Healthcare copywriting can be very difficult to master – there is a lot of medical jargon to contend with, plus plenty of alarmist articles in the press that can leave people misinformed. Writers can struggle to find ways to engage people with healthcare topics, as many people only think about healthcare if something is wrong. And, of course, the topic is often a sensitive subject, meaning the tone must strike a balance between being informative yet tactful.
Despite the difficulties, there are several providers who are writing about health in an informative yet engaging way which meets their readers’ needs without patronising them. Here are our top five examples of best-practice healthcare copywriting, and why the tactics work.
1. Clever copy from NHS blood
This campaign from NHS blood used clever copywriting to engage people with the topic of giving blood. Only 4% of the population currently give blood, so NHS Blood needed to create an impactful campaign to gain traction and attention.
As stocks of blood types A, O and B are particularly low, during the campaign these letters were missing from text on their website, plus from the brand names of partner organisations.
This technique was extremely effective for NHS blood, with 30,000 new donors registering to give blood during National Blood Week, a threefold increase on the previous year. Though it seems simple, the tactic was direct and visually effective, striking a chord with readers in the first seconds of viewing the page, and engaging them by making them want to know why this was done.
2. A personal approach from Bupa Health
Despite being a large corporate company with many customers, Bupa is careful to put the focus on the individual throughout their web copy, as this example from their homepage shows. Rather than using standard headings for their content, they have prefixed the links with the first person “I”, using “I want to get health insurance”, rather than simply “health insurance”.
This, as well as their frequent use of personal pronouns throughout the rest of their web copywriting, helps to foster a more personal relationship with website visitors. This engages users by subtly making them feel personally noticed and catered for.
3. Successful content marketing from NHS Choices
Health is a hot topic, with misleading articles frequently appearing on the internet and in the mainstream press. As more people search for health-related content, NHS Choices have invested in creating high quality, informed articles on the stories people are searching for.
Their behind the headlines section contains excellently researched long-form pieces that debunk health myths.
This strategy is clearly paying off for NHS Choices, whose articles frequently appear higher up than the original press articles in search engines. By combining long-form content with organically occurring keyword search terms, they are attracting the notice that their quality research deserves:
4. Lloyd’s Pharmacy show how to build trust
Lloyd’s Pharmacy builds trust around sensitive subjects – such as hair loss – by attributing content to doctors, who are named and pictured.
Again, a deceptively simple technique – the endorsement is made clear to come from a qualified professional, which lends it weight, and on top of that, by giving that professional a name (and even more importantly, a face – images engage readers more easily than text), Lloyds Pharmacy create a persona which readers are reassured by and can feel they engage with.
5. Breast Cancer Care turn complex medical information into plain English
Information about cancer is often full of medical jargon and confusing terminology. Breast Cancer Care have done an excellent job of turning complex medical information into plain English in their ‘Information and support’ section. All the content follows web copywriting best practice, making it more likely to be found by search engines and easier to read on screen.
Healthcare copywriting advice
Though healthcare copywriting will always have to cover some authoritative scientific content and sensitive topics, these examples show it is possible to combine strong visual and textual cues with copywriting best practice. By focusing on how to help the reader understand your message, without being patronising, you can create impactful, successful healthcare content that will really engage readers.