By Elaine Zeinner

5 Tips to Create a Strong Voice that Connects with Patients

When it comes to connecting with patients, the community and other key audiences, it’s not just what you say that’s important. It’s how you say it. A strong, defined and robust brand voice can help you better connect with patients and set you apart from your competitors.

Voice is often described as the character that comes out in your writing. Word choice, sentence length, and even the type of content you create and share can help patients anticipate what it would be like to interact with providers, nurses and other staff members in your organization.

It’s an important piece of any effective content marketing strategy, and it’s one that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.

Here are five ways to create a stronger voice for your brand.

1. Start with culture

An effective voice should be true to your organization’s culture, beliefs and mission. If your organization is dedicated to researching and discovering the next breakthrough that will help patients, then let that confidence and drive come alive in all written materials.

Similarly, if it’s important to your organization that you support and guide patients and their families through their healthcare journey, then marketing materials should convey that same reassurance, warmth and comfort patients would experience in person.

Spend time assessing who your organization is, and what it stands for. It’s the first step in creating an authentic brand voice.

2. Push past standard “is and is not”

Many communicators use “is and is not” as a way to define voice. When done correctly, it can be an effective way to bring your organization’s personality to life. Push beyond obvious answers and opposites to create guardrails for communication – making sure written materials don’t veer too far off one side or another.

Your tone of voice will be unique to your organization based on your culture, goals and brand. A health system that wants to seem accessible and helpful may have a tone of voice like the following:

Is                                             Is Not

Friendly                                  Enthusiastic

Helpful                                   Informational

Encouraging                         Promotional

3. Develop best practices to support voice

Define best practices to develop a consistent voice. These additional “rules” for writers can help when creating content. Be specific to your organization’s brand and culture. Recommendations might include:

  • Focus first on the patient
  • Present information in simple, easy-to-understand language that does rely on medical terminology
  • Describe the organization’s benefits based on how they impact the patient (ie – Get answers about your condition faster with our state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.)
  • Build patient confidence with reassuring, empowering language

4. Train writers

Spend time training those who write for your organization on your voice. Reviewing recommendations and standards ensures everyone is on the same page, and limits editing time.

Training can be as simple as sharing branding and style guidelines or scheduling a brief conference call. If your brand’s voice is complicated or nuanced, consider doing a training session with key employees, and empower them to be ambassadors for your brand.

 5. Assess and adjust as needed

Once voice is completed and employees and writers are trained, spend time assessing how it is coming through to patients. Ask yourself:

  • Are patients getting an accurate sense of who your organization is, and what they can expect when they arrive for care?
  • Is a best practice falling short?
  • How does tone of voice need to be adjusted for social, blog or website copy?

Voice is an important part of your organization’s marketing and brand strategy. It can help showcase the points of difference, benefits and personality that is unique to your organization.