Whether you’re writing for patients seeking advice about symptoms or targeting medical professionals on behalf of a SaaS healthcare company, creating content that expresses a compelling message is critical.
The healthcare industry is transforming rapidly thanks to emerging technologies. People can find health information for themselves with a simple Google search while reviews of healthcare providers allow them to make more informed and empowered decisions.
But despite these changes, the role of the healthcare copywriter remains the same: create a connection with readers, and convey information in a way that engages and inspires action.
So where do most medical copywriters slip up? What are the common mistakes made in health copywriting?
Whether you want to grow awareness of your health brand, attract more customers, or establish yourself as an authority in your particular healthcare niche, here are 7 pitfalls to watch out for when writing about health.
7 Common Mistakes Made By Healthcare Copywriters
1. They Ignore SEO
Many healthcare brands make the mistake of prioritising speed over quality. Sure, paid search gets you results fast. But it’s expensive. The most cost-effective solution is organic search: those customers who discover you via search engine results. While 27% of website traffic comes from paid search, 53% of website traffic comes from organic search.
And if you want to stand a chance of appearing in these search engine results, you need to pay attention to SEO. This means including all the most important keywords and phrases that your audience is searching for. Focus on those you can feasibly rank for, based on competition. This might mean targeting long-tail keywords instead of the more competitive short ones. You want keywords that are high demand but easy to rank for.
However, be careful to avoid keyword stuffing, which is when copywriters fill their content with keywords to the detriment of legibility and clarity. You should still prioritise good writing over keyword density.
You can also push your website up the rankings by publishing blog articles regularly. The more content you publish, the better. And the longer the articles, the better, too. An analysis by Ahrefs and Backlinko found that for those results that appeared on the first page of Google, the average word count was 1,447. And in addition to boosting your SEO, long-form content will also help establish you as an industry thought leader, raising brand awareness.
2. They Don’t Make it Engaging
These days, people have the power to take their health into their own hands by searching online for answers to their health problems. So make sure you’re giving them the solutions they’re looking for.
Too often medical copywriting is packed full of information but is written without clear sight of the reader.
Failing to write with your reader in mind often results in content that feels out-of-touch and misses the point.
To engage your reader, you need to know who they are. What are the demographics of your audience? Are they middle-aged men looking for help with hair loss? New mums looking for advice on breastfeeding? Maybe they’re medical professionals looking for ways to save money and time in their business?
Keyword research and analysing responses on social media will allow you to see what common queries are being searched. Once you know your reader’s pain points and who they are, you can write in a language that resonates with them and provide answers that directly solve their problems. This ensures relevance and dramatically boosts engagement.
Telling a story is another great way to improve engagement and make your writing more compelling. Get your readers to use their imagination. This pulls them and establishes an immediate connection. You can tell stories in any format, from blog posts to emails. We can relate to stories much more than abstract ideas, which tend to leave us untouched and indifferent. And stories that are tailored to your audience—stories about people just like them—are even more compelling.
Finally, spend time crafting your headline. Use power words, address the reader so that they feel seen, and make a promise about what your content can offer.
3. They Focus on Features Rather Than Benefits
Customers are self-interested. They don’t care about how cutting-edge your software is or the various chemical properties of collagen. They simply want to know how your service or product can benefit them. They want to know how you can make their life better.
So every time you start talking about a feature, turn it into a benefit. Ask yourself: why does this particular aspect of your product or service matter? What value does it add to your customer’s life?
How can you make sure their retirement years are long, healthy, and happy? How can you ensure their teeth look the best they’ve ever looked? How can you help them meet their fitness goals?
Writing about benefits rather than features ensures your health copywriting maintains interest and generates desire—both crucial steps in the all-important AIDA copywriting formula.
4. They Make it Overly Complicated
A lot of medical copywriting fails because it’s too technical or scientific. It’s unlikely that your audience has a PhD in biochemistry. They’re not au fait with terms like bronchoconstriction and pleural cavity. They don’t really care about the minute details of how the respiratory system works. They just want to know why they’re wheezy all of a sudden.
Basically, your customers want to know what your product or service can do for them. So write in a language that is accessible and clear. Explain any abbreviations. Use everyday words rather than official medical terminology. Keep it succinct and simple—all while remaining accurate, of course.
This applies to structure too. Make sure there’s plenty of white space around the text. Break up long paragraphs into easy-to-digest bullet points. Bold words that are important to help readers scan the text. And cut straight to the most important information in the first few paragraphs.
5. They Don’t Make it Personal
Health is an emotional matter. Sometimes a matter of life and death. And so you want to avoid a tone of voice that feels too detached, formal, or indifferent.
Instead, assume a voice that conveys a sense of gentle care and empathetic support. This will help you establish a trusting relationship with readers.
Medical copywriting is not just about educating your audience. It’s about building a bond, creating a sense of empathy, and showing that you’re listening. As we’ve already said, answering their specific questions is the most powerful way to show you understand them.
But in addition to that, addressing the reader directly using “you” and “yours” will help them feel like they’re being seen. You can also use power words and phrases that are naturally reassuring and inspire confidence. For example, words like accredited, genuine, and well-respected.
That said, you don’t want to make your writing too emotional or it might seem like fear-mongering. Similarly, being too empathetic risks seeming patronizing and overly familiar. Aim for a combination of sensitive, professional, and concise. Acknowledge their problem, validate their feelings, and simplify information wherever you can.
6. They Don’t Generate Trust
The best and simplest way to appear trustworthy?
This is also known as social proof—the concept that we’re more likely to do something if our peers are doing it.
Social proof can come from a number of sources, such as industry experts, celebrities, or simply the users of your product or service. Adding quotes and photos further boosts the power of these testimonials and reviews, making them even more reassuring and reliable.
7. They Don’t Get Conversions
Ultimately, your content is there to serve a purpose. You want your reader to take action, whether it’s signing up to a mailing list, contacting your sales team, or buying a product.
And so include a call-to-action that makes it very clear what you’re offering. For the greatest chance at success, this call-to-action should come after you’ve already followed the other steps in the AIDA marketing process: gaining the attention of the reader, generating interest, and increasing desire. If you’ve completed these stages, getting your reader to take action should be easy.
Avoid any friction or unnecessary complications around the call-to-action. For example, use a contact form rather than just your email address so they don’t have to leave the page to go to their inbox. Similarly, make sure the call-to-action is easy to see on the page and that the user experience is totally seamless, both on desktop and mobile.
Healthcare Copywriting: Vital to Your Brand’s Wellbeing
More and more health consumers are doing research and making purchasing decisions online. And so digital marketing is more important than ever—and clever healthcare copywriting plays a pivotal role. The wrong tone of voice or wrong language could risk alienating potential customers.
Are you struggling to communicate your message to your clients? Get in touch today to see how our expert health copywriters can write content that engages, entertains, educates, and, ultimately, converts.