So, you took the advice of my last blog post and created a blog on your practice's website. Well done!
But, now what? What should you write about? What should a blog post include? How are you supposed to find the time to write when you feel like you barely have time to practice medicine, run your practice, and still have a life outside of work?
OK, OK... relax. Here are the answers to your questions:
QUESTION: But, now what?
ANSWER: Now, you start thinking of topics you want your clients to know about, and you sit down to create a content calendar.
QUESTION: What should you write about?
ANSWER: See previous answer. Creating a content calendar will help you to stay on track and promote consistency in your posting schedule and topics. To begin constructing your calendar:
- Sit down and make a list of the topics you already know you want to educate your clients about.
- Use special dates and events as inspiration.
- Borrow from others. (Never copy, but take ideas from others and make them your own.)
QUESTION: What should a blog post include?
ANSWER: Most blog posts should include the following eight elements:
#1: An attention-grabbing headline — Your headline should clearly articulate what your article is about (don't get too cutesy with blog headlines), and it should make the reader want to read the article. Some headlines that often grab attention include:
- Lists (5 Ways to Prevent Your Dog from Dying)
- How-to posts (How to Prevent Your Dog from Dying)
- Resource posts (The Veterinarian's Guide to Preventing Your Dog from Dying)
- Question posts (How Can I Prevent My Dog from Dying?)
- Heart-to-heart posts (The Truth About Why My Dog Almost Died)
#2: A compelling lead — Your first sentence or short paragraph should compel readers to read your second paragraph. Start with an interesting story that relates to your topic.
#3: Useful subheads — Subheads serve to break your article up into sections so it's easier to digest and more visually appealing. They also help readers navigate to important sections more quickly. With so many people scrolling though Facebook and reading blog posts on their smart phones while waiting in line at the grocery store (or sitting in your lobby), subheads are something readers (and search engines) appreciate.
#4: An engaging body — So, you have a killer headline and an attention-grabbing lead that have left your readers excited for more. Deliver an informative and engaging "meat and potatoes" of your article.
#5: Appealing graphics — Like subheads, graphics help to break up your content and make it more visually appealing. Whether you're including photos, GIFs (like I did here), or videos, your content will be more interesting to your readers. A few tips:
- Never steal images from the web. Use your own original photography, find free photos/videos/GIFs online, or purchase images from sites like Shutterstock, iStock, etc.
- Make fun images using canva.com.
#6: A call-to-action — If you're publishing a post on your business blog, you need to end with a call to action. Want people to comment? Contact you? Learn more? Tell them.
(Don't let your dog die prematurely. Schedule his next preventive care exam by calling 123-456-7899.)
#7: A relevant internal link — Internal links encourage readers to check out your other content.
(Dogs who visit the veterinarian at least annually for preventive care exams <insert link to your webpage about preventive care and vaccines> are 90 percent less likely to die prematurely.)
#8: A meta description — The meta description is the text Google displays in search results. If you don't specify one, Google will use the first sentence or two from your article. The meta description is in HTML code, and different platforms handle meta descriptions differently. If you have a WordPress site, a plugin like Yoast lets you easily add a meta description without needing to know HTML.
QUESTION: How are you supposed to find the time to write when you feel like you barely have time to practice medicine, run your practice, and still have a life outside of work?
ANSWER: That's a good question. Perhaps you could task your high school son or daughter with writing for you. Maybe you could dictate a blog post on your smart phone while driving home from work, and then publish it later. Or, maybe you could hire a professional writer to take care of it all for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah Rumple is an award-winning veterinary writer and editor. Serving the veterinary industry since 2011, her writing covers everything from practice management topics for veterinary professionals to pet health and behavior topics for pet owners. Sarah's clients include veterinary publications, organizations, nonprofit associations, media companies, individual veterinarians/practices, corporate groups, and others. Sarah is owner and chief creative officer of Rumpus Writing and Editing LLC, which she began in 2016. She and her team write more than 30 blog posts for their various clients every month.
Learn more about Sarah or contact her at sarahrumple.com.