Meeting Patients Where They Are: How to Create Approachable Health Content

Meeting Patients Where They Are: How to Create Approachable Health Content

Have you ever googled a weird health symptom to see if you should go to the doctor? Of course you have. We all have. And, like it or not, Dr. Google is a real resource that people use in their daily lives. 

Much to the healthcare industry’s chagrin, it’s extremely common for people to search online for insight into their health problems before visiting a medical professional. Healthcare providers can roll their eyes at this reality, or we can agree that an informed consumer is a better “customer,” and empower patients to take control of their own health with approachable, easy-to-understand content rather than 

the complex jargon of scholarly, peer-reviewed articles in medical journals. 

Here’s how: 

Step 1: Understand your audience

If you’re in marketing, you know how important it is to tailor your content to the right audience. Before I create any content for my clients, I make sure we’re aligned on who we’re trying to reach. It makes a big difference, especially when it comes to healthcare messaging. 

It’s important to not only tailor your content topics to your audience but also how you’re reaching them. If you’re trying to reach an aging population, it probably doesn’t make sense for you to create content for TikTok. An email campaign might be a better avenue. Similarly, be mindful of your community’s literacy levels, access to technology and potential barriers to health. All of these factors play a role in how you communicate. 

Step 2: Choose the right tone

Maintaining a professional tone is essential, but it doesn’t mean sacrificing approachability. Strike a balance by adopting a conversational, friendly style. Avoid using overly formal language that may alienate readers. Instead, aim for a tone that mirrors a helpful conversation with a trusted friend or advisor. 

Remember: Your content isn’t going into a medical journal. You can use common language and even slang, as long as it fits into your brand voice and speaks to your audience’s preferences. 

Step 3: Tell a story

Humans are naturally drawn to stories—and they’re more likely to remember them. Incorporating a narrative element into healthcare content can make it more relatable and engaging. Share real-life experiences of patients undergoing similar treatments or facing specific health challenges. Personal anecdotes can humanize health topics, making them more approachable and fostering a sense of connection with the audience.

Step 4: Simplify complex topics

Healthcare topics are often complex and difficult or overwhelming to understand, which is why breaking them down is key to reaching your audience effectively. This sometimes means using plain language, but not at the expense of accuracy. In some cases, it’s more important to define complex medical terms instead of just using a simpler term. 

Don’t be afraid to ask medical professionals for assistance with this. Most of us healthcare marketers did not go to med school, so having a doctor review content before it’s published can be helpful to ensure accuracy and clarity. Ultimately, content that isn’t oversimplified enhances patients’ ability to articulate symptoms, ask relevant questions and actively participate in their healthcare.

Step 5: Empower readers through education

Ultimately, approachable health content should educate individuals and empower them to call their doctor. Providing actionable advice, practical tips and resources that enable readers to make informed decisions about their health helps everyone, not just the patient but also the physicians and healthcare system. 

Approachability in health content is not just a marketing strategy—it’s a commitment to promoting health literacy and fostering a healthier, more informed society.

Paging Dr. Google: How AI Can Help You Create Better Content For Your Patients

Paging Dr. Google: How AI Can Help You Create Better Content For Your Patients

As dystopian as it sounds, artificial intelligence (AI) already plays a big role in our daily lives. It’s present and working, even when we don’t realize it. Do you have autocorrect enabled on your phone? Is the little green Grammarly icon floating at the bottom of your screen? Did Gmail recently remind you to include an attachment on the email you were about to send? Welcome to the future. 

It doesn’t stop at productivity and computing. AI is slowly seeping into other industries as well, including healthcare. And while it’s scary to think about patients searching for diagnoses through ChatGPT, it may actually be a good tool for us to use to reach them. Here’s why: 

It can help create approachable content for patients 

When creating patient-focused content, we should avoid flowery, complex prose. Directness is a plus when talking about symptoms and diagnoses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 79% of internet users skim new web pages they come across. Using direct, plain language helps readers get to the point faster and reduces the need for clarification. 

AI tools can help you revise your content so it’s easy to read. Grammarly points out unnecessary words and passive voice—both elements of writing that can make sentences confusing for readers. And tools like Hemingway Editor, which measures your Flesch Reading Ease score and suggests ways to make your content easier to read, can identify passive voice, complex terms and sentences that are too long. 

It can help patients communicate better with their doctors 

While it’s important to use plain language to improve readability, it does not mean you should be imprecise or “dumb down” medical concepts. Patients should learn key terms from your content to help them understand the concept, engage with the information and take action based on their understanding. In other words, explaining accurate medical terms makes it easier for patients to communicate effectively with their new and existing healthcare providers. 

