Olivia Zurcher and Kelly Jellings discussed how they worked with regional marketers across the UnityPoint Health system to improve their content strategy

We truly see our relationship between system services and our regional colleagues as a partnership. Olivia Zurcher
At UnityPoint Health, Content Writer Kelly Jellings and Digital Campaign Specialist Olivia Zurcher sit at the system services side for content creation and social media strategy. But, as a regional health system, they rely on partners spread out across nine markets and numerous strategic service lines.

With social media efforts and content created at both the system and regional levels, there wasn’t traditionally much of a process in place around communication and standardizing content. According to Kelly, all of that began to change in 2016.

That’s when UnityPoint Health brought its content in house.

Then, the work began to determine how to divide the work between makers at the system level and those located in UnityPoint Health affiliates. And, that even got more challenging as the system continues to add new locations to the mix.

“As new markets came into UnityPoint Health, we hit a point in 2017 and 2018 where we realized there was a lot of duplicative effort,” said Olivia. “In those years, we worked not only to figure out what everyone should be responsible for, but also to make sure our strategy made sense for both UnityPoint Health as a system, as well as for our local hospitals and clinics.”

Kelly and Olivia realized there was an opportunity to more strategically utilize existing content and talented team members across the health system.

Over the past couple of years, they started working to align efforts and delineate who was responsible for each piece of the puzzle.

We post every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday -- sometimes more when we're having a bigger brand push. Kelly Jellings
“We touch base every other Monday with all the content creators from our nine regions on the phone to chat through what’s coming from the system channels and what they’re working on,” said Kelly.

Then they have a master content calendar they share with regional peers to highlight what they’re posting. Those posts generally fall into the buckets of brand, thought leadership, and health and wellness around primary care, pediatrics, and urgent care topics — which are strategic priorities for all regions.

“We post every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday — sometimes more when we’re having a bigger brand push,” said Kelly. “We do all the posting for them so they can focus on their own strategic priorities that we’re not touching on at the system level.”

Kelly said these bi-weekly phone calls have been particularly helpful for communications and keeping everyone informed.

“For example, we can see if one region is doing a Facebook Live about heat on a certain day, and another region can plan to share,” said Kelly. “In order to keep from creating duplicate content, having this meeting is a great way to flag if something already exists.”

These improved communications channels have also allowed them to better position providers and specialists as experts for their content, which Kelly said has been helpful as their marketing strategy continues to evolve.

Internally, Olivia said these process upgrades have strengthened their relationships with their marketing peers.

Working towards highlighting those patient stories and telling them in the best way possible are some of our big goals as we move forward with our small team. Olivia Zurcher
“We truly see our relationship between system services and our regional colleagues as a partnership,” she said. “And we know what to expect from the other side and where we can support each other through social media and content development instead of working against each other.”

Now, they’re continuously looking at what metrics they’re collecting and making sure they are telling the story of their brand.

“Working towards highlighting those patient stories and telling them in the best way possible are some of our big goals as we move forward with our small team,” said Olivia.

Through this new marketing plan, they also found that there were three key areas in their marketing funnel: awareness, preference, and acquisition.

“For social media specifically, we identified that it was connected to both ‘preference,’ which aligns to engagement metrics, and ‘acquisition,’ to conversion metrics,” said Olivia. “We’ve tried to keep what system services does applicable system-wide as a priority for acquisition and any regional work on social media as a priority for preference.”

Kelly and Olivia are now using those key areas to inform their metrics and continue evolving their program.

“In 2019, we started out pretty narrow as it relates to metrics and markers for success,” said Olivia. “Now on social media we have specific metrics we use for preference, through engagement rates and cost per engagement. We have identified metrics for acquisition as well.”

Now on social media we have specific metrics we use for preference, through engagement rates and cost per engagement. Olivia Zurcher
In the coming months, they hope to track those metrics and work to expand them as platforms and the social media climate change. Kelly added that they are also looking to evolve how they use their funds to bolster their content.

“Currently, we do a lot of organic posting on our social channels,” she said. “We put a little money behind some content, but we want to continue to evolve that as well as we align with the right metric.”

While Kelly and Olivia said they still have a long way to go, they are excited by the progress they’ve made by partnering with their regional marketers.

We put a little money behind some content, but we want to continue to evolve that as well as we align with the right metric. Kelly Jellings
“We can only start where we’re starting,” said Olivia. “From both sides, regionally and from system services, we’ve given each other a lot of grace to say, ‘This is the plan for today, and it’s going to change.’ We anticipate it will change for the better, but we’re not afraid of sticking with this plan for the foreseeable future and seeing how it plays out, and then pivoting when it’s no longer working for us.”

Kelly also emphasized that healthcare is ever-changing, so their teams will always have to adapt.

“We’re constantly trying to assess changes and make new priorities and plans according to the goals and priorities of our system,” she said. “Every year we sit down with our plan and look at our buckets from last year and decide if we should continue with them or transition.”

For anyone looking to make similar process upgrades, Olivia said capturing strategic insights from leadership early on was a huge help.

“Speak with either your immediate leader or the leadership of your organization and get ahold of as many strategy components as possible. This will help you start to connect your dots to see where your work can line up with theirs as a measure of success,” she said.

When you're in a health system like ours where the system team sits pretty far removed from a lot of the action, meeting face-to-face and getting the whole team together is really important. Kelly Jellings
For example, she said one of UnityPoint’s big system-wide priorities is increasing the number of new primary care patients.

“Looking at our preference and acquisition metrics through social media, we talk a lot about how we’re elevating primary care, and we’re looking at a specific engagement rate for videos that highlight primary care efforts,” she said. “That priority came straight from our overall strategic plan for the year.”

Kelly added the importance of sitting down and creating those relationships with your peers. “When you’re in a health system like ours where the system team sits pretty far removed from a lot of the action, meeting face-to-face and getting the whole team together is really important,” she said.

Olivia Zurcher and Kelly Jellings have been members of SocialMedia.org Health since 2016 and 2017, respectively. You can follow Olivia and Kelly on LinkedIn.