» Connecting the Power of Writing with the Practice of Medicine

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Five Examples of Delightful Hospital Wellness Campaigns

Wellness Words

Wellness marketing is more than just telling patients to eat healthy and get 30 minutes of activity each day.

That’s because you can’t expect someone to achieve “wellness” in a day. If you’re asking someone to commit to being more healthful, you should commit to making sure your health and wellness advertising is in it for the long run, too.

Here are a few organizations that are doing just that:

Show your sporty side

Indiana University Health teamed up with the Indianapolis Colts to create the “Healthy Horseshoe Team.” Throughout the football season, participants were given weekly fitness, nutrition and health challenges. In addition, physicians wrote articles to share health and wellness tips.

Join the club

What we liked about Nebraska Medical Center’s health and wellness club is that it offers members the opportunity to do exercise activities (such as Tai Chi) and be social (bowling and book clubs). This free club is open to people older than 50. There are opportunities for members to go to medical seminars, health fairs and get blood pressure check-ups. In addition, Nebraska Medical Center publishes a quarterly health-related magazine, along with several blog topics dedicated to wellness.

Weekly health videos

“Project Health” at Penn State Hershey Medical Center is filled with weekly informational videos to keep families safe and healthy. Here’s a sampling of topics: tips for international travel, advice for controlling sodium intake and how to protect your children from HPV. See more here.

Offering a money-saving wellness program

What we loved most about Aurora Health Care’s “Total Health” program for businesses is that its homepage immediately addressed this question to potential business owners: “What’s the ROI?” Aurora Health Care proved the financial value of the program to business leaders within the first sentence. See the answer here.

A healthy lunch for kids

Each month, WellSpan Health teams up with local schools to introduce kids to a new fruit or vegetable. Not only do the kids get to taste-test the new food item on the lunch menu, but WellSpan also provides teachers activity sheets, posters, videos and fact sheets about the featured treat. Yum!

Posted by Jessica Levco

Three Steps to Healthcare Infographic Success


Before I came to WriterGirl, I was the editor of Ragan’s healthcare website. Each day, hospital marketers sent me infographics to run on our site. Some worked, but a lot didn’t.

That’s because a lot of them didn’t follow these three simple rules when planning their infographics. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  1. Before you come up with a list of numbers and stats, think first about the story you want to tell. Does it have a theme? Can someone look at the infographic quickly and tell you in a few words what the infographic is about? Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it, too.
  1. Think about an image that would match your story/theme. If it’s not eye-catching, you’re not going to pull people in to “read” the numbers that you’re sharing. It’s not an infographic if it’s a circle with a number on it.
  1. Copy somebody else! If you have examples of infographics you like, that will help the writer and graphic designer get an idea of what you’re looking for. Here are a few infographics that might spark some ideas. (We got the one you see above from Social Media Examiner.)
Posted by Jessica Levco

Five Ways to Find More Freelance Work This Winter


When you worked a 9-5 healthcare marketing job, you were always given work.

But if you’ve branched out on your own, you’ve got to start asking for it.

And sometimes, that can be tough. If your workload feels as dry as your skin on a sub-zero winter day, here are a few things you can do to warm it up this winter:

  1. Make sure you have an awesome LinkedIn profile. It might be time for you to spruce up your page. A few things to keep in mind: make sure your headshot is professional, ask for recommendations, use keywords in your profile and join some writing and healthcare marketing related groups. Pro tip: Don’t forget to follow us!
  2. Attend hospital marketing and content conferences. When everybody is listening to a session, don’t be afraid to explore the conference trade show and talk to vendors. You’ll have the whole room to yourself to make connections. You never know where a conversation could lead.
  3. Go back to school. Have you joined your university’s alumni association? What makes going to an alumni event so fun is that every event is disguised as networking — wine tastings, beer pairings and watching basketball games — you won’t feel the pressure to “network” because you’ll be having fun. Plus, “What’d you major in?” is a totally appropriate way to start a conversation with this crowd.
  4. Tell it to the universe. Our CEO, Christy Pretzinger, is a big proponent in daily meditation (and so are a lot of other Fortune 500 CEOs). By meditating, you’ll help put your energy on your goals. Check out Headspace if you’re looking to get started.
  5. Take the day off. Don’t just sit at your computer all day and wait for the work to come in. Here’s a game to play: Take the day off. Leave your house. Do whatever you want (movies, yoga, bike riding, shopping), but the trick is this: You have to tell at least one stranger that you meet that you’re a freelance writer. See what happens.


