When it comes to healthcare stories in your marketing, the best ones win the hearts and minds of your audience. And in 2021, authentic marketing is the trend.
But when authenticity is the marketing buzz word, where does that leave clinicians whose profession is built upon boundaries and confidentiality?
The simple answer is it depends.
In 2021 the boundaries between work and home life are blurred in a way that’s not likely to ever change back. Even for therapists and physicians, telehealth visits mean that patients might be viewing you providers in you home environment.
The fact that we all have a life outside of work is no longer something we hide, and for most of us, this is a relief.
Plus, last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests further raised widespread demand for authenticity from even small business owners. Clients and patients expect transparency and authenticity from the brands they buy and even the healthcare practices and facilities they use.
4 kinds of stories clinicians should tell in your healthcare marketing
I like to think of marketing stories for clinicians in four categories. The first two are about the personality parts of you that you bring to your work. The second two are about the professional stories that set you apart. Both categories matter when it comes to attracting your audience.
Why: These are stories of why you do this work. For some this might be your purpose with a capital “P.” Maybe there’s one big thing that makes you get up each day and pursue the work you do. This is you if you had an incident where you or your loved one were sick or struggled and you knew then you’d grow up to work to heal others.
If you don’t have that one big story that drives you, that’s okay too. You might have smaller stories that add up to your purpose. A teacher who sparked your interest in the field or a child who looks up to you for what you do. Sometimes the telling of these “smaller” stories will even lead you to the one big purpose story.
|Questions to ask yourself: What got you started in the first place? What makes you get up every morning and keep doing this work?|
How to use it: Tell this story often and everywhere.
What: These are stories of what you bring to your work that’s uniquely you. I like to think of these as personality stories. People are attracted to people they like, and healthcare is no exception. These are the stories that make you likable. This could be bigger identity traits like your race, gender, religion or even that you’re a working mom. Or it can be your interests that make up your personality like running, cooking or gardening.
Training and expertise certainly matter, but most people prefer a clinician they simply like and relate to.
|Questions to ask yourself: What about me attracts others to me? What makes me relatable? What attracts my friends to me?|
How to use them: Sprinkle these stories throughout your marketing.
How: These are the stories of how you do this work. What sets you apart from every other clinician in your area? These are the stories of what you struggled through to learn in your field, the research you did or are doing. How you developed your framework or approach to helping patients to clients. The way you think about the your work that’s different than others in your field.
|Question to ask yourself: What’s a way that I do this work that’s different from everyone else?|
How to use them: Sprinkle these stories throughout your marketing.
For what purpose: These are the stories that explain where you are going. To what end is it all for? These are the stories of the results you achieve. Depending on your field, you may or may not be able to share specific stories. A pediatrician, physical therapist or dentist can certainly share specific stories and even photos or videos of results (with a signed HIPAA compliant form). A mental health therapist surely can’t share specific results, but you can share stories about what’s the meaning of your work. You can also share general stories. For example, you could illustrate how you help people with anxiety in general.
How to come up with story ideas for your healthcare marketing
Think of your life in chunks of five or 10 years. Write down everything you can remember in that time. If it’s something you’re willing to share, see if you can tie a message about how you help or something your audience needs to hear around that story.
I also recommend thinking of every challenge or objection your target audience faces. Identify a time that you faced that challenge and how you overcame it. Identify how you helped others overcome those challenges or objections. This can include your patients or your friends or family.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to generate stories that work for healthcare
- Was there a moment when everything changed? (Connect that to how you can change something for your audience)
- What was some important lessons I learned and when was the moment I learned it? (Connect that to how you help your audience learn or practice this lesson)
- What was something important you accomplished and what did it take to do it? (Connect that to how you help your audience get there)
- What was something you hard you still managed to learn and what was that like for you? (Connect that to how it helps you show empathy)
- What was something really special for you as a kid and why? (Connect that to a way you make an experience working with you more pleasant)
- When was a time when you didn’t have the right tools you needed? (Connect that to how you ensure your audience does have the tools they need)
- When was a time someone went out of their way to help you? (Connect that to how you help others)
- When did you feel most proud to be doing this work? (Connect to how you are grateful to your audience)
- When did you feel you were meant to do this? (Connect to how you help others)
How to share stories so they resonate
Once you have a story, it’s important that you describe the moment in time so that your audience can picture the scene. Share small details like the name of the teacher, the car model or the breed of the dog you found. Then, tie the end of the story to an important message for your audience. You can usually find a few messages that work for each story so that you can reuse the story.
The more you tell stories, the easier this gets. You’ll hone your skills as you continually draw your audience in.
📧 Want to gather stories but don’t have the time? That’s what we do. Let’s talk!
Grab your quick guide to fast social media action for heath providers
For more training on digital marketing, at a deeper and more interactive level, join me in Everyday Marketing for health providers Facebook group. I go live every Thursday at 10:30AM CT, training you on a new digital marketing topic.
I help healthcare experts stand out by telling their story on websites, emails and social media. When it comes to marketing, the greatest waste is an idea that fails to connect to its audience – not because it wasn’t a good idea but because it wasn’t packaged as a great story.
My goal is to help health and wellness experts stand out with content marketing. I’ve worked in marketing communications for nearly 20 years and experienced firsthand the rapid pace of change in this space. I launched Sparkr Marketing to help you stay ahead in this age of information overload. I’ll help you filter through the countless marketing tactics to find the right ones to reach your target market. Most importantly, I help your business stay true to your story.
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