Health Marketing Tip: Turn Your Misery Into Insights

by Sarah on December 29, 2015


I’m miserable.


My nose is plugged up . . . and dripping constantly.  My head feels like cotton is stuffed in it . . . until those achy tentacles of a headache begin to creep in.  I’ve been sneezing and coughing.


But worst of all, I just don’t feel like doing anything.  I just want to lie down and zone out – hoping for sleep to come, if it would be ever so gracious to do for me!


I’ve got a cold and it’s really knocking me out.


Now, I didn’t write to you to complain and gain your sympathy.  In fact, truthfully I’ve dramatized how I feel right now, focusing on the bad things and not noting that when I jump around a bit, go outside in this beautiful September sunshine, or simply focus on something other than my nose, I feel okay.


But I did have a reason for telling you about my itchy throat and lethargy.  It’s this:


If you’re writing copy for health products, you’re in the perverse position of being able to transform aches and pains into a good thing.


In writing for health products, you always need to “get inside your prospect’s head”.  It’s the key ingredient for transforming your copy into a message that’s relevant and compelling to the people you’re trying to reach.  It also adds credibility if it sounds like you know what they are dealing with.


Certainly you can use your imagination, talk to people and lurk on online discussions.  But nothing beats really – I mean, really – getting into your prospect’s head.


Now obviously, we won’t all experience diabetes or heart disease or irritable bowel syndrome.  And none of us want to experience these terrors.  But we all experience physical discomforts and illness to different degrees.  We all experience the accompanying fear, discomfort, and desperate hope for quick relief from our suffering.


As a human being, you probably focus on just getting through the discomfort.  All you can think about when it’s over, is what a relief – the memory fades very quickly.  As a health copywriter, you can turn these experiences into more than miserable days to help us understand health problems we haven’t experienced. Document and record what you’re feeling.  Save these insights for when you’re working on a promotion.


Here are a few examples of what I mean:


  • The way the pain in my hip flared up for a couple weeks, kept me from working out as much and sapped my energy in an almost invisible way.  I learned through documenting this experience, how low-grade pain, let alone more intense pain, simply zaps you, drains you.  How pain can override every other thought making it hard to step away and have a clear head.
  • When I had a bout with salmonella this summer, I went with the natural basics approach: Minimal foods – brown rice, yogurt and miso, and eventually some goldenseal followed by some digestive enzymes and probiotic supplements when I was recovering.  Yet, despite all my understanding of natural health, I certainly faced a few desperate moments when I’d spent too much time in the bathroom.   Thoughts of whether I should just get a course of antibiotics and get it over and done with swung through my head.  I wanted a pill that I could just take and get this infection over with quickly – whatever the cost.  I gained some insight into how hard it is for someone choosing between natural and conventional approaches to turn away from the certainty and security promised by conventional medicine.  Of course many of these are empty promises, hiding terrible side effects as well – but it certainly appeals when you’re desperate to get better or fearful of what will happen if you don’t.    
  • And yes, this cold. My husband makes a point of reminding me the insight I gain with a little congestion into how he feels for months during allergy season!  It certainly has made me appreciate how having a clear head feels!


Now certainly, there are limits to this.  I cannot fully comprehend the fear that hits when your heart seizes up and you begin to feel that infamous pain in your chest or tingly arms.  I can’t know what it’s like to go through chemotherapy-induced nausea.  And I hope I never do.


But my job as a copywriter is to do my best to understand what people are experiencing.  And if I can draw from my own experience . . . so much the better.


So as you deal with relatively minor health problems – and even the big ones, if you have mental room to do so – take notes.  Keep a journal.  Document what you’re experiencing physically and emotionally.


And use this later on to make your copy speak directly to the people you’re trying to reach . . . with insight and empathy gained through experience.


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