If the doctors at your hospital or medical practice aren’t blogging, they should be.
Why? Because you’re missing out on a highly effective way to attract new patients, keep current patients engaged and market your practice.
If you think blogs don’t provide much return on investment, consider these statistics: 77 percent of web users read blogs and 81 percent of U.S. consumers trust information and advice from blogs. Moreover, 61 percent of consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post. And a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report states 61 percent of all consumers are likely to trust information posted online by doctors.
These stats make a strong case for blogging’s marketing value. Here are seven more reasons to launch a physician blog aimed at health care consumers:
- Blogging keeps your doctors top of mind.
Most blog readers won’t need a cardiologist, pediatrician or other physician the moment you make a new post. But doctors can remain on their readers’ minds by posting blog entries regularly. Repeated exposure, at just one post per month, can turn readers into future patients when they need medical care.
- Blogs are low-cost marketing tools.
The cost of publishing a blog is very low compared to traditional advertising. All you need is web space, a hosting plan (things your hospital or practice likely already has in place) and a little time for content creation. More on how to easily manage the time factor below.
- Blogs allow doctors to share their expertise.
Blogging gives doctors a voice and an opportunity to showcase their knowledge and position on medical issues of interest to patients. If a physician at your practice has a unique take on a medical topic that’s making headlines, a blog is the perfect place to share that viewpoint while the issue is hot.
- Blogging helps build patient relationships.
Beyond sharing expertise, blogging is an opportunity for physicians to give patients a glimpse of how they handle cases, determine the best course of treatment and interact with patients. Enabling reader comments also allows your physicians to respond personally and create a shared “social” experience.
- Blogging promotes physicians as trusted medical resources.
Doctors who share their expertise by blogging become “go-to” medical resources for patients. An online archive of past entries is a great repository of information for patients who want to learn more about specific medical issues. Blogs are also the fifth most trusted resource for accurate online information, according to HubSpot.com.
- Blogs allow patients to “check out” physicians.
It’s not always easy for a patient to find a new doctor. Unlike car buying, there really aren’t opportunities to take a new physician out for a “test drive.” Blogging is a great way for doctors to give patients a sense of who they are and how they practice. That alone can help patients feel more comfortable in choosing a physician.
- Blog posts are shareable.
Patients can share blog entries via email or social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. So while a blog post on your hospital’s website reaches one audience, repeated shares can elevate exposure to many different audiences across the web.
Getting back to time needed to create content, we know that blogging isn’t top priority for most doctors. Many physicians are also uncomfortable with crafting their own blog entries. No worries. An experienced health care copywriter can help generate topics, collect thoughts, and draft/edit blog posts—without substantially compromising the physician’s time.
If you think blogging might be right for the doctors at your hospital or practice, here are some examples of effective physician blogs to help generate more ideas:
33Charts.com (Bryan Vartabedian, M.D.)
KCKidsDoc (Natasha Burgert, M.D.)
Harvard Health Blog
Health Essentials (Cleveland Clinic)
Seattle Mama Doc (Wendy Sue Swanson M.D.)
Mike Sevilla, M.D.
Thriving (Boston Children’s Hospital)
Does your practice or hospital host a physician blog? If so, what are some of the benefits you’ve experienced? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.