Blogging will not only attract more interest to your practice website, but it’s also something anyone and everyone can do. Once you’ve got started, you’ll find that writing a blog is both enjoyable and fulfilling. What’s more, it can become a vital component of your online marketing strategy, too.
By regularly engaging with patients online, blogging can help bridge the gap between the services you offer and your patients. If you have little or no writing experience, however, the idea of making your words public can seem daunting.
The best starting point is to begin with something you are passionate about. This could be something specific, like a new piece of research that you are keen to discuss and disseminate, or a more general topic that is of interest to you, such as children’s dental health or the fluoridation debate.
Think about the people you want to read your post. Keep the tone professional, but be yourself, be genuine and don’t be afraid to be light-hearted if appropriate. Blogging is an incredibly useful tool for showing patients your ‘human’ side.
Be aware of current hot topics – look out for dental news in the general press and blog your thoughts. This will give your posts a current twist, and you may decide to include quirky, just-for-fun tidbits to add humour.
To the point
So blogging doesn’t become a chore, your posts need not be too long. A couple of interesting and engaging paragraphs that get to the point will be far better received than sticking to a strict word count.
Once you have posted your first entry, it’s a good idea to create a schedule, say, updating your blog every Friday. Your readers will know when to come back and you will find it easier to get into the blogging habit. The more you practise your writing the better it will get, so routine is imperative.
The spice of life
Get other willing members of the team involved. Your nurses, hygienists and reception staff will offer different perspectives and help to keep content varied and interesting. Try to switch up the format now and again. With the relevant permissions, you could look at blogging about a patient’s journey through their treatment process, for example, including before and after photos.
Once you have got into a regular blogging routine, get the word out! Make sure everyone can find you easily, which means promoting your blog with other social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Get involved in the blogging community and look for bloggers writing about similar topics, so you can link them in your posts. Make it part of your marketing strategy at events. Comment on other blogs to get a dialogue going and hopefully they will return the favour. You may even want to invite a ‘guest blogger’ to post on your site, if they have specialised knowledge that you think might be of interest to your readers. You will quickly see your blog grow by networking in this way.
Always respond to feedback. Engaging with readers and learning from them is another way to make great connections. If someone has taken the time to comment on your blog, it is a courtesy to acknowledge them. Even if they have left ‘negative’ feedback, a constructive, well thought-out reply will hopefully lead to a positive conclusion.
One of the main reasons for putting effort into creating a well-run blog is for what it can do for your practice. Search engines love new content, so a regularly updated blog can help to boost your practice’s ranking, also known as search engine optimisation (SEO). You can also enhance its SEO by using an associated keyword, which you could put in the title of your posts.
Writing a practice blog is a hugely rewarding and productive task. Providing a way to engage with your patients in a unique way, it can help you to build contacts and loyalty and find out what your patients think. Blogging can involve all members of the dental team and should form a key component of your marketing strategy. Enlisting the services of a company that understands how both blogging and online dental marketing works can help to steer you in the direction of success.
Naz Haque is SEO project manager at Dental Focus. As an expert in search engine optimisation, Naz is passionate about helping clients build strategies to enhance their brand and increase the ROI from their dental practice websites. For more information, visit the website at www.dentalfocus.com