Healthcare Marketing Agency

Hosted by Jared Johnson & Peter Balistrieri, our Co-founder, Bryan Cush, discussed how you and your health content can be viewed as trustworthy. In this episode, you’ll learn the building blocks for your healthcare content to compete in search, how to match your digital expertise with your physical, and how Google’s quality rater guidelines apply to health and medical information.

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Interview Transcript

New Speaker (00:06):
The show is here. You know, our mission is clear. It’s time to change. Healthcare have no fear. Today is the day. This is the work together. You know, we’ve got the power about the side though, is we’re all the same team patients, docs, nurses, tech, and marketing. How can anyone be satisfied with the way things have always been? Yeah, we’ve tried to join us now. Join the revolution. Digital health is the evolution status quo status. No, you’re out. This is the healthcare rap y’all. Come on. That’s go. Welcome to the healthcare Raff, where we are ushering in the future of healthcare and the status quo no longer exists, where we are challenging assumptions about marketing and technology. And we check yesterday sticking at the door. We’re true, drops like an atom bomb and knowledge flows like Niagara falls each week. We challenge assumptions that have been

Jared Johnson (01:01):
Holding back healthcare marketing and explain how we can do better.

New Speaker (01:05):
Join us. This is the healthcare rap.

Jared Johnson (01:10):
Welcome back. I’m your host, Jared Johnson. And I hope you’re staying safe and doing well. I hope you’re ready to learn something, do something and be a part of something. Because here on this program, we are done with the status quo in healthcare. We are here to finally start making healthcare about consumers and innovation. We call it marketing forward. If you want to be a part of it, then this is the place for you. We’re going to help you find your place in this new movement. And you are going to be one of the ones shifting the way that healthcare is marketed and experienced. I can’t wait for you to be a part of this, this marketing forward movement. Now you’ve probably heard me talking a lot about the content network. Not only because it’s brand new, but because in these times when we aren’t getting the opportunity to see each other in person, one of the only ways to grow professionally is to watch a video series or listen to a podcast. That’s why I launched It’s a content network of podcasts and video series for anyone who wants to shift the way to health care is marketed and experienced. So go check it out. A So here’s, what’s going to go down today. We’ll kick things off with the flavor of the week, about the new age of marketing innovation. Then we’ve got Brian cush in the house to talk about how the internet sees you as an expert. It’s another episode packed full of insights and tips. So are you ready? Let’s go

Jared Johnson (02:29):
Flavor of the week,

Jared Johnson (02:31):
Pay attention because this is the Dawn of a new age of marketing ideas. I’ve been finding several silver linings in the pandemic recently. And one that’s starting to become very clear is that this is becoming a new age of marketing innovation. I guarantee you the ideas that will fuel the next decade of marketing success are being generated right now in the middle of the pandemic. For instance, we’re exploring whether we have to advertise as much. We’re talking about how the experience really is the brand. So the end to end matters more and logos matter less as an industry. We’re talking more about how getting better at optimizing our current channels. Isn’t enough. We have to go upstream to the business models that we’re driving customers to. We have to collaborate more and silo less. We have to drive the discussion with strategic planning, business development, sales, it, clinical leadership, and other departments that historically haven’t seen the need to invite marketing to the table.

Jared Johnson (03:25):
In fact, marketing is starting to create its own table and we’re seeing movement as a result six to 12 months from now, marketing is going to be seen widely as more than just managing advertising or producing pretty things or wordsmithing. We will be seen as the ultimate voice of the consumer and other departments will finally be asking us how to make health care about consumers and innovation. It would be so easy to go back to the old ways of doing things leaning heavily on advertising spam clickbait, and trying to convince people. They need things that they don’t really need. Those things are familiar. They’re a known quantity. They used to work. I get it. Believe me I’ve been there, but what of better ways were around the corner and you’re ignoring them because you’re not willing to explore. Has the pandemic not taught you anything?

Jared Johnson (04:11):
So where do you start? You ask, well, how much do you know about the retail health models that are poised to take away some of your primary care revenue base or direct primary care and concierge practices or why? Although a lot more patients have had a telehealth visit, do a majority feel about the experience and what can you do about it? If you need a starting point, seriously message me. And I’ll give you a dozen more, but the time to wait for others to clear the path is long gone. It’s time to create our own paths. This is the time to listen to new ideas, Create some of our own. It’s an open innovation [inaudible] what do you have to lose? And that’s the flavor of the week.

