If you are like most physicians, your appointment book fills up in (insurance-driven) fifteen minute increments. And thanks to all the paperwork you also have to do, sometimes you are lucky to get that 15 minutes.

A recent study found that: “For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face-time to patients, nearly two additional hours is spent on EHR and desk work within the clinic day.” —2016 study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine

Now, if you are in private practice, add to that the time you need to run your practice. And then there’s marketing—you know that’s important too, but who has the time? The good news is there is a form of marketing that does double duty by also filling in gaps in the patient education you want to provide: Content Marketing.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
The Content Marketing Institute

Increasingly medical practices are turning to this form of marketing, whether through website content, blogs, social media, or email newsletters, to name a few formats. This rise is largely due to its low cost, but it is also a natural extension of the patient education physicians are already trained to provide.

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel to come up with this kind of content. There is a lot already created that you can use—for free. It comes in the form of materials created for the many medical-awareness dates spread throughout the year. There is a day, week, or month dedicated to nearly any medical diagnosis.

Next month, May, is National Stroke Awareness Month. And groups like the American Stroke Association have a whole slew of materials and resources you can pass along to your patients. Here are some of the best sources for free stroke education downloads:

These organizations have content on all aspects of stroke care from prevention to recovery. Choose your focus based on the needs of your patient population. The content also comes in a wide variety of formats, so you can use it to reach current and potential patients in whatever medium works best for you.

Ways to Use National Stroke Awareness Month Content

In your office

Download content for your office walls or handouts for your patients. Give patients and family members something useful to read in the waiting room. For example, download this guide on Finances After Stroke.

By mail

Download and print a pdf like Guide for Stroke Caregivers and include it with a short letter to your patients.

Via email

Include some of these materials as part of a newsletter or simple mailing campaign. Here is a good brochure that would work for that, Understanding Stroke Risk.

On your blog

Embed royalty-free images and videos in a short blog post, where you can also provide links to further resources. Here is a YouTube video on recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke.

On a webpage

Make a resources page on your website that includes useful links, like Find a Stroke Support Group. Then, let your patients know about that page in person, by mail or via social media.

Through social media

Follow groups like @TheStrokeAssoc ‏or the hashtag #stroke in the month of May, and you will find a lot of content you can share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

By newspaper

You don’t have to spend all day writing a press release. Here is a Template News Release for National Stroke Awareness Month, already made by strokeawareness.com that you can freely use.

A quick look around the sites linked and mentioned above, and you’ll easily find something that works for you and your patients. Do yourself a favor and make use of all this content that has already been created for you. It’ll be quick, easy, and the information might even save a life.