AI tools can suggest alternative terms for medical jargon (like replacing “hypertension” with “high blood pressure”). AI tools can also help you make the content more scannable, direct and conversational depending on your audience.

It can help you write more efficiently 

In a world where news moves at lightning speed, AI tools can give you a leg up on creating content that can be published quickly—whether it’s an announcement from the CDC or a health trend that needs debunking. ChatGPT does make a speedy writer.

The caveat: You still need to fact-check everything that gets published. These platforms are designed to learn from existing content and predict what you want to write, but that doesn’t always mean they come up with accurate information. In 2022, a national poll found that 44% of physicians reported half of the information about COVID-19 they saw, read and heard from patients was inaccurate. And with widespread so-called “hallucinations,” generative AI tools are wont to contribute to that misinformation. 

How to work with AI in a safe and productive way 

Technology is constantly evolving, and we’re all trying to catch up day-to-day. It’s important to stay on top of new developments in AI, but it’s also important to make sure you’re aware of its limitations and dangers. 

In terms of privacy, never enter patient data into an AI platform—these platforms are definitely not HIPAA compliant, and legal ramifications for how they store and use data are still developing. 

You should fact-check any content that an AI platform generates or edits for you. Some tools, like Perplexity, provide sources for every response given, which can be helpful for efficient fact-checking instead of turning to Google.  

Generative AI tools are just that—tools. They’re not going to replace human writers anytime soon. These tools don’t have original thoughts or opinions, they can be dangerously inaccurate and they can be prone to plagiarism if you’re not careful. But they are helpful for a myriad of reasons, and they can make it easier to connect with our patient populations and communities.

Marketing Wellness: How to Promote Preventive Care with Content

Marketing Wellness: How to Promote Preventive Care with Content

The adage “prevention is better than cure” is an indisputable and timeless truth. By prioritizing regular check-ups, screenings and healthy lifestyle practices, patients can detect and address health concerns at an early stage, often preventing more serious conditions. 

The key lies not only in endorsing preventive care but also in effectively communicating its importance. Promoting preventive care is an investment in long-term health outcomes, which is something trusted healthcare entities know and embrace. Mayo Clinic’s Healthy Living Program is a great example, as it empowers people to adopt healthier lifestyles through personalized plans, which showcases the organization’s commitment to holistic well-being.

Demonstrating a dedication to preventive care also goes a long way toward building the big “T”—trust—and enhancing your organization’s reputation. This is crucial when it comes to cultivating and maintaining lasting patient relationships.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, a disclaimer: To reap these rewards, you need to get strategic first. That means assessing your current services and capabilities, defining your short- and long-term objectives, identifying target audiences and much more. Don’t put the cart before the horse by diving straight into tactics—firing up that TikTok account or paid social campaign can wait until you’ve done the hard (but necessary) work of establishing your strategy. 

Showcasing preventive care services can take you down many different paths, and finding the right marketing mix often involves a bit of trial and error. After you lay the strategic groundwork, consider these methods and how they might help your organization achieve its goals.

Get creative with content marketing

Crafting informative and engaging content that digs into specific preventive care services, such as screenings, vaccinations, routine check-ups and chronic disease management programs, allows organizations to address their audience’s health concerns directly and proactively. 

Try this: Create detailed blog posts or video content on the step-by-step process of preventive screenings, and publish them alongside success stories, patient testimonials or infographics. This not only educates but also alleviates potential apprehensions about a particular screening or procedure. 

Leveraging SEO tactics to optimize content can, to an extent, ensure that valuable information reaches a wider audience actively seeking preventive care insights. Just be sure not to rely too heavily on keywords, opting instead for an organic approach to content creation that authentically addresses patient concerns, needs and desires. 

Meet patients where they are: social media

Some healthcare organizations shy away from social media, but to get your content in front of patients, you need to be present on the platforms they frequent. Nearly 90% of all adults in the U.S. search for health information on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites. 

Crafting visually engaging social media content is important, and can take the form of bite-sized tips, graphics, animations and patient testimonials. Using platforms like Twitter and Instagram allows organizations to share concise preventive care messages that resonate with a wide-ranging audience. 

Try this: Host live Q&A sessions or webinars on platforms such as Facebook or YouTube to make the most of these interactive forums and address common health concerns, disseminate relevant information, answer specific patient concerns and more. 

Collaborations with influencers or healthcare professionals can amplify the reach and credibility of preventive care messages. Encouraging audience participation through challenges, polls or sharing personal stories also fosters community engagement. 

