It’s easy to tell if your content is failing. A quick look at your traffic numbers, bounce rates, time on page and conversion data in Google Analytics can give you an idea. The sooner you admit that your content needs improvement, the sooner you can start an overhaul.
So let’s say you’re fully aware that something is wrong. There has to be a reason, right? Yes – and it can be any one (or more) of the below:
Nobody can understand your content (except medical professionals).
Think about your audience – age, location and education level. Will it be able to understand health information that’s not in layman’s terms? Unless your target audience is medical professionals, make sure you’re writing for the average person – even if the language feels too simple to you.
Reading your website is more boring than watching grass grow.
If your audience would rather do nothing than read your website, you know it’s bad. Similar to the previous point, make sure it is understandable, applicable and interesting, even if it’s covering a boring topic. Tell a story. Use impressive statistics and facts. Break it up with bullet points and lists. Do something that will make your endless paragraphs of medical terminology tolerable.
It gives patients more questions than answers.
Let’s say a patient comes to your site in search of information on a procedure, like a colonoscopy. She stumbles across a page with two vague sentences about colonoscopies – this is new information to the patient, but it includes no detail. Now the user is left wondering about the vagueness of what they learned on top of the initial questions. Will this propel the patient to choose your hospital for the colonoscopy? Probably not.
Below are 2 examples from real hospital websites. Both of these pages are meant to describe an abdominoplasty procedure. You can see that Example A clearly explains, step-by-step, what the patient can expect to happen during the procedure. Example B, contrary to it’s title, does not go into detail about the actual abdominoplasty procedure. This may leave the patient wondering, that’s great, but what actually happens to my body during an abdominoplasty? This begs the question: Is that content helpful to the patient?
It makes your organization seem like a robot.
Every page on your website should have a spark of personality. Prior to writing the content, you should have specific brand and voice guidelines that ensure you’re always using the right tone. But if you establish a voice with no personality, you’re simply asking for failure. The point of content marketing is to build a connection to the user through a personable, empathetic tone, and that’s very hard to do when your organization’s voice sounds like a machine.
Your Web pages are stuffed with irrelevant keywords.
Just like too much candy is bad for your waistline, so is using too many keywords in your content. Practicing search-engine optimization (SEO) is great – if it’s done in moderation. Stick to using a keyword about every 100 words and make sure it’s relevant to the page topic and fits into the content seamlessly. If you can tell the keywords or phrases don’t belong, don’t add them.
It makes your hospital seem big-headed.
Me, me, me. Nobody likes to listen to someone who only talks about themselves. That’s the way it is in social situations and the same holds true for healthcare websites. If you’re too promotional and not focused on your audience, your content is bound to fail. For example, let’s say you want your content to play up some recent awards your organization has won. It can – and it should – but instead of full-fledged bragging, elaborate on how those awards benefit the patient. What good does your Top Hospital ranking do for your patients? How does it benefit your audience? When writing your healthcare website content, always remember WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Write with the patient in mind.
It leaves your audience stranded and frustrated.
Every page on your site should be part of a journey. Through internal linking and calls-to-action (CTAs), your audience can be guided from each stage of the buyer’s funnel – attract, engage and capture – so that the result is completion of your end goal. If your content doesn’t include CTAs and links, where will your audience go? They’ll probably close the page, giving your site high bounce rates and low conversions. To avoid this, give every page a specific CTA. It may seem basic, but don’t be afraid to tell your audience what you want them to do.
There could be numerous reasons your content isn’t doing what it should. It’s time to get rid of the promotional, wordy (ahem: multidisciplinary and state-of-the-art, anyone?), monotonous and vague language. It’s time to ignite the personality of your organization and bring it to life through your website. Your content doesn’t have to be awful. Make it great, and you’ll stand out.