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Why You Have to Talk to Your Healthcare Staff to Tell Unique Stories in Your Healthcare Marketing

By Christoph Trappe, VP of Content Marketing + Conversion

Creating unique, relevant content is becoming increasingly important, from search rankings to thought leadership, brand reputation, and beyond. But copying other organization’s content - even when not word for word - won’t help you stand out. That content already exists. As a content writer, I can’t just sit at my desk, Google for topics, and write something “kind of new.” That type of content doesn’t work for the most part!

That’s often essentially what happens when you create content without interviewing a subject matter expert (SME). Posting the same old junk that everyone else publishes does nothing to help your readers, and it definitely won’t set up your physicians – or your organization – as thought leaders.

My team uses a specific SME interview process to ensure this doesn’t happen. We blend journalism techniques with old-fashioned, friendly conversation to draw locally-relevant, unique stories out of doctors, specialists, and patients. Your team can use this process to turn those stories into helpful, engaging website and blog content.

Why web research isn’t enough for a good blog article

Say you’ve been assigned to ghostwrite an article about heart disease. The content will be published under a byline of a cardiologist from your organization and used on the cardiology homepage.

If you search “heart disease” online, you’ll find ample local, state, and national statistics in just a few minutes. You’ll also find hundreds of articles that consist almost entirely of those statistics, and that all end in the same marketing message: Heart disease is bad. Come to us for prevention/treatment because we’re the best.

If you take this approach alone to gather source material, your content won’t be unique. It will be a conglomeration of words from other “experts” and will offer nothing but additional marketing noise in your readers’ browsers, inboxes, and social feeds.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. If they take time out of your busy day to read your article or visit your website, they should get a relevant takeaway, educational tidbit, or call to action – not a feeling of “duh” or “why did I read this?”

Before you page Dr. Google, connect with an SME – in this case, the cardiologist who will be the content author. They’re your best source for unique, local content about your topic.


Book a free 30-minute call with me to discuss how to conduct SME interviews.

Why SME interviews for content marketing?

Subject matter experts are labeled as such for a reason. Healthcare SMEs often have dedicated many years to education, research, and patient care. They interact daily with other physicians, nurses, and patients – they have the inside scoop on what’s important right now in your community and what people want to learn about.

When your content team interviews SMEs, make it a conversation, not a rigid, formal interview. Demonstrate their expertise, but also give the readers a glimpse of the people and organization who will care for them when medical needs arise.

Physicians have passions, concerns and opinions that will differentiate your content when approached in a strategic way. The goal with each SME interview is to glean their personal and expert opinions about relevant trends in your community, the unique services and research they offer patients, and engaging insights into their best practices and quality of care in a “show, don’t tell” kind of way.

Our interview and content creation process

Follow our established process to conduct swift SME interviews that use a minimum of your doctors’ precious time while obtaining their quality, unique perspectives:

  1. Schedule SME interview. We recommend in-person interviews so the interviewer and interviewee can give their full attention.
  2. Conduct interview. In-person interviews typically result in more authentic, more personable content. Phone interviews can be an alternative, but we wouldn’t recommend this routinely. We recommend videotaping or audio recording interviews to ensure accuracy and to provide additional media content as applicable.
  3. Begin immediate content creation. Start writing immediately so the interview is top-of-mind for the writer and so the expert knows their content is a priority. Remember, they made time for the interview. Don’t make them wait too long to review the content.
  4. Editorial process. Implement a stringent, quick internal editing process before delivering content for SME review. Avoid editing by committee - though some level of review is necessary, 10 people don’t need to edit your content.
  5. Deliver finalized content and distribution recommendations. The work doesn’t end with the final SME revision. Be sure to provide strategic recommendations for distributing content through a variety of channels, including e-newsletter, social media, and native advertising strategies.

Make the most of your SMEs’ expertise and frontline knowledge. Invite them to share their stories with the content marketing team, and help turn their words into authentic stories, videos, podcasts, webpages, and more.

Questions about the process? Drop me an email here.

Read more articles.

MedTouch at a Glance

  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Employees: 100+
  • Independently owned; national client base
  • Offices: Boston, Louisville, Cedar Rapids, and Seattle
  • Inc. 500 | 5000  fastest-growing companies, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016
  • BBJ list of fastest-growing companies in Massachusetts, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016
  • Sitecore Platinum Implementation Partner
  • Google Premier Partner
  • Microsoft Azure Partner
  • CBJ "Coolest Places To Work", 2015
  • 100% focused on academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, health systems, hospitals and health plans
  • Case Studies

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    Baystate Health

    A multi-year, comprehensive digital action plan launched with the new Baystate site built on Sitecore with Personalization.

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    Newton-Wellesley Hospital: Intranet

    A comprehensive medical center creates a reliable and useful Intranet.

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    Alameda Alliance for Health

    A regional health plan focused on delivering a vastly improved user experience, complete with new member portal.

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    Edward-Elmhurst Health Open Scheduling

    The integration of Epic MyChart’s open scheduling, which allows patients to schedule appointments in real-time.

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    Edward-Elmhurst Health

    A cohesive, interactive game-based site that engaged patients with consistent messaging across web, social and mobile platforms.

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    Banner Health

    A large health system partnered with MedTouch to move away from numerous sites to a single, unified experience using Sitecore.

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