Posted by Jessica Levco

Case study: How IU Health makes ‘ordinary’ patient stories exceptional


african senior patient with female nurse

When it comes to success stories, heart-wrenching circumstances, advanced technology and life-saving drama certainly make for a compelling read. What healthcare marketer wouldn’t jump at the chance to share their organization’s own version of an episode of “House”?

And rightly so — those stories are juicy. But when it comes to building trust and reputation over the long run, Indiana University Health has found the sweet spot for telling the stories of everyday people dealing with common health conditions.

Make no mistake; IU Health — Indiana’s largest hospital system with numerous nationally recognized programs — doesn’t pass up the opportunity to share dramatic stories, too. Visit their website and you’ll find a smattering of stories from patients who faced complex medical issues and chose IU Health for access to innovative treatments and advanced procedures.

But you’ll also find a heavy dose of regular people dealing with health conditions — cancer, heart attack, joint replacement and pregnancy — that hit close to home to a wide audience.

People dealing with health conditions — even common ones — have questions about treatment and care. IU Health understands the power of letting their satisfied patients do the talking. And when it’s information people are looking for, that “ordinary” story becomes a compelling one.

WriterGirl is offering a new Patient Story Package. We’ll work together with your service line leaders to tell the best patient stories. Contact us to learn more. 

Posted by Janice Crago

What Every Hospital Marketer Can Learn From Mashable


Forbes, Mashable and Microsoft are among the top ten companies with the most influential content on LinkedIn.

No healthcare global brands make the list. What can we learn from the leaders in content marketing about creating content that influences?

First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “…a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Content marketing isn’t just about your webpages. It’s about infographics, podcasts and videos.

Here’s what healthcare marketers can learn from these three powerhouses of content marketing:

Hire writers with journalism skills

Microsoft understands that no matter how good a storyteller someone may be, he or she also needs to have journalism skills to be a good content marketer. Building a story around the who, what, when, where why and how is crucial to making content interesting, influential and relevant.

The concept behind Microsoft’s “Stories” illustrates this point. Each story provides information about current projects, without bragging. The writing in stories such as “The Garage: Microsoft’s 24-Hour Idea Factory” or “88 Acres: How Microsoft Quietly Built the City of the Future” is top-notch, like something you might read in Harpers or The New York Times.

Bring the wow

Provide content your target audience is passionate about. On Mashable, for example, a number of auto advertisers are featured, but Mashable keeps the content varied and interesting by tweaking the message for each line’s audience. Mitsubishi targets “connected” families with their series, The Connected Life, which features articles on sustainability, energy-saving home solutions and technology for healthy lifestyles. Volvo buyers are into sleek design, so Mashable created a Leaders in Design series for the automaker. The point is not to make Volvo the focus of each article. The focus is on great design. Mentioning Volvo alongside other products aligns Volvo and superior design in a reader’s mind.

Aim for long-term, continuous engagement

Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing does not generate new leads immediately. In content marketing, building reputation is key.

Forbes, for example, positions itself as an expert in all things business. Their tagline is “Information for the World’s Business Leaders.” Forbes hires experts in their field to write articles and blogs. Each article is chock full of examples, and covers topics that are highly relevant to everyone in the office, from front-line employees to the CEO. Their site is the perfect place to find how-to articles for just about anything related to doing business. For example, while researching this article, I came across many Forbes articles on content marketing – everything from “The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends Dominating 2014” to “Your Guide to Using Images in Your Content Marketing Strategy.”

Posted by Sarah Hawkins

4 Ways University Hospitals of Cleveland competes digitally

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 3.28.59 PM

Imagine if you were competing against 22 hospitals in a 25-mile radius.

How would you cut through the noise and clutter? How would you become a hospital of choice for the community? How are you going to reach a tech savvy audience?

