medical blog

Read this before launching a medical blog

If you look at 10 websites by doctors in private practice, you’ll probably find 8 without a blog and at least half of them will have abandoned their medical blog habits at some point. Let’s go over the big missing element in most medical blog projects: a strategy!

medical blog

Read this before launching a medical blog

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

August 16, 2022

The key: a unique tone-of-voice

how to blog as a doctor

So once you are convinced that a blog is a good idea, the first strategic question arises: how to blog as a doctor so you remain compliant, reach your objectives, make it worthwhile and see some ROI?  

Consumers spend time on healthcare websites for different reasons:

  • To understand a symptom or a condition
  • To find out more about treatment options
  • To find the most suitable treatment pathway
  • To get to know the specialist doctors in their area

All of the above boils down to communication. And just like you would have learned to pay attention to how you talk to a patient at various stages of their journey, there are best practices for your online conversations. I call it your unique tone-of-voice, your unique voice to communicate with the patient before they book a consultation.

In the video, I will show you some of the strategies that we have created with our customers, creating a unique storyline behind each profile.

How to hook the patient’s interest?

engaging with patients

re you insure about the best way to use digital communication? One customer referred to digital marketing as ‘voodoo’ in one of my recent conversations! There can be a disconnect between the world of consultations and surgeries…and the world of online content. 

So let’s remind ourselves why engaging with patients digitally is important. Consumers make choices before they see a GP, after they get information from their GP and up until the moment they commit to seeing you as their specialist, not your competitor. Or the other way around.

The frustrating thing for many doctors is that this process is about more than qualifications, status, experience or the willingness of GPs to refer to them.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Genuine interest and digital attention are now real currencies. Consumers who become patients are still critical consumers. If your digital presence does not generate their interest, your competitor’s content might. They are now one step closer to choosing your competitor as their preferred specialist."

The pillars any doctor in private practice needs to hook the interest of prospective patients can vary, depending on your specialty. In general in a medical blog, we see triggers that are relevant in most situations. It’s good to work with these triggers at every stage of your medical blog strategy.

  • General credibility and qualifications: Of course it starts with the fact that you are an accredited, recognised specialist doctor or surgeon. No marketing on earth can replace the value of your foundational work (the work that made you a doctor and a specialist).
  • First impression: As crazy as it sounds, most first impressions between patients and doctors happen on a smartphone. Word-of-mouth and GP referrals are still powerful marketing mechanisms for your specialist clinic but make no mistake: there is interference from all the googling and those moments when friends mention your practice and start checking you out online.
  • Reputation and leadership profile: Gone are the days when it was enough to just mention your credentials. Your reputation as a doctor now heavily depends on your ability to convey trust, clarity and support. Since those are the key elements of almost every doctor review, it makes sense to make use of that specific trigger when you communicate with your future patients.

In a moment, we will look at specific blog formats for doctors that work well, and we will share the biggest trade secret ever shared in medical communication and medical marketing.

The success elements of a medical blog

blog formats for doctors

Blog formats for doctors are an elephant-in-the-room kind of topic. Why? Because in many situations, there is a taboo that stops the involved doctor to rationally assess what is going on.

This happens because:

  1. There is no medical blog – There is a lack of understanding about the importance of regular content updates for Google visibility. Nobody at the practice has had basic training in content marketing.
  2. There is a huge misunderstanding – The doctor thinks this is about him or her writing a diary. They obviously don’t have the time for this and resist the idea, the activity and everything that comes with it.
  3. The responsibility to add new content is dumped upon the Practice Manager, the Admin or Reception Team. They feel they have to jump through a series of loopholes each time a blog is being prepared, checked and added to the website.

Blog formats for doctors need some strategic reflection. Ideally, they support your long-term marketing plan, underpin your Google-visibility strategy month after month, and tie in with your ongoing performance analytics.

That is why we always see the same success elements when doctors run a blog that attracts traffic and converts leads into new patients:

  • Vision: The purpose of the medical blog is aligned with the reputation a doctor wants to build. This is not just about choosing your specialty and talking about it. It’s about adding value to the patient’s journey bringing your unique perspective and ability to explain.
  • Research: A blog built on actual data that clarifies what patients are searching for, leas to higher visibility and more engagement.
  • Authority: Authority doesn’t just come from expertise. It comes from approachability, vulnerability and rapport.

The editorial mindset that will change your practice

blogging tips for surgeons

This is where a blog becomes something else. Because let’s face it, in the short history of the internet, some words are stuck with the initial associated concepts or even subcultures.

A blog is often seen as the expression of someone who has plenty of time to write about random topics, express a personal opinion and publish it for the masses, without any vision, professional framework or evaluation. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Let’s call it your news section or your feed. All of a sudden, it becomes more serious, professional and important. Applying an editorial ogic to your blog will change your own mindset and - more importantly - the seeds you are planting in your audience’s mind."

So what is the connection between news and blogging tips for doctors? It’s going from ‘this is happening here at the TV station today’ to ‘this is happening in the world’. It’s moving on from ‘look how good we are’ to ‘look what you need to know and understand to be the best you can be’. 

News, or blog content, from a doctor’s perspective, needs an editorial vision. A storytelling component. Yes, quite often we will have to talk about health problems. But once you manage to jot down an editorial recipe that consists of various types of blog content, you will feel the mindset shift happening. And you will never run of inspiration again.

What is the latest research? What are the risks if left untreated? What are the latest techniques in this area? What can we do to prevent this type of health problems? What are better ways to prepare for treatment? How can you go about optimising your rehabilitation process? The key ingredient in your new editorial approach is always to talk about the patient’s life, quality of life, and the real-life experience of a health situation.

Don’t go technical to show off. Don’t reduce the patient to a knee or a hip. Write about how playing with their kids or grandkids will be different in the future. You will have a better medical blog by becoming more human, and less surgical behind your keyboard.

medical blog

You are not alone and we are here to help

copywriters for blogs

Copywriters for blogs are not following a standardised training and accreditation model like doctors do. There are excellent doctors out there who write beautiful copy. There are copywriters who have specialised in medical. 

If you are considering the use of a medical blog to crank up your visibility and to enhance your online reputation as a doctor or a clinic, let’s work together and build a strong foundation before you get started.

What we do is work out the bigger picture for your blog and check the FAQs that apply to your specialty. This data helps us map the stories that patients will want to read, and the angles we can use to collect your input and build strong news articles, potentially with a short video and powerful lifestyle images.

This is how leading doctors manage to build and grow their online visibility month after month, leaving their competitors behind in Google ranking, conversions and…GP referrals. Because the rapport these articles build between doctors and patients are a key driver of this typical phenomenon where the patient takes the referral to a different specialist than the one named on the referral document.

Let's meet

Let’s kickstart your blog

blogging for surgeons

Blogging for surgeons and specialists won’t be taught in Medical School anytime soon. If you want to make a difference and start securing the reputation of your private practice in the digital space, speak to us about our monthly reputation management plans. We look forward to hearing more about your practice in your free 1:1 Strategy Session. Book it now and you will be reaping the benefits of your medical blog in no time. 

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