How to Use Blogging to Increase Patient Engagement in Healthcare

Were you aware that more than 80% of buyers want content over advertising?

Why?

Because it allows buyers to get to know you. And as the old adage goes: People buy from those they know, like and trust.

Blogging in healthcare can be a powerfully punchy marketing tool. In fact, businesses that have around 200 blog posts published on their website, gain up to 10 times the amount of leads.

That might sound like a lot of blog posts. But if you’re in business for the long term, writing 2 blogs per week (or at least one) is a great marketing strategy to have. It attracts and converts potential patients. And when done right it increases patient engagement through the entire customer lifecycle.

Blog posts can engage potential leads before they become patients, when they are seeking a solution to their problem. Blog posts can engage patients during their recovery by specifically aiding in their treatment plan. And blog posts can keep patients engaged after their recovery, by educating them on better self care and keeping your business top of mind.

As a freelance copywriter, I’ve been writing blogs for healthcare companies worldwide for over eight years. Today I want to share 4 key tips to help you create content that engages patients and keeps them coming back for more.

Think outside the square

You might think, okay I write this blog and that’s it, people might see it once then my efforts are wasted. But that’s not so — if you have a good strategy.

So before getting started with blogging, it’s important to think outside the square.

For instance, your informational blogs can be used for your patients treatment and recovery purposes.

Say you have a series of back pain stretches and recovery tips published on your blog. You can set up an automated email series that contains links to these blogs, then during patient onboarding, you subscribe back pain patients to this email autoresponder and BAM… you’ve customized your patient journey. They receive valuable information that can help them speed up recovery and will engage them more in their treatment plan.

That’s just one idea. But any content you write can have more than one purpose, so before getting started, think about how your blog posts can serve your business AND enhance patient engagement through the lifecycle.

Next, you have to write GREAT content.

So let’s get down to a few key ways to make your content more engaging.

1. Who is the blog post for?

This may sound obvious and you might reply – “my patients.”

But not all your patients are alike. An elderly patient with arthritis is very different to an athlete with an ankle injury.

This generic indirectness is one common fault I see with a lot content. The blog post is written to no one in particular, in an impersonal jargon-ish robot-like fashion.

Not only is that dead boring, it’s unlikely to engage anyone!

Think about it. When someone is browsing the web looking for info, that person is alone. They are just ONE person reading ONE page of content. They want to be engaged and educated in an interesting way that speaks directly to THEM.

They don’t care about you, they just want to know: “What’s in it for me?” “Can this information help solve my problem?”

You need to speak directly to that one person, in a way that connects and inspires them.

So who are they?

Before getting started, imagine the person you are writing the blog post for. Are they a woman or a man? What age are they? If you could speak to them, what would they tell you about their daily life? Their physical problems? Their emotional challenges?

If you had that patient in your clinic face-to-face, how would you help them? What would you tell them to do? How would you empathize with them?

To increase patient engagement through blogging, that’s the exact place you need to start from.

As you write any piece of healthcare content, leave the professional jargon behind and keep the person at the top of your mind. Be personable, make things easy to understand, make your content useful, and speak directly to them so your content connects.

 

2. What is your objective?

Now that you know who the person is, what do you want to tell, teach, or talk to them about? And more importantly, why?

For example, the overall blog objective for your practice may be to share relevant and valuable content to educate your patients about various conditions and how to take care of their body better. And of course, to sell services and products, too.

After you brainstorm several blog topic ideas, drill down to the objective of each post.

For example:

Topic: 5 different types of physical therapy modalities (and how they can help you).

Objective: Provide detailed information about the different types of therapy to educate the readers so they understand more about what you do and how you can help them.

Topic: 7 effective stretches for lower back pain.

Objective: Provide detailed step-by-step instructions that patients can use at home to stretch their lower back and relieve pain.

When creating an objective, remember that a piece of content must be useful to the reader – even if you’re trying to sell products or services.

Always think back to the person you’re writing the blog for, and ask: What’s in it for them?

Create your blog post around that and you’ll start writing highly engaging posts that patients want and need.

 

3. What is the value goal for the reader?

Your objective is important, but to increase patient engagement, the value you provide the reader is even more important.

Your blog post must contain the useful information you want to tell, teach or talk about. Even if you’re trying to sell a service or product through a blog, you have to find a creative way to add value for the reader.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how you can do this.

Say you want to inform current patients about a new product line that helps them with back pain recovery. You might want to sell foam rollers, heat pads, and fit balls.

Instead of just blatantly selling, which hazes over the eyes of most of us these days, sell the product AND provide value.

How?

Educate your patients about what the product is, then provide value by helping them take action to USE the product.

You might:

  • Have a series of specific exercise instructions and images to show patients how to use the foam roller for their back pain.
  • Explain the benefits of heat pads for relieving muscles and educate patients about how frequently to use them.
  • Provide an exercise routine containing 3-5 exercises utilizing the fit ball to build core strength and support the lower back.

See how you’ve just taken a boring ‘product news update’ and turned it into useful, engaging content that your patients will benefit from?

And positioning your blog content like this will promote more product sales, guaranteed!

Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust. Aim to get the readers to like and trust your practice while at the same time, asking for the sale.

Your content is a selling tool, but by default of the value you provide.

 

4. What do you want people to DO?

After you finish writing your blog, don’t leave people hanging in thin air.

Tell people what to do next. What is their next best click? Or the action you want them to take?

This is called a “Call To Action” or CTA. And all the content you produce online should contain a CTA.

On a blog post, your CTA could be:

  • Call us to talk about your back pain
  • Read this related blog post
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Download our eBook or exercise chart
  • Visit our shop to buy this product

Don’t assume people will take action. To increase your patient engagement you need to guide the reader to take the next appropriate action by telling them what to DO.

If you’re not currently using blogging for your practice, a good time to start is now. And if you are blogging already, there are always ways to improve your content.

One thing is clear, blogging is an incredibly effective tool to increase patient engagement in healthcare. And using the 4 tips outlined above, you or your staff will instantly write a more useful and engaging post!

Don’t have time to write engaging content? Hire a professional!

jedha-d-circleLet me craft compelling words to engage your patients and bring them back for more.

I provide freelance writing services specifically to healthcare businesses worldwide — evidence-based, results-driven copywriting or ghostwriting (writing as you). Every piece of content I write is custom created for your health business. And strategically written to align with your business goals and objectives.

Visit Health Content Plus or email me and let’s talk about what you need: healthcontentplus@gmail.com

 

 

By | 2017-06-26T20:28:42+00:00 June 3rd, 2017|Blog|Comments Off on How to Use Blogging to Increase Patient Engagement in Healthcare

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