So, your boss or client has asked you to write a health topic about breast cancer.
The problem? There are already one thousand similar articles about breast cancer.
They all contain the same type of information, yet you need to write up the topic and make it unique.
How can you do this?
Creating unique content about popular health topics is a common dilemma for health and medical writers.
This dilemma is even more challenging when you need to write about the same topic for two different clients.
There’s only so much original information you can add to a general knowledge topic, right?
Well, not exactly.
There are some techniques that will make your general health topics different, unique and unlike all the other versions out there.
Here are five effective strategies.
1. Incorporate state and national statistics
Chances are you’re writing for a state or national resource, not a global resource. Health information, procedures, guidelines and statistics differ between countries and even states.
Use this local aspect to your advantage.
Incorporate local statistics, quotes, recommendations and guidelines.
Go to the best-practice local resources and use their facts and figures.
This will ensure your content is different from another version that is targeting an audience in another country.
2. Involve your client or employer
If you’re writing patient education material for a health professional or health service, bring them into the handout.
Instead of writing:
“Most AC joint injuries can be treated without surgery.”
You could write:
“Dr Smith can treat many AC joint injuries without surgery.”
“At XYZ practice, our shoulder specialists can treat most AC joint injuries without surgery.”
Personalise the content, in other words. There are plenty of opportunities to do this when you’re writing for a health professional or a health service.
Bringing the health service into the conversation will make the content unique and more interesting.
If you’re writing to provide patient information for patients who are thinking about attending that medical practice, writing this way will be more persuasive, too. You may be able to generate more new patient enquiries – and what client would say no to that?
3. Suggest local resources
Patient information should contain useful information to help readers take the next step in their health journeys.
That next step could be to visit another article or contact a relevant health organisation.
Suggest local resources, and add unique content that describes those resources.
4. Highlight interesting facts with breakout boxes
Use headings like “Did you know?” and “Top 10 facts” to draw attention to interesting content or any messages you want to highlight.
You could also research interesting past facts about common diseases. For example, Hippocrates described the stages of breast cancer in the early 400s B.C.E.
5. Create interactive elements
Quizzes, buttons and anything that involves your reader doing something can create engagement.
If you’re writing printed handouts, you can still include multi-choice quizzes or exercises.
Quizzes recap information and reinforce learning, too!
6. Write actionable content
When you’re writing about preventive strategies, ensure your content is actionable. Don’t just tell your readers what to do – provide examples and reasons.
We all want our readers to be healthier, quit smoking, exercise more, sleep better and reduce stress. These are common tips for many preventable medical conditions.
But merely writing those tips in a list isn’t all that helpful – or unique.
Suggesting how your readers can achieve those steps will force you to think of new ways and explanations in your own words, which helps make your content more unique.
So there you have it: Six techniques to help you make your general knowledge information different to the rest. Try them next time you’re writing about a common health topic!