Storytelling as a Tactic for Engagement in Healthcare Communications

Storytelling has always been an important part of the PR practitioners playbook. Because I do a lot of healthcare, patient stories, how they were diagnosed and treated, how they recover to live fuller lives always resonate with target audiences. We relate to real people telling real stories. Besides that, as from an educational standpoint, it is engaging. People pay attention. And they retain information more effectively.

Perhaps, storytelling taps something in the human psyche that probably goes back to our prehistoric days, as hunter/gatherers sat around the campfire at night.

This ancient educational and entertainment tool is increasingly revelant in our digital age. As our wireless digital gadgets define being “social” in a less face to face environment, there’s a greater need to “connect” with real people and real stories.

So whether it’s social/mobile media, the traditional web or plain old fashioned broadcast TV and radio, storytelling is an obvious and very effective tactic for keeping visitors on your website or glued to your TV network or show.

This month’s DIRECT MARKETING has a good article on how has leveraged a storytelling campaign to increase revenues and to keep visitors engaged in their website 17-18 minutes, consuming the content stories.

Here’s a link one of the patient stories keeping visitors engaged:

There are other good examples on the website. 

I’ve done a lot of similar things with pharmaceutical and medical device launches, where we tell the patient’s story in a compelling way so that others can relate to and engage with the relevant information. This has powerful uses in patient education, marketing and even training healthcare professionals—and sales reps. It’s very common that a pharmaceutical sales representative has never actually known or engaged with a patient using his or her company’s product. To better understand how a real live human being is helping “helped” is not only a great motivational tool, it provides important perspective.

 Thoughts, questions, comments? Always glad to “engage.”