11 Steps To Take In Networking

Okay, you’ve been to a conference or a networking event. You made great contacts and gathered a slew of business cards. Everyone seemed like-minded and jovial. Quite a few people you met seemed like they would be good for a joint venture or prospective client.

But what have you done about that stack of cards after you have gotten home and back to the daily grind? If you are like many people, the stack of cards languishes on a desk corner or in a draw until you think about it again or decide how they can benefit you. After a while, you forget who they are and the stack becomes just a bunch of meaningless cards.

In order to maximize your networking experience, there are 10 steps that you can take.

1) Establish the means of later contact
Lack of further contact strongly suggests indifference but no one wants to be a nuisance either. Ask whether a person prefers follow-up contact in the form of email, texting or phone calls.

2) Have patience
If the prospective client tells you to call in two weeks or next month, don’t call in the next two days instead. This will only make you a pest and will not be appreciated.

3) Drop your “business-buddy” a note
A thank you card or note to say how much you enjoyed the encounter goes a long way to stay in a person’s mind in a positive way.

4) Send out pertinent information
A great way to stay in a person’s thoughts is to sporadically send helpful or pertinent information regarding the field that the prospect is in or a solution to a pain that the prospect is struggling with. When interested in doing business, you will be uppermost in his/her mind.

5) Be timely
If you have promised to send information to the prospect at a given date, make sure that you do (or earlier which is always appreciated and duly noted). Being late shows a lack of respect as well as a lack of interest.

6) Send a follow-up letter
Just like you, your prospect has spoken to many people and collected a stack of cards. You will only be a face in the crowd by tomorrow. Sending a note with specifics as to the conversation you had or a joke (or story) you shared will go a long way to keep you remembered.

7) Fill a need
Do some research before your networking event and learn what the key pains are in the profession. Come up with at least one solution to address this problem and you will shine above all other attendees.

8) Leverage who you know
If you have contacts within the organization or company, have them “drop your name” with the prospects.

9) Make a date
Invite your prospect to lunch or a cup of coffee to “touch bases” and be thought of in a friendly manner. After all, more people do business with those that they like, know and trust.

10) Re-event
Invite your prospect to a new similar event or conference to reinforce your business relationship with topics that your prospect is interested in or focused on.

11) Connect where they are
Find out if your prospect is active in social media. Are they on facebook, twitter or linkedIn. Contact them and “befriend” them or “follow” them on their sites.

Taking these steps will put those cards out to work for you and not just collect dust. The event will truly be empowering.

For further help, feel free to contact me at:
Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com

Your Health Written for Further Helpful Use

A patient recently asked “Why is it that I fill out patient information forms everytime I go to a new doctor or dentist? Isn’t there an app I can complete once and send it in…seems like it would be much easier for everyone.

Many patients ask a similar question.

There are two solutions for this problem.
Firstly, You can enter your data into a secure repository source like Microsoft HealthVault which is free to users. Then, whenever you have an appointment to see a dentist (or physician), you can let the office know ahead of time so that they can download the information into your file. Here, you have the liberty to take your time so that the little details as to surgery dates can be researched. You can also enter lab data as well as past medical and family histories.

The second way is by putting all your pertinent details onto a flash drive which the professional can use for the office encounter to get the necessary information. You have merely to update periodically.

Good luck as you pursue this endeavor.

By the way, there are actually many apps that are available now which are interactive. For instance, You can enter your food consumption and calorie counting will keep you on track. You can enter times that you experience pain and a chart will alert you to the times that taking analgesics would be helpful instead of taking pain medication every four hours around the clock. In other apps, you can enter your exercise or the amount that you have walked and it will chart your distance, calories expended, etc.

If you would like to know more about this or additional helpful information about your health, check out my book on Amazon.com- Power To The Patient: The Medical Strategist

How Health Writers Can Get Their Fans Engaged on Facebook

There are 5 Simple Ways to Get Engagement on Your Facebook Page.

Healthcare writers and Health writers tend to report on the latest scientific breakthroughs or what is going on in medicine. But, that is not going to elicit engagement, more than likely. So, ask yourself, once people have “Liked” your Page, how do you keep them engaged? This can be done by posting content that will elicit a response or get your fans to take action.

Here are five simple ways for a health writer to get people engaged:

1. Post pictures. According to a recent report from digital marketing agency Web Liquid, Facebook posts with photos are the most likely to engage users. These posts showed a .37% engagement rate, compared to a .27% rate for text-only posts and a .15% rate for just links. If you think about it, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Photos, obviously, grab attention visually and people must click them to get a closer look. So use an intriguing photo to get people’s attention. Be sure to say something about the photo too. We’ve seen people using this space to write more without having to link off Facebook.

