10 Blogging Best Practices
Out of all the social media tools, blogging gives you and your practice the broadest platform to speak directly to patients and referring providers. In a recent article on PhysiciansPractice.com, Simon Sikorski, MD, shares his top 10 blogging best practices, which work for any health care provider.
Should the most nationally recognized physician bloggers be proud of their work? Yes and no.
Recently, there were more than 30 medical blogs mentioned in various articles in medical journals. They were celebrated for the physicians’ leadership in blogging and paving the way for adoption of social media among medical professionals. Indeed, the content my firm found on those blogs was a wealth of the most important information those doctors’ patients would ever find on the internet.
However, after a brief analysis of those blogs, there’s nothing to celebrate. These doctors spent countless hours of writing amazing articles but aside from the three to five blog posts on the home page, the rest of the several hundred articles and videos were impossible to find. Some of these doctors have been blogging for months and years, and frankly all 30 of them made serious mistakes, in my opinion. It’s difficult to understand why such reputable doctors with national recognition have such poorly managed blogs with no plans for long-term ROI.
In this article we will explore the 10 most important guidelines for any health care practitioner to follow when writing for their blogs.
1. Look at your blog as a way to establish your credibility and expertise in the field. This is your way to not only gain recognition but help people identify with you as a person. It’s OK for you to hire someone to help you write it, just be sure to put your personality into it. But I will say the best blogs are always written by the health care practitioners themselves.
2. Focus your blog. Focus on the one thing you want your blog to accomplish and stick with it. Don’t change the focus; don’t start blogging about different topics. If you’re writing about knee injuries, stick to knee injuries, prevention, surgeries, articles, news, etc. … about knee injuries. Don’t start going on about your political views. It’s OK to celebrate a new hire, recognition for something, a TV appearance, but keep it focused.
3. Don’t write about anything and everything; plan for your articles to have a return on investment. If you think your post is not going to be relevant a week from now, don’t write it. Keep building a positive image. Don’t write about controversial topics, especially if your blog is focused.
4. Categorize everything. I’ve seen blogs that have hundreds of articles on them, but who cares if patients can’t find any of them that are relevant to their needs? Do you think all those tags Wordpress blogs are famous for helps patients find relevant information? No way. If anything they make the blogs look like an art project rather than something that is supposed to be treated as the most trusted source of information on the Internet for your patients. Without categories, blog posts have a lifetime until your next blog post. Why spend 15 minutes to 30 minutes of your life on something that will disappear in a week? For example, categorize your knee injury blog posts into prevention, exercises to strengthen muscles, nutrition, prep for surgery, etc. Before their appointment, send your patient a link to the category!
5. Separate your blog for patients and referring providers.
6. Incorporate medical SEO; plan for long-term success with your blog. Create titles and descriptions for your blog posts that will have meaning for years to come. Plan on using key phrases that your patients are using in your blogs. Hire a medical marketer to go over the blog articles to re-optimize and categorize them. You may pay $20 to $50 per blog post but you can ensure these posts will have meaning and will be found on Google. Some marketing companies incorporate this into their monthly maintenance plans for blogs and websites and that’s a great deal if you don’t have to pay extra for this.
7. Make sure every blog post has a different title and description.
8. Incorporate your contact information into every page. It’s the greatest sin if patients can’t find a way to contact you.
9. Keep your blog posts for local providers and patients. The biggest ROI is that your blog will save thousands of dollars on promoting your expertise and practice. Make sure your address is on every page.
10. Pick topics that are dear to your patients. Ask them during the office visit what information they want to see, or would have loved to see before their visit. Start prescribing your blog as an educational tool for patients before they come see you. Take pride in prescribing your blog. You will receive great satisfaction when your patients start thanking you for it.
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