But these days, a different acronym is often tossed into the mix as well: H2H, or human to human.
This H2H movement is built upon the premise that the humans that make up your target market respond to – and connect with – other humans.
In other words, if you want to connect with your patients and prospects, you have to treat your practice more like a human.
And for that, you need to develop a voice.
Wait a minute, what does “having a voice” mean for a medical practice?
Think of your voice as your mission statement. It humanizes your practice and lets you take part in a natural communication with your patients and prospects.
*Note – There’s also the tone to consider. The tone is a subset of your brand’s voice. Tone adds flavor to your voice based on factors like audience, situation, and channel (you can have several tones under the umbrella of your voice).
The 4 elements of creating a voice for your practice
When developing the voice of your practice, consider these four elements:
- Persona – Who do you want to sound like? If you were to picture your practice as a person, who would that person be? Here you can get as specific as you want. In fact, we encourage you to affix a photograph and name to your persona. You’d be surprised how helpful that is as you consider whether your marketing efforts match your persona.
- Tone – As mentioned earlier, tone adds flavor to your voice. What type of vibe do you want your practice to take on? This can be as simple as choosing adjectives that best represent your goals (nurturing, cynical, humorous, etc.)
- Language – What type of language will you want to use, consistently, with your messaging? The tone will impact this; for example, if your tone is professorial, then you’d likely use high-brow language. If your tone is nurturing, you’d use easier to understand, and heartfelt language.
- Purpose – Why are you reaching out to your prospects and patients to begin with? Sure, the end goal is to build your patient base, but what’s in it for your audience? If someone comes across a blog post, video, or ad, what do you want them to walk away with?
Looking within to build your voice
The voice of your orthopedic practice should be organic, not forced. That being said, it only makes sense that you look within your own practice to uncover everything you need to develop your voice.
One popular tool to use are the 3 C’s:
- Culture – What does your practice stand for? What makes you stand out from other orthopedics in the area? Your unique qualities make your culture special and attractive. It’s this unique “selling” point that should be the pillar of your voice.
- Community – If you want your voice to resonate with your audiences, then you need to know what your audiences like and respond to. Listen to how your current patients and prospects speak. You can use their language to connect with them on their own terms.
- Conversation – This goes back to our “purpose” bullet above. What do you want to add to the conversation? What do you want your audience to walk away with? Answering these questions will help you figure out where your voice might fit.
5 Key questions to ask yourself
Thinking of your practice as a “human” that connects with other humans can be challenging and out of your comfort zone.
Fair enough. Try asking yourself these five questions to ease your way into humanizing your “brand”:
- If your practice was a person, what type of personality would it have?
- If your practice was a person, what would be their relationship with your prospects and patients (coach, friend, teacher, etc.)?
- Use adjectives to describe what types of personalities your practice is not.
- Are there any other practices or companies that have a similar personality to yours? Why are they similar?
- How do you want your prospects and patients to think about your practice?
Using your voice in your content and marketing
It’s all fine and good to develop a snazzy voice for your practice, but you have to put it into use to make that effort worthwhile.
For that, we suggest using a little template we’ve comprised. This template can be used for each content type you aim to produce (blog post, landing page, paid ad, newsletter, social media post, etc.):
- Content Type: What are you writing?
- Reader: Who are you talking to with this piece?
- Reader’s feelings: What’s the reader feeling when they read/view this piece?
- Tone: Use adjectives to describe how you aim to sound for this scenario.
- Example: Give an example (or abstract) of how the writing should sound, and use that as a guide.
- Tips: Provide some best practices for this specific content type.
Here’s an example of this template in use:
- Content Type: Tweets
- Reader: Prospective patients
- Reader’s Feelings: Open and eager to find interesting content and information
- Tone: Informative, clear, yet also highly entertaining
- Example: Did You Know Research May Drastically Alter How We Treat ACL-Deficient Knees in the Future?
- Tips: Use lots of questions. Avoid sounding authoritative. Encourage engagement.
This example, above, can be used as the template for all your future Twitter conversations. You’d then create these templates for all of your other content types.
Not only does this help you stick to your voice, but it also helps you ensure consistency.
The key is consistency
Nobody likes or trusts someone who comes across as two-faced. And that’s exactly what your practice will be if you don’t maintain consistency across all of your channels.
Remember, your tone may (and should) change based on your audience and channel, but your voice should remain consistent.
This consistency in your voice isn’t just confined to the content you produce. If you make it a habit of sharing others’ content online, ask yourself this:
“Does this publication have a similar message as my practice? Or is the tone of the article differing too much from the tone I’m cultivating for my practice?”
Your voice goes well beyond your words
Everything from your logo to your mission statement, web design and more are impacted by the voice you develop. Even the images you share online should fall within the realm of your overarching voice. This is what will help your practice connect and resonate with your prospects and existing patients.
That’s why it really is helpful to attach a persona to your practice – including a name, photo, stats and more. By creating this persona, you’ll have a far easier time creating content and marketing strategies that remain consistent, clear, and that attract your ideal patients and prospects.