Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Healthcare Marketers: Storytell to Engage Your Audiences

Storytelling can be a powerful tool for healthcare marketers.  As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and through my prior work in healthcare management, I have found two articles on storytelling which provide insights into its importance in the healthcare industry.

When conveying complex ideas like new research, patient success outcomes or dense statistics, crafting the right story can not only effectively make your point but can humanize the message.
Read more about patient storytelling in Boston-area online marketer, Jonathan Catley's article Embrace Patient Storytelling to Strengthen Your Healthcare Marketing.

Healthcare messaging often relies of logical, evidence-based reasons to convince audiences, but many consumers make purchase decisions- even healthcare decisions- on emotional connections.  Learning how to tap into those emotional responses can be the first step in building a lasting relationship between patient and provider. Learn more about the role of storytelling in your healthcare brand in Storytelling in Health Care Marketing by Mary Beth Thomsen, senior account manager at Franklin Street Marketing.  

After reviewing these two articles and adding in my healthcare experiences, here are three action items you should consider implementing immediately:
  1. Humanize your healthcare brand- Making your message personal and real to people will help them understand it and connect to it.
  2. Think Emotions- Look for the rich detail that strikes an emotional connection with your audience and leverage those specifics to tell your story.
  3. Re-write Stats- Consider rephrasing statistics and facts into stories that educate and engage rather than bore audiences with impersonal numbers.
Using the right story can effectively personalize your brand and build a strong, human relationship with your patients and prospects.

Jessica MacLean is the Manager of Community Relations for the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and a current Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student at the Medill School of Journalism.  With more than six years of experience in healthcare marketing and communications, she uses her expertise in consumer insights, storytelling and brand building to help other healthcare marketers connect to their audiences. Contact Jessica through Twitter at @JessMacL.

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