Love it or hate it, blogging isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, at least 77 percent of internet users are now reading blogs, according to an infographic by IgniteSpot.
Once exclusive to industries such as fashion and technology, blogging has become a universally accepted form of brand communication. From retail to manufacturing, finance to agriculture—and, yes, healthcare—nearly every industry is represented in the modern blogosphere.
Why? Well, to be frank, because blogging is directly linked to an increase in leads.
But, there’s more to the benefits of regularly publishing high quality content than lining your company’s pockets. Blogging is essential for giving your brand a human element, directly communicating with current and potential customers and patients, and guiding prospects toward the appropriate next step in the buyer journey. Moreover, though, blogging offers healthcare companies virtually unlimited opportunity for establishing credibility.
Need more convincing? Here are the top four reasons a blog adds validity to your healthcare brand.
Whether your business model is B2B, B2C or B2B2C, when it comes to choosing a solution in the healthcare industry, trustworthiness is the ultimate differentiating factor. Prospects are most interested in solutions from companies run by knowledgeable, experienced professionals because, often literally, they’re putting lives in your hands.
You know your team is the most highly skilled and well-qualified in the industry, so don’t keep that information to yourself. Publish blog content shedding a spotlight on your knowledge, such as staff Q&As and editorials. Locate the rising stars in your company and let them exercise their voice. Give readers [even more] evidence for trusting your products or services.
“If we put ourselves out there, we’re leaving ourselves open to criticism.”
This is a phrase echoed by regulatory personnel and legal teams in hospital and healthcare enterprise board rooms across the globe. It’s the sort of phrase that leaves marketers grinding their teeth and, more often than not, stuck in a stalemate.
But, here’s the kicker: Just because you aren’t utilizing a blog or social media outlet to discuss your brand on the World Wide Web doesn’t mean someone else isn’t. In fact, choosing to silence your end of the conversation leaves you open to more criticism than if you choose to establish your own authoritative voice online and quell misinformation. Not to mention, blogging is the perfect opportunity for healthcare marketers and legal teams to leave their silos and work together to offer statutorily acceptable online communication.
Given 60 percent of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content on its site, and 80 percent of internet users are seeking answers to their health questions online, blogging is far too large an opportunity to avoid.
Okay, okay. I know what you’re thinking. This completely contradicts everything I’ve previously said about not doing something only because everyone else is doing it. But, while this shouldn’t be your only reason for starting a blog for your healthcare company, it’s important to know what your competitors are doing—and then do it better.
I know it sounds like a cop out, but hear me out.
Blogging is alive and well in the healthcare industry, and companies are reaping all sorts of benefits. They’re enjoying new leads (up to 67 percent more leads than non-blogging counterparts), streamlining their buyer journey and becoming recognized as a force in the industry. If you’re not blogging, you’re essentially giving your competitors free reign to whisk away all your prospects.
However, there is a caveat to this advice: make sure you actually have something to say. Blogging for the sake of pumping out content is never a good idea. Don’t launch a blog until you’re able to create useful and interesting content.
I guess we may as well address the elephant in the room—the real reason you’re researching blogging in the first place: SEO. You’ve likely heard a lot of information about content creation and SEO. You’ve probably heard blogging is a great way to drive up your search engine ranking and increase your reach, and this is certainly true. SEO leads to site traffic and social referrals, which increase your credibility.
However, you should never blog just for SEO. I repeat, do not blog just for search engines. Why? Because focusing on jamming in as many relevant keywords as possible instead focusing on helping your personas solve a problem will almost certainly ensure penalization by Google.
“The search engines of the future aren't going to punish folks for under-using keywords or failing to have an expertly crafted, keyword-optimized page title,” says Hubspot Content Strategist Erik Devaney, “But they will continue to punish folks for overusing keywords.”
So, take heed of SEO best practices, but ensure your primary focus is creating quality content your prospects are interested in reading. This will help you achieve the credibility you seek while also satisfying search engines in order to drive up rankings.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for a solution that allows you to promote your team as thought leaders in the healthcare industry, protect your company’s online reputation, maintain a competitive advantage and bolster your search engine ranking, blogging is your silver bullet. By developing meaningful, engaging and educational content, you can position your healthcare company as a market leader.
Once you’ve developed your content strategy, make sure to measure its success. Learn how with our guide The ROI of Content Marketing.