The Coffey Blog

Make your healthcare branding and content more warm and welcoming

Posted on: Monday, April 22, 2019

Marjorie Reece, Lead Senior Editor

At Coffey, we're committed to creating healthcare content that enriches people's lives. We believe a big part of that is health writing that has an engaging, encouraging voice and tone.

What do we even mean by that?

Think of your healthcare branding voice as an expression of your organization's character and point of view. While that voice stays true to your brand, your tone may vary depending on the topic and what you're trying to convey.

4 ways to speak to consumers with your healthcare content marketing

Fine-tune the voice and tone in your copy with these writing and editing tips. Use them to better connect with healthcare consumers—in ways that help both them and your organization.

1. Be warm and friendly

Your healthcare brand—and copy—can stand out when it sounds like caring humans instead of a formal corporation.

Before: Merger approved. Executive leadership is pleased to announce the partnership of Your Local Hospital with Big Health System. This merger will allow access to extensive and expanded services and advanced technologies across multiple service lines and locations.
After: We have great news! We're partnering with Big Health System to bring you more options for care. You can choose from a wide-range of specialists and services—in convenient locations across town.

Pro tip: Read the virtual room. A more serious health concern may require a softer, more empathetic voice, while you could be more enthusiastic with a lighter, more playful topic.

2. Use everyday language

Saying it simply helps people get the information they need. That means considering health literacy and editing out jargon as much as possible. For those of us who work in healthcare, it can be easy to slip into industry speak—or maybe we're working with clinicians who really know their stuff but aren't as familiar with writing for consumers.

Before: Managing hypertension can help prevent or delay complications, such as chronic kidney disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke, hypertensive retinopathy and vascular dementia.
After: When you manage high blood pressure, you help yourself stay healthy. Knowing your numbers—and keeping them in check—can help protect your heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.

3. Stay positive

As a brand, you likely want your audience to see you as a helpful resource—not a scolding superior or a big bummer. Look for opportunities in your copy to give statements a positive spin. For example, try rewriting negative and "should" statements.

Before: Don't ride a bike without a helmet.
After: Wear a helmet each time you ride a bike.

Before: You should tell your doctor if your medicine isn't working.
After: Speak up if your medicine isn't working. Your doctor may have a solution.

Pro tip: Use statistics with care—and not to scare. While a positive stat might inspire and inform, a negative figure might leave someone feeling afraid or hopeless.

4. Meet people where they are

Changing behavior isn't easy, but sometimes health writing makes it sound that way. "If you smoke, quit." "Eat better, and exercise more."

In your content, encourage self-efficacy and confidence—without patronizing or health shaming—and give people an actionable place to start. And make sure your readers understand what good things are in store for them when they change habits.

Before: Cut back on processed sweets. That means staying out of the candy, cookies and ice cream. If that's a problem for you, don't buy treats to start with.
After: Here's a sweet way to treat yourself: Stock up on your favorite fresh fruits, which are nature's perfect dessert. Frozen grapes, anyone?

Before: Get 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you have been sedentary, check with your doctor first.
After: To be more active, start small. Even a 5 or 10 minute walk counts! You can build up gradually as you get more fit. You may find it's your favorite part of the day.

Before: Smoking can kill you and before you die, you could experience some pretty terrible diseases and health conditions from cigarettes, including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.
After: Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your future. The health benefits of quitting start within 20 minutes. It isn't easy, but it's so worth it. We can help you prepare to quit—starting today.

We're warm and friendly humans

Let's chat about how we can help make your healthcare branding and content stand out and speak to readers. Call 888.805.9101 or email us.

Related reading

Cancer patient stories: Try a new perspective
Health behaviors: Tips to promote and inspire change
Words matter: Impart hope when talking about chronic conditions