There are big mistakes and there are small mistakes. It’s true in life, it’s true in love and it’s true in blogging. The good news is the two biggest medical blogging mistakes are also fairly easy to fix. Here they are:
- You don’t have a blog.
- You don’t use your blog.
The solution to both problems? Start blogging.
Medical websites aren’t just online business cards anymore. Patients go to the internet to find out if a doctor will be a good fit for them, to learn about medical conditions, and to find out about health issues in the news.
If you aren’t providing the information these patients want, they will look elsewhere. Elsewhere might be a different doctor, which would be bad for you. Or it might be one of the many sites peddling quackery on the internet, which would be bad for you and terrible for the patient.
Simply starting a blog about evidence-based health topics will take you far. But if you are already blogging consistently, there are some things you can do to tighten up the content you are putting out there. Here are some common mistakes and how you can fix them.
3. You think a blog is a billboard. If all you are doing is promoting specials (cosmetic surgeons, I’m talking to you) or encouraging patients to make appointments, your blog won’t offer any real value to patients. Your content should offer something of value to your readers in and of itself. It may be education, health tips, or commentary on the latest in health news.
Sharing valuable content allows you to become the likeable expert in your readers’ eyes. That has much more staying power than a one time discount on collagen injections.
4. You think Google is your patient. Yes, SEO is important. But it is secondary to value. No one wants to read anything that repeats the phrase Dallas, TX Physician over and over. Write for people, then go back and optimize. Check out the Moz SEO Guide for ways to improve your search rankings without ruining your content.
5. You write like a robot. This is your chance to let potential patients get an idea of who you are. Let a little personality shine through. It’s okay to be human – and human doesn’t have to mean crossing patient-doctor relationship boundaries. It just means that patients can that see you operate with a little empathy and humor. Here are a few tips to start you on the right path.
6. You have no plan. This is why most blogs fall into disuse. Without a plan for writing content and what that content will consist of, blogging just doesn’t happen. Your plan can be a simple as
Tuesdays: Write about a health news topic
Thursdays: Write about a patient question or diagnosis from the past week (in a HIPAA compliant manner, of course).
Or your schedule can be far more complex. Just have a plan with some rough deadlines. You know, so you get it done.
7. You use photos of smiling doctors in white coats that aren’t you. Please stop doing that. We know it’s not you. It makes us feel like you are an anonymous corporate entity and not a doctor. Get creative here and just say no to boring stock photos.
See my image up there with the kid who dropped his ice cream? It illustrates the concept of “Oops!” without resorting to a glass wall with “Mistake” written on it in dry erase marker. We share some great free photo sites on our resources page. Use them. Please.
8. You don’t look at your results. When you put a patient on a new med for their blood pressure, what do you do? You bring them in for a follow up and see if it’s working! That’s exactly what you need to do with your blog. Google Analytics makes it ridiculously easy to see what’s happening with your website. Are your blog posts doing their job? Or are people bouncing off your site in a matter of seconds? A basic understanding of your blog’s statistics can help you make adjustments that yield better results.
Today’s task is simple. Just pick one of the medical blogging mistakes you are making and fix it. You don’t have to fix everything at once. Just start with one item and make it work for you. Then you can attack the other mistakes when you are ready.
And don’t be paralyzed by the idea that you are making some – or a lot of – medical blogging mistakes. Just a little effort each day and you will make big progress. As Meister Eckhart said:
The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.
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