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Storytelling and How to Do It


One of the best and easiest ways to form a connection with someone is to find common ground and the more effective way to do this is with a story. It is how we communicate and form the basis for many relationships- storytelling how the human brain is wired and designed to communicate. We are all born with the natural understanding of the process of a story- beginning, middle and end and that there are struggles and victories and finally a conclusion at the end to wrap it all up.

Telling a story is the basis for all communication and when someone talks to us we listen, especially when we are engaged and interested in the story they are telling. Physicians can and need to take advantage of this method of communication in their marketing plans.

The goal in any medical marketing plan and advertising campaign is to bring about greater success for their medical practice and draw people in- and the best way to do this is with effective healthcare storytelling. Working your storytelling content into your advertising and marketing campaign is key to making sure your marketing budget is bringing the best possible ROI and that you are reaching as many people as possible!

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Medical Marketing With a Story

There are many different types of stories and they do not all start with ‘once upon a time’ but they all can be very effective in communicating to your patients important information about your practice and what you have to offer.  “Because an audience—patients and prospective patients—instantly resonate with a well-told story, the storytelling form has become a mainstay in the many faces of marketing, including published online content. In the written form, for your website or in social media, storytelling communicates effectively. Often, there’s a relevant and emotional connection. Information is captured as relevant, useful and with a sense of purpose” (Healthcare Success). The key is to create a story your audience can relate to and that communicates your message to that audience in a strong and effective way. This could be a story about a new service or treatment you offer or a story about how you and your team can help patients attain health and happiness. Use a story that reflects your message and your goals that you have set for yourself when you developed your marketing budget and made your milestones.

Whatever your message is, telling a captivating story is the best way to deliver that message to the masses. It is important to remember that storytelling is a personal event. It must be personal and relatable. Far too often, medical topics become bogged down with what is often known as ‘doctor-speak’. While you will need to use some medical terminology and numbers to stay truthful and factual in your story, it is important to know how to keep it personal and relatable. This is key to your medical marketing plan being successful. There needs to be a human face to your story. The more relatable your story is and the more personal it feels for your audience the more likely they are to follow through with the actions you want from them- whether that is scheduling an appointment with your medical practice or buying a product from you.

Storytelling Excellence Takes Practice

In a fairly short time frame, most doctors end up mastering the art of doctor-patient communications; they have to in order to survive and keep their patients happy and healthy and satisfied with their treatment. With encounters each day that can reach more than 30-50 patients and visitors, most doctors have plenty of material to draw from and an endless supply of inspiration for their stories. “The process of shaping a useful story—and getting it right—evolves with practice repeated over time. Think of storytelling is an important business tool and personal skill. Clearly, it makes clinical encounters more interesting for doctor and patient, and it can have a significant and positive influence on patient satisfaction, patient referrals, and improve compliance and outcomes” (Healthcare Success).   Drawing from experiences to create stories that address the wants and needs of your market audience and that also communicates a clear and concise message about your practice is the key to good healthcare marketing and storytelling. Here are some techniques that can help make the process easier and that can help ensure your marketing budget and marketing efforts are put to good use with your story:

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5 Storytelling Techniques To Hook Your Readers

Start with an image for medical marketing 

Your opening statement in a dialogue is what hooks someone and gets them to listen to you. The same thing needs to happen with your online storytelling. You need to grab their attention and get them hooked so they continue reading and take to heart what you say. A good way to do this is to start with an image an image you paint for them to see in their mind. Depict a person, describe an event, and help them feel like they are experiencing something themselves firsthand. Be real yet concise- no flowery language to distract or big words to try and show off. Just be honest and descriptive and show your reader what you want them to see and help them feel what you want them to feel from your story.

Show the reader the human aspect

Every good memorable story has a human connection. The stories we remember and the ones that impact us the most are the ones we feel connected to or invested in. We can hear about rises in deaths from heroin addiction or pain pill misuse but when we hear about the 17-year-old who is addicted to oxycodone it hits a deeper stronger tone with us. If you want readers to get an interest in your message or if you want them to be convinced to buy your product, then you need to help them find themselves in your story. This is done by emphasizing the human aspect of every story you tell- there is always one in the medical field so embrace it and use it.  This is a big part of the new medical marketing trends and you need to embrace it in order to keep up with your competition!

Use a video to make marketing efforts attractive

The video can be anything really. You can make a personal video, interview patients, talk to people, or use an available video from another source. Use a video that addresses the topic you are going to be talking about. Videos are becoming more and more popular as the rise of social media and the digital age grows stronger and stronger; they are a perfect way to introduce your topic, lend credibility to what you are saying, and keep your reader engaged and interested. You can use longer videos as an outline for your story- take the main points from the video and use them as headers in your story to flush out the details and tell your story to your audience. This is one of the key marketing trends far too few medical practices are embracing and taking advantage of- don’t be one of them!

Be a personal blogger for your medical practice

More and more doctors, clinics, hospitals, and other medical practices are finding that their medical marketing plan can benefit greatly from blogging. Personal blogging is becoming very popular with the trends of online communication and storytelling and they can lend themselves very well to the medical field and are valuable tools for marketing your practice. These types of blogs, told from the personal viewpoint of the individual rather than from the company, appeal to readers because it speaks to emotions and helps readers make that personal human connection that they need. Personal blogs are wonderful for medical marketing because they allow your patients to see past the jargon and the medical terms and the façade of a medical expert and see things from the point of view of a human, someone who is not that much different from themselves.

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Ask questions and then give answers to your patients 

No one likes to be lectured to and one of the fastest ways to turn off readers is for them to feel like they are being preached at or lectured. Instead of talking at your reader, engage them, even though they are not there when you are writing your story. Thin about what they would feel and think as the read your story and ask questions. Ask them to think about something then give them the answer. Another way to connect to your reader is to show that you are thinking about them- say something like ‘now I bet you are wondering…” and then address those questions and concerns they are likely to have. It will help to show that you do care about your readers and are not just being preachy.

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