Writing about a hot medical topic such as the Zika virus, Ebola, or vaccinations is a great way to drive traffic to your doctor blog. It can also help further your professional brand if you submit the post to a medical publication.
However, there are several things to know before taking a stance in a heated debate. Here’s a guide to help you better understand how to navigate controversial topics.
5 tips to cover hot medical topics on your doctor blog
1. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion
Your blog is part of your healthcare marketing plan, so offending your patients is the last thing you want. However, when dealing with hot medical topics, you need to share your true thoughts.
Patients turn to your blog to see what you think about healthcare issues everyone is talking about. For your blog to add value, you can’t simply restate the opinions of each side — you need to be open and honest with your views.
2. Share facts from reputable sources
In the midst of a medical controversy, patients want to separate fact from fiction. Including statistics in your blog post can make the content appear more credible. However, all sources do not have equal weight. If you share a statistic from an unreputable source, it will make patients question the credibility of the entire post.
Stick to relevant, quality sources such as government websites, medical journals, and studies conducted by well-known companies and nonprofits. Never use a statistic unless you can find its primary source — i.e. the original place it was cited — and only include timely information.
3. Present something new
Draw patients to your doctor blog by offering unique information on the hot medical topic they haven’t seen before. Write on an angle that hasn’t been discussed, clear up common misconceptions, or use this opportunity to explain the topic at hand in a manner patients can easily understand.
People don’t want to keep re-reading versions of the same blog post. Offering up something different is great marketing for doctors because it shows the unique value you have to offer.
When a hot medical topic is all the rage, patients want to learn as much about it as possible. If you have something unique to offer, they’ll be more than willing to listen.
4. Expect backlash
Everyone isn’t going to love every post on your doctor blog, and that’s OK. When you write on a hot topic, speaking your truth is the most important thing.
As long as you feel confident in your stance — and support it with credible information — that’s what matters most. Patients who don’t agree with your opinion on controversial topics — for example, if you’re a pediatrician who believes in vaccinations, and the parent is an anti-vaxxer — probably aren’t the right fit for your practice anyway.
If you receive backlash, take it in stride. Respect the fact that people have opinions different from yours — even if they are not medically sound — and take the high road.
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5. It’s OK to change your mind
Taking a stance on an issue now doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind later. In fact, authenticity is the best online marketing for doctors.
If in a few months or years you decide you actually agree with the other side, it’s fine to change your tune. Simply update your blog post to reflect your new beliefs and share the reason for your change of heart — for example, if new data was released.
You’re an established physician whose opinion is valued by patients. Sharing your thoughts on hot medical topics can help your doctor blog get noticed by the kind of patients you want to treat.
Instead of being nervous about writing on issues controversial to your field, think about the value you can bring patients. This should give you the confidence needed to speak your mind and offer input you stand behind.
Haven’t started blogging yet? See “Getting started with blogging for healthcare marketing” for expert tips.