Jared Johnson (04:49):
All right, listeners, check this out. I’ve got Bryan cush in the house. Bryan’s the co founder and CEO at Tidal Health Group. And he’s got a lot to say about how the internet sees you as an expert and if not, what to do about it. And it can’t wait to dive into this with him. Bryan, how are you doing today?

Bryan Cush (05:03):
I’m doing well. I’m real excited to be on. And this is the fun topic to talk about.

Jared Johnson (05:07):
Yeah. You know, what’s going to happen. When, when two of us get really, uh, nerded out about the stuff that we have a passion for, and we do for a living about digital marketing and how the healthcare really has some new opportunities now to do the things they’ve done, but to do it in a way that garners trust and expertise even more, you know, can’t wait to see where we go with this thing. But before we dive into that, tell us a little bit more about yourself and kind of where he came from and tell us about title health group.

Bryan Cush (05:35):
I’m a New York native here and started Tidal Health for about 10 years of my partner, also Brian, and we love to confuse people and just collectively call ourselves about “Bri(y)an’s.” We’re a full-service kind of outsource marketing agency that exclusively works in health care. We really specialize in understanding the patient’s journey to making healthcare decisions online. Our team supports kind of all those digital interactions underneath, but it’s always through the lens of health care.

Jared Johnson (06:01):
And I’ve started asking this question a little bit more, but what brought you into healthcare? Was it intentional? Was it just kind of how things happened and what’s kept you in healthcare?

Bryan Cush (06:10):
It definitely wasn’t intentional. And it’s funny, we referenced this a lot, but we were a marketing company just by definition 15 years ago, by one of the impetus that drove us into healthcare was actually my mother’s sickness. She was misdiagnosed with Lyme disease for probably eight or 10 years. And this, the difficulty of finding a specialist and really finding proper information online was something we struggled with. Obviously personally, we went into the space even further with the clients we had in there and just really started to segment and put an expertise to the label on them, separating from the crowd online. And 10 years ago, we flipped the switch and became specialists in healthcare.

Jared Johnson (06:54):
Well, thank you for sharing that. And that kind of story is really what drives. I’m finding that more and more often that there’s a story like that behind a lot of us in our field. And that is what keeps us in healthcare. So thank you for sharing that. It’s always great to hear kind of where, why we are, where we are and whether it’s a combination of lots of different things and finding we are in such a unique industry that it’s great to hear those kinds of stories.

Bryan Cush (07:21):
And I appreciate that. It’s even how we walked into kind of calling our moonshot idea of trying to connect more people with proper healthcare than anyone else. And we use proper, very intently, not just connect with healthcare, but qualify that it’s the proper healthcare.

Jared Johnson (07:38):
Perfect. We’ll tell you what, that, that’s kind of the, the, the seed, the start of our conversation in the rap battle today. So let’s dive into that.

Jared Johnson (07:58):
Metal is where we challenge the status quo in healthcare, especially when it comes to marketing and digital engagement. And where we really want to go today is talking about whether the internet sees you as an expert, right. Being seen as qualified to talk on health and medical topics. And that’s something that I don’t know, a whole lot of people ask themselves. They just would see all the activity that was going on in their digital marketing efforts. And they they’d feel like, yeah, that was working. And you can look at the numbers. You could look at the metrics and say, yeah, I’m sure this has worked where it’s not as easy to tell whether the internet sees you as an expert. I feel like these days, it’s ultimately important to build trust with all of our digital tactics. We can’t just say, Hey, we’re going to put these things out there and not worry about whether we’re building trust with that in today’s environment. There there’s more fake health news than ever. There are those who are actively trying to combat that. And then there are those who just don’t know what to about it. So at the heart of all of that is being seen as an expert. So Bryan, tell us about that. Where, what do health systems and hospitals and practices, what do they need to know about being seen as an expert and what are some common mistakes?

