Before establishing Health Beat, its multiple-award-winning blog, Spectrum Health leaned heavily on traditional marketing channels to reach its audiences. A substantial research initiative that included a competitive analysis, internal and external surveys, focus groups and an in-depth content and communications asset audit led Spectrum’s communicators to understand that a content marketing component was necessary.
For taking this mandate and developing the gold standard of health care blogs, Spectrum Health’s Health Beat has won first place in the “Blog” category of Ragan’s Health Care PR and Marketing Awards.
Health Beat was developed to empower readers to make informed decisions by telling compelling, positive stories about real people facing real challenges. The company has adopted a newsroom approach to creating and delivering the content, with a team that includes a managing editor, a multimedia manager, two photojournalists and a health care journalist; contributions also come from freelancers and marketing/communications staff members.
The most compelling items are shared through weekly, monthly and special-edition e-news articles to subscribers who are able to tailor their news feeds to suit their interests.
The blog’s contents reach 15 million people monthly; its social media audience has exceeded 100 million people averaging 700,000 site visits each month.
The time spent on stories sometimes reaches as much as 22 minutes. The content also finds its way into the press, while internally it is repurposed across multiple channels.
Congratulations to the team of Cheryl Welch, Jill Seidelman, Chris Clark, Sue Thoms and Taylor Ballek.