By Amy VanStee, editorial director at StayWell
With the sheer volume of information bombarding us daily through social media, email, and texts, it’s easy for your message to get lost in the noise. That makes print an attention-getting way to reach consumers—and a smart addition to your health care marketing mix.
Companies like Airbnb, Subaru, Ameritrade, Four Seasons, and even Facebook still publish print magazines. And at StayWell, our client readership surveys demonstrate print’s effectiveness. After receiving a print publication, more than 95% of readers consider the organization to be a source of high-quality health care, and 33% say they or a family member used the organization’s services.¹
How do you create print publications that drive results? Here are six tips from our award-winning experts.
- Don’t make it about you
Have you ever been on a date with someone who only talks about themselves? You get bored pretty quickly. Think of your content in the same vein. It’s not just about your brand or services; it needs to be about your readers. What do they care about? What’s in it for them? How can you help meet their needs?
The key is to find the appropriate balance: Provide content that helps people live healthier lives along with promotional content that leads to your services. The right mix will win your audience’s time—and ultimately their trust.
- Make content relatable with compelling stories
When it comes to health content, people are more likely to connect with a story that makes them feel good. Narratives generally work because they’re easy to understand and have the power to persuade. They also help with information recall. Studies indicate narratives can be more effective than statistical evidence on patient outcomes.
Health information can be difficult to understand. Preparing for surgery or learning about a disease is easier if you can relate to someone who’s had a similar experience. Try including patient and caregiver stories so readers can better empathize with your content.
- Offer a variety of formats to keep readers’ attention
People typically love games, so why not share your content with them in a fun format? Quizzes and crosswords cannot only promote key ideas but enhance the “keepability” and “shareability” of your publication.
Infographics break up large chunks of information in a digestible way that catches the eye, stays top of mind, and encourages sharing. They can also make complex topics easier to understand. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners. Use this format to draw in readers and make the experience more interactive.
- Be strategic with design
From a compelling front cover to smart organization of information on the page, the way your publication looks is crucial in getting consumers to keep reading.
People often flip through pages in search of useful information, stopping to read only if something sparks their interest. Make it easy to scan content by breaking up text with subheads and bulleted lists. Lists have always been an effective way to get readers’ attention. One study of more than 200,000 articles found that 22% included lists, the highest percentage of any content type.
Additional design concepts to consider include:
- Photos with strong depth-of-field and close crops for an intimate appearance
- Strong typographical treatments to introduce feature articles
- Fun, contemporary illustration styles to add depth to the brand
- Calendars to accommodate large amounts of content without appearing cluttered
- Eye-catching calls-to-action to encourage readers to take the next step
- Mind your tone
Authenticity matters. Speak the way your audience speaks to connect with them and appeal to their emotions, which can be especially important for something as personal as health care. This includes defining terms they may not be familiar with, addressing them with a conversational (not condescending) tone, and being consistent, which will help them follow and understand material.
- Compel readers to action
You want your audience to do something with the information you’re providing. Is it calling for an appointment? Following you on social media? Signing up for an event? Make it simple for them by creating an engaging call-to-action with every major piece of content in your publication.
Encourage readers to act and offer specifics about what they’ll get. Better yet, make the action trackable—you’ll then get another piece of data toward proving your ROI.
StayWell is passionate about partnering with health care providers, payers, associations, and employers to create engaging, actionable content that makes a difference in people’s lives. Learn more about our content services and how we’ve helped clients create award-winning publications that get results.
¹StayWell ICM readership [internal survey]. Yardley, PA: StayWell; 2011-2016.