Verywell and Cleveland Clinic to partner on health content site

Cleveland Clinic's Health Essentials site gets about 4 million visits per month.

Verywell, About.com's standalone health site, formed a partnership with the Cleveland Clinic that is expected to boost the health system's advertising and content marketing strategy on its health content site and allow Verywell to socially share that content.

Verywell said it will provide data, marketing, sales, and search engine optimization for the Cleveland Clinic's consumer health information portal, Health Essentials. In addition, Verywell will promote Health Essentials content across its email and social-media platforms, particularly for disease  awareness initiatives, said Neil Vogel, CEO of About.com.

About.com executives said they are also exploring opportunities to expand the partnership so Cleveland Clinic experts can contribute to the Verywell site in the future.

“Consumers are looking for trusted healthcare information that's fresh and focused on their needs, a lot of that being centered on their health and wellness,” said Paul Matsen, chief marketing and communications officer at Cleveland Clinic.

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The Cleveland Clinic began exploring ways to monetize Health Essentials content through advertising last year by looking for potential partners and testing ads using Google Insights, said Matsen. What they found was that content on the Health Essentials site was “highly attractive” to the target audience of women aged 25 to 54 years-old and had “significant revenue potential,” noted Matsen.

The Mayo Clinic and Everyday Health also formed an advertising-related agreement in 2009 that allowed Everyday Health to sell ads for the health system. Verywell, Everyday Health, and WebMD are three of the largest online consumer health information sites.

Since About.com rebranded its health site as Verywell in April, Verywell has seen a 25% increase in traffic and now generates more than 20 million visitors a month, said Vogel.

The audiences of Verywell and Health Essentials are similar, too, Vogel said.

“We're both national brands with health information skewed towards women,” added Rob Parisi, general manager of Verywell.

The Cleveland Clinic hopes to build brand awareness as well as draw patients from all 50 states in the U.S., as well as internationally, to the Health Essentials site, Matsen said. The health system, which is based in Cleveland, operates hospitals in Nevada, Ohio, and Florida, and also in Abu Dhabi and Canada.

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“They're great at healthcare and we're great at the Internet,” said Vogel. “The other thing we're good at is once people get to it, we're good at understanding data in the sense that people rarely have one question — we're good at predicting those questions to a path to wellness and health.”

The Cleveland Clinic also operates a clinical content site for physicians, called Consult QD, which garnered more than one million visits over the past 12 months, with plans to expand, according to Matsen. The website features articles by Cleveland Clinic physicians, scientists, and senior management.

“As healthcare transitions from a paper-driven world, we think it's a leading-edge platform,” Matsen said.