For starters, you’ve got to build brand recognition. You’ve got to figure out what makes you different. You’ve got to give patients what they want.

And most important: you’ve got to think digital.

University Hospitals of Cleveland is doing just that.

This hospital isn’t relying on traditional avenues like billboards, advertising or TV spots to reach their audience. Instead, they are talking to patients on social media. And that’s because a whopping 41% of people say social media would affect their choice of a hospital or medical facility.

Here’s how UH is attracting patients digitally:

  • A crisp and clean website, chock full of helpful information that’s easy to navigate – always a plus for consumers seeking information quickly and easily.
  • Its Facebook page has more than 18,000 fans. It offers a mix of hospital information, general health tips and timely stories.
  • A wealth of videos with health information on its YouTube channel, including a fun lip synch video on their home page with the staff at their children’s hospital, Rainbow Babies.
  • My UH Care is a platform that gives patients access to their health records in one convenient place. Patients can log-in by using their computer, smartphone or tablet. UH gave patients what they want: a tool to make healthcare simple and convenient.
Posted by Nancy Jean

5 lessons every marketer can learn from Frozen


When it’s snowing outside, do you find yourself asking — to no one in particular, “Do you want to build a snowman?”

Are you over the age of 20 and Santa brought you a plush Olaf for Christmas?

Do you ever fantasize about Kristoff taking you out on a sleigh ride?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be suffering from Frozen fever. But fear not — so are the millions of other people who saw it, too. Frozen isn’t just for kids. In fact, there are a few lessons in the movie that can help you do your job better as a marketer.

Finding the right agency for you

When Princess Anna meets Prince Hans, she declares her love for him immediately. Later, she finds out that he’s not as good as he seems — he’s only interested in becoming King of Arendelle. Let’s say you’re going to get some agency help this year for a few of your projects. Before you break out into a song and dance number, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into by interviewing multiple agencies, requesting referrals and seeing if you can do a month-long trial period.

Your sisterhood can save you

What made this movie so great was that neither girl needed a Prince Charming to swoop in and save the day (sorry, fellas). Now, granted, you might not be working with your biological sisters at your job (and for most of us, that’s probably a good thing), but women dominate the marketing and communications field. But how often do we help each other out and support each other? For example, why does a woman get judged if she leaves early to take care of her sick kid, but if a man does it — it’s almost applauded? There are lots of ways you can be a good “sister” at work. Think about becoming a mentor to younger women, attend women leadership events or if you know someone needs a pat on the back, why not just give her a hug?

Surprise, surprise!

In the duet, “Love is an Open Door,” this back-and-forth stuck with me:

Hans: “We finish each other’s … ”

Anna: “Sandwiches!”

When’s the last time you’ve surprised your customers by giving them something unexpected? Is your Facebook page surprising and delightful? Or are you just posting the same old stuff every day? Don’t assume you know what your customers want and need. Do some consulting, researching and most important — ask them.

Be a character

Everybody in this movie was so well defined. Think about how you project yourself at work — do your co-workers know what kind of work they can expect to see from you? Are you a sunny optimist like the snowman, Olaf? Are you loyal and hardworking like Kristoff? Always up for a new project adventure like Anna? Whatever you are, don’t hold back. In fact, sometimes, you might just have to …

Let it go

Oh, c’mon. You knew that was coming.

Being flexible is just part of your job description as a marketer. You have to be able to adapt to breaking news, last-minute changes and new technology. When it comes to marketing, perfectionism is the enemy of getting things done. You have to decide what’s good enough and then … let it go.

Posted by Jessica Levco

Five Ways to Treat Your Brain Before You Start Working

Tuscany Sunrise

The best part about working from home is that when I roll out of bed, I can start working immediately. Forget the commute to work. I’m ready to go.

Sometimes, I can’t even believe how efficient I am when I’m sitting at my desk, answering my morning emails: I’m still in pajamas! I haven’t even washed my face! I’m barely awake!

But in 2015, I want to try something a little different. Instead of going from bed to desk in less than eight seconds, I want to carve out 20 minutes each morning for my brain — give my brain some breathing room and some space to start plotting and planning ahead for the day.

