Creating your own content is great for visibility and SEO—blog posts about healthcare issues get shared, social media posts get liked, and becoming “YouTube famous” is a real thing (just ask Dr. Pimple Popper). But if you want to raise your profile—as a healthcare provider and as an expert in your field—and generate those precious backlinks, guest posts and appearances should be part of your online marketing strategy.
That said, opportunities to share your expertise don’t fall out of the sky. Luckily, a number of online resources can help you find the perfect outlet for your healthcare expertise, connecting you with opportunities for guest posts and articles, testimonials, interviews, and even (depending on your comfort level) public speaking engagements and TV appearances. It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.
HARO (Help A Reporter Out)
HARO helps journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals out by connecting them with knowledgeable, credible sources for their stories. Prospective experts sign up online for a thrice-daily email with requests for sources. If you see something that fits your specialty—quotes needed for piece on how to change a skincare regime for winter—you can submit a pitch to the reporter, who will get back to you if they like what you have to say.
The basic subscription to HARO is free and gets you the email requests. Paid plans add benefits like keyword filters, text alerts, and even a head start on other sources with early alerts.
ProfNet is another site that connects sources with media opportunities (and public speaking opportunities, too). As with HARO, experts can register to get an inbox full of opportunities. If you want to get proactive about it, you can send out media releases with links to your ProfNet profile and Expert Alerts pitching breaking story ideas directly to the media.
ProfNet also offers ProfNet Connect, which is an online community where sources and outlets can find each other. Among other benefits, it lets you upload photos and videos to your profile, making you that much more attractive to journalists and bloggers who might need someone like you to make their article a hit. ProfNet does charge a fee for a subscription to its emails, but membership in the ProfNet Connect online community is free.
If you’re a female doctor (a doctor who is a woman—not a gynecologist, unless of course you’re both a gynecologist and a woman), you can apply to be an expert with SheSource, run by the Women’s Media Center. They connect sources with journalists, producers, and bookers—and if you’re not comfortable being interviewed, they have a media training program that can help you get camera-, microphone-, or voice recorder-ready.
Quora is like Yahoo Answers, if Yahoo Answers was full of people who knew what they were talking about. Sign up for a free account and fill out your profile with your interests, experience, and education, telling Quora what you know and establishing your credibility. You’ll get access to questions on subjects you know something about, which you can answer for people who will appreciate—and remember—your medical aptitude.
It isn’t an instant process—you have to answer questions and get upvotes to become a top contributor in your category. But it’s worth it: Bloggers and even major media outlets look to Quora for information, lifting answers from the site or contacting top answerers directly.
A more labor-intensive way of finding guest blogging opportunities is to Google them. Try searching for your specialty and queries like “guest article,” “guest post opportunity,” “submit content,” “guest posting guidelines,” or “become a contributor.”
You can try the same queries on Facebook and Twitter for more outlets that run guest posts, and for guest posters whose outlets might be interested in you.
So You’ve Gotten Your First Guest Blogging Invitation
Congratulations! You probably feel pretty good. And you should—it’s nice to be appreciated for knowing what you’re doing as a doctor. (It definitely helps after the third patient in a row has yelled at you for not prescribing antibiotics for the flu.) Before you sit down to put words on the page, a few things to think about:
- Don’t write for every blog that asks. Part of establishing your credibility involves attaching your voice to other credible sources, so make sure you’re connecting yours to blogs and publications that you yourself would trust.
- Write a good bio. Include information like your education, specialty, experience, and other relevant publications—and links back to your website, of course.
- Write responsibly. Be honest with yourself and make sure that you really know what you’re talking about and that you’re contributing something worthwhile. If you’re not sure, it’s OK to politely turn down the opportunity. More will come.