Show vs. Tell

As a leader of a team that cares a lot about words, I shudder when I read sentences like this:

At Three Platitudes Medical Center, we’re proud to offer world-class healthcare services, state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge treatments.

Of course, none of you would fill your Web pages with clichés as hackneyed and – in the case of “cutting-edge” – painful as these. And I’m okay with an occasional “state-of-the-art” as long as it’s used sparingly and accurately.

But I’m a lot better with content that shows, instead of tells, what it means to be the best.

Brand Proof Points

When we begin a content development engagement, we ask clients for their brand proof points, the specifics behind their best-in-class positioning. Increasingly, we find clients have already defined these as key support points for their healthcare marketing. For those who haven’t, we interview them and their subject matter experts to define what sets them apart from the competition.

Consumers are rightfully skeptical of clichés, but hungry for information that helps them make better healthcare choices. Information that avoids buzzwords, but clearly describes benefits. When we write Web content, that’s what we aim for.

A Few Examples

Don’t tell: We offer exceptional stroke services and are accredited as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.

Show: Our Primary Stroke Center accreditation is more than a certificate on a wall. It means our hospital has been recognized for making exceptional efforts to produce better outcomes for stroke care. All of our hospitals work closely with local responders to deliver brain-saving care as soon as you’re identified as a stroke patient and are being transported by EMS to the hospital.

Don’t tell: We provide the fastest response in the area to victims of heart attack. (“Victims” – ouch – but that’s another article.)

Show: Our “door to balloon times” are better than the national average. What does this mean for you? “Door to balloon” is the time it takes from your arrival in the Emergency Department until your heart attack is stopped with balloon angioplasty. Our patients receive treatment in an average of just 58 minutes, compared to the 90-minute standard established by the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association. That’s 35% faster than most hospitals. Faster times mean better chances of survival.

Don’t tell: We partner with the National Cancer Institute to offer the latest in clinical trials and leading-edge research.

Show: Through our participation in clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, you have access to emerging cancer drugs and therapies not yet available to the general public. (And then list them through a Related Clinical Trials SmartPanel.)

Show Them

What are your brand proof points? If you haven’t identified them, start by defining them for your primary service lines. Ask your service line leaders and key physicians and nurses why a patient should choose your hospital for, say, orthopedic care, rather than your competitor across town.

Once you’ve come up with a clear list, don’t bury it on a page in your About Us section. These brand proof points are about bone, joint and spine services, so they should be integrated into your orthopedics content. If they’re really significant – for example, they’re among your top ten points for all your services – you may want to include them on a Why Choose Us panel on your home page or a page easily accessed from your home page that showcases the overall strengths of your brand.

The bottom line is: you need to approach your content strategically. Make sure your messages resonate with your audience and truly showcase why patients should seek your services. Taking the time to create strategic content can often be difficult. But that’s why we’re here. Contact us if you need some help.

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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Content by Michelle LeCompte. Bookmark the permalink.
Michelle LeCompte

About Michelle LeCompte

Michelle has the ability to step back and see the big picture. And for someone who manages a team full of creative energy, this is an invaluable trait. As the director of our award-winning designers and expert content strategists, Michelle ensures that our work on behalf of clients is strategically focused on optimizing Web interactions to achieve business objectives. Her team helps clients reach key audiences, measure the success of Web initiatives, and stay on top of best practices and industry trends.

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