- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On November 25, 2013
The answer to this question does not seem very clear to many of the medical practices we speak to.
When I first read about blogs I did not understand them either. I did not “get it”. What was this strange thing called a blog that seemed to be some kind of online journal? It did not seem to have any value as a business marketing tool whatsoever.
But reading further about blogs I came across a description that set off a light bulb for me. The description said a blog was basically a website with a publishing tool behind it.
The key here was the publishing tool.
For those of you who’ve been around digital stuff long enough you will remember the bad old days of putting up websites without any kind of publishing tool. Everything had to be handcrafted using tools like Dreamweaver or even before that just dealing with HTML code in the raw.
The result of this was once built websites never got touched again. Many of them literally stayed the same for years. A ton of effort was required to get them looking acceptable in the first place and nobody was keen to go through that painful process again.
The problem was (and is) that once you’d visited one of these beautiful websites there was no reason to go back. They never changed. Most of the sites were the equivalent of a glossy brochure (remember those?): five to six pages of stuff about how great a practice you are.
But then along came blogs – and similar (but more fancy and expensive tools) called “content management systems”. These tools let an ordinary business person go into a screen and type content into a box much like typing into Word; then hit the publish button; and through some kind of Internet magic this content turned into a new web page – often a “blog post”.
Now suddenly it was possible to add new content to your website without much pain. No need to call your web developer. You simply wrote an article and pressed publish.
For website visitors also this was something quite new. Suddenly you had websites that were frequently updated. Some strange people called “bloggers” were updating their websites weekly – or even daily. Now there was a reason to go back to these sites.
At the same time these “bloggers” found out that if they were going to publish something weekly or daily it could not be a pitch. They found out their content needed to be entertaining or educational.
The whole concept of content marketing came into focus. With companies learning that if they provided visitors with useful content they could get them to come back. By doing this they would build an audience for their writing and better yet they found a percentage of this audience would actually end up becoming customers. Now we were onto something.
One other thing: Google noticed what was going on. Google noticed that people liked to read sites that got updated often. Hence Google’s search engine started to point people to the sites that got updated and read often. Blogs became great “Google bait”.
So why do you need a blog to market your medical practice?
The fresh content you will publish when it’s easy for you to do so is “online gold” when it comes to attracting prospective patients. Patients will find you through search engines and through social media as you publish content that answers their health questions and concerns.
So yes, a blog is important in medical practice marketing.