Blogging is one of the big “musts” of digital marketing. The benefits of maintaining a blog are endless. Blogs improve your SEO, they position you as a subject matter expert in your industry, and they encourage search engines to crawl your site more often! What’s not to love? Yes, we understand that keeping a blog can be a real time commitment; however, the ROI is just as real. To help you get started with blogging for your medical organization, we have outlined 5 keys to maintaining a successful healthcare blog.
Identify Your Target Audience
First and foremost, know who you will be talking to. Typically with a healthcare blog, you will be targeting current and prospective patients. If you work for a medical center with a niche market, you will obviously want to stay in that niche. However, if you work for a less-targeted practice, such as a University Hospital, pick a few topics that are more important to you. While you want to stay moderately focused, you don’t want to get too focused so that you run out of topics in a month.
To determine your audience:
- Discuss who your current customer-base consists of
- Identify which medical services are more popular at your facility
- Decide what outcomes you want from blogging (new patients, new donors, greater education)
Develop a Calendar Based on Search Engine Optimization
When it comes to blogging, it is very important to keep a schedule. This means posting on a regular basis and knowing ahead of time what your blog will be about. Doing so will help you avoid writer’s block down the road. If possible, outline all of your blog topics for the next quarter and on which dates you will be posting them. Need help coming up with 3 months of ideas? This is where your SEO comes into play. Determine what your website’s targeted keywords are and go from there. More than likely, they have to do with your particular services, such as “podiatry”, or more specifically, “diabetic foot care” or “arthritis pain”. Once you have 5-7 of these keywords or phrases identified, you can begin coming up with tentative blog titles (i.e. 3 Things to Know about Diabetic Foot Care). See how easy that was?
“If you build it, they will come” does not apply to blogging. Rather, you need to push your blog out into the world if you want people to see it. Posting it on your website is not enough. Come up with a strategy for how you will get more people to view your blogs and make it part of your regular posting checklist.
Some ideas for getting your blog out there include:
- Sending it in your e-newsletter
- Posting it on your social media sites
- Featuring it on your homepage
- Sending it to your Doctors to share with patients
- Submit your blogs to medical blog aggregators like Medical News Feed and Global Health Hub
Incorporate Other Authors
Blogs about healthcare mean a lot more when they are coming from credible and verifiable sources. While you can pen some blogs as “X Hospital” or “Dr. Smith’s Office Staff”, not all of them should be as such. Ask the doctors and nurses at your hospital to write blogs about their specialty. If they feel they aren’t good writers, you can always add your twist during the editing phase. Another option would be to write the blog yourself and ask the Doctor to edit and review. Either way, his or her name is associated with the blog, increasing its credibility. Finally, you could reach out to vocal current and past patients to share their stories. Just make sure you get proper sign-off!
Be Cognizant of HIPAA
That last idea reminds us to be cognizant of HIPPA and other privacy regulations. While such privacy regulations can make blogging a bit more difficult, they shouldn’t deter you completely. Just make sure you understand the laws and what is okay to say. Avoid including any personal information about patients that they haven’t fully consented to sharing and always include a disclaimer explaining that your opinions are your own and that patients should contact their doctors with any health concerns.
That wasn’t so bad, was it? We didn’t think so. Keep these 5 keys in mind as you move forward with creating and maintaining your healthcare blog. As always, if you need assistance with starting or managing a blog, please do not hesitate to contact Informatics.
View the rest of the healthcare digital marketing blogs from this month: