- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On January 26, 2015
Our world is constantly changing, and this fact is especially true when you’re a hospital marketer.
You’ve got to simultaneously promote your hospital’s brand online and off, design successful marketing initiatives, and educate your local community on important health issues, all while keeping senior hospital executives, doctors and heads of departments, and other stakeholders happy with both the measurable and immeasurable results of your efforts.
So where are you supposed to find the time to run a blog on top of everything else you have to do? And what are the real benefits of having one, anyway?
The truth is that most hospital marketers don’t have the answers to these questions. In 2013, there were 5,686 hospitals registered with the American Hospital Association, but of the 1,573 that actively use social media, only 212 have official blogs. That’s less than four percent of registered hospitals that use a blog to communicate with prospective patients and others.
The other 96 percent may be satisfied with their web traffic, social media following, and online branding, but they don’t have to be. Taking the time to create a blog and getting the people you need to help you run it on board with your initiative can help you see growth in each of those areas. We’ll have more tips about how to fit it into your busy schedule in future posts, but for now here are some of the benefits of having a blog you’ll discover if you take the plunge.
Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important but also one of the most confusing areas of digital marketing. We’ll discuss SEO in much more detail in future blog posts, but for now what you need to know is that having more “backlinks” to your content means that it’ll rank more highly in search results, and that ranking more highly in search results means that more prospective patients will see your content before your competitors’.
More than 75 percent of patients use search engines when they research hospitals. Using a blog to expand on or highlight subjects already featured on your hospital’s website will increase those valuable backlinks and help keep you from getting lost among a sea of competing search results.
People like innovation, and in the healthcare marketing industry, that extends beyond scientific advances, knowledgeable practitioners, and modern facilities. The technology and content you use to present your brand online makes an impression with the people who land on your website, and blogging has a more substantial impact when it comes to “getting found” than anything else. Having a blog with recent, relevant content will not only attract visitors but also help turn them into returning readers.
Whether you’re publishing tips for staying healthy during the height of flu season or responding to national storylines like last summer’s Ebola panic, a blog is the perfect place to share important medical information with members of your local community. There’s more space and more flexibility on a blog than on your website, so there’s no better way to position your hospital as a leading source of information no matter what people in the area are looking for.
You can even couple your blog with search analytics to see exactly what subjects people want to read about and tailor your blog to meet their needs.
Satisfied parties in your organization
In any hospital, there are a lot of people you have to try to keep happy at any given time. Instead of burying yourself in many different projects to promote new doctors, procedures, technologies, and studies, put them all in one place that’s convenient for you and for your readers. With a blog, you can produce more content without developing new projects and meet everyone’s demands.
We have decades of experience in the healthcare industry, so we know just how hard it can be to show hospital higher-ups how important it is to maximize your online presence. The tiny percentage of hospitals taking advantage of the “blogosphere” shows that it’s still viewed as a risky move, but it’s one that can lead to dramatic results for your organization. Download our ebook about blogging for medical practices and healthcare organizations below to learn more about how to get started.