A decade ago, blogging was an activity relatively undertaken by political pundits and online dairy writers. Today, it is mandatory for any business. If you own a healthcare business and wish to build a robust presence online, it is imperative to optimize your medical website so that search engines can find you. Blogging is one of the big “musts” of healthcare digital marketing. Blogging has become a powerful tool for physicians to share their expertise, build better relationships with their patients, and make connections online. Many also turn to blogging as a way to combat the deluge of online medical misinformation.
Why Blogging Matters
In today’s busier-than-ever healthcare environment, many medical practitioners do not find time to create blog posts in addition to managing their patient appointments and promoting their practices. However, what they may not fully realize is that physicians who write blogs have distinctive advantages over those who do not. Blogs improve your medical SEO, they position you as a subject matter expert in your industry, and encourage search engines to crawl your website more often. However, how many physicians ever write blogs? If they do, are they consistent in blogging? Physicians blog for a number of reasons like – to promote patient education, enhance online reputation, retain existing patients and attract new patients. Blogs also allow you to connect with patients on a much deeper level. Therefore, to help new bloggers get started and make experienced bloggers sharpen their craft in writing a successful healthcare blog, here are five useful tips –
- Identify Your Target Audience – When sitting down to write a blog, first and foremost identify your primary audience. Know who you will be talking to (whether the general public, patients, doctors or decision makers), what type of people might be interested in reading your medical blog, think about their age, education level and health status and other relevant aspects. Typically, with a healthcare blog, you will be targeting current and prospective patients. Understanding the demographics of your audience can help you shape the important elements of your blog based on their unique interests. For example, if you are writing a blog about post-graduate medical training, you can take it for granted that physicians will know what “residency” is, but if you are writing for the general public, you can’t make that general assumption. The type of approach to be opted towards writing may depend on target audiences. While decision makers may respond well to blogs that focus on cost and other policy issues, patients are often more interested in how your blog relates to their care.
- Hook Your Readers – When generating blog ideas, fine tune your topics. Instead of writing a generic healthcare post, narrow it down to a specific health condition, news event or trend. To stand out, you need to hook your readers from the very first line itself. One effective tool for capturing your audience’s attention is to make a bold or provocative statement right at the beginning. If you are successful in capturing the reader’s interest within the first two to three lines, there is a much better chance that they will read the full blog towards the end.
- Avoid medical jargon – For medical content writing, always use plain language. Blogs shouldn’t be the venue to showcase your vocabulary skills or your command over acronyms. Never say with one long sentence what you could instead say in two short sentences. People may not really take the time to read the rest of your blog post, if they are stuffed with overly complex and long sentences. On an average, readers spend only 2 minutes reading a blog post. So, your blog content should be easily comprehensible to readers. Make sure to edit or avoid complex sentences and technical medical jargon.
- Add keywords – Insert several targeted SEO keywords and key phrases. For example, if you are writing about dental braces, try to include other specific terms like orthodontics or tips on how to get straighter teeth. In addition, your business may be serving a specific or multiple geographic regions. Be sure to include your location and any nearby points of interest throughout some of the business blogs.
- Post frequently – Medical practitioners or physicians who blog should make relevant posts relating to the current health trends and news by constantly publishing fresh and appropriate content. As majority of these posts need to be unique, it is acceptable to recycle content topics when appropriate. For example, blog posts about seasonal-specific health conditions and services.
- Include expert interviews, infographics and testimonials – Medical blog posts must ideally include expert interviews, info graphics and testimonials. Expert interviews conducted via Skype or Google Hangouts offer your blog audience the opportunity to learn from the experiences and thoughts of experts. Create attractive and educational infographics content that capture the attention of your audience.
Here’s an instance –
Testimonials can help boost the credibility of your healthcare organization. You can mention quotes from patients in your regular blog posts, or even combine several reviews into one blog post.
To boost the credibility of written reviews, be sure to include the name and photo of the reviewer.
- Include a Call-to-Action – After reading each blog post, give your readers an opportunity to continue the conversation. Encourage readers to either schedule an appointment, contact for additional information or add other relevant calls-to-action to keep them from returning to your website again and again. Place links to previous medical blog posts that they might be interested in. In addition, make online readers and in-office patients aware that they can make blog subscriptions to receive a notification every time a new blog is posted.
When you start writing a blog, try to have a tight focus. Generally, it is quite tempting to stuff everything about a specific topic in to a single blog. However, the result will be confusing or unengaging. If you are relatively new to blogging, mastering these above mentioned tips is a great way to start. As you get more experienced, you will start to develop a sense of when you can bend the rules, and when you cannot.