Bryan Cush (09:10):
Yeah, I think a good way to reference our question is there really is a qualitative approach or quantitative approach to that qualitative question. Where are you an expert? Isn’t just a black and white answer. I think a really interesting way to start that is there’s a study out from 2012. I think it was from Google in their Think With division, which is just a giant white paper division that attempted to categorize a hundred billion healthcare searches online. What they distilled from that was actually four core categories, the two smallest for branded or treatments and procedures. So you think about a hospital’s name or a facility name, a doctor’s name, and fundamentally people don’t search for healthcare because they don’t know who does what they need or what it’s called that they need from a treatment standpoint. And we find a lot of our clients, that’s the start or just the industry, a large kind of plays in that smaller field, or just leading with the medical terminology that they know. Where those larger categories for roughly 80% of the searches fall in what’s labeled either conditions, disease, or symptoms, which really is just the layman terminology that we as just general public use of trying to describe what we’re looking up through a healthcare lens

Jared Johnson (10:31):
Or even more. I know one topic you love to talk about is the concept of, of E.A.T., of eat expertise, authority, and trust. So this really dives into those tried and true Google quality raters, the guidelines that the Google provides. Tell us about that kind of, how does that relate it? And let’s dive into this party even more. What common mistakes do you see when it comes to these concepts?

Bryan Cush (10:53):
A good segue from that is that’s really how we approach our philosophy is there are a lot more people that know what you do than who you are. So our job is to take that expertise and associated to the conditions and symptoms that you do online. And through that lens, the Google Quality Raters guideline is literally 180 page manifesto that Google gives to their internal team, trying to put a process and quantify how they want people to look at content. There’s sections of that specifically that speak to what they consider, Y.M.Y.L, which is your money or your life. So content that either could have had an effect on the user’s money or the effect on the user’s health. And one of the kind of core acronyms underneath that references E.A.T., which is expertise, authority, and trust. What are the signals and what are the items that we can look for that ultimately indicate that this is a source of quality, that this is a source of expertise.

Jared Johnson (11:54):
Any examples come to mind there that have changed recently or as COVID-19 has the pandemic change to this much at all?

Bryan Cush (12:02):
Yeah, I think that’s changed. I think it just highlighted even further that there’s this call and struggle for and does this early not elusive to Google just the internet at large, to qualify healthcare content. There’s some very technical and then some very operational, your philosophical approach, but the Google quality raters guideline gives a baseline on some very aesthetic things, but then watering it down to giving examples of companies and the hospitals that they’ve partnered with. There’s a, we have an article on our website around a shift shift in healthcare search that lists out really what we call kind of like the patient zero of healthcare content. Google just come out and explicitly said, whenever you do a search and you’ll see kind of those medical panel knowledge on the right hand side, they list the, the companies that they’ll either partnering with or pulling that content from. So we always look at an approach. The closer you can get your website, either from a literal link standpoint or a content or quality standpoint to those patient zero sites, the better you are and closer you are to getting seen as an authority.

Jared Johnson (13:12):
Gotcha. Now patients don’t necessarily search in the same way. They don’t necessarily see expertise and authority the same way Google does. Right. So there’s a psychology about how patients search for things. Tell us about that. You mentioned about how the majority of searches happen for symptoms or conditions rather than a place. Is that still the case? What do we need to really understand about how patients search?

Bryan Cush (13:41):
Yeah, I think it certainly still is the case and only growing further, you mean the concept of something like 90 plus percent of searches are new. So as disease states evolve and become more complex, people are only just searching more in that layman category. And I think healthcare in kind of at large was always a little bit more of a pull system in the sense that they weren’t talking both directions. So what we really sit down with and preach is that there’s this very complex medical taxonomy, whether it’s the language, the billing codes or whatever it is that is very quantitative, but how people search is very different in the literal terms. So you think you and I, when I have a problem, I’m not qualified enough to diagnose it and know what it is from a medical standpoint. I’m searching the things that I’m suffering from. I’m searching the pains that I’m having, the things that I’m feeling or the body of life that this condition is stopping me from doing. And we have to meet people in the middle and then walk them through that maybe this is something that you should come in for, or draw ideas or thoughts towards to then connect them ultimately to who that provider or facility would be to support that.

