In the past year in particular, we’ve witnessed a significant step forward for hospitals developing advanced brand publishing models. From the veteran efforts of Cleveland Clinic’s Health Hub to Advocate’s Health  enews to the University of Utah’s HealthFeed, hospitals have been quick to adapt an approach to brand publishing that extends far beyond the days of lightweight blogs buried deep on hospital sites. 

The approach and resources required to run a great brand publishing model should not be underestimated. They require creativity and strategic innovation, staff, personnel and technology alignment, proper training and resource allocation, content distribution funding and detailed tracking and reporting. But the results from these smart content marketing efforts are demonstrating the potential value and impact. Recent articles here on Ragan have highlighted the great results from both Advocate and Cleveland Clinic. But as more and more hospital PR and marketing teams jump to realign their communications strategies, one immediate question will undoubtedly come to mind:

How do we differentiate OUR hospital brand publishing model from others?? 

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers. Here are three tips to help your hospital make its mark.

1. Assess, Absorb, Apply Learnings

The good news? Others have already forged this new path. You can dig deep on the publishing models above to assess how teams have been structured, analyze platform design and layouts, as well as look at what content (types of stories, headlines, post formatting, publishing frequency, multi-media, etc.) is working (social shares/comments are easy indicators) and how stories are being distributed with paid syndication or repurposed to extend storylines.

Absorb these insights and apply learnings to advance your own hospital’s model.

2. Localize, Localize, Localize

Most hospitals focus on a local region and audience for a patient foundation. You may have competing hospitals going after the same audience but you also have factors that clearly differentiate your hospital from others (or you should). Use your brand publishing model to accentuate those strategic differences. Does your hospital house one of the top research centers in a particular area? How can you pull the great work and stories behind that research to life with a weekly feature and humanize the stories to create a strong connection with your target community? 

3. Uplevel Your Content Quality and Study Beyond Your Industry

One of the biggest threats to hospital brand publishing models is getting caught up in a repeated content production loop. During weekly/monthly/quarterly editorial planning sessions, put extra time and effort into thinking about new ways to present a storyline.

Gather inspiration from media outlets such as the New York Times interactive team, analyze consumer efforts from companies like  Microsoft and Electrolux and explore design resources to help spur ideas in areas outside of your comfort zone. Consider the value of investing resources behind a long-form feature, video series or other interesting story that can be brought to life using a highly visual and rich interactive experience. Just make sure you’re applying a proper distribution strategy.

All trends point towards an increased priority around content quality versus content volume in the year ahead. Now is the time to start thinking and planning like a media company to set your hospital up for success. Need help? Let’s connect.

photo credit: hugojcardoso via photopin cc

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