Are You Making the Biggest Website Mistake?

TabletDocWEBHello, are you there?  Does this medical practice still exist or did the physicians retire?

These are not questions that you want your patients and clients to ask.

Yet, it is precisely what they are thinking when healthcare facilities  throw up a website  and then expect to get traffic from it without ever adding new information.

Without continually providing fresh content, you lose the opportunity to keep your patients coming back to view your site and attract prospective patients.  Instead of attracting new clients, you become a virtual ghost and everyone “abandons ship” to go elsewhere …your competitors!

             “The biggest mistake of health sites and medical websites is to publish an online site and then ignore it.” 

Search engines can differentiate which sites are active and reward them accordingly by ratings. Having your website on page 28 of a search for your keywords means that you might as well not be there.  People only contact the medical practices that show up on page one.

Most people are now searching for their health information online and finding their new doctors on the web.  Can you afford to squander your most valuable asset- your website and your branding?

Sure, you don’t have enough time.  There’s barely enough time for yourself with patient consultations and charting that new EHR system you installed.

Here are some reasons why tending to your anemic website is crucial:

  • New content that is both interesting and relevant to readers will attract prospective patients, bring referrals and maintain current patients
  • Establishes yourself as an authority in your field
  • Strengthens your branding and makes you stand out head and shoulders above your colleagues
  • Raises your search engine rankings with Google, Bing, Yahoo and others
  • Opens opportunities to inform patients about new techniques, new office hours, new staff members
  • Gives you the chance to explain procedures through videos so that patients understand, increasing compliance

There is a flood of information available online nowadays, so to stand out, your content must be timely, unique and relevant.

How to Create Great Content for Your Medical Website

There are 7 steps you can implement to have a successful and effective site:

1.    Write about information that reflects your knowledge and what you represent.
Create content that you are well versed in and that reflects the specialty you are in.  As these articles build, they help your branding and establish you as an authority in your field.  Promote yourself, the practice and your services.

2.    Make your content interesting but short and easy to understand.
Captivate your readers and engage them. Relate stories that make the point that you are trying to convey (using fictitious names). Write using simple, easy to understand words.  Remember, you are communicating with the public, not your colleagues.

3.    Include links that take the viewer to videos and audio files.
Incorporating videos and audio files allows the viewer to get a better grasp on new techniques, procedures and instructions that you would like to convey. Remember, a picture is worth 1000 words.  (And having them makes the search engines rank your site    higher!)

4.    Incorporate relevant long-tailed keywords.
Identify what phrases or groups of 3 words that patients or prospective clients will use to search for you or the type of healthcare that you provide.  Having them on your site will ensure that your name pops up when they do the computer search.

5.    Make your site easy to scan.
Make your website pages uncluttered so that the eyes can focus on the    areas of importance without getting lost.  Have white spaces break up the content.

Format the text into short paragraphs and short pages.  If people see a mountain of information, it is unlikely that they will try to scale it.

“Entice them without giving away the complete show”.  If you elicit interest and curiosity, the viewer is more likely to call for more information or return for another article.

6.    Check and recheck your content.
Use the spell-checker tool and proofread several times to ensure that the grammar is correct.  If there are many gross errors, it clearly reflects badly on you.  Patients will wonder what other mistakes you are making.
If writing is not your forte, seriously consider hiring a professional writer to create the content.

7.    Avoid banners and Adwords.
Besides banners becoming a distraction, you don’t want your viewers clicking on a link that takes them to a different website.  You worked hard to get your readers.  Don’t send them elsewhere!

 Keep this in mind when creating your content:

  • Your viewers are quick on the delete button.  If you make your content boring and dull, they will surely use it!
  • Write straight to the point and as short as possible to convey your ideas. If you drone on tediously, people will click out and not return to your site.
  • Have tabs on your navigation bar so that viewers know where to get the information they are seeking.
  • Have sidebars highlighting special content, events, articles or recent PR

Good luck with your website content.  If you don’t have one of your own, now is the time to create one!  Don’t rely on an insurance company to highlight you on their site.

