Creating Content Your Physicians Will Actually Read

by Katy Mena-Berkley, Copywriter - 03/16/16

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With busy schedules, an abundance of new patients, and mounting demands to stay current with the latest technologies, physicians have a limited amount of time to explore content related to their specialties

While reading is at the heart of the way many healthcare professionals gather and share information, the activity of opening a book or website to read an entire article is almost a luxury that some may set aside until they have more time—which may be almost never.

But according to New York University, many physicians are authors themselves, utilizing the written word to share information about successful drugs and treatments they have employed to care for patients, ask colleagues questions about cases they have in common, and sometimes to pay tribute to or thank fellow doctors, nurses, and patients for positive experiences. They want to read. It’s simply a matter of connecting them with the right information quickly and easily.

Using Content to Connect

Many medical journals today are filled with a wealth of information written in essay form or studies broken down stage by stage. The challenge of publishers is to make the material presented visible to the desired audience, while the challenge for readers is to find the right content in a sea of words.

Data is a critical piece of the puzzle in both instances. Content creators must understand the readers they are trying to reach. Are readers in search of medical journal-type articles or colorful illustrations they may share with patients during educational consultations?

One way to determine what your target market wants to see is simple—ask them. By distributing quizzes and surveys on your company’s website or via email communication, you may actively access the hearts and minds of your potential readers, putting each reader in the driver’s seat when it comes to content.

Speak Your Audience's Language

Once you have gathered a significant portion of data and determined who makes up your physician audience and how they would prefer to receive your message, you may set about the task of branding your work. Perhaps it leans heavily on patient testimonials—sharing stories of individuals and families who have been faced with medical challenges. Photos of and interviews with the protagonists of each article may make the words you are sharing tangible, something that the reader may visualize and compare with their own work. Illustrations, such as those created by the Association of Medical Illustrators, may also be useful.

Or perhaps you are working to engage a population of researchers. In this case, they may be more attracted to data presented in a very literal way. The American Institutes for Research may have some helpful information you may apply here. Don’t be afraid to utilize graphs, charts, and tables filled with numbers, keeping the number of words you use to a minimum. Simply choose a few sentences to introduce a page of colorful images.

Continue the Conversation

In either instance, give your readers an opportunity to engage with one another. Perhaps you close your stories with a call to action, such as directing readers to a crowdsourcing website where healthcare professionals may share their stories and seek out or offer advice, such as sermo.com. Or maybe readers are directed to a patient portal where they may log in and ask medical professionals questions about the reader’s health.

The Bottom Line

Dedicate your efforts to understanding who your readers are and then committing to thinking like them as you build your messages.

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Topics: Content Strategy, Physician Marketing

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