Spectrum Health has a website like pretty much every hospital. Like several hospitals, it has a separate site for its brand journalism efforts (think Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials site). While many of these sites are glorified blogs—and there’s no doubt that Health Beat takes a blogging approach—Spectrum Health’s brand journalism effort stands on its own as an independent website from just about any perspective. It’s the first-place winner in the “Website” category of PR Daily’s 2018 Content Marketing Awards.
The site was conceived as a better way to push out consumer information, which previously relied on a number of marketing channels, including press releases and billboards. The site’s genesis began with research on email, content and competitive websites, along with internal and external surveys, focus groups and an in-depth content and communications asset audit.
The communications department was expanded to accommodate an “owned media” site that empowers readers to make informed health decisions for themselves and their families. The articles—about real people facing genuine struggles—are written and photographed by professional journalists and tailored to inspire reader engagement. A companion media site, Health Beat Pro, is designed to be accessible to media professionals who can plug and play print materials, blog posts, broadcasts and radio reports.
The site is staffed using a journalism model: a managing editor, two photojournalists, a multimedia manager and a health care journalist. The team also uses freelance writers and internal marketing and communication staff. Service lines pitch stories, which are edited and reviewed by subject matter experts. Promotion via social channels is coordinated by the multimedia manager.
It takes only a quick look to see that the site embodies best practices for content-rich websites, with easy navigation, big images and effective search.
Congratulations to the team of Cheryl Welch, Jill Seidelman, Chris Clark, Sue Thoms and Taylor Ballek.