I know that you will do well.  To start you off, send for your free copy of “15 Ways to Leverage Your Content for Successful Marketing”.

Get your gift at: Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com.

 

 

If Nobody Sees Your Health Blog, Does it Really Exist?

If no one ever reads your blog posts, it may be a waste of your time.  I don’t have to tell you that time is a precious commodity and by spending it wiser, you would be more successful or can then use the time for more enjoyable activities.  The key word here is promotion.

How to promote your Blog in 6 Steps

  1. The most obvious way to promote your blog is to generate interest and that is achieved with useful, entertaining and relevant fresh content.  Publishing this consistently, will not only get the search engines to notice ( which improves your rankings), but your target market as well!  Publish content on a regular basis.
  2. Don’t ignore comments.  People want to interact.  Engage your viewers and get their feedback.  Everyone learns something and many will want to contribute their thoughts and ideas.  It will also validate them and the time they spend on your site (encouraging them to return again and again).
  3. Promote your blog through social media.  Does your practice have it’s own Facebook page?  Can viewers become fans?  This is a great way to become viral- by allowing fans to share your blogs and comments to their followers.
  4. Gather blogs together when they center around a core theme and create a presentation for SlideShare.  Post these images to Instagram and Pinterest boards.
  5. Announce your latest blogs in press releases.  Reading about them in press releases gives a perception of importance and again increases the visibility both with readers and search engines.
  6. Repurpose blogs  into a paper, ebook or newsletter content.
  1. Repurposing Blog Content

If you currently have a business blog, tell us who you are, what your business is and your blog address.  We will give you viewing space!  Insert the information into the comment box below.

 

 

How Can a Panda Affect Your Medical or Dental Practice?

eBay has just lost 80% of its Organic Rankings. If a big company like this who everyone searches for can fail in search engine ranking, what hope do you have?

Glad you asked!

With the rollout of Panda 4.0 by Google, the new organic search-ranking algorithm looks for sites rich in fresh content and penalizes those websites that are stale.

Adwords do not contribute to site optimization and as eBay found out, much to their chagrin, it is the organic search engine optimization with content that will become the new benchmark of success in SERP placement.

How to add fresh content

One of the easiest ways to continually add fresh content to your site is to have an active blog attached to it. A business blog can attract prospective clients and patients by sparking their interest, educating them and empowering them to make decisions.

How to create a good blog

You must be more proactive than publishing some words and hoping that you are going in the right direction. There is an actual strategy that you must devise.

Ask yourself:

  1. What are the topics that my target audience is interested in?

The answer to this can come from the questions that your current clients ask you.

  1. What keywords reflect who you are and the service that you provide?

Writing about this will let the search engines know who you are and what you are all about.

  1. What are your objectives?

Is it to inform your current clients on new procedures that you do, changes to your office practice, announce new developments, position yourself as authority?

  1. How are you determining the success of your blog?

Find an analytical system that you can follow to see if your viewers are increasing, how much time they spend on your site and what content they are spending time reviewing. Is it the stories, the videos, health breakthroughs, etc.?

Google Analytics is the program that I recommend.

  1. Make a logistical plan.

When will the blog come out each week and what day? Make a schedule that you can be consistent with. Who will write the blog? Each staff member can be responsible for a blog during the week or month on a particular keyword or type of story.

  1. Content development

There are many types of content that can be added to your regimen:

  • Interviews
  • Tips
  • FAQs
  • How-tos
  • News of breakthroughs in your field

If you have no time for blogging, outsource it!  Let me know how I can help you.  Contact me at Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com  for a free consultation.

5 Easy Steps for Successful Medical Website Copywriting

Effective Web Copy engages the reader with captivating content while maintaining an air of professionalism.  But how is that done?  Below are some easy steps to get you going.

