Start a blog — three of the easiest words to avoid or ignore when creating a dental marketing strategy for your practice. But with all the buzz around blogging and content marketing, it begs the question — could blogging actually be worth it?
Experts agree that blogging is no longer personal; it’s business. When it comes to generating traffic to your site and connecting with your patients, creating a blog has proven to be one of the easiest and most cost-effective dental marketing strategies around.
Blogging lets you create and share fresh content with your patients — while saving trees and dollars on all those informational pamphlets!
Much like posting to social media, blogging is a form of content marketing. However, since they live on your website, blog posts are longer lasting and give Google more opportunities to direct patients to your site.
Whether you post once a week or twice a day, blogging is an invaluable part of dental marketing. By knowing how blogs work, and by thinking like a patient when creating content, you can easily form an awesome blog for your practice.
Like with any marketing strategy, the ultimate goal of blogging is twofold: acquire new patients and engage with your current ones.
But blogs provide a unique opportunity to use your own voice to communicate with patients in a longer format — without being limited to the character counts and the gnat-like attention spans on social media.
One great example of creating a strong connection with patients is the blog Ask Dr. Spindel. This award-winning blog is managed by a private practitioner in New York who has been blogging answers to common dental questions on his practice’s website since 2005."A dental blog is not necessary to having successful practice," Spindel explains. "But it can demonstrate a doctor's expertise to their readers, enhance a practice’s reputation, and result in calls to the office by potential new patients."
Spindel's blog does all of these thanks to the breadth of his blog's topics. From specific questions like “How competitive is dentistry in Manhattan?” to the more general “What sort of lab work do you do?" — Spindel answers it all. This gives him a wealth of credibility while also showing patients his own personality.
Blogs also make it easier for patients to find your website by providing the one thing search engines love — new content.
Even after you have optimized your practice’s website for SEO, adding valuable fresh content is crucial to ranking high on search engine results pages.
Blogs enable you to incorporate keywords and keyphrases (“dentists in New York” or “How often can I whiten my teeth?”) that make it easier for people to find your site. They have a question, and the answer they're looking for resides on your website.
For Dr. Spindel, that often leads to a fuller schedule.
"A blog can increase a practice's website visitors and in turn should will help with the site's SEO efforts," says Spindel. "Combined with local SEO efforts, a blog can result in calls by potential new patients."
Writing blog posts can also increase the number of backlinks to your site. More backlinks will ultimately yield a higher ranking with Google.
Creating engaging and informative content that other reputable sites can reference or use on a resource page is SEO gold.
Creating a backlog of blog posts gives you an automatic store of social media content to draw from.
Blog posts are great to share on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn because they generate traffic back to your site and are easy to share.
Be sure to add shareable social media links to all of your blog posts so patients can share on their own accounts from the blog post itself.
The key to writing good blog posts is to always think like a patient.
What questions do you hear the most in your office?
Are there topics you wish you had more time to explain while patients are in the chair?
Do you offer any elective treatments about which patients really need to know?
A blog is the perfect arena to address these topics!
Along with subject matter, think about the patient in terms of length of the post.
Long blog posts (between 500-1,000 words) are great, as studies show long-form blogs generate 9x more leads than short-form.
However, make sure it is broken up and easy to skim with numbers or bullet points. Including pictures is a another way to break up the text to make it more digestible.
Ultimately, being excited about the topic and using natural language makes for a great blog post. Here are three of our favorite types that patients love:
Providing in-depth answers to questions, and give easy tips for patients to improve their oral health. This helps engage patients and lets them know your care about their wellbeing.
Following the example of Dr. Spindel from above, it is also a good SEO strategy to use the specific question in the title of the blog post. These titles rank higher for search engines.
"By and large, my most popular blogs posts have been about procedures that patients might need," Spindel says. "People tend to query Google with questions about dentistry and good answers can make a blog popular.
Share the latest whitening treatments.
Debunk common dental misconceptions and fears.
Explain new dental research.
These are just a few ways you can bring credibility to your site and practice. Being knowledgeable and forward thinking in the dental industry is crucial to growing your practice.
Your blog can be a great way to both reflect on and share progress in the industry.
While informational and credible blog posts are great, it is also good to balance out your blog with updates and anecdotes from inside the office.
Sharing patient experiences (if the patients agree), documenting practice outings, and writing “Meet the Team” posts show you have a happy and active practice.
These blogs also give new patients a preview of your office, making them more inclined to come. They also build a deeper level of connection with your existing patients.
With a positive, out-of-the-box attitude, the possibilities blogging can bring to your practice are endless.
If done well, blogging can increase traffic to your site and create a loyal and growing patient base.
If done really well, this underestimated dental marketing tool can take you from being a small local practitioner to a thought leader in the industry.
Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.