Friday love

This is one of the most poignant, thought-provoking videos I’ve seen in a long time. It’s simply beautiful.

It told a story, made a connection with my own experiences and left me wanting to take action. That my friends, is a fine example of changing behaviour. All it took was a 90 second video.

I’ll be wearing my daffodil with pride, will you?

Jackanory

If like me you were a child of the 80’s, you’ll remember Jackanory. In fact, it’s still going strong today.

But what does Jackanory have to do with healthcare copywriting? In a nutshell: Storytelling.

Telling a compelling story that draws your audience in, engages them and leaves them feeling they’ve spent their time wisely is as relevant in a children’s storybook as it is in a detail aid.

Even the driest of medical facts can be engaging if you weave them into a story. You just need to find a narrative that your audience will respond to.

Easier said than done, I know. But while we’re on the subject of audience, it’s worth keeping in mind that even the most respected consultants and key opinion leaders are, at the end of the day, just people. Individuals with hopes and dreams, desires and personal preferences. Just people. And people love stories. Some people like a good thriller, others a bit of romance. Some people will tell you that they only read non-fiction or that they only read autobiographies. It makes no difference – they’re all still stories in one shape or form. History? One big story from the dawn of time. The theory of evolution? The story of how we came to be here. Politics? Lots of stories if you look hard enough.

So my advice to any budding copywriter out there is to find the story. Dig into the data, read up on patient experiences, absorb the guidelines, digest the brief. Immerse yourself in the subject area and before long, you’ll find your story.

Go looking for inspiration and it will find you.

Just like this lovely website.

(and here’s one of our favourite Jackanory tales…)

Inspiration and the path to healthcare copywriting

Inspiration can come from anywhere. But back when I was trying to decide which academic path to follow, it was reading about medicines derived from nature that pushed me towards science and medicine.

Nature medicine

Antibiotics from mould, chemotherapy from pine trees, analgesics from willow trees and treatment for heart failure from foxgloves. It all fascinated me. So why didn’t I pursue pharmacology or pharmacy?

Jeff Goldblum. That’s why.

I saw him play James Watson in a BBC adaptation of Watson’s book The Double Helix : A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA and I was hooked on DNA. I wanted to know more about the secrets held within those beautifully intertwined strands of molecular code. Code that was hidden deep within cells, code that could spell new life or certain death.

How could our DNA, when combined with another person’s DNA, result in a fully formed human being in just a mere 9 months? Everything from eyelashes to liver function was coded for. Amazing.

What about when it doesn’t go to plan though? Trisomy 21, Klinefelter’s syndrome, the philadelphia chromosome…discovering the genetics of all these situations and so many more was like finding the key to Willie Wonka’s factory. I’d found the golden ticket and could stay as long as I wanted. It was magical and all that knowledge was just waiting to be devoured.

After 4 years though, I knew lab-based research wasn’t for me. Just to make sure, I worked as a cytogeneticist for a year. But I missed the desk research of my undergraduate years. The weaving of facts into coherent arguments, the moulding of conclusions and the crafting of sentences that were both grammatically and scientifically correct.

So I turned to the world of pharmaceuticals. Writing and reporting not consuming, obviously.

12 years later, I still love it. Diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, overactive bladder, ankylosing spondylitis, glaucoma. Every day is different and although I’ve written about most therapeutic areas over the years, the pharmaceutical industry very kindly keeps launching new drugs and publishing new data for me to discover. New facts to weave into detail aids and infographic videos. New survival rates to report on, the many facets of personalised medicine to explore, new graphs to animate.

It’s an amazing job. Thanks for inspiring me Jeff.

KOL infographic videos

I was lucky enough to be at the filming of a new KOL infographic video today. I must admit, I do love this part of my job. Hearing and seeing a script I’ve written come alive on the big screen gives me goosebumps.

The KOL was an absolute dream to work with. A bit of a thesp in a previous life, he was a natural in front of the camera and delivered the script with authority and passion. Goosebumps I tell you.

By 5pm we had the rushes and I cannot wait until the team weave some magic into that film with graphics and animation.

Here’s a peak at a fabulous infographic video, that shows just how engaging they can be: