Why I Blog

August 12, 2010

I started my blog on retinal diseases about 18 months ago. My wife brought us to an Internet marketing seminar as an anniversary gift. Yes, you read that correctly. Admittedly, I don’t like using the word “marketing.” It makes me cringe, but it has shown me many ways to do my job better.

I started my blog on retinal diseases about 18 months ago. My wife brought us to an Internet marketing seminar as an anniversary gift. Yes, you read that correctly. Admittedly, I don’t like using the word “marketing.” It makes me cringe, but it has shown me many ways to do my job better.

These are some of the reasons I blog:

1. To challenge myself.

I’ve always liked the Internet. I started my first Web page in 1994. I used Microsoft FrontPage to create a 65-page Web site for our practice. It took two years, but I loved it. We could never get high rankings though, unless we paid. We didn’t.

Now years later at the seminar, I was intrigued to learn that there were now “rules” to the Internet. Basically, those Web pages that are at the top of a search results page are there because they have relevance and deserve the high rankings. Years ago, you could “pay your way” to the top of a list. Now, it is no longer a game.

I wanted to see if I could do it, and I wanted to learn something new.One of the basic rules of starting a blog is choose a topic that interests you. For me that was easy: retinal disease.

2. To teach vs. medical blogging

There are many doctors who blog. I don’t know if I really fit in that category as many of the docs who blog are really on a soapbox. Most of my articles are educational and mimic the explanations I give to my patients. While I am not practicing medicine on the site, I am posting articles about the retina and about what I do.

I don’t use the site to soapbox about the current administration and views of healthcare. I use the site to teach.

 

3. To communicate

Having a blog makes a unique statement. The ability to make a comment on any given article or post says that I am willing to communicate with patients.

 

Not only do my patients see another side of their doctor by reading my articles, but their visit now extends well beyond the confines of the usual office visit. The office visit is less finite and becomes open ended. They are invited to communicate via the blog or e-mail. This is reassuring to them. It becomes a dialogue.

A blog can reveal your personality. It can give a hint of who you are. Patients and readers look for this. This is a good thing. This is the modern “bedside manner,” that is, revealing who you are.

I also direct my patients to articles I’ve written and posted on the Web site. I invite them to ask questions by leaving a comment on the blog or by e-mailing me. This educates them.

This new communication has strengthened my relationship with most of my patients. I have created easy ways to allow my patients to ask questions and advocate for themselves. It gives them a credible resource to learn more and, most of all, sets me apart by showing I care.

4. To market and create a Web presence

As a result of my Web site, I have created a significant Web presence. My site can be found high in the rankings using a variety of keywords. I have become very visible on the Internet. While I have operated on patients as far as Nigeria, I have become my own best referral source, all due to Google, Bing, and Yahoo!.

When I started my blog, I had no idea how rewarding it would be. It has helped build my practice, but more than that, I am surprised at all the positive feedback, especially from patients.

Best of all, I’ve learned that I like writing. I’ve learned some new skills that integrate very well with my profession. The Internet and medicine...it’s a great combination.