Using Your Blog for Maximum Benefit to Your Medical Practice
Blogs are great tools for maximizing the effectiveness of your web site. They allow you to quickly and easily add content, build up the size of your site and keep postings fresh for a low cost. Blogs are what you make of them; there is not one specific way they have to be used or a schedule you need to keep up with. You just need to be clear with their capabilities and develop a strategy that fits the goals of your practice.
Below are some ways you can use a blog as a marketing vehicle for your practice. You can use some or all of these ideas to help build your own blogging strategy. Over time you will begin to discover the value of having a blog associated with your web site.
Establish yourself as an authority
Posting informative articles and opinion pieces can further enhance your professional credibility. For those visitor's, who don't know about your practice, part of your web site goals should be convincing them that you have a thorough knowledge of your field. A blog can be used to supplement a basic bio or curriculum vitae by showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Making these articles timely shows that you are keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations in your field and that you have an opinion and insight beyond what is reported in a news broadcast or headline.
Keep potential patients informed about what is happening in your practice
Highlighting new equipment, new staff and new treatments, as an example, shows visitors that your practice is current, evolving and fresh. Spotlighting events related to you and your practice can help to establish a personal connection with the visitor and boost their perception of your image before meeting you.
Help patients relate to procedures/treatments
Before and after galleries have become common place on the web sites of many medical and dental practices. For certain specialties, patients expect to see these photos and use them not only to judge the quality of your work but also as a way of relating to the past patients you have. Blogs can be used to highlight cases with photos along with an actual story of the patient that describes them, what procedure they had, why they chose to have the procedure and the outcome. These more detailed cases can further help potential patients relate to you, your practice, and the work you perform.
Highlight philanthropic work
Many doctors will often work with charities that care for people that are less fortunate. Some of our clients have travelled great distances to other countries in order to help with certain relief efforts and medical causes. Rather than simply mentioning this somewhere on your web site, where people may or may not notice it, these charitable activities can be further addressed on your blog.
You can post a simple article, complete with photos, that helps tell the story. You also have the option of posting an elaborate diary, complete with periodic posts, which truly describe your experience.
Not only does this show potential patients that you give back to the community, but it makes for interesting reading.
Entice potential patients to take action
There's nothing like a special offer to get people to take action. A blog is a great vehicle for publishing these incentives on your web site. You or a member of your staff have the ability to log in at any time and make updates to keep special offers fresh and timely relative to events, seasons and holidays. You can detail reward programs for patient referrals, along with mentioning patients who have benefited from these programs. If offers and incentives don't apply to your practice, be creative and think of other ways you can inspire people to come to your office. For example, if you are a family doctor writing an article about the flu season ties in with the benefits of getting a flu shot. The end of the article can then have a link to your contact form with a call to action "Book your flu shot appointment today!". There are ways to market any type of specialty, with some creativity and brainstorming you can uncover strategies that apply to your practice.
Make Your Web Site 'One With Your Blog'
All MedNet blogs are designed to integrate into the design of your web site. This ensures that your blog has the same look and feel as the rest of your web site thereby preventing your potential patient from being confused when they enter the blog. With a little creativity you can further integrate your blog into your web site.
By making categories within your blog, you can incorporate these categories within the main navigation of your site. For example, rather than having a standard link to your blog which reads 'Blog', you can have a link that says 'Monthly Specials'. This can link to the monthly specials category within your blog. When visitors click the "Monthly Specials" link, they will be brought to all of the current monthly special postings in your blog.
Integrating the blog into your web site allows you to have multiple sections in your site that are updated, by you, with timely and fresh information. Putting a link within the main navigation of your site highlights the content and informs potential patients it exists and allows them to travel to it directly. Otherwise, someone would have to go to your blog first to even know that there were monthly specials within it.
Enhance the visibility of your web site
Arguably the biggest benefit of adding a blog to your web site is in regard to search engine optimization (SEO). Over time, blogs will build up the total size of your site because each time you post an article to your blog it creates an additional page on your site. Not only does this help your site, as a whole, become more 'authoritative' to Google, the additional content gives you new opportunities to be found for a variety of searches - ultimately driving people to the main areas of your web site.
Maximize the SEO benefit of your blog by doing the following:
- Posting Frequently - More is better! Every time you post to your
blog, you are creating an additional page on your site. The more pages you have out there indexed by Google, the better chance you have for potential patients finding your site.
- Lengthy postings - You should try to make your posts several paragraphs long rather than short one paragraph. This gives individual pages a good amount of content for search engines to index.
- Add content with keywords - Mention the procedure and/or keyword
along with the market you are targeting (i.e. Manhattan) several times within your post. You can also mention variations of the procedure and location within the post (abdominoplasty vs. tummy tuck or New York City vs. Manhattan). An even better strategy would be to create separate posts to focus on these variations so they are more specifically focused and targeted.
- Title your posting - The title of the blog post is the most
important element of your posting and should contain the subject
(keyword) the post is focused on as well as the location. This element will not only dictate the heading of the article, but also the name of the page and the title of the page.
- Naming your categories - Articles should be posted in appropriate
categories by selecting or adding them when you create your blog posts. These categories should be keyword-rich as well because they are included in the URL and will ultimately help your blog's SEO.
If you follow these guidelines your blog will definitely improve the visibility of your site over time.
Find what works best for your practice
You know your practice best and have the capability to develop a successful blogging strategy that works for you. For many doctors, their time is limited so it's important to use that time wisely.
Having a plan in place is a good step toward doing just that, and part of that plan should include how and when these articles will be written. You may decide to be the sole author or choose to have your staff post them and submit to you for approval. Whether you commit an hour a month or several hours a day, your web site and your practice will benefit over time.