Find your way to your patients’ inboxes

Email marketing, specifically drip campaigns, allow for a strategic and gradual release of content, guiding recipients through a series of emails that reinforce the importance of preventive services. These campaigns can include educational materials, success stories and tips on maintaining overall well-being. 

Try this: Start with a series of four to seven emails that present information in a variety of different formats. For example, after a brief introductory message, you can send a follow-up email containing patient success stories and testimonials that humanize the preventive care process. Subsequent messages could include interactive content and resources (videos, quizzes, downloadable guides), or personalized emails from one of your physicians where they discuss preventive procedures, address common concerns and offer guidance on what patients can expect during appointments.

Go digital

Digital advertising offers healthcare organizations a targeted approach to promote preventive care services effectively. For example, organizations can design ads emphasizing the importance of regular check-ups and preventive screenings across various digital platforms. 

Try this: Use demographic data to target patients and ensure you reach the intended audience, tailoring the message to specific age groups, locations or health demographics. Implement compelling calls-to-action in your ads, such as scheduling appointments or accessing educational resources, to enhance user engagement. 

Continuously monitoring and refining ad performance based on analytics can contribute to the effectiveness of the campaign. By strategically placing these digital ads, you can raise awareness and drive individuals to take action toward preventive care.

By embracing content marketing, social media, email marketing and digital channels, healthcare organizations can effectively disseminate valuable information, encourage preventive measures and strengthen patient engagement. Just like any other activity, promoting care isn’t just about marketing services—it’s about empowering people to take control of their health, one proactive step at a time.

Here’s How Healthcare Providers Do Content Marketing

Here’s How Healthcare Providers Do Content Marketing

Studies show that up to 80% of internet users in the U.S. look online for health information before they visit their doctor. It makes sense—think of your own experience with illness. You likely pull out your phone to Google symptoms before calling to make an appointment with your doctor.

In a world where health information is available at our fingertips, healthcare providers are vying to compete to be the first place you look when you need help. For healthcare networks and providers, content marketing is a logical extension of their mission to keep their communities healthy.

Let’s take a look at how three leading healthcare providers tackle content.

Mayo Clinic

The amount of content on Mayo Clinic’s website is staggering. On the patient side, they tout an impressive digital health library with information on diseases and conditions, symptoms, tests and procedures, supplements, healthy lifestyle tips and recipes. For medical professionals, Mayo Clinic publishes news, videos, clinical trial reports and continuing education resources.

Mayo Clinic goes above and beyond with an entire news network that houses inspiring patient stories, Q&As with physicians, news releases, podcast episodes, opinion pieces and research explainers. 

The health system even provides a patient support resource that helps patients connect with peers through moderated online discussion boards and virtual support groups. Patients can also access blogs and podcasts, connect one-on-one with other members and request an appointment at a Mayo Clinic location.  

In the past, Mayo Clinic sent a weekly newsletter, Housecall, to round up recent health content. But today, personalized content reigns supreme. Now, Mayo Clinic directs email subscribers to a preference center, where you can check boxes next to the content you’re interested in seeing. 

On social media channels, the health system has a robust video library, including reels on trending health topics, first-person patient stories and advice from physicians. 

Cleveland Clinic 

Cleveland Clinic’s website is home to various health resources for the general public. Their Health Library has a helpful search function so readers can easily find answers to questions about conditions, treatments and more. These resources are easy to understand and include articles, infographics and videos. 

Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials is the blog portion of the website that features timely articles about trending topics, questions and news, as well as resources like healthy recipes and advice for people with chronic conditions. 

The health system also has a vast podcast library, many hosted by physicians or hospital leaders. Some, like Beyond the Pages and Cardiac Consult, are geared toward healthcare professionals, while others, like Love Your Heart and Health Essentials, are for people just looking for more information on improving their health. 

Cleveland Clinic’s social media channels have varied content, including helpful graphics and carousels, videos of providers answering common questions and videos addressing trending health topics (like “sleepy girl mocktails” and “anxiety poops”). 

MD Anderson Cancer Center

At first glance at MD Anderson Cancer Center’s website, it’s clear that their brand is very patient-focused. Their blog, Cancerwise, contains many patient and caregiver stories, showing the value in user-generated content. While they also have blog posts about diagnosis and treatment, healthy living, research, philanthropy, and expert insights, the patient stories are front and center.

The health system also has a few different email newsletters, including one for blog updates, one focused on cancer prevention tips and one for healthcare frontline workers.

MD Anderson also offers resources for community and connection. Their program, myCancerConnection, is a free one-on-one support resource for patients, caregivers and survivors, no matter where they receive treatment. 

