If blogging isn’t part of your healthcare marketing strategy, it’s time to make a change. Companies that place a priority on blogging are 13x more likely to see a positive return on investment (ROI), according to HubSpot.
Not surprisingly, HubSpot revealed 55 percent of marketers have cited blog content creation as their number one inbound marketing priority. Clearly, blogging plays an important role in every strategic healthcare marketing plan, so it’s time to get started.
Here’s a guide to help you learn blogging basics.
Blogging 101 for healthcare marketing
Deciding what to blog about
Capture patients’ attention by choosing blog post topics they actually want to read. People are interested in matters they can relate to, so focus on issues relevant to your practice.
For example, topics you might blog about include:
- Answers to questions commonly asked in your exam rooms.
- Tips to help patients improve their quality of life — i.e. a pediatrician might share tips to help parents improve their infant’s sleep habits.
- Results of recent medical studies — and your take on them — that impact your patient base.
- Updates on your practice.
- Reviews of products you believe in that would be of interest to your patients.
Read: 4 blog post ideas to enhance your digital marketing efforts
Determining categories and keywords
Upon starting a blog, one of the first things you’ll do is create categories for your content. Similar to a book index, categories preview the content of your blog, allowing patients to quickly see what they can learn from you.
When choosing blog categories, think about topics important to your patients. For example, a dermatologist might choose medical dermatology, surgical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, patient stories, and recent news.
When choosing keywords, write down the main categories of your practice, then list terms or phrases that might fall under each one. Choose specific keywords if you’re trying to attract a certain group of people — i.e. chronic Plaque Psoriasis — or general keywords to attract a broader patient base — i.e. adult acne.
You might like: How to optimize categories and keywords for healthcare marketing
Planning a blog post schedule
Nearly all marketers (96 percent) believe content marketing is effective for their brand, according to The State of Content Marketing 2019 by Zazzle Media. However, only 32 percent say their company is definitely clear on how to create a successful content marketing strategy.
Consistency is key to a successful content marketing strategy, and creating an editorial calendar will help you to achieve that. Just as it sounds, an editorial calendar allows you to map out your content to ensure you’re publishing blog posts at regular intervals.
This is crucial because sharing content on a consistent basis will boost your search engine rankings. Keeping your patient base engaged also strengthens brand awareness and credibility, which makes for an effective digital marketing strategy.
Choosing blog post formats
Nearly half of people (43 percent) admit to skimming blog posts, according to HubSpot. Your patients are busy people, so present your blog content in a reader-friendly format.
Almost half of blog posts (49 percent) include a list, according to a 2018 study conducted by Orbit Media. Considering 31 percent of bloggers report strong results from this approach, it seems to be a success.
Of course, not all content can — or should — be written in list form. You can also use subheads to break up the text and make it more skimmable. There’s no hard and fast rule about paragraph length, but it should also be limited to a few lines.
Generally speaking, people aren’t inclined to read large blocks of text, but this is especially problematic on mobile devices. Considering 81 percent of Americans own a smartphone and 37 percent mostly use this device when accessing the Internet, according to the Pew Research Center, making content mobile-friendly is crucial.
Check out: 5 blog post formats perfect for healthcare marketing
Including links and photos
Crafting a well-written blog post on a topic that interests your patient base is important, but your work doesn’t stop there. Adding images and links to the post will make it more interesting and credible.
More than half of bloggers (54 percent) include multiple images in their posts, according to Orbit Media. This tactic seems to be successful, as 31 percent report strong results from it.
Links should be part of your healthcare marketing strategy because they add a sense of authority to your content and can be helpful to patients. External links guide readers away from your site and internal links take them to another page on your site.
For example, if you review a product or cite a study in your blog post, you should link to the original source. (This is an external link.) However, if you touch on a subject in one blog post that you covered in-depth on another, you can include an internal link to encourage patients to keep reading on your site.
Related: What is backlinking and why is it important for practice marketing?
Sharing blog posts after publishing
Crucial to the success of online marketing for doctors — and every business — sharing blog posts on social media will expand your reach. In fact, 96 percent of bloggers use social media to drive traffic to their posts, according to Orbit Media.
The same blog post can be shared multiple times on different platforms — simply tailor the message to each audience and switch up the lead-in text each time you share. This serves the dual purpose of helping you create engaging social media content and gaining a broader audience for your blog posts.
Also see: What to do after posting a blog to your healthcare website
Blogging has become an integral part of a successful healthcare marketing strategy, so it’s time to get on board. Grow your patient base and highlight your knowledge by creating meaningful content designed to engage and inform.
Did you know that 40 percent of healthcare providers say they don’t blog because they don’t have the time? Learn more by reading “Why healthcare providers aren’t blogging — and why they should be.”