Verywell, a health and wellness site from About.com that launched last year, is kicking off the second phase of its partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, the No. 2 hospital in the U.S. as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. The first phase, which launched in August 2016, involved Verywell helping to promote content from Cleveland Clinic’s consumer health information portal, Health Essentials. But the next phase will focus on providing resources to physicians and doctors in two areas.
First, Verywell will launch a new Healthcare Professional Channel that will offer physicians advice and information on how to better manage their practice. The second part involves Verywell increasing exposure to Cleveland Clinic’s content on Consult QD, which provides HCPs with the clinical information they need to stay on top of their specialty, such as the latest research and insights, innovations, treatment trends, outcomes data, and CME.
“We’ve heard from a lot of people who are just yearning for an alternative to what’s been out there for a very long time,” Neil Vogel, Verywell’s CEO, told PM360. “This is what Cleveland Clinic does best: Keep doctors informed of the latest medical developments, technologies, techniques, and more. Plus, we will be dealing with the business side of medicine for doctors, which is rapidly changing, such as how to stay current on every issue around managing your practice, managing your career, managing your life, and managing your office.”
According to Rob Parisi, Verywell’s General Manager, they will take a similar approach to Consult QD that they did with Health Essentials, which is to apply their expertise in SEO, data, and UX, to enhance the offering and to make it the easiest to use and most appealing to users, as well as the easiest to find on social and on search. As Vogel points out, physicians, or really any Internet user, rarely will just go to a homepage such as ClevelandClinic.org and then try to find what they need from that page. Instead, they are more likely to either use the search function on ClevelandClinic.org or Google in order to find exactly what they want.
Verywell employs a nine-person data team that studies every interaction the site has with users, so when a visitor does one thing, they know what the next thing he or she is most likely to do. That allows the Verywell team to build an experience that makes physicians feel they got everything they needed as quickly as they wanted it.
“One of the reasons our partnership with Cleveland Clinic has been great: Their content is so good, but they’re not in the business of being an Internet publisher,” explains Vogel. “They’re in the business of being an incredible hospital and helping people. We’re in the business of creating content for people to see.”
Verywell already averages 20 million users a month, according to comScore, and Vogel says that provides the site with plenty of data on what consumers want that they can feed back to Cleveland Clinic in order to help them improve their content creation strategy. While Vogel couldn’t comment on the specifics of whether this strategy has helped Cleveland Clinic during the first phase of their partnership, he did say, “It’s very safe to assume that both ad sales and their traffic have gone up a fair amount, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing this other thing so quickly.”
Vogel also believes in the advertising opportunities this new phase of the partnership will help to create on Verywell.
“Judging by the reception we’ve gotten so far—and keep in mind, this is before we actually launched and just from whispering to people about this—there is a really large appetite for another scaled resource to help reach people this way,” Vogel says. “A lot of offline channels to reach doctors are getting closed off, but the Internet offers a really interesting way to do this at scale.”
While Vogel adds that the advertising opportunities will be robust and include traditional offerings, native, social, and more, he believes that what really sets the site apart from competitors is its design. In fact, when they were still in the planning stages for the site, he told his designers not to look at any other health sites. Instead, he had them to focus on the sites they loved and instructed them to make a site that looks like those.
“Look at WebMD and look at Verywell—it’s going to be very obvious how we’re different,” Vogel explains. “We have a different tone, a different look, and a different approach to the market. Rather than feel like a fluorescent light and super clinical, we thought there may be a way to talk to people that is appropriately intelligent and sophisticated, but just a little bit nicer and more familiar. We think that is going to make a big difference.”