On social media channels, the health system shares even more patient stories, physician insights and available resources with videos and photos. 

Trends and Takeaways

In exploring these three healthcare institutions, some clear trends in healthcare content marketing emerged.

  • Personalized and trending content gets people interested. Whether jumping on a TikTok trend or addressing a weird health tip that’s been making the rounds, timely content is a great way to boost brand awareness and garner interest from a wider audience. 
  • Varied content keeps your audience engaged. While blog posts can be helpful for sharing health information, it’s essential to mix up your content formats to keep people interested. Videos, podcasts and interactive experiences can be great ways to share content that doesn’t involve writing a blog post.
  • Patient stories are critical in the healthcare world. Providers can fuel digital word-of-mouth marketing with patient stories. If you’re not publishing these testimonials on your website, you’re missing out on the opportunity to gain credibility and your readers’ trust. 
  • Developing a community can help keep patients satisfied and loyal. Whether through social media, a patient portal, a blog or an online/offline support group, creating a solid community of satisfied patients and caregivers helps build brand loyalty and develop new brand ambassadors.
A Prescription for Streamlining Your Content Process

A Prescription for Streamlining Your Content Process

Some of the best feedback we get from healthcare clients is that we make their jobs easier. I think this is, in part, because we’ve developed an airtight content creation process. We streamline the content process so that your team doesn’t have to worry about keeping up with the conversation around healthcare. 

An efficient process for creating high-quality, journalistic content helps healthcare providers increase website traffic, develop better brand recognition, schedule more appointments and improve communication between patients and providers. 

Here’s an inside look into how Scribewise operates when it comes to regular healthcare content delivery. 

Step 1: Start with strategy

It’s tempting to dive into creating content, but we need to have an idea of where we’re going before we set out on the journey. In other words, strategy comes first. It usually starts with a kickoff meeting where we align on the purpose of the content we’re creating by discussing four key elements: 

  • Your organization: We want to leave this meeting understanding the nuances of your voice and your internal team, who is responsible for what and what the approval process will look like. We also want to understand how you measure success. Knowing your goals will help determine our strategy. 


  • Your audience: Different audiences have different content needs, so it’s important to tailor your messaging to whoever you’re trying to reach. Demographics we like to consider include geography and environmental factors, age, sexual orientation and gender, socioeconomic status and social drivers of health. 


  • Your current marketing and communications: What are you doing now? What’s working and what isn’t? How do we fit into this equation?


  • Our partnership: How do we work together? We get into the nitty-gritty details like article format and word count, distribution, supplemental content, delivery cadence and more.


Step 2: Build a plan, work the plan 

When we’re aligned on strategy, we build the road map: an editorial calendar. Our editorial calendar is a living document that lists article ideas and headlines, the practice group or service line being featured, subject matter experts and interviewees, content type, due date, the assigned writer and status.

We have regular content meetings with our clients to discuss current service line initiatives, upcoming awareness days and months, trending topics and new ideas. We’re usually working one month ahead of the publication date to give time for reviews and approvals—although we do have the flexibility to spin up content quickly if it’s trending or time-sensitive. 

Scribewise comes to content meetings with at least a few topics to cover; we’re always building the editorial calendar. Consider us your healthcare beat reporters—we stay up-to-date with industry news, silly TikTok health trends, research breakthroughs, etc. Personally, these meetings are often the highlight of my week (and clients seem to share the same sentiment). 

We also don’t shy away from bringing breaking news to clients to help them stay ahead of the pack. We’ll often send emails about timely news articles when we think it’s relevant and important to chime in.

Step 3: Topical research  

For each piece of content we create, we begin with secondary research—news items, medical journals, etc. Often, we interview subject matter experts (SMEs) identified by our clients— physicians, other providers or hospital employees—and include quotes from them in our content.

For the latter, our clients determine the appropriate SMEs and connect them with us to schedule a phone or Zoom interview. The assigned Scribewise writer does their own research to gain some background knowledge and creates a discussion guide before the SME interview. After the interview, the writer may do some supplemental research to beef up the story as needed. 

Step 4: Creating “1 percent content”

We live in a world where robots can create content. But our writers bring the human touch that is needed to create content to outshine the robot-written crap that’s flooding the internet.

One of the most difficult aspects of content creation is taking information from disparate sources and weaving it into a cohesive, compelling narrative. We combine our background research, interview transcripts and notes to craft a story. Each team member at Scribewise has their own distinctive writing process, and we encourage them to embrace that. 

