Over the past few years, blogging has skyrocketed in popularity. Most websites have a blog feature (WordPress, the most common content management system, has this built right into the primary functionality), though many websites aren’t using it well. In healthcare, many websites have blogs that haven’t been updated in years or are just used for news and advertisements. Many healthcare providers start out strong and with good intentions, but simply aren’t able to keep up and the blog is one of the first marketing efforts that gets neglected because it’s hard to see the ROI if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Ultimately, a blog needs to be a part of your strategy to help you generate leads. If a blog isn’t helping to do that, then yes, it is a waste of your time. However, most people don’t say “I came across your blog and decided to contact you” when they come into your office. There are, however, ways that a blog significantly helps you in a peripheral manner, and combined with other factors, does generate tangible leads.
- A blog creates fresh content that is appealing to Google. Google can crawl content faster than ever, which all started with an update called Caffeine in 2010. What this means is that when new content comes out, it gets indexed quickly – perfect for blogs! We also know that Google likes fresh content (Think about it, when you do a Google search, do you want to see a 7-year old article? We didn’t think so, and neither does Google). If you keep up with your blog, it looks good for you.
- On a related note, a continually updated blog shows new website visitors that you’re up-to-date on current trends, techniques, and practices. If a user sees an old site with content from 3 years ago, and a newer site with content from 2 weeks ago, which do you think they’ll be more likely to visit?
- Depth of content helps you to rank better in search engines. We’ve talked about this before. This is a graph of our search traffic at Points Group. We started a more rigorous blogging schedule right before the graph started climbing, no additional marketing efforts. When we created more content, it showed Google that we have depth in that area, and gave a broader range of keywords that we can target. If you want to rank well, you need to have good and expanding content. More traffic = more leads = higher ROI.
- Quality content establishes you as an expert in the field. People like to go to whom they can trust. If you write and show that you’re an expert in the field, it’s more likely that you will see higher traffic, both on the web and through the door.
As you continue to blog, the ROI doesn’t just come like we mentioned earlier. It does come as people see you are an expert and contact you more. It comes as more people visit your site and become aware of you due to higher search rankings. These are the types of things patients don’t tell you, and create kind of a “hidden ROI.” They’re important and why we think blogging for SEO purposes is essential. Just writing blog content doesn’t guarantee success, though. It is a critical part of the strategy, but it must be intentional and compounded with other online marketing elements such as a quality website. If you’re looking for success simply beyond traffic, here are a few other recommendations we have for a successful healthcare blog.
- Blog frequently. You don’t have to blog every day (though when we made that a goal, we did see significant gains). You do need to blog at least twice a month, and we recommend more if it is within your budget and time allows. The more content you create, within reason, the better off you are. This can be easier if you split up blogs between doctors, staff, and a marketing agency. Most people have something they can contribute. We also have recommendations for free content for your blog.
- Blog when you don’t feel like it. Sometimes writing a blog is going to feel like a chore. Muscle through it. Not every blog is going to be an all-star. That’s okay. I’ve written blogs that I thought were great that didn’t perform nearly as well as some that I thought were pretty rough. They all also add to the bigger goal of increased content and freshness, which will ultimately help you in search results.
- Create quality calls to action. This is a BIG one. If someone comes to your site, that’s great. Why would they take the next step to contact you? Give them a reason. Make sure you have some way that a user can contact you. For most of our client blogs, we use at least a contact link and phone number. Even better, create a promotion. Are you writing a chiropractic blog? How about highlighting a free treatment? Give the user a low-barrier-of-entry way to give you their information and set up an appointment. If your site doesn’t have this, the chances of them contacting you plummet.
- Promote your content on social media. This only takes a couple minutes and can greatly increase your exposure. Push out new posts on Twitter a handful of times over the course of a week. Facebook is a little tougher, and you don’t want to spam things out, but you can still make sure to get it out there for your readers. And, if it’s a really good one, you can promote the post really cheaply.
- Stay on topic. Don’t worry about covering everything. Stick to what you know well and are an expert in. Also, make sure that the people you are writing towards are the people that are in the demographic that your practice is trying to reach.
- Don’t be too “salesy.” Nobody likes to feel like they’re being sold to. Give out information. Show an offer. But, don’t consistently use your blog to just push out offers. If your blog is one huge advertisement, it’s going to get ignored quickly.
We know that blogging can be intimidating, but have found that the best way to go about it is to just take a stab and start writing. If you need some extra help, reach out to us. We can help you plan a strategy and create content – especially in the context of a larger program for maximum results. We have a track record of success, and can help you whether you’re just trying to get started or build some new momentum. Get in touch.