I quoted a potential client recently on a project and lost out…
You win some, and you lose some, right?
Following up with the marketing manager, she explained that they chose a supplier directly linked to veterinary education.
The project comprised a rewrite of the company's website focusing on SEO (search engine optimization). The company provides online and hands-on RACE-approved veterinary training.
In my initial discovery phone call, she asked if I was a veterinarian; I'm not.
She believed it was important for the copywriter to have this background due to the highly technical nature of the courses.
I explained that I was a former veterinary assistant who tackled technical veterinary and animal health topics in my prior work and didn't foresee that as a stumbling block.
More importantly, I stressed that grasping the technical aspects of the writing was critical, but equally, so was the copywriter's expertise in SEO - because the purpose of revamping the website was to gain exposure to a more global audience.
In addition, I raised the point that the revised copy would also need to address why a veterinarian would opt to pay for one of their courses versus enrolling in a free one sponsored by an animal health pharmaceutical.
She agreed that, yes, that would need to be addressed.
And this brings me to my point, which isn't to whine about losing a project.
For those of you seeking a copywriter for "technical" projects such as veterinary, medicine, finance, etc., a background in the area definitely helps.
But don't get hung up on that.
Ensure you understand your project's focus and its components. Then, select a writer who can best achieve your desired outcome. A person experienced in the field may only sometimes be the ideal choice.
That individual may have the technical know-how, but what about the copywriting chops?
Technical clarity, no doubt, is essential to the project I just described and lost out on.
Still, the other parts, knowing how to write well-optimized web pages that drive traffic and writing persuasively, are pieces to the puzzle that, if missing, can bring disappointing results.
Thanks for reading! If you know someone who might enjoy this blog post, please share it.
Are you trying to determine the purpose of your next copy/content writing project? Let me help!
Call 508-277-4929 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some people would do anything for a dozen donuts.
It’s true. Back in the late seventies, I was a college sophomore working a few evenings a week at a Mister Donut coffee shop. I commuted to Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, MA, so I needed to earn gas money for my Mercury Comet with rusting-out floorboards.
I remember that Saturday evening like it was yesterday.
It was around 6 p.m., and the only people in the shop were me and two middle-aged ladies sitting at the bar drinking coffee.
Yeah, this was pre-drive-through days, when coffee shops had bars and swivel stools, and customers came in, sat down, ordered a coffee and donut, and consumed them there, drinking coffee from real mugs.
That Saturday night, I was behind the counter, mindlessly constructing donut boxes in preparation for the following day’s rush of donut sales. (Sunday mornings were always a goldmine for Mister Donut.)
I’d made up about 30 boxes when this kid pushed through the front door.
I stood up from behind the counter and looked at him.
“Welcome to Mister Donut. Can I help you?”
Barely glancing at me, he mumbled, “I’d like a dozen donuts.”
He was skinny, with short, dark tousled hair, and wore jeans. He kept his hands shoved in his pockets.
From under the counter, I grabbed a just-folded donut box in one hand and a piece of tissue in the other and, looking at him with raised eyebrows, signaled I was ready.
He rattled off his order. I don’t remember what he asked for because I was thinking about what donuts I’d bring home that evening. Since I was closing, I could help myself to donuts that hadn’t sold. I hoped there’d be some lemon-filled in my future.
After filling the box, I quickly closed the lid and taped it shut. I put it on the counter beside the register and rang up the sale.
The register drawer sprang open, and I said, “That’ll be $1.49, please.”
I looked at the kid, and he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking straight ahead. Both his hands were behind him like he was feeling for his wallet in his back pockets.
Then, suddenly, he grabbed the donut box from the counter, spun, and bolted through the doors and out to the sidewalk.
I was speechless!
With jaw dropped and eyes popping, I looked at the two women still seated at the bar. Their expressions were as dumbfounded as mine. After a few eternal moments, one broke the silence.
“Thank goodness he didn’t have a gun!”
So why did I tell you this story?
To illustrate the value of storytelling in your content.
It humanizes you and makes you relatable—a key ingredient to building a relationship, which content marketing aims to do.
Before you read my donut ripoff tale, you knew little about me except maybe what’s on my LinkedIn bio.
Now you know…
1. My age (yep, I gave details. You do the math.)
2. I’m partial to lemon-filled donuts; yum.
3. I drove a crappy car in college.
In the grand scheme of things, do these details matter? Who knows? But some of them you can likely relate to. (Everyone has to have a favorite donut!)
