I was lucky enough to be one of the participants this week at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Residency. While there, I had numerous exciting conversations on the future of healthcare digital marketing, including one with a Mayo Clinic healthcare content writer. What we discussed—and what I wanted to blog about—was how to leverage Google Analytics to help in all phases of the content writing process. First, let’s start with what that process looks like for healthcare content:
(Big thanks to Ahava Leibtag for putting together this great graphic.)
Step 1: Planning — Use organic search terms to guide your content writing
Google Analytics offers the chance to see all the organic search terms that your visitors used to find your website (minus those scoundrels who chose anonymity!). As you look through the sheer volume of visits, think about where people’s interests meet your healthcare organization’s priorities. Where they intersect, invest more time and energy into devising content for those topics. If you really want to get sophisticated, look not just at the sheer volume of visits, but also at the number of conversions and conversion rate (a conversion happens when someone takes the action you want them to, whether that’s buying an iPad case or scheduling a doctor’s appointment). Investing in content that converts is an important tactic from the for-profit world that is slowly making its way to the nonprofit world.
Step 2: Creation — Use Google Analytics to understand your audience
When you are creating your content, keep two questions in mind. First, how am I going to track this in Analytics? Second, what insights can we gain from the metrics that GA records? Be thinking about what you’d like to see in terms of engagement metrics, such as how many readers you want, the time spent reading your article, number of pages consumed, and even an ideal conversion rate that stems directly from your article. Analytics offers ways to track all of these, for example (click on the picture to see an enlarged version):
If you don’t have access to your Analytics, or don’t know how to find this information, ask your service line marketing manager. This is actually a custom report, available here.
Steps 3-4: Publishing and Distribution — Google Analytics helps determine the best ways to spread your content
In addition to deciding what content to create, you should also be thinking about how you want to distribute it. Google Analytics can tell you the most efficient ways of distributing your healthcare content: email, blog, social media, new page on your site, etc. You can leverage a Source/Medium report to tell you how each distribution channel performs, draws clicks, etc. I would also highly recommend using the Google URL builder when creating any sort of content campaign. This tells Analytics to accurately attribute each click on your link to the exact campaign – allowing you to assess the success of your content in a transparent way.
Here’s a great example of a recent campaign – notice the stark contrast here. While Facebook visits to this campaign are far higher, Google+ users are actually visiting 90% more pages and spending 347% more time on the website. Talk about quantity vs. quality! (Again, click on the picture to see an enlarged version.)
Step 5: Analysis — Get Granular with Your Reporting
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re in for a treat. Analyzing content is really fun, because we get a tangible measure of how our content is doing. Occasionally, we’ll even find little gems like this one. We looked up how the pregnancy content was doing on this hospital’s website, and found the following:
(Click on the picture to see an enlarged version.)
Check out the average of 9 minutes that people are reading this article on true versus false labor – I can just see a whole lot of women holding their bellies and moaning while reading this article!
To wrap up, healthcare content writers shouldn’t view themselves as just factories of content writing, but should instead think about strategy, opportunity, and the impact good content can have on a healthcare organization’s overall web success. Towards this goal, healthcare writers should learn and use Analytics to support their content marketing efforts.
Please be in touch if you have any questions or need any help!