Creating content regularly for your healthcare marketing strategy is good, but you can’t be sure it’s working to bring you patients. You’ve seen a few comments, clicks and shares but nothing like the result you’d hoped for, and you’re beginning to wonder what you’re doing wrong. Does this sound familiar? You could be missing making an emotional connection with your readers, especially if your blog posts read like sales pitches. To achieve success with your content marketing, it’s necessary to move away from ‘branded content’ and embrace true storytelling.
The Soul of Storytelling
Humanity has always loved telling—and hearing—stories. In the beginning, there were myths and legends. These were followed by parables, stories that encompassed a teaching of some sort. Gradually this expanded to turn them into entertainment, which gave rise to theater and song. More recently, businesses cottoned on to the idea and began using storytelling to create awareness of services through the storylines of advertisements.
Commercialization of Content
When advertising became too commercial marketers devised the advertorial, which combined the principal of promotion with an editorial or story to capture the reader’s imagination. As its popularity paled, the arrival of the Internet gave birth to content marketing, which seeks to tell a story without using a commerce approach. But content has become increasingly branded, thanks in part to the requirements to optimize everything around specific keywords to make it searchable.
We’ve recently come full circle, however, and reached the point where we’re beginning to realize that the most powerful stories happen in the minds of our audience. We’re reminded that stories matter because they relate to the human experience, and that they have always been the way we pass on our cumulative wisdom, values and beliefs. This is especially true in a field such as healthcare services, where education and inspiration are equally compelling for readers.
Medical Practice Implementation
So how do you implement storytelling in your medical marketing communications in a way that makes a real connection with your patients? Look for stories that resonate with them, and build your message around those. For example, in a post about the value of having annual physical examinations you’ll reach more people by opening with the story of Joe, who is still fishing at the age of 78 because he caught his prostate cancer early through a routine physical exam, than you will by spouting ‘educational’ information and stats on a specific condition.
Why Does it Matter?
You’re probably wondering why you should bother with storytelling. It’s because healthcare providers these days are evaluated by much more than merely the services you provide. Not only does the brand value of your practice count, but the emotions it evokes do too. This gives you a great opportunity, because the most powerful way to change your patients’ lives is by uniting your healthcare information with an emotion through the telling of a compelling story.
If you’re creating content as part of your healthcare marketing strategy, make it count. Produce material that creates an emotional connection with your patients, and you’ll see the results in the traffic to your medical marketing website and the leads you begin to receive.
About the Author: Greg Fawcett is President of leading North Carolina medical marketing firm Precision Marketing Partners. In this capacity Greg helps healthcare service entities to research their target markets, build their brands and develop creative strategies to reach patients.