More importantly, you’ll see that I’m a person who, like you, has had a plethora of life experiences. Distinct, unique, but relatable, and that connects us.
As a practicing veterinarian or veterinary entrepreneur, the better your customers know who you are, the better the chances they’ll do business with you. Why? Because they’ll come to like and trust you.
And one other thing, those distinct, unique experiences belong to you. They can only be shared by you, not by artificially derived content.
So tell your stories and stand out from the rest.
Suzanne Quigley is a content writer/consultant and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets. She works with clients in both the pharmaceutical and technology arenas.
Need help with content or copy? Email or call 508-277-4929!
In this post, I’m straying from the how-tos of veterinary content creation to the topic of veterinary stress. It’s a complex topic with no straightforward solutions.
Unfortunately, and sometimes, tragically, we hear how trying today’s veterinary industry has become, and because of this, many vets are leaving the profession in droves.
Life, in general, offers up an almost infinite number of stressors, and for veterinarians, theirs are compounded by the nature of the work they do.
Dealing daily with stressed clients (humans and animals), long hours, team dynamics, the business side of vet practice, and making the best decisions in difficult situations can rapidly lead to burnout and worse.
A common factor that contributes to stress
According to The American Institute of Stress, many of the stressors we experience in life can be directly linked to our inability to control them. And the more we seek control, the more frustrated we can become.
How we respond to a perceived stressful event is significant because it can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally, influencing our attitudes and behaviors.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage overwhelming stress—good nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer, and professional counseling.
But during your workday, these options may not be feasible.
So, what can you do to avoid things spinning out of control? This is where your practice management software can step in and help.
Four ways practice management software helps you maintain control
1. More and more practice management systems are cloud-based. Cloud-based software stores data online instead of saving it to a physical server or a computer’s hard drive.
Storing data ‘in the cloud’ means you can access it wherever and whenever you have an internet connection. If your internet goes down, or you’re in an area with no reception, or it’s spotty, you can work offline and synchronize your data later when you get back online.
Cloud-based computing lets you control when, where, and how you access your data. It also frees you from the costs of maintaining physical servers and space requirements for housing them.
2. Time and how you use it is an area you can control. Any practice management software worth its salt will offer a flexible and efficient appointment scheduling module. Use it to schedule patient appointments and block out chunks of time for meetings, lunches, personal appointments, and daily administrative tasks.
Starting each day with a set schedule provides a structure for you and your team. It also provides a point of reference if chaos erupts. No one must stop and think about what to do next.
3. The financial side of veterinary practice can be a significant stressor. Fortunately, getting a grip on it is possible with systems that allow you to link patient accounts to invoices for services, inventory, treatments, and prescriptions.
This feature decreases the headache of missed charges and lost revenue. More robust systems provide reporting and data analytics options and integration with payment processor partners to capture credit card payments.
4. Client communications is another area you can take control of. Practice management software allows you to reach out to clients and vice versa in multiple ways, such as texting, email, phone, and mail.
Some systems allow patient-specific emails and text messages to be organized in a designated location, avoiding cluttered generic inboxes overflowing with emails or texts that take forever to sort through.
Organized communication allows you to establish protocols for a timely response which helps improve overall efficiency and decreases the chance you’ll miss client messages.
You may never have considered your practice management software as a means to strengthen your mental health, but if it adds efficiency and order to your workday, that’s certainly a welcome result.
If you’re contemplating purchasing or changing to another one, here are several practice management software solutions. There are many on the market, and sure to be one suitable for your practice’s needs.
I'm a content writer/consultant and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets. I work with clients in both the pharmaceutical and technology arenas.
Would you like some help with content or copy? Email or call me at 508-277-4929!
How do you know if someone is qualified to do a job?
I thought about this recently while perusing my LinkedIn feed.
Because I'm an animal health copywriter, many of my connections are veterinarians. The letters DVM in their titles confirm they've completed specific training and are qualified and educated in animal health care.
But what happens when you, someone in the animal health world, are looking for a copywriter? How do you determine a possible candidate's skill level?
Copywriters come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak, and won't necessarily have credentials after their names. And if they do, you may not know what they represent.
Since that puts you at a disadvantage, here are some pointers for vetting a copywriter.
