Here’s a question you may have been asked recently. “Is blogging really a necessary part of marketing a healthcare facility?” In the back of your mind, you may have even risked asking it yourself. Is it worth the effort? What are the real benefits?

If we may—here’s our thought on the subject. YES … YES … YES … blogging is necessary and should be a top priority when it comes to:

• connecting with and retaining patients
• acquiring new patients
• getting your facility noticed
• creating trust
• being considered an expert or thought leader

We recently attended the 2015 MN Bloggers Conference. This year’s conference focused on several areas of blogging and emphasized the importance of updating your strategy and tactics, as well as determining your blogging goal(s). Here’s what we learned.

Create Good Content

We know this and you know it too, but it bears repeating. Creating great content continues to be the best practice in blogging. To do it consistently you need to:

• generate a meaningful content calendar
• write frequently
• use insights from Google analytics, Twitter and Facebook to determine future topics based on what people have read in the past
• if you’re lucky enough to have questions or comments on your blogs, use them to develop future content (we’ll discuss the comment section more later in this blog)
• re-purpose your content to get more use out of it by updating popular articles
• create how-to pieces; these can move you up in the search rankings and increase overall traffic to your website
• read about how others outside the industry are creating compelling content that is customer focused and tells a story

Blogging Purposes
Determine the purpose of your blog. Make sure it conveys the message about why it exists. It should focus on the reader and why they should visit your blog and consume the content there. What’s in it for them?

Find your voice and tone and let people know what they can expect from your content. Consider having several authors contribute and create content. This will create “Subject Matter Experts” that patients can come back to again and again for insight and advice.

Blogging Trends
Several of the newest trends in blogging were discussed at the MN Blogging Conference. One of the most intriguing was Vlogging or video blogs. People are visual, they naturally gravitate toward content that is quickly captured in a few key images. Another advantage—images and video can create higher rankings and search results.

Another trend discussed at the conference included using blogs as a way to answer patient questions. There was some discussion about the comment section on blogs being dead. Readers are moving away from commenting on blogs and taking to Facebook and Twitter to voice their opinion, but before you disable the comment section on your blog determine whether your readers can still have an engaging dialogue below the line.

Why Blog

Blogging benefits are both immediate and long-term and include:

• patient retention and acquisition
• driving patient engagement
• patient education
• increased traffic to your website—it gets you noticed
• increased search engine results—again, it gets you noticed

Is Your Blog Struggling?
Are you struggling to create content for your blog? Are you looking for ways to measure its success? Do you need help with a content calendar? Contact us to start a conversation about your blog and how you can capture a stronger ROI from your content.