2. Post videos. A video is engaging because you can see and hear the speaker. Like photos, people must click on something to get a closer look at a video. They also take up more real estate in a newsfeed, making them easier to notice. Perhaps that’s why, in the Web Liquid study, video posts had the second-highest engagement rate (.31%).

3. Ask questions to increase comments. When you ask questions you’re giving people permission to engage with you. They know you want their opinions. Take a good look at their responses. Often, it will give you a big clue as to what people would want to see posted next. Is it the latest treatment? Is it the latest in health care reform? Not everyone will comment, but you’ll encourage those who are already predisposed to do so. Just be sure to ask your fans explicitly for a comment.

4. Use clear calls to action. Don’t assume that people will take the action that you expected, or even any action at all! Would you like someone to comment, share, or “Like” your update? All you have to do is ask. Another recent report, this time from Momentus Media, showed that posts asking users to “like” them had an engagement rate of .38%, compared to an .11% rate for posts without that call to action.

5. Write longer updates including stories. People connect with stories and tend to remember them, more than any facts that you include in your posts. You may think short and sweet is the way to go but you shouldn’’t be afraid to share longer stories with your fans. Longer Facebook status updates show higher interaction than shorter ones. So elaborate when you need to. This may give readers a better chance to connect with your update.

Have you started a Facebook page yet? How have your responses been?

Health Writers and Health care Writers Can Benefit from Google Alerts

Alerts

In February of 2003, Google engineer Naga Sridhar put together an application that would email him when a news story broke that matched a specified query. Naga demonstrated his prototype to co-founder Sergey Brin, who set up a news alert for “google.” With encouragement from both Sergey and Marissa Mayer (Google’s Director of Consumer Products), Naga began working full-time on what has become News Alerts. Six months later, links to News Alerts were added to Google Labs’ home page and to Google News.

Google then added Web Alerts to track changes to web pages. Now both News Alerts and Web Alerts have been merged into a single service: Google Alerts. An Alert can watch the news, the web, or both. It can also watch Google Groups.

How does an Alert work? You specify the query or queries you’d like Google to monitor. As Google searches the Internet, if it finds a change that you’ve asked to be notified about — that is, one of your Alerts — you’ll get an email message. Google will tell you about new results once a week, once a day, or as soon as they’re found. (You won’t necessarily get a message every day or week. Google only sends email if there’s something new to report.)

Google Alerts are useful to:

monitor a developing news story
keep current on a competitor or industry
learn where you or your company is cited or quoted
get the latest on a celebrity or event
keep tabs on your favorite sports teams
find when people link to your site
discover new websites on a certain topic
and more.

Note: Google Alerts is just one of several different services that will email you Google search results. Google Alert, a similarly-named third-party service available at www.googlealert.com, is one of those services.

To set up Google Alerts, go to www.google.com/alerts. What happens next will depend on whether you have a Google Account or not:

If you have a Google Account, you’ll be working with the Manage Your Alerts page. Here you can create, edit, and delete alerts.
If you don’t have a Google Account, you’ll use the Google Alerts home page. You’ll create your alerts from this page and manage them via email. This isn’t as convenient as the Manage Your Alerts page, but it’s useful if you don’t want a Google Account.
We’ll start by discussing the Google Alerts home page. Later we’ll cover the Manage Your Alerts page.

1. The Google Alerts Home Page
If you have a Google Account, skip ahead to Section 2, “The Manage Your Alerts Page”.

When you want to create an alert, first you’ll need to have a query in mind. This query takes the same form as a query that you’d type into a Google search box. For instance, if you wanted to know what’s new with Google Guide, you could use the query [ “Google Guide” ] — including the quotes.

Tip: If you’ve just done a search from some other Google pages — especially a News page — look for an “Alerts” link on that page. Clicking it takes you straight to the Alerts page with the query already filled in.

When you go to the Google Alerts page www.google.com/alerts your screen should look something like this:

The “Search terms:” box has the query you’d like Google to monitor.

To search news sources — online newspapers, for instance — choose “News” from the “Type:” drop-down. To search general web pages, choose “Web” instead. Choose “News & Web” to search both. To search Google Groups, choose “Groups.”

On the “How often:” drop-down, set how often Google should tell you about new results.

Put your email address in the “Your email:” box. This is the address where Google will send Alerts. Click the Create Alert button.

Now Google will send a confirmation message by email to be sure your address is correct. The confirmation message will have links to click to confirm or cancel the Alert. (If you can’t click the links, copy the web address into a web browser.)

Once the alert is verified, you should see a Google Alert Verified screen.

