Healthcare is one of the most exciting areas to work in as a content writer or PR professional, especially in the current climate. There’s so much variety and no end of new things to learn. Matter Health executes programs across the continuum of care – from hospital operations, surgical robotics and mental health services to life sciences and consumer health technology – so we have a unique perspective on what types of content engage audiences and how to craft it.
As a healthcare content writer who spends their days working closely with clients to write bylines, blogs, press releases, case studies and more, I’ve learned my fair share of tips and tricks. If you’ve been tasked with writing healthcare content, or are interested in doing so, you may be wondering how to get started. Never fear: with some planning and research, you’ll be more than ready to tackle whatever writing project comes your way. Here are my six steps to writing engaging healthcare content, from start to finish!
1. Define your Audience and Goals
Are you targeting your content to MedTech CEOs, health system decision makers, patients or another group entirely? Asking yourself this question and knowing the answer before putting pen to paper is the best way to ensure you’ll craft meaningful content.
You should also keep in mind how you want your audience to interact with the content. For example, is the main goal of the content to drive sales, increase brand awareness or to educate the public? While your answer might be “all of the above,” it’s a good idea to prioritize your goals to ensure the content serves its intended purpose. The audience and end-goal of your content will influence everything that follows – format, subject-matter, tone, call-to-action, ideal channel for publication and more.
2. Mind the Gap
Successful companies provide value and fill a need for their customers. Now that you’ve defined your audience, you need to identify the gap, challenge or need in the healthcare industry that your company is trying to solve. Identify what differentiates your company from the competition and make that a focal point of your content. To keep your content unique and fresh, keep an eye on your competitors to understand their brand messaging and see what kind of content they share. Browsing healthcare news channels or signing up for a healthcare email newsletter can also help you stay up-to-date with developments in your field and understand customers’ needs.
3. Research, Research, Research
Now that the target audience, goal and priority message are identified, it’s time for… more research! The topic of your piece may be something you know a lot about, or it could be a subject that’s new to you. Regardless, you should do some googling to find credible sources on the subject (not Wikipedia or Quora or someone’s personal blog). In addition to helping you form a strong understanding of the topic at hand, citing quality sources and relevant statistics gives your content credibility. As you research, make sure you save your links so that you don’t end up scrambling to find that perfect source that you forgot to save!
4. Put Pen to Paper, or in Today’s Case, Start Typing!
The only way to get content is to sit down and write it. Starting with an outline can be a good idea for longer or more complex pieces, but this is largely up to personal or client preference. If you’re writing for a client partner, sharing an outline first is a good way to make sure you’re on the right track before you dive headfirst into that 1200-word byline.
Then it’s time to get to work on the first draft! Start with a title that will grab your readers’ attention and get them to click, without being misleading. Meaning, don’t title your piece, “This Healthcare App Will Change Your Life” if you’re not going to deliver on that promise. Keep your writing conversational and easy-to-read: even if you’re writing for an expert audience, no one wants to read a blog that’s unnecessarily dry or jargony! This can be especially challenging in writing for healthcare. If your subject matter is very technical, look for ways to simplify your language and break up the technical parts with lighter sections to give your readers a breather.
5. Edit and Edit Again
Any writer knows that the editing process is just as important as the writing itself. Read through your piece carefully to catch any mistakes. Reading out loud to yourself can help you catch errors that you may have missed or identify clumsy sentences that could use refining. As you read, a useful exercise is to stop periodically (every 1 or 2 paragraphs or so) and try to summarize the main message of the section you just read. If the message is unclear to you, it will more-than-likely be unclear to your audience as well. Try to put yourself in the mindset of your audience. What are they taking away from the piece? Are you holding their interest? Once you’ve thoroughly reviewed your own piece, have at least one or two other people review before you publish or ship to your client.
6. Evaluate Performance and Adjust
Once your content is out in the world, don’t just forget about it and move on to the next project. Pay attention to what kind of feedback and interaction your content gets. If you have access to them, metrics like number of clicks, average time spent on the page or message pull-through can give you valuable insight into how your content is resonating with readers. Compare with feedback and metrics from previous content to try to identify what is or isn’t working. Use these insights to plan your next piece of content, rinse and repeat!
Make Content Marketing Your Superpower
In recent years, more and more healthcare companies have made written content a central part of their marketing strategy and raised the standards for what customers expect from healthcare content. For those that haven’t yet incorporated content marketing, it isn’t too late to get started. Content marketing has been proven to increase ROI, lead generation, brand awareness, and more. Of course, content that is rushed, under-researched, or full of errors will provide little benefit, which is why it’s worth taking the time to work through the above steps— or a variation of them that works for you— to create engaging and polished content. Your marketing program will thank you later!
Looking for some help turning your great ideas into must-read content. We’ve got the writers for the job. Reach out below!