11 Tips for Effective Website Copywriting image shutterstock 111140711

1. Tell a story

Human interest stories are remembered far longer than any data or information that you wish to convey.  If you can evoke emotions, you will have your viewers hooked!

11 Tips for Effective Website Copywriting image shutterstock 162365198

                                                                       Resources from B2C

2. Have contact information visible- make it the star

Have the office address and telephone number upfront and easily seen from each website page.   If prospective patients decide to make an appointment based on your captivating information, make it easy for them to do so.  If clients and patients have to search for your contact information, they probably won’t.  It is easier to click on the next name on the list- your competition!

3. Keep it easy to read

Convey your information in a conversational tone and make it easy for your reader to understand you.  After all, with medicine becoming patient centric, you want patients able to feel that they can pursue the information they are seeking from you.

Make the information scannable.  People like to skim over the information that you have provided.  Give the eyes some resting stops such as subheads in bold font and bullet points.  According to a recent study, internet users typically read only 28 percent of the words on an average web page.  Keep the paragraphs short, limiting them to only 3 or 4 sentences.  If more information is needed, patients can engage you in a conversation or get more details in your blog posts and published articles.

4. Use images and videos

Here is an opportunity to show photographs of your office and staff so that new patients have a sense of familiarity when entering the premises.  Videos allow you the opportunity to explain techniques and procedures that you offer to patients, including preoperative and postoperative instructions.

Separating the most vital information on a page into boxes and headers showcases the content that is most likely to sell them on your products and services.

5. Implement SEO into your web copy

SEO stands for search engine optimization.

By incorporating the keywords into your copy, search engines can identify what you stand for and patients viewing the site can get an understanding of what you are all about.  When search engines rank you well for your keywords, every time a search is done for a term by a patient, you will show up (and being first on the page makes the difference between a call or patient visit vs. being buried on the 8th page!)

If you need help in website creation or you are unsure as to the effectiveness of your copy, call for a free consult- 516-647-3002.

Podcasts Takes Your Medical Marketing to the Next Level

Have you Started Creating Podcasts?

After mastering article and newsletter publication along with blogging and social media, the next step is podcast publication.   This medium  complements your other marketing strategies and reaches a vast  market that you may not have tapped  for new patients and clients.  What’s more, you don’t have to compete for attention as much as with other modalities yet.

MircophoneDocWEBPodcast publication takes medical marketing to the next level.

After mastering article and newsletter publication along with blogging and social media, the next step is podcasting.  This tool complements your other marketing strategies and reaches a vast new market that you may not have reached for new patients and clients.  What’s more, you don’t have to compete for attention as much as with other modalities yet.

According to Edison Research, almost 50% of Americans over the age of 12 (70 million) have listened to or watched a minimum of one podcast over the last year.

Benefits of Podcasts

There are several benefits that podcasts offer for healthcare providers, which include:

Strengthening Brand Recognition

The more places that people see your logo, message, voice, name or practice, the stronger your brand becomes.

Simply put, brand recognition is the level at which the public can identify a company by its features or intellectual property. When the general public can recall a brand simply by hearing or seeing associated characters like logos, taglines, slogans, colors, voices and programs, then the brand increases strength and revenue.

By having podcast programs on a regular basis, your message is spread and you stay in the minds of your current contacts while attracting a new audience and new prospective patients.

Increasing Online Traffic

Podcasts link to your website, increasing search engine ranking while simultaneously creating fresh material on your site. With discussed topics laden with your targeted keywords, you further improve the association of these keywords with you and enhance your search engine optimization (SEO).

Enabling a modality for instruction

Podcasts provide a way that you can explain techniques, preoperative and postoperative instruction or new medical breakthroughs.

