Established in 2006, Circassia is a medical devices company that focuses on respiratory diseases such as asthma. Their NIOX® products are used by healthcare professionals to improve asthma diagnosis and management, helping millions of people around the world to a better quality of life. The NIOX VERO® device even won the 2020 MedTech award for the most advanced asthma diagnosis solution.
Asthma affects over 340 million people worldwide, but it can be difficult to diagnose correctly. Today, traditional asthma tests can be supported by so-called FeNO testing, which measures the amount of FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) in patients’ breath. This is exactly what Circassia’s NIOX® products are designed to do in an easy and non-invasive way. The test itself takes only a few minutes and can even be used by children from around 5 years of age.
However, even though several official asthma guidelines and research studies support the use of FeNO testing, it is not as widespread as it could be. Circassia decided to try content marketing as a tool to spread the word about FeNO and their testing devices.
NoA Ignite have been essential in the digital transformation of Circassia. Not only did the expert content creation team assist in developing engaging and appealing content on our products, they did it with the upmost professionalism and creativity.
Head of Digital
We allocated two content editors/strategists to write the blog articles, one of which also acted as the project manager. In addition, two editors helped us with keyword research for SEO, and one editor translated the articles to German.
To kick off the collaboration, we went to Oxford to meet Circassia during a one-day workshop. We spent the day getting to know each other, learning about Circassia’s products and goals. We gathered information about the target groups, started drafting a tone of voice, and established processes and tools to use for our collaboration. Last but not least, we had the chance to try the latest NIOX® device (and could literally breathe out when our FeNO levels were confirmed as normal).
After this meeting, our continued cooperation has been working well with calls through Microsoft Teams. We started each month with a planning meeting and also had regular shorter feedback calls to go through submitted articles. Based on a short brief and a list of references from Circassia, we produced around two articles per month over the course of 2020.
Our main challenge was that most of our background material consisted of scientific studies. They all had a rather convoluted academic style that didn’t fit a series of blog articles. Our task was to extract the relevant information from these studies and transform them into digestible content.
Another challenge was to settle on a procedure for the German language versions. Like many clients these days, Circassia were interested in transcreation rather than straight translation. In brief, transcreation can be described as a kind of free translation, where the translator adapts the text quite heavily to make sure it suits the target audience and culture both in term of content and style. You can read more about transcreation in this blog article. At the same time, we were dealing with scientific facts and terminology, and had to be very careful that any medical references and claims were reflected accurately and precisely in the translations.
We take a holistic approach to content creation, by which we mean that we consider strategy, goals, target groups, company brand voice, and SEO as parts of the process. As writers, we want to create text with as much context as possible. Our aim is to hit the sweet spot where our content both resonates with the users and is aligned with the business goals. Many of these methods and principles have been picked up from UX writing, which we have written about in the blog article How UX writing helps us create medical content.
This approach was helpful when dealing the medical side of the background material. Having a clear process and goals made it easier for us to identify the relevant parts in the scientific studies. We also cross-checked the information in the studies with official asthma guidelines and established websites, where medical terms and practices often are explained in plain language.
Discussions around the tone of voice helped a great deal. Even though the main target group for the content marketing project is health professionals (doctors and nurses), we decided to aim for a plain and easily absorbed writing style. Partly to fit the medium of a company blog, but also because health professionals are busy people and we wanted them to be able to read our articles as quickly as possible. There was no need for us to explain medical terms, though.
At the same time, it was important to acknowledge the fact that we are not medically trained writers. To ensure accuracy, all articles were read and approved by staff at Circassia. On the positive side, having non-trained writers can be an excellent way to make sure medical content is understandable – to write the articles, we had to grasp the content ourselves.
As for the German translations, we found a good balance between translation and transcreation by applying the transcreation aspect mostly on sentence level (rather than adding or removing content or changing the overall structure). Our German editor worked closely with a German representative at Circassia to discuss any changes needed and to ensure that the translation hit the right tone for the local audience.
You can read all about how we deal with multilingual content for other clients here.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy and not a quick fix. Circassia’s content marketing project is still in the early stages. Still, we have already seen some remarkable results from our efforts. Circassia reports a 15% increase in new lead generation and a 30% increase in web traffic. In the words of Head of Digital Samuel Isaacs, “the content produced by Making Waves helped prove to Circassia that content marketing was the correct direction for our digital strategy”.
Case study author: Anja Wedberg