If you own a healthcare or aesthetic practice, everyone will tell you medical content strategy is essential to create awareness for your brand. But, what’s with all the fluffy beauty blogs and health-product sales gimmicks?
If you don’t have a marketing background, you might be facing the medical marketing challenge, and feeling entirely out of your element.
Perhaps research papers are the highlight of your writing experience so far.
So, you’ll just fill web pages with detailed, scientific data to wow your readers, right?
Please don’t do that.
Pouring out your years of medical knowledge and writing in an academic style isn’t going to fly here. You’ll need to convert all that expert info into every day speak for laypeople (the non-medical folk).
Consistent blog posts, SEO website pages, educational videos and email to your client base are essential to inform, build rapport and rank your website for search engine results.
By avoiding medical practice blog-killers, you’ll be able to create content that does more than just inform. The next time you begin an article, keep these tips close at hand to ensure patients will love hearing from you.
Is your medical content missing the mark? Check the following
Who’s your audience?
Writing for non-healthcare workers doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the science behind treatments. In fact, just the opposite is true. Men and women flock to Google daily to research procedures and find answers to medical and aesthetic questions.
Here are some dos and don’ts for accurate, informative, yet readable content:
Write too academically – Your readers may be turned off quickly if your pages have the vibe of a medical textbook. Writing academically through many years of post-secondary education has likely drilled a few “rules” into you.
Don’t worry, you won’t be penalized here. Setting a more informal tone with ample use of contractions and casual grammar style makes your content appealing to a broader audience.
Overuse associated terminology: Besides sounding too technical, the reader may feel patronized by your choice of words. While we know it’s not your goal to distance yourself from potential clients, an overly academic blog can unintentionally exclude a significant portion of the population reading at a grade 9 or 10 level, not a university level.
Find words and phrases to replace repetitive medical terminology – Of course, providing accurate medical terms is often appropriate. However, when possible, offer both the medical and the commonly-known-as phrasing.
For example, it’s a good idea to share that eyelid lift surgery is known medically as blepharoplasty. However, mentally pronouncing the word multiple times becomes tedious.
Calling it an eyelid lift, or eyelid surgery doesn’t detract from its appeal and will make it more relatable. (It also makes your content more searchable when you use words your clients use.)
Use creative language – The thesaurus is your friend! Using synonyms and describing treatments and benefits in many different ways helps ensure the meaning will “click” with diverse readers.
It also makes for more engaging reading. How many different ways can you say the same thing?
Use bullet points – Most people are skimmers. We all have shorter attention spans today, and we like to run our eyes over an article or web page, searching out the key points of interest.
Often, a complicated paragraph can be split up into steps, lists and bullet points. Lists make large volumes of information easier to scan and take in.
2. Think about how patients ask medical questions online
Getting in the mind of prospective patients means knowing how they think and, more importantly – how they shop. The great thing about speaking the way your patients do and answering their specific questions is that it’s fantastic for search engine optimization (SEO.) Here are a few suggestions to help you conquer those tricky algorithms.
Include commonly “Googled” questions as subheadings – One way to rank higher in Google search results is to take questions most often searched by patients and place them directly in your posts.
For instance, a general search for hair transplant, reveals questions like How successful is a hair transplant? Or Is hair transplant permanent?
Your subheadings are guideposts on your page, leading the fast scanner directly to their target. Using exact question phasing in subtitles can also help your page come up first in search results for that query.
For example, instead of a subheading that reads: “Hair loss treatments,” you could instead use,” how can I stop my hair loss?” or, “what hair loss treatments work?”
Online reviews and forums are a great resource – It’s one thing to read about a procedure on a surgeon’s blog, but for most patients that isn’t enough. They love hearing firsthand information from others who’ve undergone the treatment.
Scrolling through related online forums, you can find out what patients are most concerned about and what questions they are asking. You may even find an idea for a post based on issues frequently asked about.
3. Readability – What’s your medical content score?
Readability definition: Readability refers to how easily people can follow your writing. A high readability score means it’s easily understood by the general public, while a low score indicates a general audience may not follow.
Complex phrases and “big words” aren’t the only culprits here, but choosing simpler words and terms when possible is advised.
To improve your readability score:
Stay away from long sentences – If your sentence is too lengthy, the reader can lose focus and interest. Try reading your work out loud while editing. This helps you pinpoint the overly wordy sentences.
According to the Flesch-Kinkaid reading ease score, up to 85% of your audience will read at a grade 8 level or lower. If you’re not sure where you stand, run your text, or a sample of it, through one of many free online tools.
For a general audience, we suggest aiming for a score of at least 60, but remember – the higher, the better!
Can these three tips improve your next piece of medical content writing?
If you feel a bit lost at first, that’s ok. Rome wasn’t built in a day, the more you practice, the sooner you’ll notice your habits improving and jargon decreasing. The best way for practice owners to become skilled medical blog writers is to write often and post regularly.
You can keep your professional image, but carry on authentic, relatable conversations with patients that build trust and establish you as their go-to authority.
Already know what you want? Get an quote for your project!