As French prodigy Blaise Pascal once famously wrote:
“I’m sorry that I wrote you such a long letter; I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
Indeed, communicating clearly and concisely does take more time and technique.
Though it’s not easy for any brand to create consumable content, it is particularly difficult for healthcare brands. Especially as you have to contend with stringent legal regulations, mountains of data, and sometimes reluctance to change within internal teams.
Consumable content is also about understanding your audience and speaking to them how they want to be spoken to. This carries its own unique challenges in healthcare; you may not hold much insight on your audience, who are often time-poor, under high-pressures and tight budgets.
But it is possible for healthcare brands to create perfectly consumable, creative content. As a strategic marketing agency we help them do it all the time.
Here are some of our top tips.
Brands often fall into the trap of writing headlines that don’t give enough away. But as a headline is often a reader’s first impression, it needs to entice.
The highest impact headlines that draw readers in are conclusion-led. Don’t be afraid to communicate your key point or benefit up front, then use your body copy to tell them more.
Instead of saying:
Strong preclinical results
We outperformed the competition in the lab
Content strategy to hand, you can build a story. Yes, even in a highly regulated industry you can craft a compelling story with your content.
Like all stories, you need a clear start (the problem you’re solving), middle (introducing your solution: product or service) and end (the benefits to your audience).
But your stories shouldn’t be written like a book:
- Keep sections short
- Keep each point specific
- Don’t include every single thing you know about your product – be selective
- Use the active voice
- And if you can communicate something in 5 words, don’t use 10.
Surgeons, consultants and other HCPs, while highly intelligent practitioners, are people too. People who consume brands like everyone else. They know data is important but don’t want to read 200 pages of it.
Emotional meets rational
Psychological studies tell us that marketing is much more powerful when it appeals to people’s emotions. Our content should have a balance that appeals both to left brain (analytical and methodical) and right brain (creative and emotive).
While the technical specs and properties of your product are very important, it’s probably communicating the human benefits of each feature that will help your customers see the worth in your products.
It’s true that copy does a lot of the hard work. But copy can only be at its most powerful and persuasive if your design works just as hard.
Wherever possible, present stats as infographics, pull key points into call-out boxes, and enlarge important quotes to stand apart. It’s a fantastic way to communicate more information more simply.
Planning to prioritise
When it comes to creating consumable content, the best place to start comes before a writer has even put pen to paper. It begins with the help of a content strategist or planner.
Their speciality is making sure each and every asset is single-minded: it has a specific point and gets to that point with minimal waffle. With potential consumers firmly in mind – they’ll cherry pick the most powerful messages to drive engagement.
Bringing everyone on board
The final hurdle can be the hardest one to navigate: making sure your internal teams are ready to embrace a new way of communicating.
It can be a laborious process, especially where healthcare marketing has historically been formal and verbose, and deviating from this norm can be deemed inappropriate or a risk.
But that’s where we, as a strategic marketing agency, can help.
We run content workshops for our clients, focusing on what defines consumable content, how to achieve it on-brand, and how to organise internally. We help marketing departments sell the process and benefits of consumable contents to their internal stakeholders, so that together they can transform their content.
We’ve held successful sessions with brands like MSD, who have been writing beautifully consumable content ever since. Now that’s a story with a happy ending.
For more information about how we can tailor a content workshop to you, get in touch with me, Phil Blackmore Creative Director, at [email protected].