Here’s what I’ve tried. What other morning routines would you recommend?

Exercise outside. There’s nothing that gets your creative juices flowing like sub-zero degree on a morning walk or run. Sure, you could wait until later in the afternoon, but if you’re in the middle of a project, it’s harder to pull yourself away from your computer screen. Tip: If you have an errand or place you’re going to, that’s a good motivator.

Fix a fancy breakfast. Skip scarfing down cold cereal by the keyboard. It’s more fun to make yourself something more dramatic — like pancakes, quiche or a frittata. Bonus: Invite a friend to join you.

Find the best hot chocolate or tea in your neighborhood. Drinking something warm is a great way to perk yourself up on a winter morning, but even better if you’re on a mission.

Meditate. The app that’s helped me do this the most is Headspace. It’s a great, easy way to get your brain to relax and concentrate.

Do a chore. Don’t save all the “ugh” stuff ‘til the weekend. Get some of that out of the way in the morning — clean a closet, start some laundry or vacuum. Plus, it’s nice to write in a clean room. Your brain will thank you for getting rid of the clutter.

Posted by Jessica Levco

Scoring a Touchdown with Health Goals this Football Season


In order to win the Super Bowl, football players must be motivated, committed and consistent with their fitness regimen and nutrition. These are the same qualities fans need to take to achieve better health and maintain long-term success.

This football season, the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana University Health teamed up to create the Healthy Horseshoe Team and motivate fans to eat healthier and get active.

To participate in the wellness program, fans were asked to register online on the Colts website. Beginning the first Monday of the NFL season, participants were sent videos and articles with advice from clinical experts on simple tips they could do to improve their health, fitness and nutrition habits.

After reading the articles and watching videos, participants were challenged to put the tips into practice by completing simple tasks that could be incorporated into their lifestyle.

Example “extra point” challenges included:

  • Playing a game of flag or touch football with your family before watching the next Colts game.
  • Creating a tailgate menu that includes your typical favorites, like burgers and dips, and at least one healthier alternative, such as vegetable salad or hummus and crackers.
  • Packing your lunch for work and keeping track of the amount of time and money you save by implementing this simple change.
  • Including daily workouts (during the holiday season, too!), even if it means splitting it into smaller, 10-minute increments throughout the day.

As participants completed each challenge, they could check it off the list, knowing they are one step closer to maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout football season and beyond. The 20-week challenge will conclude during the first week of January 2015, but the benefits of the knowledge learned during the campaign will last a lifetime.

Posted by Laura DiGiulio

Your New Healthcare Marketing Strategy for 2015


Looking for a good book to snuggle up to this winter?

We recommend “Embracing The New Paradigm: A strategic guide to digital and content marketing for hospitals and health systems” by Chris Bevolo.

Just get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and get ready to learn all kinds of new ideas about digital and content marketing.

Chris Bevolo, the executive vice president of consumer marketing for Revive Health, wrote this book as a follow-up to his first book, “Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital.” Bevolo said there was a lot of energy about the ideas in the first book and this book is a continuation of how to make those ideas happen.

This time, Joe Public is back to tell you how to embrace the “new paradigm.” Here’s how to get started:

  • Re-write your content. Stop talking about yourself — your five-star ratings, your quality awards, how great you are. Give people relevant content (like a consumer-friendly health care news site) and give them ways to take action (signing up for a seminar, for example).
  • Stop relying on mass advertising (billboards, radio, print) to share your message. Focus on spreading your message on digital channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube).

Sounds good, but how can you talk your C-suite into this?

Bevolo says you’ve got to take a long-term perspective when it comes to marketing. You’ve got to educate and talk to as many people as you can about your strategy and goals. He says it can take several times before people start to hear you and absorb the new plan.

“It’s really hard to convince people when it’s reactionary,” Bevolo says. “For example, if a physician comes to you and says, ‘I need a billboard,’ if that’s the moment you decide to change your strategy — you’ve already lost the battle. That’s because you’re reacting to what people are saying.”

To see a sample chapter of the book, click here.

Posted by Jessica Levco