Health communication covers a lot of territory – from awareness of pubic health issues to altering behaviour or influencing attitudes at an individual or community level.
And let’s be honest, information about health can be confusing.
Medical terms, medication names, theories and practices – it’s not a language most of us feel comfortable with. And we generally don’t hear it at a time when we’re set to absorb complicated explanation, nuance and detail.
But it’s not enough to have important information. It’s not enough to have cutting-edge research. It’s not enough to have considered, thought-out plans and procedures.
You need to be able to communicate these ideas effectively. To have a strategy that encourages health changes in individuals and communities.
You have to let people know how they can make their lives better.
Always start with the why.
Are you educating about health and sharing information? Encouraging a change in behaviour? Creating awareness about a disease or product?
Find out who your audience is.
Do you want to talk to Health Care Professionals? Their clients? Engage Mass media or connect at a grass roots level? Do they have specific cultural and linguistic needs?
You want to know what motivates your audience, what they think, what they do. (We’ve written blogs on the benefits of Empathy Mapping for this – contact us if you’d like some help).
Consider the best way to express your message. Is it step by step directions, or personal stories that work to address public health concerns? Think about your language, style, materials and format. What’s the clearest way you can communicate your important health message?
Because the more we know, the better we’ll be.