How to write content patients will read

How to write content patients will read

by Valerie (SU)

Working with different healthcare practices across the US has given us a ton of respect for what some doctors do to go the extra mile for patients.  Not only are doctors seeing dozens of patients every day, but they are building relationships and opening the lines of communication in new ways.  For example, patients can find their doctor’s office on Facebook or Twitter and follow their doctor’s blog if they have one.  

Doctors who blog may write about health news headlines and share updates about their practice.  Nine times out of ten, the blog is written for a patient audience.  There are a few common mistakes doctor’s make with their blog, and we intend to dispel them here. 

Mistake #1: Too much medical jargon. 

Physicians who write their own blog posts have to use language that patients will understand.  Avoid using too much medical terminology, and define any terms that may be unfamiliar.  Readers will quickly lose interest if they don’t understand what they’re reading.  In the US, the average patient has a 7th grade reading level.  To make the content more interesting, try using anecdotal examples to describe a problem or treatment.  Patients can always relate to other patients, so using testimonials and patient stories are also great.

Mistake #2: Links to external information. 

It is not sufficient to write one or two sentences with a link for more information.  Patients want YOUR take on the topic, so elaborate by sharing your own medical recommendation (in a general sense, of course).  Think about what questions your patients might ask, and provide the answers if you can.  IF they want to follow the link for more information they can, but give them what they need to know on your website and encourage them to call the office with questions.  If they leave your site, they may never come back.

Mistake #3: Typos and formatting errors. 

Don’t let your blog be an eye sore.  These issues can make your blog hard to read. Formatting issues can be especially ugly on a mobile device, which accounts for a large portion of web traffic these days.  Typos are just unacceptable.  Most blog platforms have a built-in spell check.  If not, type your blog post in word and run spell check before you publish it online.

Mistake #4: No posts for months. 

Having a blog requires upkeep.  New posts should be planned on a regular basis, at least monthly.  If a prospective patient is visiting your website and checks out your blog, they expect to see something current.  If the last post was 6 months ago (or worse), it can be disappointing.  The best way to get on track with regular blog posts is to create a schedule you can stick to.  Once monthly blog posts are great, but some doctors are too busy for that.  Maybe you can split the responsibility of posting with another doctor in your practice or staff member.  Plan ahead so you know what topics should be covered each month, and if there are breaking stories in the news, you’ll want to add a post to cover those. 

If you cannot commit to once monthly blog posts, there may be other options.  One would be to use Facebook and Twitter as your blog.  This is less time-intensive and does not require a lot preparation or planning, but there still should be a strategy and a schedule to ensure regular posts every month.  The other option would be to hire a company like iHealthSpot to do blog post marketing.  We can suggest the topics, create the schedule, write the posts, publish them, and do online marketing.

Call (877) 709-0999 for more information about our blog packages for doctors.

Having a blog for your medical practice is a great idea.  It gives you a way to casually interact with patients while still being in a controlled environment.  A blog also keeps your website fresh in the eyes of Google, which has a positive impact on your search engine rank.  Another key factor that influences your rank is the relevancy of your content, so be sure your blog stays on topic and shares information that your patients will find valuable.