I just read an article by neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin today titled Why the modern world is bad for your brain. In it he describes our smartphones as: “Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebook updater, and flashlight.”

His article goes on to explain the neuroscience behind our constant multitasking and our growing addiction to our phones and other technology, which I don’t dispute. My contention is that this growing dependence isn’t all bad. Information has become an integral part of our personal and professional lives. Having that information at our fingertips (on our phones) is empowering and in some cases it may even be lifesaving.

I would argue that as healthcare marketers it is our duty to create content—infographics, videos, podcasts, web pages and blogs—that consumers can use to live healthy, safe, quality lives.

Smartphones, smartwatches, iPads, laptops and other devices are not going away. They will continue to become more useful and the content people consume using them will become an even more important part of their everyday lives.

Our job is to successfully break through the gazillion pieces of information people can now access on their devices to become their trusted “go to” health information source.

Standing out in the healthcare content crowd: 6 rules

  1. Don’t be a bore. Content can be mind-numbingly boring. To be truly engaging, it must be useful, focused and well-written. It must entertain, educate, inform or build community.
  1. Develop a voice. You are a healthcare expert, but who else are you? What is your brand voice, your mission and your values—and how can these be translated into the content you create?
  1. Make your reader happy. Good content is as subjective as a good book or a good movie. Do the research needed to find out what your healthcare audience needs. A cancer patient needs something different from you than an orthopedic patient. Good content brings value to your reader—it offers information and insights.
  1. Write from the heart. Be bold when you need to. Take a stand when it’s needed. Break away from the “newsy” post and write an “opinion” post or tell a story.
  1. Keep it short. This post may even be too long. People don’t just want information, they want it fast—make your content easy to scan so people can pick up the important bits quickly.
  1. Don’t skimp on the nuts and bolts. Don’t forget about SEO. Plan the frequency and timing of your content. Use analytics to determine whether you’re reaching your intended audience and reaching your goals.

Creating healthcare content that breaks through a saturated market is an art. It takes time. It takes consistency. It takes the willingness to create something original and memorable. And it takes the willingness to stick with it and let your content gain traction.

All the information we have access to may be bad for our brain—as Dr. Levitin tells us in his article. We are definitely addicted to technology and to using it to multitask. And yes, we (as a collective) need to put our devices away more often for our own health. However, when those devices are in our hands and we have a health need, we should be able to turn to good content created by our provider for answers. We have a whole team here ready to help plan, create and analyze your content when you’re ready to get started.