Effective Blogging for Medical Practices: Quality vs. Quantity
You probably know by now that regular blogging is important to your online marketing strategy. However, there is more to effective blogging than simply posting new content every week or even every day. When it comes to maintaining, let alone increasing, the visibility of your website through regular blogging, quality counts. Indeed, quality content may be the single most important ingredient in a successful medical blog.
Fortunately, there is no reason you have to choose between quality and quantity. In fact, you should have both. Easier said than done, you say? Give me a few minutes of your attention, and I'll show you exactly how you can improve the quality of your posts without cutting back on quantity or taking too much time out of your busy schedule.
What does "quality" mean in the context of a blog post?
Quality does not have to be a vague concept. Indeed, there are certain elements that should be present in all quality blog posts:
A Narrowly Defined Scope
A blog post should be fairly limited in scope in order to complement the broader educational content of your website. Try to identify a specific subtopic that has either not been discussed or not been fully exploited elsewhere in your site and expand upon it in detail.
Readers are generally attracted to topics that suggest editorial "takes." Good examples of such topics include:
- Comparative analyses: Blog articles that compare "Treatment X" to "Treatment Y" help to provide insight into both treatments. At the same time, you can earn credibility by being honest in your comparisons and not taking the stance that all treatments are equal to one another.
- Pros and cons: People genuinely want to know the pros and cons associated with the treatments you offer and the technologies you use. Again, your credibility can skyrocket if you are willing to write openly on such topics.
- Hot tips and numbered lists: People are searching the web for medical advice, and they love to digest that advice in the form of lists. You will more likely catch the attention of your intended audience if you offer your expert advice in a numbered list headed by a titillating title such as "Five Hot Tips for..." or "The Top Five Ways to..."
Remember that the title of your blog post is as important as the post itself. It should be specific yet alluring; above all, it should "hook" a reader's attention.
Once you have arrived at a topic for your blog post, make sure that you stick to the point. Every sentence of your post should serve to develop your main idea. If you find yourself broadening the scope of your blog post midway through to accommodate ideas that aren't relevant to the topic, set them aside for a possible future blog post.
Don't be afraid to edit. Great blog posts generally result from subtraction rather than addition.
Remember that the point of a blog is to present information that will be of current interest to readers. Have you integrated a new technology into your practice? Have you learned a new technique through your continuing education courses? Do you have an opinion about a trend in your industry? If you can attach an actual recent date to the information you are presenting, there will be no question as to its timeliness. At the very least, make sure that you are not peppering your posts with outdated references to "new" technologies that have been FDA-approved for a decade or longer. (You'd be surprised how often that does happen in 2015.)
If you find yourself stuck for ideas, consider which procedures patients are most interested in learning more about when they contact your practice. What types of questions are they asking? Use your actual experiences with your actual patients to determine what sorts of posts your prospective patients will be most interested in reading.
While comprehensiveness and length are somewhat related, a blog post does not necessarily have to be "long" in order to be comprehensive. It simply has to cover the topic in sufficient detail as not to leave readers with so many open questions that they have to search elsewhere on the Internet for answers. Of course, if it prompts readers to ask related questions - the sort of questions that lead them to delve deeper into your website or, better yet, contact your practice - then your blog post has done its job admirably.
Top Five Questions to Help You Gauge the Comprehensiveness of a Blog Post
- If I were an average person who understood little about this topic before reading this post, would I have a basic understanding after reading it?
- Have I provided definitions of terms that aren't in common outside of my profession?
- If I've expressed an opinion, have I provided evidence that a layperson can understand to support that opinion?
- Have I repeated any of my points unnecessarily? (If so, remember: don't be afraid to edit.)
- Is there essential information related to this topic that I have not addressed in this blog post?
Before you publish your blog post, step away from it for a moment and read it with fresh eyes. Is it a post that you find engaging and entertaining from beginning to end, given your interest in the subject?
If so, and if it meets all of the above criteria, publish away, content in your knowledge that you have composed a quality blog post.
If not, measure it against the above criteria once again. Revise until you hit that sweet spot. As with most things in life, including medicine, the more you practice, the more naturally it will come to you.
So how do you balance quality and quantity?
Fortunately, balancing quality and quantity isn't quite the tightrope act that it might seem at first. Once you recognize that a "quality" blog post does not have to be a model of literary and academic brilliance, but something that can be measured according to some relatively specific criteria, you will hopefully feel more at ease simply to write.
Four Useful Tips for Generating Regular Quality Content
- Remember to keep it real. Really. Authenticity is key when you are writing a blog post. Don't lose sight of your audience. Speak to them, as though they were sitting in your office having a casual, if educational, chat. Aim for a tone similar to that which you would use during a consultation: friendly, straightforward, and comprehensible without being condescending. Writing to a well-defined audience is always easier than writing with no clear audience in mind.
- Sprinkle smaller posts among your "big" posts. Not every blog post has to be major. If you publish, say, one feature-length blog post a week, you can certainly post content that is more "shallow" in nature - a sentence or two about upcoming office specials, a note of congratulations to an employee celebrating a work anniversary, information about a new hire - in between posts. Just be sure that you aren't relying exclusively on that sort of content.
- You can have someone else write your blog posts. Assign someone - or even several people - on your staff to write your blog posts. If you want to control the direction of your posts, provide your blog writer with a basic outline of ideas from which to work. There are also companies such as Einstein Medical that can develop regular high-quality content and publish it directly to your blog. You can even invite peers in your industry to "guest blog" in exchange for links to their websites, if you're so inclined. As long as original quality content is being published to your blog regularly, it doesn't really matter where it comes from.
- Avoid off-topic, poorly written content. Google is able to track the behaviors of people who visit your blog and factor those behaviors into the likely worth of a given post. If you routinely post poor-quality content that is of no interest to its intended audience, it could have a profoundly negative effect on your website. However, if you make a point to publish something of worth every time you post, even if it is just a sentence or two, your readers will reward your dedication to quality. More than likely, Google will too.
In the end, publishing regular, quality blog posts is worth your time and investment. It will allow you to establish yourself as an authority on a variety of topics relevant to your field, take control of your professional reputation, and become more visible both to the search engines and prospective patients.
Best of all, you don't have to wait months to put your improved blog strategy into motion. By using the tips presented in this article, you can start optimizing your medical blog today. And if you don't have the resources or time to devote to your blog, or you simply prefer to let someone else handle the heavy lifting, Einstein Medical's team of dedicated blog writers can provide you with the original high-quality content you need to set your practice apart from the rest.
Need an experienced writer's helping hand to take your blog to the next level? Contact Einstein Medical to find out how you can put our content development team to work for you.