Blogging is a great tool for increasing traffic to your website, developing yourself as a thought leader in the industry, and building trust with patients. But blogging isn't for everyone, or every practice. While there are plenty of optical marketing benefits that your practice can gain from blogging, if you aren't able to keep up with it or take the time to implement good blogging practices, it might not really be worth it in the end.
You should really take the time to think about whether or not blogging is right for you at this point in time. A few questions that you might want to ask yourself before getting started are:
- Do you have the time to support a blog?
- Do you have goals for the blog?
- Do you have something to say?
- Are you active on social media?
- Do you understand or want to learn more about SEO?
Amp Up Your Optical Marketing Game with a Blog
You've done some research and asked yourself some of
the important questions and you've decided that you want to get your practice blog up and running for 2016. Congrats! You're on your way to fueling SEO, gaining new customers, sharing your practice's personality, engaging in conversations with patients, and challenging yourself with something new. Here are a few important steps to take during the first few stages of creating a blog.
1. Define a Purpose & Make it Useful
It's important to sit down and think about why you want to start a blog in the first place. How are you going to make it useful to your audience? What type of content do you think your community of patients would like to see from you? You don't need to get super specific as you might realize that your purpose and what your patients find most useful could change over time.
2. Blogging Software Options
One great thing about blogging is that there are plenty of free platforms out there for you to choose from. By far the two most popular that we have seen are Wordpress and Blogger. With blogging platforms you don't need to have much design or technical experience in order to get started. There are pre-deteremined themes and layouts to choose from and customer support teams to help when you get stuck. And, there are enough themes and layouts to choose from that you can still make your blog your own without it looking too generic.
3. Your Content Plan & Blogging Team
You don't have to go crazy with your blog to get it off the ground, but with whatever you decide be consistent with your posting schedule. You could start out with something as simple as one blog post per week, and you could also enlist in your staff to see who else might have an interest in contributing to content. Your patients will probably find value in reading content from both you and members of your staff, as it gives another point of view and will help take all of the responsibility off of you.
One of the biggest challenges that many bloggers face is coming up with ideas for content. This might not be as tricky when you're first getting started, but after a while you might hit a little writer's block. here are a few ideas to kickstart your brainstorming when you hit a wall:
- Interivew or Q&A with staff or patients
- New product features when you get in new frames or brands
- Eye health tips
- Promote other events or businesses in the community
- Share how you and your staff continue your education
- Photos from volunteering in the community
- Value of getting products and services from your practice vs. somewhere else
- Contests, promotions, or discounts currently running in your practice
- Common patient questions
- Highlight your staff or new hires
- Guest blogs from others in the industry or community
- Recipes for healthy eyes
4. Be Social
Having a strong social presence is a great way to get your blog content out there to your audience. This might be one of the reasons you started your blog in the first palce - so that you would have original content to share on your social pages. Your social channels are going to be some of the best ways to get your blog content seen by your online audience.
5. Track and Measure
If you set goals for your blog like we suggested earlier, it's important for you to be able to track and measure the performance of your blog. You can use free analytic tools, like Google Analytics, to monitor the basic information of your website and blog. You can also use your insights on social media to see things like how many people are seeing your posts, and how many clicks and interactions each post receives.
Most importantly, if you find that you aren't reaching the goals that you initially set out to reach, don't get discouraged. It's ok to modify your goals to make them attainable, and to keep up your motivation to grow your goals over time.