To blog, or not to blog. This is a question I get from many clients. In general, my answer is yes. But, not all blogs are created equal, and not all of them even need to be called a blog.
In the most general sense, what every medical practice needs is a content development strategy. This content can take many forms, such as:
- a traditional blog, that allows comments from readers, and is called a blog
- a section of your website that uses blogging technology, but without the ability for readers to comment – this may be called a blog, a newsletter, a news section, or whatever fits your situation
- an email newsletter, which might be archived on your website
- status updates, wall posts, discussions, or notes posted to your practice’s Facebook Fan Page and/or Twitter account
What all these types of content have in common is that they provide a means for sharing your expertise, your personality, and the philosophy of your practice with your patients and prospective patients. In addition, a content strategy is vital to effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
So, which method should you use? The exact answer will depend on the type of patients you serve, combined with the types and amount of resources you can devote to your content strategy. Some questions and issues to consider when creating your strategy include:
- Who will create the content? Doctors, owners, office manager or other staff, a freelance writer, or some combination?
- Are you prepared to interact with patients via a blog, Facebook, or Twitter? This can allow for shorter posts that lead to a dialogue.
- Do you currently produce a newsletter of any sort, or any type of regular content that is delivered to patients? What has or has not worked in the past?
- How much time (and/or money) are you willing to spend? Do you prefer to spend a shorter amount of time once per week or more, or a longer period once per month?
In future posts, I’ll expand on the benefits of a blog and other aspects of a content strategy, and provide ideas for creating content. If you have questions about how to apply a content strategy to your practice, feel free to comment on this post and/or contact us.