By Mike Milligan, President of Legato Healthcare Marketing
“As of the first half of 2020, magazines are finding a new importance – particularly among young people and women. Compared to TV and the internet, readers are more likely to find magazine content more trustworthy, inspiring and life-enhancing.” [Magazine Media Factbook, 2020 MPA, The Association of Magazine Media]
This finding is no surprise to me. In fact, Legato recently conducted its own research directly related to healthcare communications. A survey of patients from across the country indicated that print and digital magazines remain the preferred source of healthcare information among consumers.[1}
Storytelling is proven to engage readers and evoke emotions. And strong emotions are proven to influence action. For example, the positive state of mind readers are in when they pick up a magazine makes them more open to learning about new products/services (48%) or trying new things (41%) as a result of what they experience through the printed (or virtually printed) page.
Adding a customized community magazine to your digital strategy may be the silver bullet your rural hospital has been looking for. It is often the conduit to service line growth, improved patient experience and increased revenue. But in order to be effective, your publication needs to engage and inform (vs. promote and “sell”).
Here are five guidelines Legato follows when partnering with clients to develop a successful customized publication:
- Tell a patient story to highlight a service. For example, interview patients who had hip surgery and tell the story of how it changed their lives. Real people sharing real-life stories can help:
- Ease prospective patients’ fears about having surgery.
- Build trust in an orthopedic surgeon and your hospital’s team of caregivers.
- Answer common questions that may be preventing someone from seeking care.
- Include an employee spotlight to help consumers get to know the person behind the professional:
- Highlighting actual staff members adds authenticity to your content, which is an effective way of building trust with your audience.
- Internally, this can make employees feel more appreciated.
- Feature a key community member: This is an effective way to show your facility’s strong connection to, and support of, the community. Spotlight local residents who have made an impact through volunteering, through their profession or in some other way.
- Educate your audience on timely health topics:
- Tailor topics to fit the demographics of your service area. This will help position your facility as a thought leader and expert in healthcare.
- An example of a current healthcare topic: Vaping. Discuss what vaping is; dispel common myths, like “vaping is ‘safe’;” explain potential health risks; share what your facility is doing to help the community.
- Showcase performance. This might include:
- Awards your hospital has received: Don’t forget to share the story around why your facility received the award and what it means to your audience.
- Prominent recognition received by a provider and how that translates into better care or additional healthcare options for patients.
Legato’s Community Magazine division works with rural healthcare facilities across the country – with budgets of all sizes – to help them develop and publish customized community publications.
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