A Guide to Blogging for Dentists

Posted on February 20, 2012

In a digitized world, more and more people are turning to online sources for research. This is especially true for local products and services, and it has become imperative that traditional brick and mortar businesses embrace this change in the marketplace. Many dentists took this idea to heart and were some of the early adopters of websites to establish their online presence. However, as websites have grown to be almost the standard for dental practices, blogging has become one of the newest ways to distinguish yourself.

Reasons For Dentists to Blog

Share Your Own Ideas

Blogging provides a unique opportunity to give your point of view on any topic of your choosing. How many times have you read an article and felt the desire to weigh in with your own ideas? With a blog you now have that forum, and it is a great way to give patients an insight into your personality.

Keep Patients Engaged

One of the best ways to engage your current patients is to provide them with new content that is relevant to their needs and interests. A traditional dentist’s website typically has very few changes and updates made over time. And, any changes that you do make usually require some level of technical knowledge about coding, or contacting your website provider to discuss the edits. In this area blogs have a significant advantage because blog software like WordPress is designed entirely to allow novice users to make these posts and updates. All you have to worry about is finding ideas to post!

Coordinate Social Media

One of the great things about Social Media is that you can connect with your patients through a platform that they are already using. One of the difficulties is trying to keep up that interaction across multiple websites. A blog can simplify this process by acting as a hub for all your Social Media. Linking it to all your accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Yelp, etc. is a good start, and you can further the process by setting the blog to syndicate new articles as updates on Facebook and Twitter. This cross promotion has the effect of taking the different fans and followers of your accounts and funneling them to become readers of your blog.

Help Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Whenever a blog article is published, a signal (known as a ping) is instantly sent to search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The ping triggers the search engines to immediately scan and evaluate the new content, which is then filtered into search results much more quickly than a traditional website. Blog posts are also viewed by search engines as a news article, so they carry more weight.
Furthermore, the most powerful aspect of a blog’s SEO is that (through the natural course of making posts over time) your blog can accumulate hundreds of articles, making it a major authority on many dental topics. This makes a blog relevant to many searches that traditional websites will often find hard to compete with.

How to Effectively Blog

Add Original Content

Nothing is more valuable on the internet than providing something that nobody else has. Whenever you see or hear about an article or topic that peaks your interest, consider writing one of your own. Chances are it will strike a chord with your readers as well. Recent industry news or general oral health tips are great topics, and (whenever possible) include subjects that can be presented in a numbered list. This builds anticipation and encourages readers to finish the entire article.

Re-post Interesting Articles

Not everything you post needs to be 100% unique to your blog. Aggregating interesting articles into one place makes your blog a single source for many interesting topics about dentistry. You can also use snippets of other articles while interspersing your own thoughts on the topic. Whenever you do use someone else’s work though, make sure to cite your sources and give them fair credit.

Be Concise

Keep your posts short and to the point. You do not want to lose the valuable ideas you meant to convey, but if an article is much more than 1,000 words many people will simply not finish it. Consider breaking up a lengthy topic into several installments.

Have a Consistent Schedule

The goal of a blog is to grow its number of readers, and this is usually accomplished when they create a habit of checking for new articles. An appropriate minimum is about one post per week, so you should create a schedule for posting and keep to it. Loyal readers will recognize the pattern and visit consistently on these days. If one comes to your site and sees no changes then you run the risk of them forgetting about you all together, so don’t disappoint!

What Results Should I Expect?

Determining an exact ROI (return on investment) is a challenge for many forms of advertising, but it can be particularly difficult for blogging and other Social Media. There is no exact number for how much it costs to maintain a blog, because (aside from a hosting fee) the only investment is your time. The payoff can also be unclear, as office staff must be diligent in asking new patients exactly by which means they reached your practice.
This is why many choose to view blogging less as direct advertising and more as a long term investment in practice branding. There are, however, options that can be used in combination with a blog to produce quicker and measurable results. Utilizing Pay Per Click advertising can instantly drive very targeted traffic to a blog that also features a tracked phone number. This can give you exact statistics on who is seeing your site and contacting your practice.
By following the steps above, and once your blog has shown consistency and growth in user base, you will see it turn into a valuable advertising channel for your practice.

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