Here at Kuno, we launch new efforts more frequently than NASA launches rockets. And while we’re no rocket scientists, we do use a formula to get things done. For me, launching a blog has been a great learning experience where my organizational side comes to life. When done right, blogs can be a powerful tool to communicate with healthcare audiences.
There are plenty of checklists available, but here are some things to keep in mind about how to launch a healthcare blog.
To begin, you want to determine who you will be writing for. Will your audience be patients, medical professionals or both? Once you determine who will be reading the majority of your information, you can begin brainstorming ideas that will be relevant to that audience.
Posts crafted for doctors or other medical professionals will be different than those written for patients. The level of detail and how in-depth the topics get will also vary based on your audience. Using terms that doctors are familiar with requires a different knowledge base than writing posts that patients would understand. Doctors may prefer more specialized information, while patients want easy to understand facts about conditions they may be experiencing.
Once you know your audience and the kinds of topics that will be most beneficial to them, set up an editorial calendar that includes the topic, the month it should publish and the corresponding hospital campaign.
In addition to hospital-specific topics, look into nationally recognized health initiatives. Most people are familiar with February as Heart Month, so it makes sense to choose some heart-related topics to publish that month. Planning this in advance gives you more time to reach out to cardiologists or other specialists for their input, since they are likely busy. Seeing all the topics laid out for the entire year helps avoid delaying posts or missing your window for a timely post to be published.
An editorial calendar is also a great tool to show your organization you are prepared and have an overall direction for the blog. Blogs are rarely posted at random; nine times out of 10 there is a strategy behind the timing of the post. The calendar makes it easy for everyone at your healthcare organization to provide input; it’s a living document that can change and isn’t set in stone.
Healthcare organizations typically base their marketing plan on when they are unveiling their latest innovations. Make sure you sit down with the marketing team and discuss those breakthroughs so you can include them as blog topics. You also want to know when they will be released so you can schedule posts to coincide with release dates.
Get details about doctors or specialists you can interview to enhance the blog post. Information about new procedures or equipment can be found with some research, but adding an expert’s insight will set your blog apart. Ask doctors or specialists about their experience with the new programs or procedures and how they will make a difference for patients. People looking for information on something new will want the facts, but hearing them from a doctor puts that information in a trustworthy context.
Once you start adding content to your blog, be sure to include keywords patients will search for when looking for these new highlights. By adding strong keywords, your blog will rank higher on search engine results pages, helping your healthcare organization become to be a trusted resource for the latest health information.
Once you’ve written the blog posts for the month, send them to the appropriate team members for review for accuracy. They can provide edits and guidance on posts where you have questions. Use their feedback as a tool to improve and become more knowledgeable about topics you will write about on a regular basis.
Communication is the key to making the blog successful. Stay in touch with your team members throughout the approval process so you know the status of each post. In the healthcare industry, many times posts written on behalf of a medical organization must be reviewed by the legal team. Lawyers will review what's been written and determine if a post has been worded correctly to avoid any repercussions for inaccuracy. This step takes time, so be sure to allow time for other team members and the legal team to review.
This is also where the editorial calendar comes in handy—you can update it as posts get approved and then published. Also be sure to note if a post is undergoing internal review, being copy edited or in legal review. Keeping track of each blog post’s status can be tough, especially when you are producing a lot of posts each month, so rely on the editorial calendar to help you remember what stage each post is in.
Be sure you understand what the approval process entails and how long a post typically takes to be approved. This will help you gauge how far in advance you need to write and send a post for approval before its publish date.
Of course, there will be kinks to work out in the beginning. But as you get into the second or third month of maintaining the blog, you will develop a rhythm of writing, editing and publishing high-quality work that will showcase your healthcare organization.
Healthcare blogging has many positive benefits, including educating your patients on health trends and topics and fostering an online community that shows your healthcare professionals in a more human way. It is no longer only about marketing exposure; healthcare blogging is a platform for education and conversation that extends beyond hospital walls and into the minds of patients facing disease and illness and the experts treating their symptoms.
There are millions of people searching for educational healthcare content, and your organization’s doctors, nurses and other medical staff members could be the ones providing that information. Unlikely bonds can be formed over unfortunate circumstances, and blogs can provide the answers patients so desperately need. Are you ready to take your healthcare organization to the next level with a platform that can make a difference?