Graphic of a doctor on a computer screen showcasing healthcare content.

As healthcare marketers, you likely face a daily challenge. That is, how to balance the highly technical expertise of physicians and specialists with the consumer-oriented language of your customers. You play a critical role in bridging the gap between trained doctors and their patients by translating complex medical jargon into helpful content.

Doctors are a crucial part of healthcare marketing because they are often the face of the services you’re offering to your customers. But how can you engage with these physicians beyond the subject matter expert (SME) interview?

Learn how to collaborate with providers throughout your content process.

How to bring physicians into your content

You are, hopefully, already engaged with doctors for your SME interviews. (Here are some tips on how to get the most out of these interviews.) But doctors can help support your content well beyond being your subject matter experts.

1. Research

Many doctors are also active researchers, especially in academic medical centers. Many others conducted research earlier in their careers during residency or fellowships. Beyond being SMEs, physicians can provide important angles as researchers by bringing peer-reviewed content to the forefront. This research helps create content that engages patients as well as peer physicians.

2. Provider bios

Go beyond the basics in your provider bios by engaging physicians in the process. This can be effective whether you survey new doctors or conduct one-on-one interviews with specialists. Consider including information like hobbies, research interests and care philosophies that give a fuller picture of the doctor. Don’t forget to ask providers why they chose their specialty and how they landed in your health system. It’s encouraging, for example, for a community hospital to let locals know that providers are returning to their hometowns to care for their neighbors. Or it may inspire others to learn how an orthopedic surgeon’s experience as an athlete led to their specialty.

While you’re working on your bios, here are some tips to engage doctors in the process.

Get the definitive guide to creating physician profiles that engage patients.

3. Patient stories

While patient stories should focus on the patient’s experience, collaborating with the doctors involved in their care can add a new dimension. Physicians can answer questions about the medical aspects of the story. They can also highlight your health system’s differentiators. For example, a cancer survivor might not bring up a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, the number of clinical trials offered or department-wide metrics. But it’s likely their physician will.

4. Video

While not every doctor will be comfortable on camera, video is another medium for docs to come alive. Try ideas like these to involve providers:

  • Add doctors to social video content, such as answering crowdsourced questions or responding to recent hot topics.
  • Create video patient stories.
  • Include video with physician bios.

Learn more tips on how to ramp up video content.

5. Referral marketing

Especially when it comes to specialty care, more than half of patients rely on physician referrals to find their doctors. Peer-to-peer physician engagement looks very different than consumer-oriented marketing campaigns. But physicians still need to be involved in the process. Try using surveys to understand the referring physicians’ needs and involve them as experts in referral marketing content development.

Learn how to make your physician referral campaigns stand out.

6. Social posting

How are your physicians using social media today? LinkedIn, Twitter, Doximity and other social engagement sites can help physicians become thought leaders in their specialties and advocates for your health system. Encourage physicians to cross-post your content and arm them with best practices for sharing their thoughts through different social channels.

7. Content ideas

You constantly have your ear to the ground for new content ideas. Keep in mind that those ideas can come from your doctors. Have your physicians heard from grateful patients who would like to share their stories? Are they conducting new research that’s scheduled to be published soon? Was there an interesting nugget in your SME interview that doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of your content? Treat every conversation with your docs as an opportunity to gather the next set of content for your organization.

How to engage with physicians

Whatever content format you’re working on, make it easy for physicians to work with you. Doctors have busy schedules and patient care always comes first. Remember to:

  • Ask for their preferences. Would it be easiest to respond to questions asynchronously? Or would a phone call be easier?
  • Give plenty of lead time. Don’t forget about building in time for doctors to review your new content.
  • Provide thought starters. If you’re meeting with doctors, share an agenda, questions or an outline ahead of your time.
  • Diversify your physician pool. You will no doubt find your own favorite, responsive and collaborative physicians within your system. While that’s a good thing, try not to ask too much of the same doctors.

Looking for more ways to bring your physicians’ content to life?

Do you have ideas on other ways to collaborate with physicians on your content? The digital experts and content strategists at WriterGirl can help you create a better content experience that highlights your doctors at every step. Contact us to get started today.