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Monday, April 22, 2013

The Five Elements Every Medical Blog Needs


Blogging has become a vital part of the medical industry’s marketing strategy, so much so that it’s rare to see a hospital, pharmaceutical company, or even a private LASIK clinic without a blog of their own. But having a blog alone isn’t going to set you apart from the thousands of other medical bloggers you’re competing with to gain rank. To maximize your blog’s potential, you’ll need the following elements.

From author bylines to social-media-ready images, incorporate these elements to give your blog the extra boost. Your marketing will be more effective, your readers will be more responsive, and your business will thrive! 

Comments Section

Many medical practices stray from including a comments section on their blog because they fear bad publicity, not complying with HIPAA policies, or both. Furthermore, comments allow spammers and self-promoters of all kinds to write in their own messages, plague your blog with unwanted links, stir up controversy, and so on. Needless to say, a comments section will never be a 100% safe element of blogging. But you can’t do away with it and here’s why.

Comments is where you rally up support for your blogs and brand, it’s where you find new patients, where you engage your users, and build a name for yourself. Without it, you’re missing out on potentially major publicity. Just keep an eye on it, respond to positive and negative feedback, and keep your cool. Monitoring your comments will keep you active in discussions and establish you as a professional authority that patients can trust. 

Author Byline

Leaving the byline out of your blog can force your articles to lose credentials and confidence. People don’t just want to read quality blog posts with solid information, they want to know their information is coming from a reputable source. A byline sets you up as the expert they need to listen to.

While your website should already have a biography with your information, credentials, and accomplishments, a small author byline at the end of each blog post will give it an extra boost. There are even several WordPress plugins you can use to link all of the articles you’ve written together and attach them to your Google Authorrank, a great way to gain a little extra SEO juice. 

Social Media Links

Blogs are meant to be shared! You want your readers buzzing so much that they’re willing to share your post to their Facebook feeds. This means reaching a wider audience and potentially nabbing a few extra patients. But if those social media links are missing, sharing your blog suddenly became a pretty inconvenient task. 

Include links to all major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest and Reddit. You want your readers to have as many options as possible because people are more likely to shop (or make an appointment with a doctor) after they see a recommendation from a friend. Social media sharing might as well count as personal recommendations; so let your users share! 

Search Feature

There are plenty of ways to incorporate a search feature with your medical blog, including a search bar and an archive of all the topics you’ve previously written about. Not matter how you do it, having a database for readers to browse through is a win-win for your business and your readers. Potential patients can find more articles like the ones they’ve just read or search for blogs by topics that are interesting to them, therefore staying engaged with your website for a longer period of time. And when your users are this engaged, they are much more likely to convert.

Images

Images are crucial to a blog’s success and you simply can’t run a blog with having at least one picture per blog post. First of all, images make complicated concepts much easier to grasp, especially to the general population that didn’t go to med school. Think about how motivating “before and after” photos are rather than just reading about a diet plan itself. Having a visual supplement really gets a user’s mind into gear.

Images are also great for social media sharing. From Facebook to Pinterest, social media is becoming more centered around visual content, meaning not only are the platforms now better designed to display high-quality graphics, but people are now much more likely to click on a post with an associated image. Since our eyes are naturally drawn to pictures, you should use more to generate buzz around the web. Just be sure you own the images and that they relate to your blog post. 

Blogging isn’t entirely about the blog posts. To truly have a blog post succeed these days, you need to have the elements that can support it and promote it. Let your readers comment, see whom they’re learning from, and have an easy time searching and sharing your content. Not only can your blog succeed, but so can your business.


Pete Wise is a copywriter with 20/20 Institute. We provide LASIK services in Colorado. See what I'm posting on Facebook

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