A blog can be a powerful marketing and patient education tool for your practice. In marketing lingo, a blog is a “pull marketing” technique. It attracts people who are searching for specific information by serving up answers to their questions.
Posting blog content to your website can be a powerful pull marketing technique for your practice. Well-considered blog content help with search engine optimization, enabling your practice’s website to show up on search engines for cosmetic procedure-related search queries.
When it comes to developing your blog, the “measure twice, cut once” adage applies. The time your staff takes to develop, write and manage blog content will be best spent if you first do some thinking about who you’re writing for and what they want to know. Here are four ways to make your blog relevant to potential patients, and to increase the chances your content gets read by people who might book appointments with you.
1. Create simple patient profiles
The primary purpose of your blog will be to build credibility and attract qualified traffic to your website. “Qualified” traffic means that visitors have, at least directionally, a higher-than-average propensity to become patients of yours. Your blog content will have a lot to do with whether you receive traffic from people who are serious about getting a cosmetic procedure.
To do this, you’ll first want to consider who your patients are, including their age range, their gender, their income level and the types of treatments they might seek. You’ll also want to think about the “psychographics” of your average patient: what television shows they watch, what music they listen to, what issues they care about. how they like to spend their weekends, and the like.
The reason you’ll want to consider these questions before creating posts for your blog is that the answers can affect the content, tone, references, keywords and other fundamental elements of your blog posts. While the core information in a given post might be fixed, your patients’ profile should affect your presentation and how you frame the information–the same as it would during a consultation.
Your patient profiles will also affect what questions they will have about cosmetic procedures, and nailing down patient questions is the key to creating relevant content that attracts qualified visitors to your practice’s website.
2. Anticipate the questions your customers will ask — and answer them
To build credibility with potential patients who are still early in their aesthetics journey, your blog should effectively answer their procedure-related questions, which they will usually ask via search engines like Google. Identifying questions they might ask, and then answering them, is also a way to cultivate educated patients who have a reasonable expectation of their procedure’s outcomes.
You can use Google’s autofill algorithm for ideas. To do this, start typing a search term to see how Google would complete it–the results are a good place to start for generating questions your blog should answer. Search engine optimization tools like Moz offer free features that let you enter search terms and get a list of related searches–another great source of potential questions that also offers search volume estimates for each suggested term. If you have a RealSelf business page, the Q&A section can be another great place to look for relevant questions.
Next, your practice should create content that answers those search queries. But in order to be credible, you should avoid solely promoting the work your practice does.
Let’s say, for example, that you identify, “What are the options for flattening my stomach?” as the type of early question that a potential patient might ask. Your practice might author a blog post that answers that question, but your post should address the spectrum of options for achieving that goal–diet, exercise, aesthetic procedures–and be honest about the pros, cons, risks and possibilities for each.
After reading the post, a potential patient who decides to keep researching aesthetic procedures will have been exposed to other options, making for a better-informed potential patient with well-moderated expectations. These types of comprehensive answers will also be rewarded with higher rankings on search engine results.
3. Organize your content
Both people and search engines like content that is well organized.
We could write a book on how to best format your content for search engines, but there are some simple best practices you can implement to boost your content’s readability and rankings. For example, if your post is about “Options for flattening my stomach,” then the section headers for your blog post should provide the answers to that question. For human readers, write headings that can deliver information even if the reader chooses not to read the full content beneath it.
|Instead of…||Go with…|
|Diet||Transition to a lean diet|
|Exercise||Incorporate aerobic and muscle-targeting exercise|
|Plastic surgery||Consider plastic surgery for stubborn belly fat|
These types of headings make your content easier to scan and incorporate keywords that will help search engines understand what your content is about.
You can also consider subheadings beneath your main content headings that follow a consistent pattern. For each of the sections in your “Options for flattening my stomach” blog post, your subheadings might be: “How to do this,” “Why this works,” and “Who this works for.” Not only do subheadings give additional context to search engines that can boost your rankings on sites like Google, they also make the piece easier to read for prospective patients–and easier for you or your staff to write.
4. Market your marketing
We’ve been discussing the fact that writing blog posts that consider your patient profiles and potential patients’ questions can help you rank highly on search engines for aesthetics-related queries.
But the competition to appear for popular search terms is high, and you should use other marketing channels to get your content seen by people who are seriously considering cosmetic procedures.
Publishing to your social media channels is a great way to share the content on your blog. And by encouraging your followers to ask questions or engage in discussion about your content, you will be able to harvest more questions for future blog posts and refine your understanding of your patient profiles.
You should also enable visitors to subscribe to your blog. Be sure to collect email addresses early and often. Remember: even if you’re not ready to start emailing blog posts to your visitors, you should capture blog visitors’ email addresses anyway. Other great places to capture email addresses for your blog distribution list: a signup sheet at your office, your social media channels, and your RealSelf business page.