storytelling in healthcare


Owner & Founder of Afternoon Writings

Healthily ever after: why storytelling in healthcare matters

What if I told you that good storytelling in healthcare could save lives.
Maybe you agree with me, or maybe you’re sceptical. After all, healthcare is a mashup of science and business. So how could something as personal and emotional as storytelling be such an important aspect of healthcare content writing?
Because our experience of healthcare is personal and emotional. The fear of a diagnosis, the hope of effective treatment, the feelings of grief when we lose a loved one to a terrible disease, or the triumph of overcoming an illness. All real, human feelings.
So if you want to quickly and effectively bring a situation to life, try sharing a story about a real person. It’ll motivate your audience in ways that statistics never will. Here’s an example.
Heart disease is a condition which is potentially reversible. However, left unchecked, it can lead to severe angina (chest pains) or even death. Let’s say you want to warn your audience about the dangers of heart disease and strongly urge them to assess their risk.
You could give them a dry data dump full of facts and statistics. However, that’ll most likely result in a quick browse and then tossing it. Because this stuff only happens to other people, right?
Or, you could tell them a story. A story about a person just like them, with problems just like they do.
This person could be a survivor of a heart attack, like Melissa Murphy from the blog “You’re giving me a heart attack”. She was a healthy mum without risk factors, yet she had a heart attack. By sharing her own experiences and feelings on her blog, Melissa raises awareness for her condition: “My goal is to educate everyone and let them know that it can happen to anyone.”
Now, these are the kind of stories that capture an audience’s attention. Melissa’s story is relatable, which helps form an emotional connection that’s more powerful than any fact or statistic ever could. Once you win the hearts of your audience, they’re a lot more likely to follow through with your call-to-action. Action that could literally save their lives.
Storytelling is a powerful, yet underutilized means in healthcare content. But there is an increasing interest in its power, and momentum continues to grow as more and more studies show evidence of the effectiveness of storytelling in healthcare.
Wondering what it is that makes storytelling such a powerful tool for healthcare content? Here are some of the advantages that storytelling brings.

Connect with the hearts of your audience

People care most about things that affect them personally. So if you want your audience to care about your healthcare business, make sure you write about something that’s relevant and meaningful to them.
I’m talking about stories of real human struggles, failures, and wins. The kind of emotions and experiences that just can’t be effectively expressed in facts and statistics. There’s plenty of it going around in the human-world of healthcare.
Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not that facts and statistics don’t matter. They just don’t get anywhere near the weight that storytelling does when it comes to engaging an audience.
Think of the last time you were in a meeting, listening to a presentation that was loaded up with facts and statistics. Do you remember the key message? Did any of the data evoked any kind of emotion in you? Or, more importantly, did it spur you to any kind of action? Most likely, it didn’t.
A dry data dump can easily turn off your audience, weaken your message, and fail to spur anyone to action. But if those numbers were wrapped up in a story, you would be a lot more likely remember it. And share it too.
Why? Because stories are memorable. A good story mashes up the knowledge with the warmth of human feelings. It draws attention and creates a sense of shared feelings between the story’s character and the audience.
When we relate to the character in a story, an emotional connection is made, trust forms, and a relationship begins. Once that connection is made, we are a lot more likely to take action.

Raise awareness and inspire action

While storytelling, in and by itself, can’t solve complex problems, the telling and reading of stories can play a critical role in increasing awareness and inspiring action in healthcare.
For the storytellers, sharing their story can be an important part of the healing process. It can lead to an increased sense of well-being, greater confidence and stronger feelings of community.
In addition, storytelling has the power to deepen the reader’s understanding of the issue raised. Reading a message in story form helps us grab the gist of it quickly.
Stories elicit emotions and connect us through relatable experiences. They give us the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes for while and learn from their experience. This will help shape, strengthen, and challenge our knowledge and opinions.
Storytelling also has the power to approach more challenging topics, such as testicular cancer. Healthcare messages around testicular cancer are usually difficult to share, because of the body parts involved. So instead of focussing on the body part, let’s tell the story about a survivor of testicular cancer who lives a happy and fulfilling life. That’ll get the message across.

Become their problem-solver

When you create meaningful and relevant content for your audience, you demonstrate that you care about their problems and concerns. In addition, storytelling helps to illustrate how your business will meet their needs. It’s a great way to build trust and loyalty.
Turn your message into a compelling story that takes your audience on a journey where they will explore the problem. Then shift the focus from the problem to the solution by clearly positioning your business as a valuable ally in the ongoing battle against diseases, health misinformation, or other healthcare-related problems.
Next time your audience has a problem, they will think about you as their potential problem-solver.

And they lived healthily ever after

At the heart of every healthcare business is a good story that informs, inspires, engages, and saves lives. Want your audience to live healthily ever after? It’s time to humanize your healthcare business and up your storytelling game.
Wondering how you can use storytelling in a way that is going to help you meet your business goals? I can help you find the stories in your business and create heartfelt content that connects with your audience and catalyzes change.
Are you ready to tell your story?

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