by Bliss Mishler at CB Medical Marketing

Man working at his computer

Who doesn’t have a blog these days? Neurologists, that’s who. And it’s time for you to get on board.

The big hospitals and clinics like Mayo and Cleveland have them, but many people think that’s only because they have huge marketing departments. Not so. Blogging is one of the least expensive and easiest ways to market your medical practice.

If you have a website, chances are, you could start a blog today—for no extra money.

Blogs are just articles written in a friendly style. They most often are in the first person, and they provide some benefit to the reader. This benefit can be useful clinical information, news about your practice, or pure entertainment.

The goal of a medical practice blog is to provide value to your current patients and attract new ones. It does this by showing them that you are a generous, likable, and trustworthy expert. Think of it as a way to extend your practice beyond the walls of the exam room.

Here are the three biggest reasons you should start a blog for your medical practice:

1. It will get you found

Your patients are online and to attract them, you need to be there too. A 2015 Pew Research survey found more than 80% of American adults use the internet, and the fastest growing group is the elderly. More than half of all seniors in the United States use the internet, and they report it is a preferred source of health information (study here).

Not only are your patients and potential patients online, they are there using search engines like Google and Bing to search for health information (Pew Research). In order for your website to come up in their results, you need a website full of good information that is updated regularly. A blog is one of the best ways to achieve this.

2. All the cool kids are doing it

You will not be alone if you start a blog. While medical practices are just beginning to catch on, regular businesses have been blogging for years. This is true because of one simple fact: blogging works. Blogs are one big piece of content under the larger umbrella of content marketing.

According to a 2015 report by The Content Marketing Institute, nearly half of businesses that cater to consumers have a dedicated content marketing group in their organization. The institute has a free e-book with 75 examples of businesses successfully using this strategy.

It’s not surprising that larger medical facilities that hire marketing professionals, got hip to blogging years ago. But increasingly, smaller practices are catching on. Read this compelling case study about a plastic surgery practice that began content marketing in 2012.

3. It beats advertising

Patients like blogs and doctors don’t like advertising.

Traditional advertising is expensive and it can be difficult to see a return on investment. There is no way of knowing how many people actually read a particular ad. With internet content like a blog, you can see exactly how many people you reach.

Advertising is also not a typical strength of most physicians. Marketing is rarely taught in medical school, despite the fact that private practice often depends on it. Content marketing endeavors like blogging are a more natural fit for physicians because they are an extension of clinical work. They help patients and have the side benefit of growing your practice.

And, people like this form of marketing better than outright advertising. According to a survey by Roper Public Affairs, three quarters of consumers said they would rather get information about a company in a series of articles rather than ads. Most also said they would more likely buy something from a company after reading this kind of custom content.

Ready to start your blog? Look out next week for our post on social media guidelines for physicians to make sure you put your best foot forward.