As some of the most trusted professionals when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine information, healthcare providers wield a great deal of influence in helping patients decide whether or not to get one.
In August of 2020, a Harris Poll surveyed 2000 American adults about the trustworthiness of various sources in terms of providing accurate information about vaccine development: “…nearly 9 in 10 (88%) said doctors and nurses were very or somewhat trustworthy sources of information.” Following close behind were “nationally recognized health systems,” scientists, and local hospitals.
That’s why healthcare providers play a key role in helping their patients obtain the information and guidance needed to make individualized vaccine decisions. Here are nine tips to help you do it through your content marketing efforts.
1. Know your target audience.
Understanding who your target audience is and what type of information they need is an essential component of every effective content marketing campaign. Although you already have a wealth of information at your fingertips about your current and prospective patients, it’s important to also understand what questions and concerns they have about the vaccines so you can specifically address them.
Depending upon the communication structure of your practice, you may have various ways of engaging with your patients to gain further insights. Social media is a great place to learn more about what type of information is needed—both through research on various platforms and by simply asking those who follow you.
2. Tailor your messaging.
Since every patient’s needs are different, it’s important to take what you know about your target audience and tailor your messaging accordingly. Some patients will be satisfied with the input and guidance of their provider, while others will need to conduct additional research on their own. In this context, be sure to cite objective and authoritative sources in your content, with links that allow patients to confirm the information that’s been provided.
3. Embrace the power of story.
While statistics about safety may work for some—others are more compelled by how a friend or family member fared when they received the vaccine. When asked in an interview for Science about how healthcare providers could target vaccine messaging, one marketing expert said it’s important to counteract negative vaccine tales with success stories instead of numbers: “It’s important not to say, ‘Well, let me show you a chart that will explain exactly how rare this is.’ It’s more important to say, ‘I have a patient exactly your age who was in here last week, and they were one of the first people to get the vaccine, and they did great.’
4. Include a Q&A format.
The various digital platforms available to consumers today can be ripe with erroneous information about various topics—including the COVID-19 vaccines. When patients and prospects don’t have the accurate information they need, this can fuel concerns about whether getting one of the vaccines is the right choice. For instance, one oft-cited concern about the mRNA vaccines is that they somehow change a person’s DNA. Using a Q&A format to directly address such concerns and provide accurate information can go a long way to help ease vaccine-related anxieties.
5. Optimize your efforts with a hub and spoke approach.
A hub and spoke approach to content marketing can help you make the most of the resources you’ve already created by repurposing them in different ways. For instance, if you invest the time and effort in creating a valuable content offering for your site—aka hub content—you can then create a number of more focused articles—aka spoke content—based on the topics within it. Depending upon how much additional research may be needed to develop the spoke content, this could save valuable time while adding significantly to the volume of your content.
6. Consider guest posting to extend your reach.
Another good use of spoke content is for guest posting on credible sites. This can be especially helpful for providers who are seeking to boost branding with thought-leadership articles that demonstrate their expertise. When spoke content like that is posted to reputable sites, it can help to boost traffic to your site and create valuable backlinks that help optimize search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
7. Provide specifics about how to get the vaccine.
If your office is providing the vaccine, be sure to let your patients know. Some may feel more comfortable receiving it from a provider they know and trust than at a community event or local drugstore. If you’re not, help patients understand their options for getting one. At a minimum, consider including this information on your website in some way—as well as other places, too. That may include your social media accounts, through email, EHR portal communications or a newsletter.
8. Join community efforts.
There are many healthcare providers feeling left out when it comes to vaccine distribution. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to be part of the effort. With a task as daunting as mass vaccination, even major healthcare organizations understand they can’t do this alone. That’s why all kinds of unique partnerships have emerged across the country that combine the unique expertise and resources of various sectors.
Find out who’s doing what in your community, find a way to jump in, and then be sure to share your efforts with patients and prospects. Your example could go a long way toward helping them decide to roll up their sleeves in more ways than one.
9. Find a partner to help.
While those may sound like great ideas, the thought of pulling all that together with everything else on your plate might be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that Alabama Media Group can help with your content marketing needs so you can focus on what you do best—taking care of patients.
At AMG Healthcare Marketing, we’re experts in practice marketing, since we own the largest healthcare audience in Alabama through our own online sites and publications. Unique insights into the local market are key in vaccine messaging, and we can provide the digital marketing solutions that will optimize your efforts. Through our offerings, we can help you:
- Tell your story from a local perspective
- Reach more patients through AL.com—which is Alabama’s largest and most trusted local news source.
- Increase performance—through the use of digital ads and sponsored content on AL.com, which drives better results than digital network advertising.
- Tightly target relevant audiences using HIPAA-compliant data specific to population health.
- If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, let’s talk.