January 7, 2022 | Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA

4 min read

5 Tips for Effective Storytelling in Physical Therapy Marketing

Arguably one of the most impactful shows of the last decade was Game of Thrones. Despite the controversial last season (you may still feel strongly about it yourself), HBO has recently released the trailers for the prequel show. With such a divided audience and a bad taste for the franchise in many viewers’ mouths, why go through with it?

The answer comes from Tyrian Lannister, himself. In the final episode of the series he asks, “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags?” He answers the question himself saying, “Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”

It’s a great all-around line, and HBO thinks they have enough story clout to justify a prequel. But what makes it most significant is this: It’s 100 percent true. There’s a good chance that people will watch it, and then continue to be drawn in, if it’s a good story.

Indeed, stories are incredibly powerful because they bring people together with the promise of identity and community, and they have staying power.

From a marketing perspective, this cannot and should not be taken for granted. Storytelling is one of your greatest assets as a physical therapy marketer.

Physical therapy clinics who, through the course of their marketing strategies, tell the best stories with the most consistent messaging are going to flourish within their local markets.

Story Tips for Physical Therapy Marketing

How can a physical therapy clinic most fully harness the power of storytelling within their overall marketing strategy? Here are a few tips:

1) Create a Story Arc

The arc of a story is the extended or continuing storyline made up a series of smaller stories, all connected to support a single narrative.

In marketing, the arc serves as the overall message(s) you want to communicate through everything you do. It’s from this arc that all your messaging will hang, all strung together to support a narrative that’s important to your clinic and the PT profession.

“Movement is Medicine” is one arc I often see, as is “Don’t Let Pain Keep You from Life.” Your arc will define you, your clinic, and your profession, so make it meaningful and accurate.

2) Be Compelling

Whether communicating (i.e., storytelling) through blogging, social media, digital advertising, etc., your number one goal is to grab people’s interest and attention in a powerful and irresistible way. That means connecting with them in a way that’s compelling on a human level, not a clinical level.

As we like to say, this requires “stepping out of the clinic” and meeting people where they are in life: hiking in the outdoors, caring for babies and toddlers, competing on the court, or getting up the stairs at home.

Relatable stories have staying power while overly clinical messaging will often miss the mark.

3) Leave Some Cliffhangers

As a physical therapist, you’re no doubt passionate about your profession. So, when you talk about an element of physical therapy, say, back pain prevention, the story you want to tell is often one that involves incredible depth, research, science, and so on.

In marketing, however, restraint is your friend. While you no doubt have lots to say, the goal isn’t to tell the whole story in one fell swoop. You want to leave your audience wanting. This creates a curiosity gap that they will want to fill, making them likely to listen for — or reach out to you for — more.

Make a connection, pique their interests, and guide your audience to a call to action (CTA) where they can connect with you for more of the story.

4) Identify & Develop “Characters”

All great stories involve a host of characters who people can get to know, root for, and develop a connection to. The same should hold true within your physical therapy story.

As a clinic, be open about who you are, where your passions lie, and the lengths you go toward ensuring people can live their best lives. Build your “characters” through regular updates about specialized training, community involvement, and even personal accomplishments.

Help ensure that when people think of your clinic, they think of people and not simply a building. Also include your patients as part of your cast. Few things are more captivating, endearing, and relatable than a good patient success story.

5) Be a Creative TEAM

Both marketing and storytelling are big jobs, and it takes real commitment to keep a story going without losing your audience. So, don’t go at it alone.

Everyone on your physical therapy team has something to offer: specialized skills, a unique perspective, a personalized style, and so on. Let everyone contribute to your clinic’s “voice.”

Or consider working with outside physical therapy marketing experts to inject some fresh perspective within your marketing messaging, allowing your team to better focus on what they do best: treating patients and helping people improve their lives.

To learn more about how you can turn your storytelling into effective marketing, ask Net Health about Patient Engagement Marketing solutions today.

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