TL;DR: Your healthcare marketing blog may be the most undervalued tool you have in your digital marketing arsenal.
Just think about it. Your medical blog improves your organic search rankings. It builds credibility in your industry and increases your authority with the search engines. Finally, effective content creation improves your visibility and makes you easier to find online—which, in turn, can build relationships with current and prospective patients.
However, blogging is more than simply jotting down a few thoughts and calling it a day. Effective content creation takes time. There’s no way around it. If you plan on running and maintaining a successful blog, it’s essential to dedicate enough resources to your efforts.
To make the most of your healthcare marketing strategy, let’s review how to write a healthcare blog.
How to write a medical blog post.
Get the right people to write your posts.
Most physicians simply don’t have the time to write blog posts on a regular basis. Even if they do, they don’t have the same skill sets that marketers possess. While almost anyone can string together a sentence or two, it takes a level of expertise to organize and optimize blog posts so they’re found by search engines and enjoyed by readers.
As intrepid marketers, it’s your responsibility to find ways to highlight the expertise of your clinical team. From ghost writing and SME interviews, to video and audio blogs, there are numerous formats to explore. Figure out which makes the most sense for your efforts—and be sure to test which method works best.
Organize your medical blog.
It’s also important to standardize your blogging efforts by following an editorial calendar. Maintaining an editorial calendar allows your marketing team to organize your efforts by campaigns and topics. Keeping your titles and topics consolidated in a centralized location enables you to keep a birds-eye view of your efforts and eliminates the chances of repeat or duplicate content.
There are hundreds of tools out there, but I prefer a simple Google Sheet to keep my content efforts orderly. Organizing blogs by title, topic, industry, and campaign helps ensure that my team covers all its bases—and that we don’t inadvertently write about the same topic twice.
Focus on your readers.
Writing a healthcare blog requires you to reach the right people. According to Search Engine Journal, content in 2019 should focus on a specific audience. While there are many ways to focus on your readers, here are just a few things that SEJ suggests you consider:
- Keywords: While SEO copywriting has evolved, keyword research is still essential to blogging. Instead of using outdated keyword stuffing techniques, however, it’s important that your efforts cater to your readers. This means relating keywords to user intent.
- Readability: When content is understandable, it keeps audiences engaged. And when this happens, it is rewarded by the search engines. Skim reading is the new norm—so make sure your content is easy to digest.
- Depth: While word count is a constantly debated topic in the marketing world, in-depth, longer-form content is a big trend in 2019. By expanding your focus, you can explore multifaceted angles and provide even more relevant information to readers (and search engines!).
- Page speed: The speed of your website—including your blog pages—greatly impacts its ranking. And if you haven’t considered your site speed by 2019, it may be time to contact an SEO agency for a site audit.
- Expertise: As we’ve mentioned before, expertise is synonymous with industry knowledge. As healthcare marketers, your blogging efforts should display a level of expertise—or at least link out to cite sources that do.
Interesting medical topics to write about.
You don’t need me to remind you that there’s a surplus of content out there—especially in the crowded, competitive healthcare space. Resources like WebMD and Healthline exist solely to push out massive amounts of content to consumers. And while it’s certainly a popular resource, it’s important to know that WebMD generates most of its revenue through advertisements and corporate sponsorships for insurance, pharma, biotech, and medical manufacturing companies.
While it’s true that many health companies rely on industry dollars, it’s possible that the content found on sites like WebMD may suffer from a conflict of interest. Research has also found that these “symptom checkers”—online resources where users submit a list of symptoms and an algorithm returns possible diagnoses—fluctuate widely in accuracy.
So, what does this mean? That creating generic content about high-level conditions and symptoms probably isn’t worth your time. There’s only so much that can be said about these diseases and symptoms. Plus, industry giants like the Mayo Clinic and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already cornered the market on many of these search terms.
Instead, develop content that resonates with your consumers.
Patient experience stories can help portray a complex medical subject in a relatable context. For example, a medical device manufacturer can write a synopsis about a successful application of their technology in a patient’s life. Or, a LASIK practice can discuss the quality of life improvements of a happy patient.
Actionable, advice-based blogs are another way to engage with your audience. Rather than simply discuss the symptoms behind a herniated disc, a spine surgeon provider can compile a list of suggestions for pain relief. Or, a family practice can provide seasonal tips—such as summer health safety for children—to their patients.
As touched on above, it’s important to cater to your consumers. And this means understanding their needs. Mapping content around your healthcare buyer’s journey can help synch your blogging efforts around the needs of your audience.
The blogging stage of content marketing generally sits at the top of the marketing funnel—or, the awareness stage. That's why it’s important for healthcare marketers to target prospective and current patients with engaging content.
Prospects are generally looking for help at this point. From researching healthcare providers to learning more about the lasting impacts of a treatment, users have a specific goal. And your content should cater around these challenges.
As touched upon above, it's important to align your keyword research around the needs of your customers. To begin, ask yourself questions. What are your users searching for? What problems may they be trying to resolve? Creating blogs that answers specific questions helps your content get discovered by readers—and helps increase the rankings of your blog.
Still wondering how to write a healthcare blog?
Contact Workshop Digital today to learn more about incorporating blogging into your healthcare marketing efforts. From researching keywords to uncovering insights about your audience, we can help align your blogging and SEO strategies.