When you are writing for your website, write as though one single person is sitting in front of you. That single person is your ideal patient and is also known as your patient persona.
Physicians and healthcare are used to addressing a large audience. We give lectures. We teach. While it may seem counter-intuitive, when writing on the web, you will be more effective if writing to a single person.
You are not writing as if you are on stage addressing a huge audience, but rather you are addressing one person, your “imaginary perfect patient,” who is sitting that audience.
Your Perfect Patient
We all have our ideal patient. Your ideal patient is your patient persona and has a specific personality, manner of learning, education and concerns.
Addressing that particular person when writing will make you more credible, authoritative and, most importantly, engaging. Your writing becomes more personal, and thus, becomes more valuable your reader.
Close your eyes and pretend your perfect patient is sitting in front of you. By the way, this will be even more engaging if you write in the point of view of the first person.
BTW – you will likely develop more patient personas as time goes on, but for now, start with one.
Defining Your Perfect Patient
You may already have your perfect patient in mind. If you do not, here are a few ways to help you get started.
- Survey or talk to your favorite patients and get to identify certain personality types, how they learn, what kinds of concerns they might have and what they like about you. This will help you relate to them.
- Talk to your office staff and ask the question, “Who is my perfect patient”? Getting an outsiders point of view will be very insightful.
- Look at analytics – you can see who is reading your articles and visiting your site. There may be data about demographics which can help you. How are your readers getting to your site? WebMD?
- Use social media (search by #) to find out what questions are frequently asked (e.g. “#diabeticretinopathy #willIgoblind)
Just as you see patients one-on- one in the office, write to them one-on-one, too.
All the best,