Blog Basics - Why have a blog?
While your office obviously doesn’t need a blog to offer a fantastic experience for your dental patients, having one does deliver many benefits. For starters, dental blogs help answer common questions from both current and potential patients visiting your site. If there are common questions your front office staff regularly answer over the phone, perhaps a simple blog post on your site can answer those questions while saving your staff some precious phone time?
Another great benefit of blogging is to help patients find your website online. If you’re not already familiar, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is “the process of growing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine”(1). In other words, improving the quality of your site increases the likelihood that it shows up in search results (whether it be Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.). Blogs are an extremely effective way of making your practice’s site shows up higher in search results because, among other things, it makes your website seem more informative, relevant, and current. As such, the best blogs provide lots of information, answers to common questions, and are regularly updated with new content.
Suggested Blog Topics
So you know you should have a blog, but what should you write about? Well, identifying great blog topics to write about can be done very easily with the help of your very own patients. Try to keep track of the questions you and your colleagues get on a regular basis from your new and existing patients alike. If you find that your patients are asking the same questions time and time again, chances are others out there are asking them too, so these make great topics for blogs. Not only do these blog posts make useful, relevant content for your site, but it also serves as helpful education materials to share with your patients when they are asking questions in-office.
If you get stuck on topics to write, there are also some great resources online to help with the writer’s block. For example, you can search for dental topics in “Google Trends” to see the prevalence of common searches over time. For instance, check out this fun example of how the search term “candy + teeth” spikes every Halloween. Likewise, you can check out the websites, “BuzzSumo”, which shows the top trending articles per a given keyword or topic or “Answer the Public”, which aggregates popular questions for a given topic. Using tools like these can also help identify not only interesting topics to write on, but topics that people are keen to learn about as well.
Promoting Your Blog
After you’ve written your highly engaging, extremely relevant blog post, go ahead and spread the word! You can post about your new piece on your office’s social media channels, practice newsletter, or even by having printed copies for your waiting room. At the end of the day, you put a lot of work into creating educational content for your patients, so go ahead and take a few easy steps to help ensure it’s seen by as many people as you can.
If you really want to help your post gain visibility you can also invest a bit to promote your posts on Facebook as well. Promoted posts definitely get more eyeballs, but you’ll be paying for that attention. In this case, it might be beneficial to hire a service or freelancer to help segment your audiences to maximize not only the exposure for your posts, but to help target local demographics who can serve as potential new patients as well. By no means is promoting on Facebook a necessity for your office, but it is an effective way to get more traffic to your site.
There are many benefits to starting and maintaining a blog for your office. As a dental professional you are truly a wealth of knowledge and a great resource, so blogging is just one simple and effective way to share your expertise with the world. Even if you start small and write one article every quarter, every little bit helps. Once you get in the habit of writing down answers to common dental questions and trending dental topics, you will find yourself publishing blog posts on a much more regular basis. Before you know it you will have accumulated a ton of great resources and will wonder why you didn’t start sooner. Good luck, have fun, and start writing!
1 "SEO - search engine optimization". Webopedia.