Since embarking on your inbound marketing initiative, you have most likely done some homework. You have identified your Alaska healthcare customer buyer persona, mapped out their decision making process, or buyer's journey, and hopefully leveraged your office team's knowledge to brainstorm a list of awesomely interesting blog topics as long as your arm. Now, with your tablet at the ready, your are set to hammer out a blog post that will delight your audience and woo them to be your patient. Right?
When we speak with new clients about Alaska healthcare marketing, one of the most common questions about blogging for business regards the length of content. How many words should a blog post be?
This might hail back to the days of composition class, when assignments were made by teachers with the specific goal for each book report or an essay to meet a length requirement.
The idea of "word count" is different in today's digital communications, however. The questions is not about "how long" a post should be, but how effective your content is at the word count you choose.
We have touched on the word count in this previous article, "Meet these 4 standards for the best medical blog posts," but let's talk about blog post lengths, why word count matters, and what "the rules" are today.
Let's say you're a cardiologist and you've spent some time and money putting together 2 to 3 posts a week to drive more traffic to your medical practice website. You're confident your latest content is well written and bursting with utility and inspiration for the patient prospect who visits your site: today they find your latest post on the relationship between oxidative stress on the heart and obstructive sleep apnea. It's a big deal and you want everybody to read it.
How disappointing it will be, later, to learn how very few people will have actually read this vital post.
This could happen for a variety of reasons; one key reason could be that you've failed to amplify your fresh content.
A Call to Action (CTA) is an interactive element on your website (often in your blog) which directs your reader to take some sort of action. This could be to download a free publication, ask for a health assessment, or take a quiz about symptoms or side effects.
Building an interactive marketing tool like a CTA doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, it should be one of the easier things you can do to drive engagement... you'll (ideally) make CTAs for many different products or services as the need arises.
To simplify the task, we've included ten key "bones" below that make up the CTA "skeleton." The way you incorporate them may vary from one CTA to the next, because your CTAs should be tailored for each group they're designed to reach. For healthcare marketing purposes, this could be patients, other doctors, patient's families, or other caregivers. (You usually decide who these groups are by creating personas.)
At any rate, each CTA you build should still include all of the features below if your goal is to guide your reader further along their patient (or customer) journey, toward the all-important Zero Moment of Truth, when they finally decide it's time to give your medical practice a call to schedule a visit.
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.
Pain is not only a medical term, but a marketing consideration. When you ask a patient to fill out a pain scale handout (i.e. "Circle the face that best represents how much pain you feel right now"), you are practicing discernment as part of your job as a medical professional.
So too does a medical marketing strategy rely on a more discerning understanding about the needs of its potential new patients.
Knowing where to start when it comes to writing a medical blog can be one of the biggest roadblocks facing any medical practice launching a new content marketing strategy.
There are so many different directions you could go, so many subjects to address.
On top of all this, you frequently hear how "content is king," but this does nothing to clarify what you should be writing about.
How do you create an editorial calendar for your blog from an infinite number of topics?
We like to start with that simple childhood game, 20 Questions.
Comparing healthcare products, procedures, and services at your medical blog may be one of the purest forms of medical marketing. It takes all the emphasis on your need to acquire new patients and places it, instead, on what your patients (current or prospective) need or want. This creates a natural win-win situation.
Random ideas aren't strategic, however. You'll want some sort of content strategy from the beginning.
One possible approach is to compose your opening blog posts following a content marketing theme.
So much of what we do when we write for a medical blog focuses on the content, and that's the way it should be.
Quality, informative content is still the best way to establish your medical practice as a thought leader and legitimate resource in your area of expertise.
But there are other, more subtle ways, to improve your page ranking in search engines. While they are focused on finding the best content to achieve the best user experience, they are also influenced by other aspects of your website.
One of these key aspects is the presence of links: hyperlinks embedded inside your content which help search engine "crawlers" locate your site, identify its content, and rank it according to its ascertained value.