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Developing original and engaging content for your hospital marketing strategy isn’t easy. But your hospital can follow the example of industry thought leaders and practice newsjacking. Newsjacking is the process of capitalizing on trending health or medical news stories by weighing in on the subjects and offering insight or a different perspective.

It’s easier than you think. Certain health-related headlines are sure to draw readers’ attention and spur conversations on social media, in blog and article comment sections and in the healthcare provider’s office. These include breaking news releases dealing with topics like:

  • The emergence of new diseases or their appearance in the United States (Zika, Ebola, swine flu)
  • Outbreaks of potentially dangerous food poisoning and the massive recalls that follow
  • Reports of rising cases of chronic disease or mental illness among children and teens
  • New and effective treatments and therapies for cancer, neurological disease or heart disease
  • Issues affecting prenatal or pediatric health
  • “Medical miracles” such as reversing paralysis with stem cells or treating inoperable tumors
  • Outbreaks of diseases once well-controlled by vaccination 

To stay top-of-mind with patients and sophisticated healthcare consumers, your hospital or healthcare system should deliver content that’s timely and topical. “Newsjacking” is an effective way to capture the momentum of breaking news and use it to drive your visibility and social media engagement.

With your easily accessible pool of medical experts, you are poised to offer professional commentary on any of these topics in a variety of engaging formats. Here are five tips to make newsjacking part of your marketing strategy:

  1. Get the facts – When health news breaks, make sure it’s being reported by a reliable source, or several, before you run with it. Commenting on an ill-researched study presented on a potentially untrustworthy site can make your hospital or healthcare system seem untrustworthy too. And make sure it’s a topic you can relate back to your resources. If the story’s about stem cells, for example, and your providers have little experience in that realm, take a step back. 
  1. Act quickly – Once you’ve established that you have the expertise to weigh in on a health topic, don’t wait. Many of your competitors are likely also exploring ways to enter the conversation. Track down your physicians or researchers best suited to contribute to a blog, video Q&A or social media series, and start sharing! 
  1. Stay tuned – Breaking health news rarely fades into the background after the first report. Often, updates flow in over several days and weeks as local, national and international health experts assess the situation, develop recommendations and attempt to reassure or guide the public toward next steps. Stay connected by frequently checking news outlets, government agency websites, humanitarian organization pages and social media trends, and offer your own increasing insights as you learn more. 
  1. Remember keywords – Incorporate relevant keywords to improve your search rankings. You’re trying to attract new readers and potential patients to your content who might not otherwise go directly to your site. Using the right keywords can help your content appear higher on search rankings, which also builds your brand by establishing the perception of your hospital as a trusted resource. 
  1. Connect through conversation – Getting lots of shares and comments on that Facebook or Twitter post? Engage your readers with links to related topics on your blog or website. Share dates and locations for pertinent screenings and health fairs you’re hosting. And ask your audience directly or through linked surveys what kind of content they’d like to see you focus on more frequently.

 Does your internal marketing team need help getting started with newsjacking? We can help.

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