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Healthcare content3 min read Your healthcare content: Tap into the power of empathy

Writing with empathy means stepping in to your reader's shoes and creating content that meets their needs.

April 13, 2021The Coffey Team

You know the adage—the one about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. Its message of empathy remains relevant for healthcare marketers today.

When you step into your healthcare consumers’ shoes and understand their needs, you’re creating powerful connections. It's an approach that helps build trust and loyalty for those you want to reach.

Ready to lace up your empathy shoes and create healthcare content that really connects? Start with these 5 tips:

  1. Advocate for your audience. Look at content through your readers’ eyes and ask: "Why should people care? Will this content help them? Will it give them support and solutions?" By the way, these are important questions to consider when you interview medical experts at your organization too. It starts you out on empathetic footing.

Suppose, for example, that you're promoting the latest robotic surgery technology. Your physicians value the new platform for its ease of use 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.

  1. Pretend you’re talking to a friend. The people you reach could be anxious—or even frightened—about the future. Show your concern by writing in a caring, approachable manner.

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

  1. Acknowledge that the struggle isreal. How often do we see messages like “try these simple tricks” or “take these easy steps?” 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. That’s empathy—and anyone who’s tried to quit smoking will immediately recognize (and appreciate) your honesty. Then reassure people that they’ve got this! They, too, can become ex-smokers with the right tools and support, which your organization can offer to them
  2. Target your content when you can—and offer concrete support. Sometimes you have to address a broad audience. But when you can, try to create healthcare content with a specific audience in mind, whether that's expectant parents, people considering joint replacement or someone newly diagnosed with diabetes. Here’s why that adds empathy: The more specific you are, the more meaningful your copy will be—and the better job you can do thoughtfully addressing readers' concerns.

Having a specific audience in mind also makes it easier to tell them the next steps and information they need to use your services or manage their health concerns. Can they call someone for help? If they need transportation, is it available?

  1. Tell touching stories. Use powerful patient testimonials to show how your team has made a positive difference in someone's life. These real-life stories resonate with readers and leave them with a 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.

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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. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.