7 journalistic techniques for crafting exceptional patient stories

Do your homework, use a recording device or app, have a fluid conversation and—most of all—listen intently to your interviewee, and you’ll write compelling accounts of their experiences.

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Getting a truly engaging patient story is a top marketing goal for most health care providers, but it’s often easier said than done.

It can be challenging to get patients to say more than, “The service was great,” or, “I love Dr. So-and-So,” leaving you with very little to work into a compelling story.

The secret to telling authentic patient stories is to stop being a marketer and start being a journalist. Stop thinking about selling, and start thinking about how to objectively tell a patient’s story in the most compelling way.

Here are seven journalistic techniques that’ll help you get out of your marketer mindset and into the head of a reporter:

1. Always be prepared. Journalists don’t automatically know what to ask their interviewees. Top journalists consistently do their homework. Before every patient interview, find out everything you can about the patient’s service experience and why you’re interviewing that specific person. Then prepare a list of questions you plan to ask, whether handwritten in a notebook, in Google Docs, Evernote or some other favorite tool. It’s absolutely OK to deviate from your questions during the interview, but set up a batch of queries as a foundation.

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