Effective Content Writing Tips for Different Platforms

author imageWriting content for different platforms requires a varied approach for websites, social media platforms, and print collateral. It requires a certain level of skill to know the difference as well as what ways are most effective.  What should remain constant however is that your content be reader-driven andactionable” to keep readers engaged, educated (i.e. informed) and entertained.

Writing for Social Media

Set the Hook Quick -More concise writing in social media (SM) is the key.  Most people are on the move while on SM platforms so it’s imperative that you set the content hook quick with strong points up front and in a pronounced way.  There’s so much content out there so this a key way to stand out, engage and create a faithful reader.  This ultimately affects the breadth of your audience and long-term followers.

 The Risk Factor – Social Media social graces aren’t the same as traditional forums.  So feel free to take a risk every now and again. If you have a quirky yet innovative way to capture an audience, SM platforms like Facebook & Google+ are the places to do it.  Feel free to mix your SM writing with audio sound-bytes or other platforms like YouTube to really engage and entertain.

Girl on Floor Writing on LaptopWriting for Websites 

Standing Out – What ever the main point is of your content, it should be conveyed in a standout way that doesn’t require a lot of upfront reading or navigation. Using bold or differential typeface, different color fonts, graphs, images or infographics allows the reader to get the “gist” or the most important information in 1 minute or less.  Make sure these standout points:

  • include bold statements about your business;
  • engages the audience visually; and
  • encourages them to act.

Write Easily Scannable Content – Don’t expect people to pour over your every word on your website.  Scannable content is engaging content that allows readers to understand the general basis sweepingly, at a glance.  It is easier to read than word-for-word and it allows readers to easily digest the primary information nuggets.

Writing for Print Collateral

Be Promotional & Motivating – Most web and social media content has to appear more informational than promotional.  Subtle promotional content requires a certain finesse and is not overly stated or extremely brazen.  A great print piece conveys to your clients that you take pride in your business, products or services. Your print collateral should persuade prospects and inform them that you have something valuable to offer them. Ultimately it should showcase your talents and strengths while clearly motivating to purchase your product or service.

The Bigger Picture Copy – Print collateral does so much more than explain your product or services. The quality of our product should be exemplified in your content copy and the copy should reflect in-kind.  To me, sloppy copy conveys sloppy business.  Remember once in a prospective client’s hands, you have the chance to make not just a client out of them, but hopefully a long-term advertiser via word-of-mouth.

Tail End Tip:  Make sure all your content flows smoothly to minimize boredom, confusion or frustration.

5 Ways to Protect Patient Privacy in SM Content

In this ever growing age of technology just about everyone is using social media for their business as a tool for sharing information.  A few weeks ago I published an article via Patricia Redsicker’s website about this very topic and now I’m bringing this very important information to the Design Theory readership.

The e-patient movement actively uses social media to inform themselves and each other about health and wellness issues, breakthroughs and programs. Social media is not only quick but also quite cost-effective. But when it comes to the sticky topic of patient privacy and HIPAA, the fast and fun use of social media becomes guarded like the White House.

Healthcare businesses want a seat at the social media table too but come under heavy scrutiny (and sometimes fire) for using blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other channels. Although there’s no rule saying you can’t use these platforms for healthcare marketing, no one wants to pay heavy fines for breaching the laws protecting patient health information.

So let’s take a look at 5 ways you can ensure HIPAA compliance within social media use.

#1. What’s the Motive?

The primary goal of any social communication from a healthcare practice or marketing company should be to educate and help patients, families, and employees improve their knowledge of health-related topics and their overall well-being. That said the information should be generalized to protect the personal identity and likeness of any patient.

#2. To Post or Not to Post

Make sure you do not post any protected health information (PHI) or patient related imagery that can be linked back to a particular person via any social media channel or professional blog. While it is acceptable to post photos of your facilities, staff, and marketing images for different campaigns, be sure to crop out images of patients visiting your business unless they have consented in writing.

#3. Monitor Your Online Discussions

If a healthcare business is using social media to reach patients and colleagues alike, tread lightly when engaging in online discussion forums that go from generalizations to specific advice. Healthcare professionals need to proceed with caution and may want to include a disclaimer on blogs and web pages where they provide health information. Another layer of protection is to always encourage people to consult with their own physician or come to the office for an in-person consultation.

#4. Get it in Writing

A great way to market within the healthcare community is to publish “human interest” stories, which include stories from real patients. These important stories can be published on social media channels as long as they don’t violate HIPAA. If you are interested in using a patient’s likeness for any kind of promotional use, you are required to get written authorization granting permission to use protected health information (PHI) for specific marketing literature, campaigns or videos.

 #5. Go With Your HIPAA Gut

If you’re in doubt about any content that you are creating, publishing or sanctioning others to publish, go with your gut – the age old saying “if in doubt, don’t” should be your general rule of thumb. Also any concerns or questions as to whether or not a line is being blurred or crossed should be vetted by HIPAA-trained staff member to ensure compliance.

Consider This…

It is perfectly fine for healthcare companies to use social media for broadcasting their message, engaging a following, and driving traffic back to their website. But all this must be done within the HIPAA confines to ensure that they don’t get into any kind of legal trouble. Violations of the unauthorized disclosure of identifying health information can result in fines up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment in addition to sanctions for an ethical breach.