How to Create a Podcast

Start by answering these questions:

  • Objective : What is the goal of your podcast?
  • Theme : What is the motif of your podcast?  Will it be education?  Does it reflect your practice?  Will you be able to recycle it to your website?
  • Regularity: How frequent will the podcast be aired?  Make sure that you are consistent here.  If a fan wants to hear the program through a live streaming mode, don’t disappoint this fan and essentially turn away interested individuals, unlikely to return.
  • Format: What format you might distribute your podcast in?  This just depends on which theme you select and the technology you use.
  • Hardware: If you don’t already have the necessary gear to begin a podcast, you either need to invest in the basic gear – a computer with Internet access, a microphone, and headphones – or invest in a computer that already contains these items.  Keep in mind that these are the basic tools.  If you want to include video, you’ll need the proper equipment for that as well.

Structure of an Effective Podcast

Consider the “4 Ps”.

1) Plan

Planning out the podcast will help you focus on your goals, prevent babbling, and create a much better podcast that will attract more listeners.

Consider:

  • Topic
  • Format of the podcast
  • Length of each episode
  • Frequency that new shows will be released

Select a topic that both reflect your medical practice and your passion. Write an outline that keeps you on track without losing focus during recording. The outline will also help listeners know what they expect to hear.

2) Production

Consider giving interviews.  This is a great way to demonstrate your authority while having someone else do the talking, helping to relieve the pressure of being the sole content creator.

Engage your listeners.  Have them call in and ask questions, which creates content, not only for the specific show, but also as a basis for a future show.  This also lures listeners into tuning into a new show to hear a continuation of a program that was of interest to them.

3) Podcast Publication

To publish your podcast to the Internet:

  • Register a Web Address (this is also called a domain name)
  • Find/Buy Web Hosting (this is to help store your blog and or site and your audio files onto the internet)
  • Start a Blog (this is your personal web site for posting your show notes, links, and anything else)
  • Create an RSS Feed (this is the feed that your listeners will subscribe to so they can automatically download new episodes of your podcast straight to there mp3’s)

If you can tie the podcast into your website, or linked to a tab on your website, it will promote additional traffic to you.

4) Podcast Promotion

The first step in promoting your podcast is the description itself.  It should be clear and give an accurate representation of the contents.

The next step is to get it out there; there are tons of sites that list podcasts. There are podcast directories, forums that discuss podcasts and then there are the search engines also.

The last step is growth management.  This is where you will have an ever- increasing number of listeners and may even attain cult status for your podcast.

If you need help with your podcast creation or would like to kick around a few ideas, contact me for a free consultation at Barbara@TheWriteTreatment.com

I would be happy to help you get started.

 

 

Can They Hear Your Health Content Marketing?

People love “listening” to stories, not just reading them…and sometimes they remember it more!

Why not provide audio recordings for your patients and prospective patients?

Audio content can be downloaded to an iPod or smartphone for listening to on walks or that gym workout.  It’s a great way to supply information to others so that they can learn while performing mundane activities.

Audio recordings can be as sophisticated as podcasts or as simple as talking into a recording which gets formulated into an MP3 player.  Audio can even be attached to a blog post through a simple plugin.   Audio Generator is a tool that facilitates easy audio content creation.

Two For One

Publish an article in print and record the same information for audio downloads.  Allow the audience to decide who they would like to receive the information best.  Just read the content into the player and hit record.  It’s that simple!  Create an MP3 file to attach online to your site or blog.

Audio allows for variety so that your information stays exciting and readers get new and interesting formats to learn.

 

Which form suits you best?  Do you like video, audio or print for new information?  Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

 

 

 

5 Steps to Unique Medical Practice Content Creation

Having unique content for your practice or healthcare facility is a must for marketing your services to the right people. It attracts potential clients/patients, partners, staff and promotes you both in the community and online.  Search engines and social media identify you with this content and if done well, will go viral, spreading to further promote you.  It establishes you as an authority in the field and the “go-to” person for those looking for solutions to their problems in your niche.

Valuable content not only educates your market and community, it enables engagement and opens a dialogue so that patients are drawn to you and feel that they have a relationship with you.

