New York marketing guru Wendy Lewis explains the art of creating great content that connects with readers is more of a science.

Blogging is a viable platform for promoting your clinic for several reasons. Having a blog is an important way to get your clinic moving up on search rankings. Blogging allows you to do so much more than just share news and promote events. You can use a blog to boost your credibility, create a personal connection with your audience, and answer questions and queries.

A blog is a shared online journal where you can post short entries about your topics of choice. A blog is, in effect, a web log or micro website that provides updated headlines and news articles from other sites that are of interest to the user. It also may include journal entries, commentaries, and recommendations compiled by the user. Blogging is not about controlling the dialogue – it is an organic evolution of a conversation.

Many physicians incorporate a blog as a special subsection of their websites, while others create a separate domain name for their blog, such as drsmithsblog.com.

Unlike Twitter that requires status updates to be made throughout the day to be meaningful, or a Facebook page that demands at least one post daily, blogging is a less time-intensive undertaking. You may choose to blog once a week, or preferably more, and the frequency of posting can vary. If you like writing and are willing to invest the time and effort to think of interesting topics for your posts, blogging can actually be an enjoyable pursuit. But if blogging is just going to become another thing on your ‘to do’ list, delegating it to a staff member or enlisting the services of a writer is the best way to maintain a blog over time.

Allowing comments can enable discussion on your site and turn it into an interactive social place for people to visit. It can also increase social media optimisation. You can set up the blog so that all comments require approval to go ‘live’ to avoid spammers or inappropriate posts.

Staying on Message

The clutter of content online means people actually appreciate brevity and a targeted message that speaks directly to them. Finding the ideal online voice for your clinic and sticking with it can be tricky, especially if you are not creating the content yourself.

Once you have found your voice, the next step is to identify the buckets of content that your fans and followers relate to most, and to continue to create new and unique variations on those key themes. An integrated social media marketing plan, starting with a blog, is a critical element of success.

Maintaining a professional image and tone online is essential.

Resist the temptation to come across as flippant or overly self promotional, which can backfire on your reputation with patients. As a healthcare practitioner, you should strive to be taken seriously and offer reasonable opinions and solid advice that attract real patients to come in for consultation and have treatments in your practice.

Integrate Your Blog with Your Website

Ideally a blog should have the same look and feel as your clinic website. It can either be set up to live within your site or under a separate domain name to increase search engine rank. Most practices will choose the former. You may wish to host your blog within your primary domain (e.g., wendylewisco.com/blog or blog.wendylewisco.com) instead of hosting your blog externally (e.g., skinclinic.wordpress.com). Try not to cannibalise search engine optimization (SEO) authority by having two domains compete against each other.

A blog can be a useful tool for getting your message across, educating consumers and media, keeping your patients informed of developments or newsworthy items, and providing carefully restrained venting on selected topics. At least one mission of blogging should be to convert traffic to readers, subscribers, and followers who are interested in what you have to say. Use your blog to elicit feedback or input from loyal patients and followers.

To help with search engine visibility, posts should be optimized by including keywords in the text, such as ‘laser resurfacing Sydney,’ while keeping it readable. Blog posts can usually be scheduled in advance, and frequency should be at least once weekly to keep the momentum going.

To optimise the titles of blog posts directly for the search engines, include a keyword in your title, preferably near the beginning. But do not stop there; optimising titles for readers is also important. Titles should attract the readers’ attention and let them know what your post is all about and how they will benefit from reading it.

What is RSS?

RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. News sites, blogs, and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS feed online. (www.whatisrss.com)

Blog Structure

There are several key elements that should be built into every blog post, and they all play an important role in getting the most mileage for your blog. A blog is better suited to short-form content.

The average reader has a pretty short attention span when it comes to reading content online.

Try to make your posts scannable because most online readers will not read every word. Their eyes go to certain words and phrases first so they can get the gist of what you are writing about before they decide to devote any more time to it. A good guideline is to make your blog posts no more than 600 words and no less than 300 words.

If you keep your content visible, relevant, and unique, you can attract the right kind of positive attention that adds to your credibility as a trusted source of balanced information. AMP

SIX TIPS FOR BETTER BLOGGING

  1. Engage the reader with a great title that is interesting and relevant to your topic.
  2. Ask the reader for a response to draw him or her in.
  3. End every blog with a ‘Call To Action’.
  4. Add a ‘Share This’ plug-in that allows you to automatically add social media sharing buttons on every post.
  5. Add a search box on the sidebar, so users can find exactly the content they are looking for.
  6. Encourage readers to follow your content by including a link to subscribe to your content via e-mail to help build your list and/or RSS feed.
Aesthetic Clinic Marketing in the Digital Age
This excerpt is published by kind permission of Wendy Lewis and CRC Press.
Wendy Lewis
Wendy Lewis is the author of 11 books and Editor in Chief of Beautyinthebag.com.
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