A Story to Be Told

At the heart of every medical advance is a story waiting to be told.

In the complicated world of health care — where innovations can be highly technical, markets are diverse and difficult, and audiences are varied — it can be challenging to simplify the complex into something tangible, easy to digest and compelling.

From breaking down the science for a less-technical audience to making sure the value proposition is front and center, we’ve found the following steps indispensable for translating content into stories that everyone can understand — whether through a press release, social media campaign, sales presentation, or reporter pitch:

  • Ask questions.If you don’t understand it, chances are others don’t either. Channel the appropriate audiences and ask away. And don’t worry about coming across as uninformed — questions often help uncover the heart of the story.
  • Eliminate jargon. While comforting as a familiar language amongst peers, jargon instantly pulls readers out of the story. We recommend making jargon the first words you edit.
  • Dispense with acronyms. Unless they’re widely used, acronyms can be confusing and distracting. Avoid them as much as you can.
  • Create relevant analogiesPlenty of studies validate that the human brain loves comparators. Finding strong analogies helps audiences connect with the story, especially if the content is an innovation with disruptive potential that might be easily dismissed or just too outside the box for the intended audience.
  • Talk about benefits. In many cases, what people care about most is not your company, but what you’re doing to make the world better. How your technology benefits patients and clinicians in real, tangible ways should be incredibly clear.
  • Do the “relative” test. Even if your audience is a group of highly trained surgeons, see if your nearest relative — your mom, an aunt — can understand the news or the presentation at the most basic level. If you haven’t simplified to this level, chances are you are missing the core of the story. Start simple and layer from there and you’ll grab the attention needed to break through.
  • Pretend you’re the patient. What would you want to know? How long does this procedure take? What will my experience be like? What’s the recovery? What’s the proof that shows that it’s safe and effective? Answer the questions you’d want to ask if the tables were turned.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. We can’t say it enough: Show, don’t tell. We love images, animations, and infographics that show what technologies look like, and explain how they work.
  • Humanize the story. Nothing compares to the emotion that comes from a heartfelt telling of a life changed for the better. For some media outlets, a patient perspective is a must-have. We also create our own, and especially love video for its immediacy and intimacy.

Bottom line: be curious, focus on benefits, keep it simple, make it visual, and make it about what’s important — people.

Aimee and Nicole


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