Content Marketing or Brand Journalism

Spectrum Health’s ‘Health Beat’ offers a full range of content for visitors

More than just articles and blog posts, the portal offers photos, videos, infographics, slideshows and more

Health Beat- Logo


Spectrum Health isn’t the only health care organization to deliver content through a portal. Among the many organizations that do, however, Spectrum’s “Health Beat” stands out for the broad range of content types it delivers. It succeeds so well that it’s won first place for “Content Marketing/Brand Journalism” in Ragan’s 2016 Health Care PR and Marketing Awards.

“Health Beat” employs a broad variety of content types to deliver its messages of healthier living and tales of health journeys to Michigan residents (and others who may visit). Spectrum takes its portal seriously enough to assign a content strategist to each of its many themed categories. These strategists and the managing editor develop the content that highlights patient challenges and successes, the expertise of the organization’s providers and the company’s values. 

The brand journalism approach elevates “Health Beat” above most marketing content; the team also includes a photojournalist and a health care journalist. The journalism approach also ensures the content tells stories rather than simply explains services. 

Readers learn about topics by opting into weekly email newsletters or monthly digest publications, through its Facebook page (where content is shared an impressive number of times) and through concerted marketing efforts. 

As a result, nearly half a million unique visitors view the site annually and share its content some 17,000 times each month. The average time spent on a story testifies to its effectiveness: more than 16 minutes (compared to under 4 minutes for the average newspaper story). The news and information in “Health Beat” even informs pitches made by Spectrum’s PR department. 

Well-deserved congratulations go to Spectrum Health’s Cheryl Welch, Jill Seidelman, Chris Clark, Diane Benson and Sue Thoms.


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