if they even see it at all. Content marketing becomes a black hole. It’s impossible to tell if we’re on the right track or wasting time.

You might have a sense of how people are responding to your content, but data offers crucial confirmation. The good news is it’s widely available. Free analytics tools, which you can install easily onto your website or integrate with social media, let you know who comes to your website, how they use it, and which pieces of content resonate.

You can use these insights to hone in on the most popular topics and distribution channels. Instead of limiting yourself to guessing and intuition, you can turn to data-driven insights to increase your ROI.

2. Failing to Build a Community

Image credit: Pete Linforth

Some healthcare marketers struggle because their content is too inwardly-focused. It’s all about “us.” Our brand, our products, and our expertise. Content is just another opportunity for self-promotion.

Great content invites the audience to participate in the marketing experience. And that experience isn’t about listening to endless self promotion; it’s finding value and building relationships with others in similar situations.

Have you asked your audience which content topics they prefer? Looked at the data to pinpoint things that resonate?

Unforgettable content is always about the audience. If you shift the focus to them and their needs, you give them tons of reasons to come back. Don’t overlook the importance of user-generated content (like customer blog posts, forums, or testimonials). It’s a goldmine for building deeper relationships.

3. Asking the Wrong People to Create Content

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Sometimes the material isn’t the problem, it’s the presentation.

Your content might be full of interesting information, but if it’s as exciting as the Encyclopedia Britannica, you’ll lose all but the most-invested readers.

This can happen when the content creator doesn’t tailor the message to suit the intended audience. If you have a physician creating content for a lay person, for instance, you always have to be mindful not to use too much scientific jargon.

It’s a mistake to assume that education and/or authority equal a compelling message. A physician’s words might carry more weight than a marketer’s, but not if the reader gets so bored they quit reading.

If you recognize which content creators will be the natural best fits for your audience (or segments of your audience), you’ll have an easier time striking the right chord and can delegate content creation accordingly.

4. Overlooking the Human Impact

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Healthcare is about more than co-pays and cutting edge science. It’s about quality of life, friends, and family. The human impact is very real.

Unfortunately, a lot of content marketers lose sight of that. They create great content about all the science, health conditions, and brand new procedures, but it comes off as sterile to the intended audience.

This is why engaging head and heart is a driving philosophy here at Bloom. By addressing both of those angles, you can engage people and make a stronger impact.

How will your content not just inform, but change lives?

5. Not Promoting

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“If you build it, they will come.”

That famous Kevin Costner line from Field of Dreams sums up how many content marketers handle their content. They kill themselves to produce top-quality stuff…and trust that quality alone will attract visitors, comments, and shares on social media.

Some bloggers had success with this 10 or 15 years ago. But the internet was also much less crowded. Now, in a time where practically everyone is creating content, it’s unrealistic to expect good content to pierce through all the noise and find the ideal audience—all on its own.

How are you promoting your valuable content?

It’s worth more to publish one great blog post, send it to your email list, and share it across social media than to post three blog posts in an echo chamber. A promotion plan is just as important as a creation plan, and with data widely available, you can track which promotion strategies work best and make any necessary adjustments.

6. A Lack of Consistency

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Because content marketing is a long-term play, it’s easy to put it off to handle more urgent (but ultimately less important) matters. But a lack of consistency can absolutely tank your chances of success.

The most effective content marketing becomes a habit, a regular feature in the audience’s lives. By sticking to a consistent schedule, creators set expectations for future interactions, build trust with their audience, and gradually lead them toward becoming customers.

Consistency is invaluable in a flaky world. If someone can count on your weekly blog post or email, it speaks volumes about your overall competence as a healthcare brand. After all, how could they trust a major healthcare decision to someone who can’t even stick to a regular blogging schedule?

Make a publishing calendar, and stick to it. If you find your schedule too ambitious, better to cut down while preserving quality than to churn out mediocre content. You can always adjust as you go.

7. Giving Up

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Say you brush up on content marketing, hear some of the success stories, and use that initial burst of motivation to create content of your own.

What happens a few months later, once that initial motivation wanes?

It’s that key juncture that separates successful content strategies from unsuccessful ones. Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time for search engines like Google to take notice and to build a community.

It’s easy to write off your efforts as a failure after a slow start. The only solution is to keep learning, use the data you’re collecting, and tweak your strategies as you go. If you continue to place providing value and promoting that value first, you will succeed eventually.

Smarter Marketing – Head and Heart

Done well, content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your target audience. If you keep at it and steer clear of the common mistakes above, you’ll lay a foundation that attracts customers and builds relationships for years to come.


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