Does Your Hospital’s Content Plan for Generational Differences?

Everyone these days is talkin’ ‘bout my generation — and your generation, and his, and hers.

The stereotypes seem to be on repeat: Tech-savvy Millennials are plagued with a short attention span. Technology-deficient Baby Boomers refuse to change. And cynical Gen Xers reject conformity.

There are just as many individuals who embrace their respective generational moniker as individuals who balk at it. But the fact is, your patients have varying healthcare needs and preferences for receiving care based on their age group. That’s why your healthcare content marketing plan should address generational differences in a highly targeted way. These do’s and don’ts can help.

DO Your Homework

You can use general generational guidelines as a start:

  • The Silent Generation: born between 1925 and 1942
  • Baby Boomers: born between 1943 and 1964
  • Generation X: born between 1965 and 1979
  • Millennials: born between 1980 and 1996
  • Generation Z: born between 1997 and now

But your homework doesn’t end there:

  • Identify which groups make up your patient population to determine where you should focus most efforts.
  • Pinpoint major life events that are common to each group. For example, Millennials may be preparing for marriage or a baby, while Gen Xers may be dealing with aging parents.
  • Figure out which hospital services are most utilized by each group.
  • Consider who makes healthcare decisions for each group. For example, some Boomers may make healthcare decisions for their Silent Generation parents.

DON’T Ignore Generational Differences in Content Planning

That homework assignment isn’t a one-and-done. Incorporate your research into ongoing content planning. For every piece of content you plan, determine which generation it’s intended to reach.

This includes considering both content topic and type through a generational lens. For instance:

You plan a short video with healthy pregnancy tips because you know Millennial expectant mothers gravitate toward video.

You deliver heart attack prevention guidance via a text-based article because you’ve determined that your Baby Boomer patients prefer long-form content.

Sure, one piece could hit more than one generation — it’s OK to overlap if the topic is truly useful for different age groups. If possible, try to identify a primary generation and secondary generation.

You’ll also want to keep tabs on how much content is planned and created for each group. You don’t have to achieve an even split among all groups, but the ratio should reflect your actual patient population.

DO Customize Content Delivery for Different Generations

Even the way you deliver content to your patient population should consider generational differences.

For example, you can identify which social platforms are used most by each generation. From there, you can prioritize what content gets promoted on which social channel.

You can also segment your email lists by age and deliver highly targeted content to each generational group through an e-newsletter.

DON’T Forget to Measure, Adjust and Repeat

Planning for generational differences in your content involves an iterative process. Over time, you can learn more and more about the generational differences of your particular patient population and refine your approach.

Test and measure content topic, type and delivery method:

  • Do videos or infographics that target Millennials perform better?
  • What is the most popular topic of all of your Baby Boomer-focused content?
  • When promoting Gen X-focused content on social media, which channel sees the best engagement?

Don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of revamping your content strategy to consider generational differences. You’re probably already hitting each group in some way. A content audit is an excellent first step in determining your game plan.