A full practice and a practice full of patients who are invested in improving their health with your medical care — that’s what you want, right? Let’s talk about how to get there.
Blogging for your medical practice is the third part in my social media series. (See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.) Using a blog to update your medical practice website regularly is important for your potential and established patients to find you, and just as important for them to relate to you.
My clients and their patients agree that people buy from and seek advice from people, not nameless, faceless businesses or prescribers. This same principle applies to medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Prospective and established patients want to feel connected to you as their physician or provider and to your entire practice. The more they feel connected, the more inclined they are to seek your advice. It is the same reason celebrities are hired to promote a product or service: People feel connected to a particular celebrity based on what they know (or sometimes what they perceive) about the person. So, in a very real sense, blogging helps you serve your patients’ medical needs. They are more likely to follow medical recommendations the more they trust and rely on your expertise. Everything you do to build a trusting, expert relationship supports the practical medical care you provide.
We can fit this scenario to your practice by using social media to our advantage, and that encompasses blogging. I see the most success when my clients can swing blogging twice a week, and no less than once per month. This is typically where I see the most resistance, and hear things like “my schedule is packed, I don’t have time to write posts.”
There are numerous ways to handle not having the time. The absolute best-case scenario is for the healthcare provider to author the blog posts, however some physicians do take the most hands-off approach possible, and hire a ghost writer to write their blog posts.
While hiring a ghost writer works, it is even better to strike a balance and have different voices in your clinic write for your blog. Have one post from the doctor per month and the remaining posts be from nurses, billing professionals, the person in charge of any retail items in the clinic, the radiology department, etc.
My clients with larger multi-provider practices have one provider per week write a post, a nurse or other office member write a post, and then have a third post sprinkled in about notable medical news or community events.
The second complaint, after not having enough time, is usually “How do I come up with content?” Content is the EASY part. Start with your ideal patient in mind, make a list of their biggest concerns and complaints, and talk to them about the solutions. You advise patients every day. This is no different. How many allergy patients did you give the same speech today? That’s an automatic blog post.
At a broader level, your ideal patient may be teenage diabetic. What concerns would a teenage diabetic have? What concerns would that patient’s parents have? How would you address their concerns directly? Make your writing conversational! This is not a journal article, but a conversation with a teen and his/her concerned parents. (In this day in age, I would advise you to have a disclaimer at the bottom of your blog informing the reader that your blog is “in no way intended to replace medical advice from a physician.”)
When you are really stuck, don’t reinvent the wheel. Review your old content, and find something you can expand on, word differently, or update. A good rule of thumb is not to post a topic that is reworded for three months after your first time posting it.
At first, your blogging may feel forced. Yet over time my clients notice that they begin to look forward to blogging and will write notes to themselves on topics they would like to cover soon. You will find that the rewards are worth the effort!