No one knew whether Mark would get back to his normal life anytime soon. He was a passionate basketball player. Now, he was resting on a wheelchair, unable to move, unable to imagine the future.
Amy Garrigues, School of Health Sciences executive director, a PT and DPT, met for the first time her patient, Mark, with fractures in the pelvis, lower back, left femur, and the lower halves of his left and right legs, after a bus hit him.
It was unthinkable for him to walk normally in his own steps. He couldn’t even go back and forth to the clinic for the therapy sessions, and she had to visit him at home, where he stayed in a hospital bed, in his mother’s living room.
For almost three months his feet didn’t touch the floor, and only after two months, he could handle being transported from home to the clinic for therapy sessions because before, the pain made it unbearable.
A few months later, under exceptional and intensive PT sessions under Garrigues’s care, he progressed slowly toward full recovery. He started going to the gym, worked consistently to resolve any mobility problems, and two years later, he invites Garrigues to his wedding, where she witnessed Mark walking fully on his own again.
This is a really inspiring story we couldn’t stay without sharing to show you how powerful storytelling can connect with your audience. It’s not only marketing-oriented. It’s simply a humanist act that puts into sight the soul of your work as a physical therapist. You have the power to change lives, and you should share times when you do, simply for the sheer joy of showing others what’s achievable through physical therapy.
Stories are a powerful way to connect with your readers. In the vast world of blogging, with millions of posts published every day, you want to have a voice that helps you stand out. Before being a physical therapist, you’re a human. What affects and connects you with patients affects others too, if shared. And this helps your value get into sight.
Stories connect because they resonate with everyone who has a beating heart in his/her chest. They make your content gush with fear, hope, tears and happiness, rather than sounding like scientific reports, even though you need to mix your stories with science-based PT content to show trustworthiness when necessary.
Sharing stories helps you connect with the audience and makes your content stick into their mind. Stories lead towards a more close relationship with your audience, and the next time you publish another article, the chances they will read it increase.
Storytelling does more than stating events. Through storytelling, you picture into potential patients’ minds what’s possible and how realistic changes are. Once you captivate them with a story, you’re able to make an important point readers will shake their heads in affirmation.
Write each word with your ideal reader in mind, and always speak to them while telling your story. Always ask questions to keep them engaged and participants of the story. You don’t want them to feel left out and lose in your story.
You won’t have to struggle much since you already have stories to tell.
The simple everyday events, visits, meetings happening at your office can be repurposed into a powerful story. Words are like a river. Once you learn to direct them the way you want, you can get through the message you want! (Though, you don’t have to, because we do it for you!)
Our point is that you shouldn’t overlook events that seem casual at first. Filter everything through the lenses of a storyteller. For example, even something as simple as a patient trying a new workout, or someone coming to a physical therapist for the first time makes an interesting story to tell.
Seriously, as found in this research, patients' experiences are an important decision-making factor. And, what’s the best way to present experiences? Through stories on your social media posts, blog articles, and why not during live meetings or events.
Be open-minded, as there are no real borders to what you should share and what not. Whatever promotes a positive brand image is good, but this doesn’t mean everything should be all smiles and positivity on your content. Don’t hesitate to share situations when things go wrong. People need to see that side, too, because it makes you authentic and real.
Now, please don’t get this twisted. Lying might not be the right word.
By lying, we mean that you have the freedom to illustrate what could happen if a patient didn’t follow a piece of certain advice you gave by creating fictional stories in your blog articles. It would help people understand what could happen if they’re not attentive and mistake your advice. Showing the worst-case scenarios raises the awareness of your patients and helps them change the approach towards PT as a service.
You can show what unnecessary problems patients who don’t follow your advice may fall into. They might even end up going through surgery needlessly! Show how these confusing events can be avoided by mixing these illustrative stories with research references on the importance of physical therapy and the execution of instructions.
Reliable researches shows how direct physical therapy can be beneficial (without the need of a physician referral), and how this can save money and improve patient outcomes. There are tons of stories for you to illustrate what could have gone differently had a patient waited for a physician referral.
Stories are a great piece of content for various mediums, from social media to your blog. You can incorporate them everywhere by adapting to the nature of that medium. We’ve seen them used successfully in blogging since you have more space to express, and people reading blogs are willing to read long stories.
But stories are easily repurposed for various types of channels.
They’re pretty effective to get your readers attention and keep reading further at the point you want to make. Hence, using stories in the introduction of your posts is an effective approach. Your headline should be captivating enough to prepare the reader for a story, and then the introduction starts with the story, which shifts slowly to the main message you want to transmit.
Each story delivers a message, and you will want to keep the message focused, short, and straight to the point with your story. Through past patients' experiences you show the importance of choosing PT services besides consulting a physician first, how intense PT sessions can bring one to great physical shape again, etc.
People are less likely to remember articles written like research papers, and chances are they’ll bounce off the page seeing introductions that start that way. You’d make a point by taking the reader by the hand and showing him step by step how you went from examining a problem to solving it with an actual patient.
How your stories are structured means a lot.
Especially when writing for the internet, where people are constantly scrolling and scrolling, you have only a few seconds to grab their attention and drag them to your content.
Focus on writing a compelling headline that’s spicy and shows how their day gets better if they keep reading. Speak directly to them and try to use “You” in your headline as much as in your content.
A few examples of story headlines for articles or even social media posts would be:
“If X could make it, you can too!...”, “This Is What Happened After 4 Weeks of Intensive Sessions…”, “How Long Did It Take for Him to Get Back to Playing Football Again!?...” etc.
These headlines speak to the reader, explaining what he can expect by reading your content further. But, you should keep the same structure with the article as well. Short, spicy, and interesting until you make your point.
Don’t turn it into a boring biography packed with clumsy paragraphs that are terrifying to look at. Chunk them down into short paragraphs, and remove long descriptions and unnecessary details.
Keep your reader interested, don’t reveal your message since the beginning, and space your content so it’s easy to skim and read through. Each word counts, and the end should leave the reader with a lesson in mind.
As humans, we’re drawn to emotions, and this is obvious.
Don’t let this simple fact slip away, though. Use stories to captivate potential patients and then facts to back up your point. As a PT clinic owner, you need to maintain your trustworthiness by combining scientific content with real-life events.
This doesn’t mean that all the stories you tell need to be real ones. You can always picture the same vivid pictures into your readers’ mind, by telling a fictional story that’s aimed to show the consequences of a bad decision, or a misunderstanding.
Whatever you do, remember you’re on the web, and the web needs you to structure content well from your homepage to your blog articles. Everything should be connected so smoothly that your potential patients aren’t distracted or feel lost.
Formatting and structuring your stories either makes or breaks a good article. On the other side, we understand you’re busy taking care of your patients’ needs and might not dedicate quality time to blogging. This is why we’re here to take care of storytelling for your PT business at no time (and much more).