These tips will help the cream rise to the top.
Why should I be interested in a copywriter's skills?
A copywriter's skill will reflect the quality of the content or copy he creates for you. And quality content or copy will garner the intended response you're looking for from your audience or clients.
And that is the purpose of marketing; to reach the people who want your products or services.
A skilled copywriter understands the difference between copywriting and content writing and the importance of search engine optimization (SEO.)
A copywriter experienced with sales copy knows how to write with persuasion and tailor it to the targeted audience.
A knowledgeable content writer knows content's purpose is to educate the reader by answering her questions. Clear, easy-to-read, and detailed writing is the preferred tool for this writer who aims to engage readers and build lasting relationships.
How do I recognize these skills?
Visit the writer's website, online portfolio, or LinkedIn profile to review work samples and client testimonials. Pay attention to the following details.
Check credentials or pursuit of continuing education
Many companies hiring copywriters seek people with marketing, communications, or journalism degrees. Others prefer writers to have degrees in areas specific to their industry, such as animal health or financial services.
Just so you know, a degree in marketing, communications, or journalism is what some companies prefer. However, many excellent copywriters are without these degrees, so don't limit yourself unless you feel strongly that such a degree is necessary.
In addition, multiple "copywriting academies" are available for writers to learn the trade or enhance their skills. Examples are American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI), Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Copyblogger's Academy, and SEO Content Institute.
Finally, speak with the copywriter. Find out how she approaches a project. Look for someone with a defined process articulating what she needs from a client to give the best service.
Why does vetting a copywriter's skills matter?
Does the marketing success of your veterinary practice, practice management software solution, or cutting-edge pharmaceutical matter to you? Vetting a potential writer's skills should also matter.
A lousy copywriter can cost you money and fail at producing results.
In the long run, taking these steps to vet a copywriting candidate is worth your time and effort.
I'm a content writer/consultant and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets.
Do you need help with content or copy? Email or call me at 508-277-4929!
I recently posted about how to make your veterinary blog easy to read by writing with shorter sentences.
Since short ones are easier to follow and digest, they improve readability.
Compact writing doesn't mentally tax your blog visitors. On the other hand, slogging through long, winding text does. Readers will lose patience if they struggle to read and understand your writing.
Remember, your blogging goal is quality content, so concise communication is vital.
The bottom line is that poor readability creates a bad user experience. And bad experiences drive traffic away from your blog.
More tips to improve readability
Since readability is essential to a positive experience for your audience, what more can you do to improve it?
Allow me to make some suggestions …
A helpful online writing assistant/tool that catches problems plaguing writers and suggests corrections. If your writing gets wordy and long, Grammarly recommends revisions to improve clarity and conciseness. (Such as splitting long sentences!)
This test rates how easy text is to read based on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is. The calculation formula looks at the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence.
The rule of thumb for easy reading is a score between 60 and 70.
As the name implies, this test scores readability by grade level. For example, an 8.0 score means that an eighth grader in the U.S. could understand the text.
The recommendation is to score between 7.0 and 8.0.
The Flesch Reading Ease Readability tests guide you in determining if your writing is easy to read.
And both tests are included in Microsoft Word under the Review tab on the menu.
Oh, and one other thing about readability, it can impact your search engine optimization (SEO).
Don't lose traffic with those technical veterinary terms pet owners don't know
You know that Google and other search engines aim to give users the best information.
And we know that through SEO, Google will give users content based on the keywords they're searching with.
But what happens if your blog posts or articles don't include those keywords?
Suppose you want to build traffic to your veterinary website. You may be writing articles that include many technically correct veterinary words.
But if your audience is pet owners, they most likely wouldn't use that technical terminology in their searches. So the search engines wouldn't direct them to your site.
And if users did find your site, they probably wouldn't understand those words or the message you're conveying.
This situation defeats the purpose of your blog, which is to offer high-value content.
To prevent this, explain technical terms in plain English with words that pet owners will likely use.
In short, Google doesn't rank content on readability; its algorithms don't calculate this.
But it can affect SEO if your language doesn't match the language users are searching with. Or if technical words pepper your text and speak over your audience's head.
From the user experience and SEO perspective, we agree that readability is key!
Let's talk about that writing project you've put off; email or call me at 508-277-4929!
I'm a content writer/consultant and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets. I dive into the intricacies of writing excellent content so you don't have to!
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter