Are you involved in healthcare content development?
Does it seem like an uphill battle trying to produce well researched, compelling and enjoyable content? If so, here are five things that could be standing in the way.
Image source: iStockphoto
#1. No Stories
Many healthcare writers do not believe they are good story-tellers. They’re so used to discussing tough issues and complicated systems that they’ve forgotten how to share simple stories.
If you’ve forgotten or are not used to telling stories start simple. Try giving recounts and examples of experiences that you have had – places you went, events you attended, people you met, things you saw happen and so on. These are great for introducing your topic.
You can also draw upon dull existing content (e.g. product briefs) and translate into story-telling form. For instance a new medical device that your company just launched. Tell how you saw a need for the product. Was it because of an ailing parent? Describe his pain. How did it impact his life? How did that make you feel? What was the moment when you decided to do something about it? Something like that.
Quick tip: It’s hard to think of a story just when you need it. I would slowly build a story bank on Evernote and come back to it when I need it.
#2. No Consistency
Imagine if Usain Bolt decided to run only when his schedule allowed. He wouldn’t be the fastest man in the world, would he?
Great content takes work, time, and practice. Enjoyable healthcare content is particularly tough to create because there are so many do’s and don’ts. There needs to be ‘something’ built into your content that will make it stand out. And the only way to find that ‘something’ is to write a lot and to write often. Also don’t forget that your audience (and analytics!) will let you know what’s working and what’s not.
If consistency is a problem for you, get in the habit of using an editorial calendar to plan your content for months on end. If you put all other marketing efforts first and neglect the editorial calendar don’t be surprised that all you have is an unread blog.
#3. No Personas
Next to my desk I have a picture of a woman I met at a recent content marketing conference. She leads the marketing and communications department of a reputable hospital in Boston. She also represents my target audience i.e. hospital and healthcare marketers shopping for a content writer.
Whenever I write an article (including this one) I think about what she might like to read. That’s what personas are. Personas are fictional or real representations of people you’re trying to target. They could be an ideal or desired client (as in my case). Or they could be a product of research. Knowing exactly who you’re writing for helps you to create content that is relevant, compelling and hopefully enjoyable for them.
#4. No Focus
I’ve had some clients ask me very early in the conversation, “What social media channels should we should focus on?” It’s not that the question is wrong. It’s just that it’s not the first question you should be asking.
Social media comes at the end. At the end of what you ask? At the end of asking other more important questions such as, who are you creating content for (personas), what are their pain points, where are they looking for information, what kind of content would appeal to them in their current situation?
Then you can ask about Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook. Because why tweet if your target audience doesn’t hang out on Twitter? So first ask the right questions (those that help focus your content) and then you can talk about the platforms.
#5. Talking about Yourself
I signed up with a new client just after Christmas and last week I asked her how she found me. She said, “Twitter”. Turns out she was following the #hcsm conversation (more on that here) and happened to see a link to a helpful article on my blog. She clicked back to my site, read the article, dug around for a couple of days, talked with her boss and decided I was a good fit for them.
The point – talk about things that matter to those who could be looking for you. Most of the time those things have nothing to do with you. You should be thinking about issues that trouble your audience. Hence create content that solves their problems and helps them improve the quality of their lives.
And then somewhere in there mention in a modest, low-key kind of way, that you can help them some more if they’re interested. If you really must talk about your organization and products then try to use your imagination (see #1).
Over to you? What did I miss? What other things act as a hinderance to great healthcare content?