Facts vs. Storytelling: How to Write Research-Backed Content That Persuades Your Patients

Content writing tips about how to make content more compelling with the help of facts and numbers.

Have you ever tried to convince your friends to see a movie you want or buy a certain video game? You’ve probably got a lot of excuses, such as “I don’t have the time,” “It’s not my style,” or “Let me see what’s all about and I’ll let you know.”

Now, imagine having to convince a bunch of strangers to choose your physical therapy clinic’s services over another.

If you’ve been serious about marketing your PT clinic, then you know that persuasion is hard. Studies show that consumers are reluctant when it comes to purchasing goods and services online and rarely trust strangers. In fact, they trust friends and family even less than strangers so you can’t assume that if you associate your brand with a familiar face, then you can expect a boost in sales.

You probably have a lot of tricks in your arsenal that can help you make a convincing argument. You’re probably using incentives to grow your patient base or partnering with thought leaders in your niche to gain some visibility. All these tactics are excellent and can help advance your marketing efforts. But, have you ever thought about how you can use your content to persuade prospects and encourage them to give your PT clinic a try?

We know what you’re thinking: medical content is pretty dry, and there isn’t much that I can do to make it highly engaging. After all, it’s hard to tell a compelling story when most of your information relies on facts and data.

Well, not necessarily.

As surprising as it may sound, when it comes to persuasion, hard data can weigh more than storytelling.

Let’s learn more.

Why You Should Write Content That’s Backed-up by Data

There’s no denying it: stories are more memorable than facts and help us remember certain things better. In fact, according to one study, stories engage more of our brain and emotions than facts and numbers. When we read statistical evidence, for example, only the language parts in our brain light up to decode the information. But, when you add storytelling into the mix, we access the brain regions that we would usually use if we were to experience the things that we read about. In other words, when we read a story about a diver that encounters a problem with his gear, our brain reacts as if we were experiencing the situation ourselves.

But, that’s just one side of the coin.

Sure, stories are engaging and memorable, but as it turns out, data is more powerful when it comes to persuading your audience. That’s because facts and numbers add credibility to our stories and make prospects more likely to trust us.

Now, we’re not trying to say that one is better than the other. As you can see, both facts and storytelling have their advantages and disadvantages. So, instead of creating boring content that it’s packed with statistical evidence or relying on narrative alone, opt for a healthy mix.

For instance, if you want to educate prospects about the latest findings in lower back pain treatment, then you should refer to studies and offer hard data to support your argument, but try to humanize your content as well. For example, you could tell the story of a patient that tried the latest procedure and document the evolution of his condition. Prospects will be more intended to listen to your case because, on the one hand, you’re giving them a story that they can relate to and, on the other hand, you are backing up your claims with facts and evidence.

How to Use Data to Create Persuasive Content

Hopefully, by now you’ve understood the importance of adding data to your content. The question you may be asking yourself now is how you can find the perfect balance between storytelling and research. It can be tempting to inflate your content with unnecessary facts, thinking that it can help you make a convincing argument. That’s not necessarily true.

Here’s what you need to know to create research-backed content that is engaging and persuasive.

  • Cite Relevant Studies and Statistics

One of the great things about the digital age is that it gives you instant access to a plenitude of studies and relevant data. As such, it’s quite easy to support your claims with facts and figures and add weight to your content. Not only that but when you provide statistical evidence and link back to trustworthy sources, then you establish yourself as a professional and authoritative voice in your niche.

But, where can you find the data to support your claims? On Statista.com, for example, you can find a variety of studies and statistics related to your niche. This platform works as a powerful search engine specialized in data where you can type in your keywords and find relevant results within seconds. A simple search for the keyword “back pain,” for example, produced 164 results. Now, that’s impressive.

Other health-related portals that you can check include:

  • gov – Data about Medicare, Medicaid, clinical studies and more
  • gov –Public health data
  • Google Scholar, which can yield great results if you need academic coverage for your stories

Another great way to find relevant sources is to type “your topic” + “study” in Google and browse through the results. You can also take a look at what Amazon’s Public Data Sets has to offer. If you seek public opinion polls and demographic research, then PewResearch is your best option.

As you can see, there are numerous platforms out there where you can find statistical evidence to support your content. You just have to carve in the time to look through it and choose the best and most relevant sources.

  • Quote High-Authority Websites and Influencers

Expecting your prospects to trust you can be a long shot. After all, with so many other physical therapy clinics out there offering similar services, why should they listen to what you have to say?

So, instead of asking your prospects to believe in a complete stranger (you,) leverage the power and influence of someone they are already familiar with and trust.

Add weight to your content by citing reputable and authoritative blogs in your niche. Go deeper and make your content even more credible by asking well-credited influencers and healthcare experts for a quote. Reach out to them and ask for their opinion on a particular issue. That way, not only that you’ll be supercharging your content, but you can also build a connection that you can nurture into a meaningful relationship.

  • Do Your Own Research

We know, conducting research takes a lot of effort and resources, and if you don’t have the time or funds it can be difficult to provide prospects with something useful. After all, you don’t want to conduct a study just for the sake of it. But, if you have an interesting hypothesis that you want to test and a decent sample size, then you can try doing your own research and presenting the conclusion in a data-packed but engaging article.

Just consider the benefits of such an endeavor.

For starters, you show your prospective patients that you care about their wellbeing. So much so that you are willing to test your methods to see which one yields the best results and can help them recover from an injury faster.

Moreover, by conducting research, you can establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your niche. Other PT clinics or physical therapy blogs could link back to your study, helping you gain visibility, build awareness, and boost your ranking in search engine results. All that can translate into qualified traffic to your website that you can then nurture into potential patients.

  • Use Other PT Clinic’s Research

We know what you’re thinking: I don’t want to mention one of my competitors in my content and promote them.

That’s an outdated mentality. Just because you ignore your competition, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. By acknowledging it, you are, in fact, showing your prospects that you care more about their health and helping them solve their problems than you care about rivalry.

Not to mention, you don’t necessarily have to mention the studies conducted by a direct competitor. You could refer, for example, research done by a PT clinic in another region or another country. The point is to provide your audience with helpful and relevant content backed by data from authoritative sources. They will be sure to appreciate the effort.

When Not to Use Statistics

Here’s the thing: statistical evidence isn’t the Holy Grail that can make any piece of content persuasive. Facts and numbers can’t do much if your hypothesis is thin or if you don’t have solid arguments. For instance, you shouldn’t promote a certain procedure based on a small scale study with inconclusive findings. That may make your patients think twice before purchasing your services.

Of course, you could talk about the procedure and mention the study, but be very careful about the lingo. Instead of making bold claims, let your audience know that the same size for the study was rather small, for example, and that further research is needed to reach a relevant conclusion. By phrasing your ideas and arguments carefully, you show your prospective patients that you are, in fact, a true professional. So, use words such as “moderate evidence,” “limitations of the study,” risk factors,” “data were inconsistently reported,” and so on.


Writing persuasive content is hard. While backing your content with research can help you make a convincing case, it’s not the only factor that matters. An article packed with numbers can be a hit and miss if the content isn’t compelling enough. As such, telling an engaging story isn’t enough if your arguments are thin. You need to find the right balance between facts and storytelling.

Fortunately, help is just one click away. At PatientSites.com, we have a team of expert content writers and marketers that can help you create high-quality content that is sure to engage and persuade your audience. Give us a call to learn what we can do for you.

Photo: pexels.com

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