In our last post, we looked at how my 4-month old son inhales five to six ounces of milk and fusses for the next feeding before I even realize he’s hungry again.
We also looked at how powering a healthcare blog with content is a lot like feeding a growing infant—right when you’ve given content, or milk, it’s time to give more.
Here are 3 of the just-plain-wrong ways to create healthcare web content that we discussed in the first post:
Publishing canned content
Creating content without a calendar
Here are 3 additional tactics that just don’t work if you want to keep your healthcare blog going strong:
4. Asking Doctors To Write It
Whenever I talk with healthcare marketing leaders who say their physicians will be responsible for creating blog content, I chuckle. Good luck with that. Yes, there may be a few physicians who are personally interested in blogging and will make the commitment, like Dr. Natasha. But the operative term there is personally interested.
Blogging cannot be plopped on their to-do list as a directive from marketing. It can’t even be a request. Otherwise, you’re going to drive yourself—and them—crazy trying to meet deadlines.
It’s realistic to ask doctors for interviews or to review healthcare blog content, but here’s why doctors should never be asked to commit to actually writing it:
They don’t have time
Even if they say they have time to write, many healthcare marketers later find out that it was just wishful thinking. Sure, many physicians are becoming aware of how important it is to educate patients online. But blogging for the healthcare organization is not their job. It’s yours.
Considering most doctors only get about 20 minutes with each patient, it’s not fair to ask them to crowbar blogging into their schedules—ironically, because the marketing team doesn’t have time. Surely, the docs would rather spend the extra couple of hours with their patients.
They don’t have the skill set
A clinician called one of our web content specialists after her marketing team promised her a byline if she wrote a post every month for their hospital’s blog. “What’s a byline?” she asked.
Sure many clinicians are fine writers, but they don’t teach writing and editing in medical school. So, if you ask a doc to write blog content, you may spend as much time editing as you would have if you’d just written it yourself.
5. Asking Marketing Staff to Write It
It makes perfect sense that healthcare blogs fall under the purview of marketing. But here’s when it’s a problem: When the already-stretched marketing team gets a time-intensive blog dumped on top of all of their other responsibilities.
A successful blog is not a side project. In fact, it requires several specialized skill sets working in tandem—researching, writing, editing, promoting the content on social media, search engine optimization, graphic design, measuring engagement, etc.
If marketing team members are going to start writing blog content, they may need to stop doing something else. Otherwise, you risk burning out your team.
6. Defaulting To Disease 101 Content And Study Stories
If you’re going to talk about a specific condition, save the basic info—like symptoms and definitions—for your health library or WebMD.
I’ve also noticed that academic medical centers tend to boast about their research, but often leave out the take-home message for patients. Defaulting to basic info or the latest gee whiz study can be a cop out for delving into the deeper issues your patients want to hear about.
Health conditions don’t just happen in the context of people’s bodies. They occur in the context of people’s lives. Your patients are raising kids. They’re concerned about marriages or careers. Serious health conditions touch every aspect of life, and so should your healthcare blog content.
So, What’s The Right Way Create Content For A Healthcare Blog?
Of all the tasks that go into a successful blog, content creation is the one that will cause the blog to fizzle out of date if it’s not someone’s primary focus.
That means you need a realistic plan for how you’re going to create the content and a team dedicated to doing just that.
Your content creation team should take charge of the research, clinician interviews, graphic design, promotion and analytics tracking—so you don’t have to.
Again, a blog shouldn’t be considered a side project. If done correctly, it could be the central vehicle for connecting with your target audience. Otherwise, you’re going to be running to the store for milk at the last minute.