Interesting Blog Post

Hospitals Failing to Connect with their Audiences

One of my favorite blogs is Dr. Bryan Vartabedian’s 33 Charts. It always seems to me that Bryan has such a clear way of looking at things that others may find complicated. On November 9, 2013 he wrote a post titled “Why Hospitals Fail to Connect with Their Audience.” The message is right on! As a communicator you have two options: 1. You can talk about yourself (and not be relevant or interesting); or 2. You can talk about things that are helpful to your audience(s) and that they care about.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 5.23.22 PMBryan notes that most hospitals choose option #1. As Bryan points out, and my friend Chris Bevolo has always opined, most people don’t care about what’s going on at our institutions. They just aren’t interested. (Read Chris’ book, Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital.) But many do care about some aspect of their health. There is the opportunity! That’s why I am such a huge advocate of online patient support communities. These are communities built around a specific health issue. They give your audience exactly what they want: access to information about their health condition and access to others who are facing the same health challenges. Through their experiences on these communities patients and family members find support, information, resources, friendship and solace, among other things.

Back to Bryan’s blog post, how do you figure out what interests your audience(s)? I recommend two tactics: 1. Listening (social listening is a great place to start); and 2. Asking (yes, we can use social media platforms to ask questions and then listen and learn from the responses).

The challenge for many of us is to stop spewing content about our institutions and start engaging individuals in conversations about their health. But it is a challenge well worth tackling.

6 comments on “Hospitals Failing to Connect with their Audiences

  1. Couldn’t agree more Dan about listening. I see so many local practices and hospitals tell me about their ACO, MRI and new surgical practices that will keep us healthy and yet very little connection to the patient consumer. Valuable content material is often sitting right with them in their offices, clinics and hospital beds if they just listened to what they are saying. How many of us can say that such rich content is delivered right to their doorstep, often without even having to ask! The challenge is connecting (integrating) those that are first hand listeners with those that are producing the content. That is where I see the ‘asking’ aspect coming in for the health care marketers. The online support communities are an excellent source for strategic planning for earned, shared, owned and paid media content.

  2. This speaks to adult learning. Adults will only learn when they are seeking a solution to a problem. This is particularly obvious in healthcare where we know adults with a chronic illness will invest time and effort on line to find information and seek support. In my view and the view of the team I am assembling to help providers differentiate their services via problem solving patient centric communication as opposed to me me me. Thank you for this and the links.

  3. I see the same thing here in the Washington, DC area with tens of millions of dollars spent in advertising amongst the major systems telling the public about their latest technologies, clinicians or new facility, but very little about things the audience really care about: themselves. Thanks for the post Dan.

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