Sometime in the future you’ll receive an email message from Google Alerts, like the one shown below, to tell you about new search results for this query. Click on the title (here, “IRS Freedom of Information”) to see the page. You’ll get email about this query from time to time until you cancel the Alert. You can cancel an Alert by clicking the link at the end of an Alert email message.

(To edit an alert, cancel it and create a new one.)

2. The Manage Your Alerts Page
(If you don’t have a Google Account, the previous section describes how to manage your alerts.) Google Account holders use the Manage Your Alerts window to create, edit, and delete Alerts.

You’ll need to be signed in to your Google Account, too. If you aren’t, after you go to the Google Alerts page www.google.com/alerts, click the “Sign in” link.

This is the Manage Your Alerts window:

To create a new Alert, enter a query in the Search Terms box — just as you would for a standard Google search. (If you’ve come to the Manage Your Alerts page from another Google Search page, your last query may be filled in for you. You can edit it if you want to.)

To search news sources, choose “News” from the “Type:” drop-down. Choosing “Web” searches general web pages, Choose “News & Web” to search both. Choosing “Groups” searches Google Groups.

On the “How often:” drop-down, set how often Google should tell you about new results.

Click the Create Alert button. This new alert should move to the list of Your Google Alerts.

To edit or delete any of your existing Alerts, simply click “edit” or “delete” at the right end of its line.

Exercises
This problem set gives you practice with Google Alerts. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page.

Set up a Google Alert to automatically email you about new pages in Google Guide.
tags (keywords): accounts, alerts, news, services, URLs

This page was last modified on: Tuesday March 13, 2007

Health Writers Can Benefit from Google Trends

Google provides a great tool for health writers- google trends. This shows how often various searches were performed over a given period of time. Not only does this tool show how frequently a specific search term is entered (since 2004)in comparison to the total search-volume across different areas globally, it does so for the myriad of languages. The advantage of this is by allowing one to see the popularity of keywords and what your target market is searching for, you can highlight these keywords in your articles.

By the same token, google trends will let you know which terms are “so yesterday” allowing you to discontinue their usage or move beyond. An additional aspect of this tool demonstrates how new events affect search popularity.

Insights for Search was launched in 2008 by Google which allows for tracking of various phrases entered into the Google’s search-box. The tracking gives data breakdown by geographical regions.

Another way health writers can benefit from Google Trends is by seeing contagion within a particular area. Google Trends can be used to track medical conditions and health risks in a community. Jeremy Ginsberg showed how Google Trends data ” can be used to track influenza-like illness in a population. Because the relative frequency of certain queries is highly correlated with the percentage of physician visits in which a patient presents with influenza-like symptoms, an estimate of weekly influenza activity can be reported.”

Knowing the trends- what’s in and what’s not gives you the opportunity to understand what your clients need and want so that you may provide these appropriate services.

The service is free. Why wouldn’t you use it in writing your health copy?

What Could You Do to Get Your Emails Opened?

“Not every e-mail pitch has to be hilariously funny,
but something about it has to give people a reason to welcome your e-mail into their crowded, noisy in-boxes. Otherwise, people will unsubscribe, label your e-mails as spam, or just let the message die, unopened, in their in-box backwash.”
— Forbes.com

If you write generically and you sound like everyone else- your message will be sent to the trashcan- like everyone else.

What distinguishes you from everyone else is…well quite frankly….you! Do you reveal your character? Do you let people know the real you?
Before your message can be read, people have to feel that they know you. They want to open messages from friends, not from salesmen.

Do you write to people like they’re friends? Do you make them feel special?
“People respond more favorably to marketing when they feel special and unique.”
— Ron Evan, iContact.com

Personalizing email is more than just using their first names!
Know the people you are sending email to. What are their interests, their hobbies, their pains?

If you don’t have the answers to these questions, a great way to find out is to…ASK!
That was obvious, now wasn’t it? If you already have clients or a database, ask them a question for what you want to know. Most would be happy to share the information. Another great way is to have a survey.

Make sure the survey is short- only about 5 questions. After this, it gets a little tedious and people will lose interest.

Richard Hughes, author of The Business Owner’s Creative Guide for Increasing Sales & Profitability states, “The most effective messages are written in much the same way as a ‘one on one’ conversation.”

Read the emails that you want to send, out loud. Perhaps you may feel silly at first, but by doing so, you can tell if the email sounds friendly and conversational or “all business”.

Put a tag line or unique selling proposition after your signature at the end of the email.
This reinforces who you are and how you can help the reader (it answers the question, “What Can You Do For Me?”.)
Notice it is not “What have you DONE for me?” People want to know what help you can provide now, not what was done historically.

