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COVID-19 dominated recent headlines, dwarfing all other health care topics. But in the midst of the pandemic, stories of a range of health care hardships and perseverance were told through strategic partnerships between Boston Globe Media and leading health care brands. Below are some of the key lessons we’ve learned about creating meaningful media programs for health care brands that resonate with our audiences.
1. Focusing on telling a human story will help your product story shine
“Dear Scientist” is an ongoing series of patient stories we created in partnership with Pfizer. Each narrative focuses on the experiences of a patient and their family battling with ailments ranging from respiratory diseases to liver disease to cancer. One such story featured Scott Wilson, a 52-year-old man who was in remission from colon cancer, who had previously lost both his brother and mother to cancer. Through intimate family photos, informative writing, and a powerful video, we helped bring Scott’s story to life. The piece culminated in a face-to-face conversation between Scott and Shannon Winski, Pfizer’s director of pharmacology, who had dedicated her life’s work to helping people in situations like his.
2. Collaborative thought leadership drives credibility
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we launched a special section called “Breast Cancer Explored”. Creating this immersive content hub was an important reminder that issues like breast cancer aren’t waiting for the pandemic to pass. Through the generous support of brands like AstraZeneca and Agendia, we were able to tap into knowledge partners like the American Cancer Society, The Susan G. Komen Foundation, and The Boston Breast Cancer Equity Coalition to create rich, meaningful stories. “Breast Cancer Explored” featured honest accounts of hope and hardship in stories from survivors, their loved ones, doctors, and the researchers striving to improve breast cancer treatments, outcomes, and accessibility.
3. Simplify complex concepts
Health care can be complicated and overwhelming. For Brigham Health, we wanted to highlight conditions such as arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy and pulmonary hypertension in a reader-friendly manner. In keeping with rule #1, we started by working with Brigham Health to identify a real, friendly face to attach to each of these diagnoses. We then took our readers through a journey that highlighted their personal stories, used visual illustrations and graphics, and incorporated audio clips to make these otherwise complex topics approachable. In doing so, we learned that our most effective brand stories often tap into both the written and visual arts to help bring complex subjects to life, in a way readers can easily digest.
4. Strive to tell culturally relevant stories
Launched in 2020, one of our most-viewed sponsored content stories ever was an article called “The Four Types of Aging”, a collaboration with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. The story was part of a larger series called “Aging Strong” that explored how individuals, from athletes to entrepreneurs, navigate the challenges of aging — and the habits that can help others age strong too. In a time when medical and wellness breakthroughs are allowing people to live longer and with a better quality of life, focusing on aging as a positive and hopeful theme piqued the interest of many. Identifying topics at the cross-section of what a brand’s target audience and our readers will find most appealing is often the spark we need to build our most successful programs.
Interested in telling your own health care story with us? Contact us: [email protected]
This content was produced by Boston Globe Media's
BG BrandLab. The news and
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