Building a successful blog only requires you to do 2 things. But you must do those 2 things extremely well to stand out amongst the millions of other healthcare websites.
Recently, I crossed a big personal milestone at referralMD.
I have personally written 100 articles, with the rest created by talented guest authors and partners. Now 100 may not seem like a lot, but when you consider that my background is in engineering, finance and design, it’s somewhat impressive.
Over the last year my articles have had over 100+ thousand views, which has directly lead to referralMD gaining in popularity amongst healthcare professionals as a great resource for marketing strategy guides. My life and career has changed dramatically because I published my first blog post in March 2012, and kept publishing every month.
Publishing 100 blog posts also taught me a lot about brain surgery. Well not really, but read on, I will explain.
Blogging isn’t brain surgery.
It does not take 14 to 18 years to become a great blogger as it does to become a brain surgeon. All it takes is 2 things.
- Publish useful content
- Promote the content to people that care about it.
So why is blogging important?
- Foundation for all your social media activities – Think about it this way…a blog provides a headquarters for all of your social media efforts. It’s where you drive readers to content that expands on who you are and what you are trying to do.
- Build your brand as an expert – In the last ten years a blog has become the conventional way in which to show that you are an authority on a subject. Successful bloggers like Stewart Gandolf and Fred Pennic are great examples.
- Build trust – A well-designed blog with in-depth articles delivered with consistency will help create a bridge between you and potential readers. That bridge is called trust.
- Increased referrals – The trust factor will increase the amount of Patients, other doctors, and healthcare professionals that want to talk or work with you.
- Exercise your creativity – If you are a writer, a blog is unlike other social media in that it gives you plenty of room to work out ideas you might have.
- Growing stream of organic search traffic – Because of your steady stream of content, a blog will get a ton of traffic from both SEO and the social web. There really isn’t a proven method that can do better.
- Consistency is the key – You can become famous with a blog…as long as you are consistent and hang in there for at least two years. People like Kevin Pho have proven it works.
- Proven business model – A blog run right will make you profit, which is important to running a business. Thanks Quicksprout.com for snippet.
So how do you start?
Come up with an action plan by following these 3 easy steps.
1. Create a visually stunning website that is easy to navigate.
Why this is important? As patients are keener to using online resources, their tastes improve and their patience for slow websites declines. Did you know that Amazon found for every 100ms of latency it would cost them 1% in sales?
Design is also immensely important. Make sure your blog posts are scannable (created for visitors that just want to read titles and small snippets of info) and easy to follow. You spend hours researching amazing content and the worst thing to do is make it look like this.
Competition is everywhere and if you do not have a fast and easy to use website that lets the user know why they should do business with you in 5 seconds or less, they will leave and never return.
Need help? Our friends at Liquid Lock Media can create a great website or marketing campaign for you.
2. Come up with a content strategy (What do your potential viewers want to read?)
Why is this important? Nothing worse than creating content that no one will read, share, or comment on. Right? So first things first, identify types of content you are good at creating. It can be article writing, video, or pod casts. Next come up with a content calendar. The key is not to write fluff. (Short meaningless posts that do not teach the reader anything) There are millions of blogs that do this and spam out content that no one reads or shares. Do not be one of those blogs.
What is a content calendar? A content calendar is a list of interesting ideas that you would like to write about in the future. As I am online reading other great articles that get a lot of shares or comments I make note about the subject and if I feel I can add value to the topic I jot down some notes on my phone to remind me about it or use Google docs.
Where to find topics?
- Ask your patients what their toughest problems are and create great how-to guides on how to solve those issues.
- Look at what is trending at Google News and Google Trends. Take those topics and input them into your spreadsheet.
- Join LinkedIn groups that are related to your field and find posts that have a lot of comments and write your own take on the subject. More about using LinkedIn to market your healthcare practice.
- Neil Patel from Quicksprout.com wrote a great article about “Your first 30 days of Blogging” which is worth the read if you are just starting out.
- Create your own Facebook Fan Page – See how the Cleveland Clinic does it.
3. Share, Promote, and Guest Post
Why is this important? Once you created some amazing content (recommended having at least 8 to 12 articles on your website before you start promoting so visitors do not come to an empty website), start sharing it on your website with social sharing tools such as Sharethis.com which allows you and your readers to share content on Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn. I would recommend only using 3 or 4 social sharing buttons, as more tend to confuse the reader and they will not click anything.
Did you know that not only is consistency important, but also the time of day that you share content is key.
In one recent survey, In one recent survey, Dan Zarella found when the best time was to read blog posts. The answer was first thing in the morning.
Guest posting is another great way to get your content out the door, but you need to have powerful friends that like you enough to add your blogs to their site.
- Identify the top 10 to 20 Healthcare bloggers in your space that have the readers you want to come to your site and reach out to them via email.
- Know your limits on how many people you or your staff can create content for and decide on a writing strategy (1 post a week, 1 post a month, etc…) So you do not burn out.
- Make sure you keep in contact with readers after you post the article and if they have any questions or comments be sure to answer promptly.
Don’t be scared to start, even if your first blog is terrible.
When you first start blogging, you will not know anything, you will mess up, and people will not read your content. But you know what? As time goes on you will get better and you will get a lot of satisfaction as you start seeing more visitors come to your website and receive more calls.
Here are some other articles to get you started.
- 8 Tips for Creating One of a Kind Content for Your Healthcare Facility
- 7 Ways To Get More Patient Referrals Online
- 8 Quick Steps You Can Do Today to Set Your Healthcare Practice Up for Gigantic Success
- Why Video is a Must in 2013 for your Healthcare Practice Website
- Four Innovative Ways for Doctors to Market to Other Doctors