Starting a blog, for those of you considering private practice, is more important than publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed journal.The peer-reviewed journal may impress your colleagues, but your blog puts you ahead of them by making you more visible to the public.
Every resident and fellow should start a blog today. The individuals that make that commitment now will be way ahead of their peers and competition by starting their web presence ahead of time.
Yesterday, I spoke to the Georgetown University/Washington Hospital Center eye residents about how they will need to market themselves, whether part of group practice or solo, differently than you and I did when we started.
Why? Present marketing efforts are either too expensive (radio, TV), obsolete and expensive (print and direct mail), or simply ineffective (free town lectures, taking a colleague out to lunch to introduce a new associate). Patients also are doing more Internet research on their own. If a doctor has no website, he/she doesn’t exist.
For those about to become attendings, the best time to start was a year or two ago. I still heavily recommend starting now, however, as you’ll still be ahead of your peers. You’ll simply be less attractive to your prospective associates/group than if you started earlier and are applying for a job with your own marketing strategy.
Whether you may move in a year or five, get started soon: Your web rankings are portable.
By starting a blog today:
• You’ll develop a ranking for your field of expertise. A web ranking takes time to achieve and is the biggest reason to start before you “graduate.” Starting a blog, for those of you considering private practice, is more important than publishing a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. The peer-reviewed journal may impress your colleagues, but your blog puts you ahead of them by making you more visible to the public.
• Once achieved, you’ll be ahead of any of your competitive peers, simply because you have taken the initiative to start now, regardless of the community you enter.
• Remember that your web page ranking is portable, that is, you can complete your residency in one town and move to another - and maintain your rankings.
• If you move after training, Google and the other search engines will follow you and know your geo-location. For potential patients, you’ll also signify a move by changing your contact information on your website.
In other words, If you were to start a blog today, while still a resident and armed with time to establish your site as a trusted reliable source (these are Internet terms for saying you are not a spam artist), you’ll already be established and rank highly on search engine results pages when patients are looking for a doctor. In other words, you’ll have your own referral base.
For about $100/year (the cost of hosting a website), you can have the best and most powerful marketing tool available.
Just as important, when searching for a job, you’ll be armed with:
1. a marketing strategy;
2. a high-ranking website readymade to provide you with your own referrals;
3. tools and skills, understanding content marketing and Medical SEO, that will put you ahead of other applicants.
Get started. Here's to your success!
Learn more about Randall Wong and our other contributing bloggers here.