The Coffey Blog

Your healthcare content: Tap into the power of empathy

Posted on: Monday, August 29, 2016

Stephanie Keller, Senior Writer

If you've ever turned to a friend or colleague with a concern—and felt genuinely understood and supported—then you know the value of empathy.

It creates powerful connections between people.

When you create your healthcare content, you can—and should—tap into the power of empathy. In fact, "Empathy for the customer experience should be at the root of all your content," says Ann Handley, in Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content.

That means stepping into your healthcare consumer's shoes and understanding his or her needs. It's an approach that says, "We get you—and we're here for you."

5 ways to add empathy in your healthcare content

Help your content stand out—and create not just interest but trust and loyalty with these tips:

1. Put people first. Rather than just focusing on what matters to your organization, stop and think about what matters to your readers. Look at content through their eyes and ask: "Why should people care? Will this content help them? Will it give them support and solutions?"

Suppose, for example, that you're promoting a new, high-tech procedure. Your physicians value it for its advanced technology and pinpoint accuracy. But you learn it also means a speedier recovery and less pain for patients. Make sure your audience learns those comforting tidbits too—that this advancement can help them heal more quickly and safely.

2. Use a warm tone. Chances are that the people you reach have health concerns. They could be anxious—or even frightened—about the future. Show your concern by writing in a caring, approachable manner.

That means avoiding industry jargon. Try using "we" and "you" when you can—you're building a relationship. To help strike a friendly tone, you might imagine that you're writing to someone you know, such as your mom or a neighbor, who needs your help understanding something.

3. Acknowledge that the struggle is real. As much as we say it, it's not always "easy" or "simple" to change some health habits. For example, maybe you are trying to increase participation in a stop-smoking program. You can include that it often takes several tries to quit for good. Then reassure people that they, too, can become ex-smokers with the right tools and support.

4. Target your content when you can—and offer concrete support. Create healthcare content with a specific audience in mind, whether that's expectant parents, people considering joint replacement or someone newly diagnosed with diabetes. The more specific you are, the more meaningful your copy will be—and the better job you can do thoughtfully addressing readers' concerns.

Take care of readers by telling them the next steps and information they need to manage those concerns. Can they call someone for help? If they need transportation, is it available?

5. Tell touching stories that show your caring ways. Move your audience with powerful patient testimonials—ones that show how your team has made a positive difference in someone's life. These real-life stories resonate with readers and leave them with this positive impression: If they helped someone else, they'll help me too.

Pro tip: In bios and blurbs, give the members of your healthcare team a chance to talk about the satisfaction they get from helping others. Show how much they care.

Still another plus: According to experts, when you activate empathy in others, you make them more open to your messages.

We're here for you

Coffey's editorial team specializes in helping our clients tell their patient stories compellingly. And we treat these stories with care—and with respect for everyone involved, from patients and family members to physicians. To learn more about how we can help, call 888.805.9101 or email us.

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