If you could only focus on 4 key elements of your blog posts to ensure they best served your inbound marketing goals as a medical blogger, what would they be?
We recommend regular frequency, appropriate word count, adequate white space, and overall utility if you are to make each and every of of your medical blog posts work its magic to serve your reader's needs.
The best blogs post frequently and regularly. If you don't post frequently, you miss out twice.
First, you lose any gains you have with search engine optimization (SEO) because Google and other search engines are constantly looking for new content. If they come upon sites that are rarely, or infrequently, updated, they will not rank them as highly as they would for others.
Second, your readers want to hear from you, and if you post irregularly, they will lose interest or maybe even trust you less for not providing a regular stream of information that could be useful for their problem solving efforts.
The best frequency schedule is the one you can maintain.
Don't enter the medical blogging arena with a single writer chained to a daily blog calendar and expect to maintain the situation. Writing a blog is much more challenging and difficult to sustain than many small business owners imagine, and burning out your blogger early in the timeline is not something top blogs do.
Blogging demands a very specific skill set
What makes a good blog often comes down to focus and time. Most bloggers need several hours to compose a blog post; if you are also asking them to optimize, edit, format, and illustrate their posts with audio-video content, you must budget for that time, too. Great blogs don't skimp on budgets to pay for writers to generate these posts.
Frequency should be gauged by niche and competitors
How regularly you post should match the frequency of your competitors. If good blogs in your specialty are blogging 3 times a week, you should probably be blogging at least that much.
If you cannot maintain that schedule with your current staff, you might need to think about hiring a dedicated blogger to keep the information you want on your website top of mind for your readers and to ensure your SEO benefits continue to flow.
Hubspot researched ideal blogging frequency in 2015 and found that 4 times a week netted those companies 3.5 times more traffic than those who published 1 post weekly.
Somewhere between 5 and 10 posts monthly (averaging 1.25 to 2.5 posts weekly) seemed to be the range in which traffic increases could be measurably felt.
This is especially true for those companies that sell their products and services directly to consumers, which includes private medical practices.
It's a marathon, not a sprint
It's important to maintain the blogging schedule you choose for at least 6 months. This is considered the point in time in a new inbound marketing effort that results can begin to coalesce. It will take at least this much time for even the very best medical blog to see the long-term payoff from inbound marketing.
Keeping this in mind, you absolutely must have at least one person who can put together at least 2 medical blogs weekly for this period. This means a firm commitment and a lot of patience. If you average 1 post or less per week, and you skip a week, here or there, you cannot expect to see the same kind of payoff from your marketing efforts, even after 6 months have passed.
Today’s search engine algorithms demand at least 300 words for adequate indexing and ranking. However, 300 words may work for some businesses in relation to the content they post, but not so much for others.
Medical bloggers are dealing with dense, information-rich content. A post of 300 words will likely only skim the surface of what readers are looking for.
Also, while shorter posts are easier to consume, this could also be their downfall. If they’re too short, readers may only glance or scan them and not read them at all. A good blog length is one that delivers enough information in a way that is easy and enjoyable to receive.
Appropriate word counts for posts really must take into consideration the goals of the content and of the person (or persona) seeking the content. Someone who is actually looking for quality information may be more interested in longer posts for this reason.
An occasional post of under 500 words (or which is composed of an infographic or video or slideshow) can break up monotony. Visual posts require some written content from Google, so don’t overlook that detail.
Mid-range “long form” posts of between 500 and 750 words may be a good goal for most blogs because they provide enough time and space (and keywords) for the creation of useful content that will more likely "get found."
Longer posts (1,500 to 2,000 words) tend to inspire more engagement with readers (these days, this means more shares in social media).
Comments may not be the engagement magnet they once were, but if you can inspire readers to share your posts in social media, through email, or by links in forums, you can expect more traffic as a result.
Keep in mind, longer posts should be reserved for core content you intend to link to again and again in the future.
We recommend anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words per post.
Keep in mind your scheduled frequency of posting, SEO goals, budget, blogging skill set, and the editorial intent of each post. Use videos, diagrams, photos, and other media frequently to keep your content fresh and varied.
This is the term used to describe the space around images and text on a page. It is considered highly favorable to use ample white space when designing your blog.
The interior of blog posts can also benefit from white space through the following:
Breaking up large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs provides needed visual relief for the reader. Keep your sentence lengths varied, however; all short sentences or all long sentences are fatiguing to read.
Intelligent use of H2, H3, H4 (etc) tags.
Your headers and their companions in the HTML or CSS hierarchy can make your longer posts easier to read while providing your reader with quick points for reference. The white space that naturally accompanies headers also helps make blog posts look more "airy" and inviting.
Bullets and numbered lists.
These can turn long sentences composed of named items into more visually appealing and accessible lists that make your content more useful to readers.
Adequate spacing around graphic elements.
When you embed anything inside your text, make sure there's enough white space around all sides of the element so that words don't butt right up against it. First of all, this makes reading your blog post easier, and second of all, it lends to an overall page design that's more pleasing to the eye.
When in doubt, white it out. Add space rather than close it in.
Remember, your blog is doing multiple jobs for you. It is:
providing readers with quality content
enhancing your SEO so that readers can find you
helping readers become empowered to make decisions
building your position as a trusted expert in your medical specialty
creating a following among current and prospective patients
Don't just blog for the sake of blogging. Be clear on the purpose of each blog post. Ensure the accompanying graphic material suits the content goal of the post.
Compose blog posts with the goal of being able to not only inform your reader, but link them to even more content within your blog.
The more useful your blog is, the more time readers will spend there before they eventually build enough trust in your content, and feel empowered enough as a patient, to act on their need to solve a medical problem.
When they meet that Zero Moment of Truth and contact you for more help, it will be because you gave them all the tools and data necessary to make a smart decision, all based on the utility of your blog.
Don't forget that content is still king; content provides
the best SEO as well as the best reader experience.
If you can:
- adequately meet the goals of a twice weekly blog schedule,
- provide posts of between 500 and 1,500 words,
- do all this using a blog design that incorporates adequate white space to improve readability, and
- focus on high-quality content that patients can use to move forward on decisions they need to make,