Copywriting Skills for Doctors that Blog

Write to one existing patient persona. Instead of sitting around dreaming up stuff you guess people might react favorably to, tell an educated story based on one or more archetypal individuals who represent the whole.

— Maria K Todd

In this blog post, I am going to focus on five key takeaways you’ll want to read to better understand how to create content your patients want to read and share. I am going to cover

  1. What makes an impact on the effectiveness of any blog post you write
  2. How to find the winning premise
  3. What to focus on when you choose topics
  4. How to connect what you write to a call to action to take you up on an offer, and
  5. What kinds of things to write about

Many of my existing clients and Coffee Break with Maria Todd Newsletter readers want to get started with blogging.

  • They know it will differentiate them in a way that their competitors cannot imitate.
  • They know it will give them a competitive edge when people shop for a doctor.
  • They know it will build authority in their specialty in their community and beyond.
  • They know they can manage to write 300-450 words each week.
  • They know it will build stronger relationships with patients in a way they don’t have time to build during office visits.
  • They know it will add dimension and traffic to their practice website.
  • They know it will build their personal brand.

What makes an impact?

It’s amazing how tweaking little things can boost conversion. Headlines, button colors, word choice — all of these can be tested to see what works better.

But that comes later. It’s how you begin that makes the most impact on the effectiveness of any piece of copy or promotional piece, whether text, audio, or video.

Most doctors have no clue what exactly they are trying to achieve with copywriting for their blog. The big picture is completely lost to them.

In a nutshell, the most important aspect of copy that works is how well your message matches up with the way your prospective reader, customer, patient, views things. You’ve got to understand their motivations and desires. You’ve got to match their basic expectations and then exceed them.

Finding a winning premise

In formal logic, the premise is a proposition supporting a certain conclusion or call to action. Applied to copy writing, it is the emotional concept that not only attracts attention, but keeps readers engaged.

In other words, the premise is the concept that weaves itself from headline to call to action, tying everything together into a compelling, cohesive, and persuasive narrative with one simple and inevitable conclusion — your desired action.

Is your call to action “Make an Appointment” or “Let me help you meet your goal”?

The premise connects you to the emotional center of your readers’ brains. It stimulates desire, maintains credibility, and results taking action.

This happens when you understand how to frame your message and overall offer to mesh so tightly with your prospect’s worldview that the “I want” trigger is pulled subconsciously.

If you were going to write a 300-450 word note to a patient or a prospective patient, or a patient you once had close ties but now you feel as if that relationship has fallen through the cracks, what would you write to that one person in a personal note to them if they stated that their goal was:

  • I want to end pain
  • I want to be healthy
  • I want to look youthful again
  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to play tennis again
  • I want to stop smoking
  • I want to manage my depression
  • I want to reduce my neuropathy symptoms
  • I want to manage my diet and control my diabetes
  • I want to help to manage my elderly relative’s oral health maintenance
  • I want to …..[fill in the blanks with what you hear on subjective comments every day]

Focusing on the prospect, not the product

This is something I tell my clients almost once a day – on the phone, in an email. This is especially true of the clients who are concierge physicians, plastic surgeons, and others that must market their business because managed care plans aren’t going to be doing it for them.  They charge full price for their services and they don’t participate in managed care plans or participate in very few of them. If they don’t sell memberships or procedures and services, however, they don’t survive. The pressure is on. So they are motivated by perplexed. How do they connect what they write to the market so that their efforts in writing actually produce sell more product (more patient visits, surgeries, consultations, etc.)?

The answer is give your reader a way to get what they want. Don’t hold back. Tell the story. Give them the story that they want to embrace. Don’t tease them with just enough that they have to make an appointment to get the rest. That flat out, doesn’t work.

It’s like trying to sell asparagus to kids because it’s good for them. If you’re competing against the jingle of the ice cream truck down the street, you’re probably not going to get the results you want.

Make an offer people can’t refuse

Getting people to buy your product requires you to do three fundamental things:

  • Make an offer
  • Provide information to help people accept your offer
  • Make it easy to respond to your offer

The offer is why your website exists. The action you’re trying to prompt is the acceptance of your offer, whether it be a purchase, the exchange of an email address for information, or an invitation to call.

The offer is not about price.  Think of your offer as risk reversal (to the extent you can in medicine) for the buyer, increasing urgency (“don’t wait; do it now!), providing attractive terms (we can work out the price so you can afford it), adding incentives (with this, you’ll also get that), and many other things that make a deal a win-win for both buyer and seller.  When you are not billing insurance or a third-party payer for an incentive, you are at liberty to incentivize anything you’d like.

What kinds of things to write about

If you know your patients, then you know the kind of people they admire, and what they aspire to, despise, fear, and cherish.

Write to one existing patient persona. Instead of sitting around dreaming up stuff you guess people might react favorably to, tell an educated story based on one or more archetypal individuals who represent the whole.

Consider this:

There are four patient personas:

  • Prospective patients – Will I buy healthcare from you?
  • Current patients – Involved with the provider—Will they continue to buy from you?
  • Discharged patients – Will I buy healthcare again from you?
  • Former patients – Will I buy healthcare again from you?

You are most likely to connect with the personas who are current patients.  Don’t write to prospects expecting to sell someone yet to meet you for the first time on a visit, a consult, or a surgery. Write to your existing patients. Reward the ones who already trusted you enough to meet you and bought service from you. The best you can hope for on discharged and former patients is to remain top of mind with them in hopes that they recommend you to friends and colleagues by word of mouth and outcomes.

To determine what you should write about, spend time researching what’s important to your existing patients.  If you are writing to a patient that has already come to you because they have been diagnosed with diabetes, don’t write an essay on “what is diabetes”. Instead write about new approaches, new discoveries, techniques that can help them control it better, new recipe conversions they can enjoy.  Write about how you approach the treatment of diabetes.

If your competitors aren’t blogging, you don’t need to compare to the others, because nobody knows what they are doing. This is your moment to shine. Focus the content on what you do and how you can help them meet their goal. The rest of the world is outside the conversation. Don’t bring it inside unless it furthers your goal.