Exploring the Concept of “Show, Don’t Tell” When Creating Web Content

There are key points on which pure web content is based. To name a few…

  • Identify your audience
  • Tell your story
  • Present accessible, digestible content
  • Provide factual and current information
  • Optimize your content
  • Ensure contextual relevancy

Factual information is of upmost importance and particularly relevant when writing about health information and the field of medicine.  Without it, you are instantly discredited.

But there’s more to it.  There’s more to health web content than being online encyclopedia. There’s more than stating the facts and “telling” your audience you are “leaders in research” or “high-specialized” or have the “best patient outcomes.”

Simply put, it’s the premise of “show, don’t tell.” If you are a writer or marketer you may be familiar with this longstanding phrase. Today it’s emerged in a new form as the “visual web,” which is telling your story not only through text, but also through images and video.

When creating web content, even the most esteemed and credible institutions benefit from substantiating their claims.

Let me "show" you what I mean...

In the case of health care, rather than simply saying our team of brain surgeons is the best of the best, present both written and visual content to substantiate this claim.

One tactic could be to educate your audience, through the voice of the expert, as it is done in this podcast, “How to Choose a Neurosurgeon.”

Other methods include:

  • Make awards and certifications available when relevant
  • Present the number of procedures performed, and how that demonstrates expertise
  • Illustrate how state-of-the-art technology can lead to safer surgeries
  • Share the patient testimonials

As another example, when the Bloomberg Children's Center and Zayed Tower opened, we wanted to show that art and architecture were integral parts of the facility design.  This was accomplished through both written content and online visuals that captured the innovation of the new, patient-centered facilities.

Finally, let your patients tell the story and share their positive experience. You have several places to share. You can do this through social media, digital media such as videos or podcasts, traditional testimonials, and live forums and interactive events.

What if you’re not yet the leader in your field?

Show what makes you unique and provide useful information. Then deliver on your promise. Now more than ever, the user/customer/stakeholder generated content can help shape your brand story.

The bottom line, after you connect with your audience, it’s time to open the floor for comments. Support your claims. And let your satisfied customers do the talking. This will speak volumes.

 

MiaReilly

Posted by Mia Reilly White. Mia was previously a Web Content Specialist with Johns Hopkins Medicine and currently leads communications for a private school in Baltimore, MD.

 

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1 Comment

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Aaron February 6, 2013 at 8:45 am

Mia -- This is a really great article and an example of the type of content that has made Neuro's web presence the most visited service line on hopkinsmedicine.org.

Content like this creates an opportunity for Hopkins to educate the public and our colleagues around the world, whether they interact directly with our institution or simply engage us as part of their research. Thanks for the work you're doing!

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