Blogging for Medical Practice Promotion?

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Strategic Questions for Doctors to Consider

[By staff reporters]

There’s all sorts of advice on why and how to blog in order to promote a medical practice. Yet, most doctors STILL haven’t scratched the surface to understand what blogging is actually about and what roles it may play in their overall Business Plan and strategic presence – on and offline.

But, all practices have different concerns and goals, and every media, communications and marketing strategy is different from the other.

Today, “blogging” just doesn’t mean the publishing of content on a website. It’s more about being proficient in various media: from traditional to emerging; a new set of skills every doctor or physician executive needs to acquire and hone. Blogging is a constant learning process. It’s also a way to reveal strengths and weaknesses inherent in any healthcare organizations, culture and processes.

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The Expert Speaks?

According to Phil Baumann RN, of Phil.Baumann.com, the following are helpful to consider when planning a blogging campaign to promote your medical practice:

  1. What’s the purpose? Practice development? Patient availability? A place to house your medical expertise and knowledge? A place to create a [professional or patient] community where ideas and questions can be explored openly? What value do you expect to provide or extract?
  2. Who is your audience(s)? Are you thinking that your only audience would be patients? Or, perhaps your colleagues, other healthcare industry influencers, vendors or the public? Will you be able to track the social footprint of your audience – who they are and where else on the Web they interact?
  3. What kinds of content are you delivering? Is it informational? Editorial? Inspirational? Industrially insightful? Action-calling? How might the kind(s) of content and information you publish influence your audience? Are you willing to let your audience help determine your content?
  4. What kinds of media will you provide on the blog? Text? Video? Audio? Slidedecks? Different media have different properties. Have you thought about the properties of traditional media and how they differ from emerging media? How much of your traditional practice marketing expertise evolved around the properties of print, radio, traditional websites and TV? Given that new media possess different properties, how might your marketing and promotional strategies need to adapt?
  5. Do you know what kinds of assets a blog can build? Appointment leads? A small but relevant community of patients or influencers? Professional or street credibility? Search engine optimization [SEO] and ranking? Which do you need?
  6. How will you distribute your content? Have you developed other web real estate – outposts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Slideshare; or will you use strictly medical networks, healthcare related platforms or build your own? Which ones make the most sense to invest in? Can you build a visual map of your entire Web presence and how different Web and traditional presences relate to the bigger picture?
  7. If you successfully build your community, do you know how to leverage it? Will you be satisfied to just have visitors? Or, will you engage with your community – not only on your blog but elsewhere? Will you continually monitor your efforts and make the best of the connections you make? Will you develop a system to reach your community beyond your blog – either via email or other media outreach?
  8. Do you think blogging is just putting content on a website – or do you believe it is a spectrum of media skills? What’s your conception of medical practice blogging? Might there be more to blogging than what you think you know? What skills may you need to develop or build upon
  9. Do you have a plan on how to distribute your blog content to traditional media (where else is your audience)? What are your overall communications and marketing strategies? How might emerging media not only play a part, but how might their proliferation impact your established practice strategies?
  10. How committed will you be? Is this going to be a chore “to be done” or will you intelligently integrate it into your promotional routine? Do you understand the skills and resources needed to become proficient? When thinking about resources, are you considering time and talent and networks? Or, will you outsource, and can you afford it?
  11. Do you have the stamina to sustain your efforts in the long-term? Investing in new media is about sustaining long-term capital. Given your resources, will you create the kind of working environment for your employees to enjoy the art of creating content, conversing across different networks and advancing the practice’s objectives?
  12. Do you know how to make it easy (and enticing) for your audience to comment? Will you thank and comment back? Is sharing via email and other sources easy?
  13. Are you willing to fail? More importantly: how do you define failure? This is important to know because if you define failure appropriately, then you’re more likely to know what to do when you encounter it: in fact, you may see it as a huge opportunity.

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Assessment

Take your time answering these questions because they aren’t just about blogging: they’re about your understanding promotional media and your medical practice. What other questions do you think you need to ask yourself?

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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