Now it is time to dig into the skill-sets needed to implement content marketing in the real world. These are either skills you need to hone in yourself (if you want to be the full content-marketing-package) or find in others who can be a part of the team.
I have divided these into seven essential skills: copywriting, medical ethics, writing for the internet, generating content, finding and using images, picking the right online tools, and getting savvy with social media.
Even if you have no intention of learning how to promote your blog on social media or will have someone else input posts into wordpress, your efforts will be better rewarded if you have at least a working knowledge of each piece of the puzzle.
I will go over each of these skills in more depth in the posts that follow. For today, I am going to focus on my favorite–copywriting.
Copywriting is a style of writing used in advertising. It is writing that sells. It can be as short and to the point as a company slogan (“Just do it”), a billboard, or a catalogue entry. It can also be longer text in other marketing materials like brochures, emails, blogs and even books. The writing, referred to as copy, is used to convince or pursuade someone into action. Usually that action is to buy some item or service.
When the copy pertains to a medical service or product–you guessed it–it’s called medical copywriting.
Copywriting in general can be blatantly sales-y, like that sign held by a guy in a banana suit that says, “Buy Bananas.” And there is nothing wrong with that, but a more nuanced approach is needed for good medical copywriting.
That is because medical treatments and products relate to a heavier aspect of our lives than, say, produce (e-coli contaminated spinach, notwithstanding).
To achieve this, medical copywriting needs to incorporate more elements of storytelling and journalism. It needs to build authority while focusing on benefit to the patient.
Four elements of good medical copywriting
We are talking about copywriting here, so let’s not forget that the underlying goal is to pursuade the reader to action. For a medical practice this usually means to make an appointment with the practitioner. The copy needs to sell but too much sales-y-ness can be a big turn off.
People are more likely to make an appointment with a practice or particular clinician, if they believe she really knows her stuff. This means using language that projects confidence like strong adjectives and active verbs.
For any copy to be effective the first thing that has to happen is–someone has to actually read it. What do people like to read? Things that benefit them. This benefit can be in the form of helpful relevant information, a solution to a problem, or just plain entertainment. No matter what it is, the benefit needs to be clear right away, and peppered throughout the copy.
To be clear, medical copywriting is not journalism. Copywriting is inherently biased and would be an epic failure if used to expose the underbelly of a practice. Good medical copywriting does borrow some important practices from journalism, however. These include, impeccable fact checking, storytelling basics, interviewing and citing sources, and style (see my post on style guides for more on this).
For more on this approach to copywriting check out my post, The Three Little Pigs of Medical Copywriting.
In the coming posts, I will continue with my primer on the seven essential skills for effective medical content marketing. Next up? Ethics.
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 1: What is Content Marketing?
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 2: Why Use Content Marketing for Medical Practices?
Basics of Content Marketing for Medical Practices Part 3: Bare Bones Approach to Content Strategy
Top image credit: © ~ Bitter ~ / Dollar Photo Club
Second image credit: adapted from PaperShapes template/ Amy Stafford of Blixa 6 Studios