Make Content Relevant to the Right People at the Right Moment. It’s the Right Thing to Do.
By Olivier Chateau
CEO and co-founder, Health Union
October 29, 2019
The phrase “content is king” is not new and is perhaps a little cliched. However, it serves as a solid foundation for a more effective approach to publishing and attracting specific audiences: provide high-quality content that is relevant to the right people at the right time.
It doesn’t just help to build relationships and trust with people who are actively seeking that content. It’s also, and always, the right thing to do, regardless of which way the search engine optimization (SEO) pendulum swings.
For Health Union, a company whose sole focus is bringing people together in the shared experience of living with chronic health conditions, how we deliver high-quality, relevant content to the right people, at the right moment – which is often impacted by SEO – is a never-ending consideration.
Regardless, we always ground ourselves in the notion that we are a purpose-driven company, and everything we do, including our publishing strategy, extends from our mission to help people live better with challenging health conditions. Therefore, our focus is creating the content our users want every day and doing that better than anyone else.
Findings from a recent user-intercept survey across Health Union’s growing portfolio of online health community websites – completed by more than 8,000 people – reaffirm the importance of truly understanding your audience and developing relevant content in the right context. The survey confirms that 86% of the people who visit these communities are diagnosed with the specific condition. We always say that we are not looking to attract a broad audience and reach the farthest points of the internet; we are seeking to attract and engage individuals living with the chronic health conditions we serve. This data is proof of the value behind our approach.
It is impossible to produce content truly based on your audience’s needs without making a concerted effort to understand those needs. Survey results show that the top reasons people visit our communities are to learn about treatments and medications (63%), read specific articles they saw in an email (45%) or on social media (34%), learn about symptoms (45%) and find others who understand what they’re experiencing (42%). And it’s important to understand that a publisher may need to adapt its content strategy based on changing needs over time.
Developing content people want (and need) – and making sure they can find it in the right moments – doesn’t just bring them to a website once. It also increases the probability that they will return over and over again, exemplified by two-thirds of respondents saying they return to the respective communities for the conditions they have at least once a month.
And once those people are introduced into the communities, they aren’t just consuming content. About two-thirds of returning community visitors are regularly answering quick polls on the websites, 55% are participating in surveys or research opportunities, nearly a third are “liking” articles and more than one-fourth are commenting on them. By cultivating a safe environment where people with shared health experiences can find the information, connection and validation they need, we are building relationships and providing value to people at important points in their health journeys.
Providing relevant content for people with specific chronic health conditions in the moments they need it is a cornerstone of the online health community model that Health Union developed nearly a decade ago. It continues to show value by helping our company maintain a foundation of trust and relationships with the people who participate in our communities.
Our steadfast commitment to meeting their needs, as a result, doesn’t only anchor us amidst various market changes and search ranking updates. It’s also – and will forever be – the right thing to do.