If you’re a healthcare marketer, you know creating great content can be challenging. Recently, while I was working on a physician marketing campaign, I started thinking: What’s easier? Creating content for doctors or patients?
How does writing for these two different audiences play out in your writing and research of content? There are so many different types of healthcare consumers: actual patients, concerned loved ones, the chronically ill, those that are unsure of their diagnosis. It’s so easy to go down the wrong path and turn off a potential patient. Healthcare marketers also know there are many different types of physician personalities as well: How do you know when you’re getting their attention or when you’ve lost them?  
The truth is, creating outstanding healthcare content is always challenging. Below are 3 questions we always answer at Aha Media Group to determine the most effective way to get at your target audience, as well as 2 additional tactics we use that may surprise you.

It’s Always About the Basics

Answering these questions will help you adapt your content—whether it’s for doctors or patients. And our last two tactics tell you how to walk in your target audiences’ shoes. Here’s how:
  1. Who I am matters: If your customers are doctors then you know you need to use facts and figures and persuade them using logic and rational thought. They are scientists, after all. If you’re writing consumer-directed content, remember that people make decisions, particularly healthcare decisions, for emotional reasons. This makes the approach you use critical.
  2. Watering holes: Go to where your target audience spends their time. Determine where to publish your content by knowing where your audience spends their time, attention and eyeballs. Physicians are probably easier to reach on physician-directed emails and websites; consumers can be many places.
  3. Answer my questions: Content feeds your pipeline and answers significant questions your customers want to know.  Marcus Sheridan, a noted content marketing expert, recommends making a list of 100 FAQs your customers consistently ask. Look carefully at that list.  If you’re writing for doctors, you’re probably looking at requests for clinical studies, data and research. However, when you’re creating content for patients, their questions are focused on their care, the cost and how they’re going to get better.  Find creative ways to answer those questions, through a mix of content—including written, video, infographics and customer stories.
  4. Speak my language: Find out what the different vocabularies look like for each audience. Use a combination of online research, Google Insights for Search and talking to doctors and patients to get a sense of what they call things.  People tend to buy from people they perceive as like them. Remember, the words you use make all the difference in creating that desired perception. So when you’re talking to doctors, you can use the term percutaneous interventions. You may want to use minimally invasive surgery or catheterizations when talking to patients. Watch this video that reveals the findings of a survey that compares what words hospitals use on their websites, versus what words make the biggest impact on patient choices.
  5. Tell me great stories that mean something to me: Doctors want to know that buying from you will result in success on the job. Patients and loved ones need to feel resonance in the deep corners of their emotional lives. So when you’re creating content, think about stories that resonate with the two different groups.
It’s not easy to create great content for either audience. Defining who, where and what will make your job easier. Targeting and specificity are the difference between a doctor who is paying attention and a user who converts to a patient.
Want to learn to create great content? Take a look at Aha Media’s writing workshops, available for healthcare marketing teams of all sizes. We’ll teach you how to create great patient or physician-focused content–using the above tactics and quite a few others.
And, if you haven’t already, download our popular 8 page whitepaper, “Content Strategy for Healthcare.”

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