Personally, I like to start by outlining the structure of the story, after which I cut and paste my notes and research into each section to make sure it flows well. Once I have a basic outline for the story, I start to write from the beginning. And when my rough draft is done, I read through it to ensure brevity, flow and thoroughness. 

Not all topics are meant for regular articles, and we love to play with format and theme to keep readers interested. Some formats that work particularly well for some topics are listicles, Q&As with physicians, myth-busting articles, ghostwritten opinion pieces, infographics and social media carousels. 

Every article written at Scribewise goes through two internal peer reviews before being sent to the SME or client. This is why we’re able to deliver publication-ready content, and how we make our clients’ lives easier. (Name a freelancer who gets two peer checks on every article they send—I’ll wait.) 

Step 5: Delivery and approval 

In most organizations, approvals can be difficult; getting the attention of busy doctors to bless a blog post requires persistence. We know this can be a pain in the neck, so we take it off our clients’ plates. 

This process looks different for every client. For most, we will send the article directly to the SME for approval and make any necessary changes before sending it to the client. Sometimes we need to reach out multiple times, but we always get it done.

Now, you’re ready to publish and distribute.

Meeting Patients Where They Are: How to Create Approachable Health Content

The Write Rx: Elevating Healthcare Communication with Patient-Centric Content

If you work in healthcare, you’re likely familiar with the concept of patient-centricity and the bevy of benefits that come with it: better clinical outcomes, increased patient retention rates, improved health literacy, greater engagement across patient populations and more.

At its core, patient-centricity—and more specifically, patient-centric content—is about weaving a narrative that not only checks all the clinical boxes, but resonates with people on a personal level. It’s about recognizing that every diagnosis, and every treatment plan, is a unique chapter in a patient’s story. It might sound squishy, but science supports the efficacy of emotional storytelling. By tapping into this narrative, healthcare marketers and medical writers can create content that informs and genuinely strikes a chord with the human experience.

When it comes to creating this content, a large part of the challenge lies in translating complex medical terms and concepts into easily digestible, engaging messaging. Before you file under “easier said than done,” here are a few basic principles to help you get into a patient-centric mindset—and adopt a content creation strategy to match.

Use plain, clear language

Whether you’re creating a campaign to promote a specific service line or to recruit clinical trial participants, it’s important to embrace the power of simplicity whenever possible. Replace medical jargon with words that are familiar to everyday audiences. For example, instead of “cardiovascular,” say “heart health.”

By employing the principles of the federal plain language guidelines, you open the door to a broader audience eager to understand their health better. For a final gut check, reference this checklist from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and see how your content measures up. Given what we know about reader comprehension and health literacy, using plain language is a simple way to ensure your content is more likely to be read and understood.

Prioritize inclusive language

Employing inclusive language is essential in all professional communications, especially healthcare content. This involves not only choosing words that celebrate diversity but also using the correct pronouns, including links at the bottom of your webpage that allow visitors to access information in multiple languages, translating signage throughout your healthcare facility, using culturally appropriate verbiage and more.

For instance, instead of saying “normal,” opt for “typical” to avoid unintentionally marginalizing experiences. Recognizing and respecting diverse identities fosters a welcoming healthcare environment. This is particularly crucial as health disparities persist among marginalized groups—when inclusive language isn’t used, many people don’t feel safe or comfortable seeking care.

Enhance content with images and graphics

Words matter, but impactful visuals transcend language barriers. A visually appealing infographic on managing medication can convey far more than a page of text. By making content visually engaging, you cater to a wider audience with varying learning preferences. Research indicates that the use of visuals in educational materials improves understanding by up to 400%, making it a powerful tool in patient education.

Research your audience

First, identify the predominant age groups, cultural backgrounds and geographic locations within your audience. For example, tailoring your content to seniors may involve focusing on age-related health concerns and adeptly navigating healthcare challenges during retirement. But don’t rely on demographic data alone—explore channels including online forums, social media and patient testimonials to better understand the terminology and tone your audience uses. This insight becomes the foundation for content that not only informs but also resonates with their unique experiences.

Review material through the right lens

Before you hit publish, seek feedback from those who matter most—your patients. Conducting patient focus groups or interviews ensures your content aligns with their expectations. It’s the ultimate litmus test for patient-centricity. What’s more, involving patients in the review process results in content that is more patient-centered, culturally sensitive and easier to understand.

In a world where information is abundant but connection is rare, patient-centric content validates the power of storytelling in healthcare marketing. When every piece of content is viewed as a conversation, every statistic is a story and every patient is not just informed but truly heard, everyone wins.