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Jared Johnson (16:15):
I’ve seen an evolution of this concept cause you’re right. And you know, this understanding the baseline of how patients search is so key to, to organic search results. And when we look at how things have evolved, what I am seeing is just the need for being seen as an expert and the need to be trusted. It’s been magnified a thousand percent in my mind since the beginning of the year. We see debates in the public health realm right now about what seemed like pretty basic objective data measurements, you know, data points and people can’t even agree on that. So who’s to say that by just putting out content, like we used to, that people are going to naturally trust it and see it as you being the expert, it just seems like that that’s even tougher these days. And so it just, it takes even more work to understand how both to help Google see it and how to help patients see it. I don’t know if you’ve seen much of an evolution of that this year with your clients, or if, you know, if things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been, but I’m curious about that, about whether, whether anything has changed as far as how patients search because of how little people tend to trust any content anymore.

Bryan Cush (17:33):
We’ve seen a couple evolutions in a recent, our microcosm of the world. Our organic traffic has been going up because we’ve been doing this for a decade and do a lot of technical things on how we code and how we qualify our clients sites. They’re just further being trusted, kind of in the digital realm. That’s the broad stroke and kind of carve out of the healthcare marketing world that we’re in, but that’s kind of a call to arms at large, to anyone, whether you’re internal or external in this space, do we need to constantly be pushing back and representing the expertise that we have.

Jared Johnson (18:10):
Agreed I’ve seen? And I’m thinking back to some conversations I’ve had over the years, including some this year about how a health system decides whether or not they’re going to try to compete with, with those nationally ranked health systems that have created a lot of them. Their own health content, right? So they’re subject matter experts, their medical authorities, creating blog posts and videos and other content, the Cleveland clinics of the world, the Johns Hopkins of the world, the Mayo clinics of the world who have their own library of thousands of articles that are medically written by their experts. And I don’t think many people would doubt the expertise of those well-known institutions. It’s the choosing whether or not to compete with that. You know, when you’re a mid sized provider, when you’re a private practice, when you’re somebody who doesn’t have that built into their staff, the agreements. There are institutions that it’s required of clinicians to publish every so often on their own blog and so forth. And so I remember those conversations pretty clearly about, Hey, should we even try to compete with that? In other words, should we, as a health system, try to create any of our own content. Isn’t Google just going to pull up the web MD and the Mayo and the Cleveland clinic stuff. Are they even going to get to us and see us on page one of their search results? And over the years, I feel like that answer has changed. It used to be absolutely, you know, still it’s still worth it. I’m seeing fewer providers for better or worse choosing to even compete with that. And I don’t know if being seen as an expert, just compounds the problem. In other words, if I’m a health system and I’m trying to decide whether we’re going to really put forth an effort to really drive a lot of traffic because our, our clinicians are starting to offer more content, and use that effectively. Then I would think the conversation would be evolving this year to being asked. Well, okay, if we do all that, we still don’t know if people are going to trust it. You know, it was one thing to get an institution to be able to say, yeah, okay, we are going to compete with that. We do feel like we have our own regional take on things and it’s worth, you know, people want to hear from our experts. So we’re going to put our experts out there and have their content out there. And that’s what was going to drive things for us. That’s, what’s going to drive our web traffic. And so it feels like the question of expertise and trust has just compounded everything. And so, you know, I felt like there has been some momentum of institutions have chosen to compete and put out the content because to me that’s the best thing, put out your own content, have your experts out there, you know, show that local flavor, uh, explain things in your terms, get people to understand that this expertise is coming from, from your staff at your institution. It’s always just been kind of a no brainer to be. And so when an institution has come and said, I don’t know if we can compete with that, it’s been a challenge. And so for those institutions who are still trying to decide whether they’re, they want to put content out there from their own medical experts, what would you tell them in terms of the importance of being seen as an expert.