The more specific your subject line is, with the most specific benefits, the more times your email will get opened.
Check for typos. Now go out and have some fun with it- be daring, teasing, playful!

Write and share what has worked for you!

Health Writing with Ads, Articles and Newsletters for Physicians and Hospitals

Writing health copy is vastly different than the type of copy you will find in other niches, just as Business-to-Business (B-2-B) differs from Business-to-Consumer. If you don’t understand the differences, it is shear folly to write and you are doomed to failure.

The question of advertising and the health profession was posed by a General Surgeon, Dr. Lowenfels. He wants to know if advertising is unethical or bad for hospitals and physicians. Furthermore, he questions whether this is a help to patients and who actually foots the bill for advertising costs.

Not surprisingly, many physicians found advertising to be quite distasteful and not at all helpful. This is actually not a surprise. It wasn’t that many years ago where it was illegal for physicians to advertise according to licensing boards and professional organizations. Some suggested that they would prefer to see a “consumer report from a clearing house where patients can go to check someone or something out.” However, one doesn’t notice that many of these sites emanate from governmental organizations and base their rating on how well a professional complied with their policies.

According to “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini, “There is a group of people who know very well where the weapons of automatic influence lie and who employ them regularly and expertly to get what they want. They go from social encounter to social encounter requesting others to comply with their wishes; their frequency of success is dazzling. The secret of their effectiveness lies in the way they structure their requests, the way they arm themselves with one or another of the weapons of influence that exist within the social environment. To do this may take no more than one correctly chosen word that engages a strong psychological principle and sets an automatic behavior tape
rolling within us. And trust the human exploiters to learn quickly exactly how to profit from our tendency to respond mechanically according to these principles.”

I take a completely different point of view. The public is more savvy now. They want to know information, they crave it and they need it.

“If you build it, they will come”.
This naive thinking may have worked in the past but it is far from reality now. You can’t just hang up a shingle and have a waiting room full of patients.

Doctors may have gone into medicine to “help people” but will not survive if they don’t accept the fact that it is a business too. Advertising has also gone way beyond the penmanship of smarmy characters.

It is actually helping the public to make them aware of physicians in their locale and what their expertise is.
However, there are many ways to go about “advertising”. This can take the form of patient information articles or a weekly medical advice column. People know you’re there, that you’re helpful and that you’re available.

This type of advertising is quite satisfying and an opportunity to give back to society. Think about it. You can have a newsletter for your patients and prospective patients for instance disseminating information that patients would like to acquire and new breakthroughs that patients would like to learn and understand.
Can you really object to that?

What is your opinion?

How to Measure Your Newsletter Writing Success

Do you know whether the newsletter you write is actually being read?
If it is an electronic or e-newsletter, the way to determine whether your missive is being read is by the open rate.

The open rate is figured by the number of emails opened divided by the number of emails sent or bounces (so a 30% open rate means that for every 10 emails sent to an inbox, 3 were opened) (whether or not it was actually read can be determined by analytics- seeing the time spent by an opener on any given page) (Of course if the reader just opened the page and went for coffee or zoned out can not be determined)

Unless your newsletter is about something personal that everyone is searching for, the average open rate is between 20-40%.

So, how do you get your newsletter opened by more people?
*Try changing up your subject line with the topic details right in the subject line instead of the name of the newsletter
*Put the juicy details of the article up front
*Experiment with days of the week that the newsletter comes out- people are too busy on certain days

Another helpful way to spark interest is to have your newsletter attached to social media. Enable your faithful reader or fan to tweet it to his/her twibe. Enable the reader to forward a copy of your newsletter to friends for additional reader sign-ups.

Enjoy writing the newsletter and your fans will enjoy reading it. But remember, give them what they want to read.

If you need help with your newsletter, feel free to drop me a line.

Do you have a Long-Tail?

When using keywords for search engine optimization (SEO) you need more than one word to receive a high ranking. You need to put a phrase or link 3-4 words together. This is considered a long tail keyword. An example would be Boynton Beach cookie baker rather than just cookie or baker. Then, when someone is looking for a cookie baker in Boynton Beach- bam, your site comes up. See, your long tail is doing the work for you.

Using only single keywords, misses the big picture. While you may initially target the single best word, you want to take advantage of the whole phrase- to “own it”.

Use the keyword filter on Google Analytics to see keywords and by using several words together, you are analyzing using keyword niches. These phrases gives you the most responses with great results.

Play with them and think of the phrases that are used most often to describe your business or words by which your clients refer to you.

Have fun with this! Let me know how this change helped you.