From quality content to engaging design, here’s what medical marketers need to know about building an effective blog.
Maintaining a blog may not seem like a priority for medical providers who are focused on serving patients, but it is an essential part of establishing credibility and engaging new audiences. A blog is a platform to feature the latest research, share useful medical tips, and highlight important successes. It also provides valuable resources to potential patients and those who might not otherwise have access to professional care.
The best healthcare blogs promote their own services while also providing interesting and timely information to visitors. Medical marketers interested in building or revamping their blogs can look to the following guidelines for examples of how to create compelling content that drives conversions.
Now, let’s take a look at four essential components of a great healthcare blog:
1) It’s informative and doesn’t clog posts with keywords.
Effective and sustainable healthcare blogs respond to questions that patients actually have, as opposed to simply stuffing copy with keywords. Fortunately, SEO algorithms have changed over time to respond to consumer preferences – good blogs reap the rewards of aligning their posts with the questions patients are searching for.
The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, for example, provides articles on interesting and trending topics such as SSRI use during pregnancy, the effect of cannabis on breastfeeding, and the latest research on postpartum depression. Their website addresses topics that patients and doctors want to learn more about, with the intent of improving the lives of women and their families.
2) It’s patient-friendly and accessible.
In the same way that trade publications and scientific journals allow doctors to communicate with other doctors, blogs allow doctors to communicate with their patients. As such, blogs should cover topics readers can relate to and be written in a way that most people can understand.
Harvard Health Blog — created by Harvard Medical School — achieves this accessibility by encouraging patients to “join the discussion with experts.” Its friendly, helpful articles address patient-centric topics like, “How to stay safe this Halloween” and “Brain science to improve your relationships.”
3) It follows design best practices.
Quality content is essential, but a successful blog isn’t built on great articles alone. Medical marketers should also focus on creating a website that is easy to navigate and visually appealing. Some of the best healthcare blogs incorporate a simple but well-maintained design that won't quickly go out of style.
Though WebMD generates mixed reviews for its content, the WebMD Doctor’s blog offers an example of well-executed design and effective use of imagery. It’s easy to scroll through previews of the various doctor-penned posts, each of which contains an image, link to the author, and introductory text. The WebMD blog also contains a useful sidebar highlighting contributors and topics.
4) It guides readers to the next resource through relevant CTAs.
Once readers have engaged with a post, the next step is to direct them to read more articles, subscribe to the blog, or make an appointment. Clear calls-to-action (CTAs) keep readers from leaving your site and guide them to the next resource, which will ideally lead to making an appointment. The clearer the “funnel” is for your patients, the more likely your blog will be to convert.
The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, for example, includes a visual CTA at the end of each article that prompts readers to sign up for their e-newsletter. This CTA includes a graphic and button that capture visitors’ attention, and is followed by suggestions for further reading.
Blogs are often overlooked by healthcare professionals, but it’s important not to forget their value. By delivering high-quality and accessible content to patients, blogs can increase website traffic and build a dedicated audience base. Ultimately, these efforts can lead to more appointments booked and increased revenue for providers.