We don’t have an information shortage, we have an information quality shortage; we have an attention shortage … Your patients are trying to drink from a health information fire hose, but the water is dirty – it’s mis-information. They find that mis-information every time they search for answers to their health questions. Why? Because the “information” their search engine shows them is designed – not to educate them with accurate health information – but as click-bait. Click-bait to drive traffic to pay-per-click ads or to sell products. What your patients want, what they desperately need, is accurate, trustworthy health information that answers their questions. That information is out there. It’s just buried by all the click-bait! That’s where you come in: even if you don’t write that information yourself, there is nobody better to filter out the garbage and collect the good stuff. Nobody better than you to curate information for your audience! That’s what this article is about: how you can curate (collect) health information: how to use health content curation to add value for your audience.
Click to Listen to this episode of the Russ & Randy Podcast: Health Content Curation to Grow Your Practice
What is Health Content Curation?
Content curation is similar to “content aggregation,” in that you collect content from a variety of sources in one place. The difference is that you discriminate as you collect information: you only collect the best, most relevant and most trustworthy content for your audience. Think of content curation as the job of the museum or art-gallery curator: they collect the best, and filter out the mediocre. Health content curation is filtering, collecting, organizing, and sharing great health information for your readers.
Benefits of Health News Content Curation for Your Readers
Curating health content for your audience serves them in a couple ways:
- You provide them with a single place to find trustworthy health information
- You filter out the garbage that would otherwise waste their time and confuse them
- You reduce the amount of information to a manageable size – they no longer need to “drink from the firehose” of health mis-information
- Most importantly, you put collected content that affects their healthcare in context: you provide commentary and summarize it for them
In other words, you find, collect, organize, and share the best content that is relevant to your audience.
Benefits of Health News Content Curation for Your Practice or Hospital
- Your site becomes the go-to resource for your audience to find trustworthy health information in your niche
- You – your clinicians – become known as expert resources for these topics, simply by vetting and collecting the health news
- Sharing your “expert opinion” and commentary adds to the value of this curated content, but also adds to the perception that you are an authority
- As with all increased traffic to your website based on content marketing, establishing your expertise will help grow your practice
A Couple Examples of Health Content Curation
To illustrate healthcare content curation, let me offer a couple role models:
Dr. Bryan Vartabedian
The first is a website aimed at physicians and clinicians, not patients: 33 Charts, a “mashup of curated and original thinking that crossed medicine, technology, and culture” by Dr. Bryan Vartabedian. In order to keep his “finger on the pulse” of technology and medicine, Dr. V. routinely surfs Twitter and a number of aggregator sites for the latest news. He then collects items that are worthy, and provides his commentary. His site is an award-winning site that is worthy of your reading. You can listen to my interview of Dr. V. for free here.
The clinical site that provides the model for best practices is (of course) Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials website. And note: while you’re touring their Health Essentials website, be sure to pay attention to how they do everything! Cleveland Clinic is the model for best practices in their use of call-to-action (CTA); in making it easy (frictionless) to find a doctor or make an appointment; in everything based on content marketing and connecting with patients in the digital world. But I digress … back to health content curation.
Cleveland Clinic does a masterful job of collecting health news items that are relevant to their patients, and placing them in context by providing expert commentary on those items.
As just one example, the third item on the Health Essentials home page (on the day of writing this) is this title: “Is the New Shingles Vaccine Really Worthwhile?” Clicking through to the article reveals an article by a Family Practice physician. The article is less than 200 words long, but it links out to a review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; it provides an internal link to an article on shingles on the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials blog; and it provides a brief rationale for recommending the “new” vaccine over the alternative.
The advantage for visitors to Health Essentials is that they do not need to review the clinical data: they can rely on the expert opinion of a Cleveland Clinic physician. It is this sort of health content curation that has driven Health Essentials to be the go-to resource for millions of regular visitors online.
And YOU can do the same for your own practice or hospital website!
Here are the best practices for health content curation:
Health Content Curation Best Practices
You are not the Cleveland Clinic. Even a small hospital cannot hope to reproduce the media publishing powerhouse that the Cleveland Clinic has become. If you represent a hospital or health system, focus on content that is relevant to your strongest service-lines. If you are a small (or even solo) practice, focus on a narrow niche. Tailor your content to serve your “perfect patient,” to grow your “dream practice.”
- Do not automate your content curation. Manually review and collect content that you reference, quote, and comment on.
- Draw from a variety of sources.
- Prominently link out to the original source(s).
- Avoid “nofollow” links. In other words, do not deprive your sources of traffic from your site.
- Never “quote” an entire article.
- Add your own point of view, commentary, summary. Place the content in context, and provide your expert opinion. Your patients will appreciate it!
- Use your own title.
- Use your own images.
Healthcare Content Curation Tools
Back in ancient history (at least in internet years) – about six or seven years ago – content curation tools were all the rage. There were even several free curation platforms that would help you find, organize, and share content of your choosing. That industry has matured since then, with several good content curation platforms closing; some no longer accepting new accounts, with plans to close existing accounts; and the surviving platforms re-engineered for the “enterprise” customer. That is, the remaining content curation platforms are relatively expensive, most starting in triple-digits for monthly subscription, and many not even listing their pricing. You know what that means … if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.
The one surviving content curation platform (that I can find) that continues to offer a free (though limited) account is Sccop.it – but truly useful accounts are about $70 per month. My advice is to try curating content without these tools.
- Find content that is relevant for your audience manually. That is, subscribe to a few high-quality healthcare websites.
- For example, subscribe to the Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials site.
- Make a point of regularly (monthly) searching the website for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/). Subscribe to any other authority-websites that are applicable to your practice niche.
- Open a free account on Alltop (https://www.alltop.com/health), an aggregator website that compiles the best trending content on all topics. Set it up so that Alltop sends you a regular feed to your email inbox reviewing your topics of choice.
- Schedule time to regularly review your sources for items that are timely and relevant to your audience – perhaps weekly. Limit your time investment.
- Write a very brief article bringing it to the attention of your readers; quote a short excerpt; link back to the original. Bam! Just like that, you’re a health content curator.
- Be certain to set up the RSS-feed-to-email for your WordPress blog, so that your email subscribers are notified by email every time you post an article to your blog.
Are any of you still using Scoop.it, or any other content curation tool or platform? If so, please let me know which curation tool, and how you’re using it. Are you using health content curation to add value for your readers now? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with, and serve your audience, and grow your practice!
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