Bryan Cush (21:20):
I think the answer is unequivocally still. Yes. And I can give some pointed examples as those organizations, you referenced like Mayo clinic and Cleveland clinic, or some of the kind of patient zero organizations that Google does reference. But the big question you referenced, as well as the local. I may search for something and you just want information, but if I’m kind of down that decision path and I’m looking for care provider, there’s so many signals that may not be just in your actual search term of where you’re based. The Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic don’t exist everywhere physically. So if I’m looking up for something, I have a pain and I just want information. Yeah, it might come across Cleveland clinic or Mayo, but I’ve, I have a pain and I qualify that with Manhattan or Upper East Side, just because of where we’re based. They’re looking then obviously for a provider in that location, there are institutions here, but even underneath that, then I have to start to get into the consumer psychology of all this, that people have choice. People have choice around the insurance coverage. People have choice around the qualitative things or the experience of that healthcare as well. And you’re seeing reimbursements even start to get dictated around those qualitative things. So on that level, those smaller providers should really think about what are the things that we can distinguish that us from those institutions that actually use that as a selling point. And I say that explicitly, as it’s almost like conscious marketing, that maybe it’s hard to compete on a pure organic level, but this methodology is not exposive to just Google organic it’s every platform it’s every paid ad platform, it’s every social platform, it’s podcasting. And you just have to find out of that area of where your niche community and customer base is.

Jared Johnson (23:08):
For sure. For sure. I’m glad you went there too, because it’s, it makes it feel like more of a responsibility and it helps connect all of these efforts together to understand that the way you just described. So thank you for that. As we start to wrap up here, I’m wondering if there’s anything else that we haven’t mentioned. Anything else that any final message you’d like to share with our listeners about just the state of the world right now, about their efforts to be seen as an expert, to develop that trust and to ultimately help connect them with, with patients and their caregivers, any final words of advice?

Bryan Cush (23:43):
I think it’s a, it really is a call arms to people that are physically experts. And this is a common conversation we have when we sit down with, even if it’s a seminar or client conversation of you may have all these physical things you’re doing, if it’s research publications, outcomes, data, and you are an expert physically, but is that reflected digitally? And a lot of times the answer is no, but there is a path to represent in doing that work. So to constantly take an objective thought on, are my efforts physically matching my efforts digitally.

Jared Johnson (24:20):
Awesome. Well, Bryan, this has been a pleasure. It really has. I’m glad to go here with you and to really peel back some of the layers to really help digest some of the evolutions that have taken place in this area. So before we go, how can listeners connect with you if they want to hear more from you?

Bryan Cush (24:35):
Yeah, I think the two easiest is either our, our company website is tele title health, which has a lot of more pointed information and points to a lot of the documentation that you and I described. And then me personally, I think LinkedIn is the best. Then it just Bryan with a Y Kush C U S H. People can announce, send me messages there. I’m really responsive through that platform.

Jared Johnson (24:57):
Perfect. Well, Bryan, thanks so much for giving us a few minutes today. Stay save and stay well and keep up all the great work you’re doing to connect patients with care. You as well. Jared is really a pleasure.

Jared Johnson (25:15):
So you crank out content, but it’s getting stale. It might be nutritious, but it tastes like kale. You’re down with finding a way to up your marketing game. Yeah, but when you look for health, everyone seems lame. We’re Altera digital, Google us and C were spelled like ultra with an extra E we’ll help you market forward. Google has said, look, we’re Altera digital. It’s off the hook. Hey guys, this is Jared hold. Tara. Digital is just another name for our consulting team that helps you when your content, your strategy or your brand is getting stale. You know, like that chocolate glaze donut, that was a little piece of heaven in the morning. But when you left it on your desk until four 13 in the afternoon, and you went to finish it off by then not so heavenly was it by now, you know, our philosophy that content is the future, but only when it engages audiences and it isn’t a snooze Fest. And you’ve heard how we wrote the healthcare rap. What you’re listening to right now is exhibit a, we don’t do boring. So if your content, your special event or your strategy is getting stale, let us help you give it that spark, that rhythm, that new life you’re looking for. Altera digital marketing forward. Okay. Now back to the podcast, right? Cause it’s pretty legit.

Jared Johnson (26:22):
Hey, thanks to Bryan. And thank you for listening. Don’t forget to be part of the marketing forward movement. This is an open invitation subscribe. Leave a review. Tell your friends care. Rap is a member of the brand new shift content network. Go check it out. A shift is podcasts and video series about shifting the way that healthcare is marketed and experienced. So on behalf of Bryan and myself, keep marketing forward. Thanks. And that’s a wrap.

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