5 Strategies

These 5 steps will help  you  in planning your content creation:

1) Video creation

They say that a picture is worth a 1000 words and a video does more than this!  It is a great opportunity to allow people to visualize:

  • Your office/facility layout and what to expect when coming to the office
  • Your staff
  • New equipment including what a patient would experience and the purpose of the technology
  • Surgical procedures including what a patient will experience
  • Preoperative Instructions
  • Postoperative instructions

The videos can be uploaded to YouTube and distributed to other video sites as well.

2) Press releases

Every time a new article is published, podcast released or new procedure the office does, a press release will allow the public to know about it, further giving you and your practice exposure.

3) Newsletters

Having an electronic newsletter (ezine) or hard copy gives you the opportunity to inform your patients and prospective patients about new developments or trends in healthcare, new regulations and how it will affect them, new medication releases, etc.  Do an interview with a “big name” that is currently in the news and print the interview.

4) Blog Posts

When blog posts are attached to your website, it keeps your online presence active and not static, giving patients an excuse to return again and again to read the new and interesting information.

Guest blogging on other people’s sites also gives more exposure and allows your referring physicians to acquaint  their patient list to you.

5)  Infographics

Amass data in your industry and make some visuals or charts for people to understand and share. Become the resource for news and trends. A user friendly tool to enable you to build the infographics is  Infogr.am or Infoactive.

For new tips and strategies, sign up for the blog in the box at the top left corner of this page.

See you at the next post!

 

 

 

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Health Writer or Medical Writer

You know that you need fresh and unique content to spread your message and get your website highly ranked.

But…

  • Does your health writer speak your language?
  • Does your medical writer understand what makes you unique and how to communicate with your target market?
  • Does the health writer know how to attract the type of patients that you desire?

Keep in mind that the health writer or medical writer is your liaison or communicator- the one who will be representing you, your ideas, your voice.  You don’t want to take just anyone, who might then tear down the image that you painstakingly developed for years.

You don’t want to choose someone strictly on the basis of cost, although obviously you will want to know the cost before entering into an agreement!  Check to see if revisions are free and whether you have a specific time frame in which revisions can be done gratis without additional charges.  There may also be an added cost for a rush job.

 

Check list of questions to Ask Your Health Copywriter/ health Writer/Medical Writer

1) Are you familiar with FDA guidelines, technical restrictions and  formatting style that pertain to my project?

When large companies receive articles and printed copy (white papers, case studies, social media, blog posts, ads) for publication, they run the information through their compliance department and compliance officers who amend the copy to follow guidelines.

However, if you are a smaller business or medical practice, you don’t have a compliance department.  Publishing information that is restricted by the FDA will expose you to hefty fines and possible lawsuits.  Even though you didn’t write the article yourself, you may have to bear the brunt of the entire financial burden and punishment (including censure). While it helps to know the rules yourself (like being unable to say “cure” or mention diseases by name in association with alternative therapies), you’ll want an experienced writer to be intimately familiar with the various guidelines.

Sites that you can filter your article through include  EQUATOR) and publication guidelines:

  • COPE
  •  GPP2
  • ICMJE
  • PhRMA
  • style guides from the American Medical Association
  • Council of Science Editors

2)  Are you familiar with Security Guidelines and Code of Ethics?

One must be compliant with HIPAA rules and with social media engagement increasing exponentially, the AMA has put out a guideline on how medical and health writing can stay within these HIPAA guidelines including confidentiality for security purposes. In conveying scientific data or health information, writers need to be familiar with the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Code of Ethics

3) What  experience have you had in projects similar to mine?

Some writers specialize in only health insurance policies, types of healthcare, healthcare marketing, or scientific and technical writing.  Find one that has the same experience as the scope of work that you have planned. Check out samples of prior work or review any testimonials that the writer may want to share.  Consider getting referrals from respected colleagues or professional organizations.

4) What is your certification for medical writing or health writing?  What software programs are you familiar with?

Employing someone that has worked in health such as a doctor, nurse, healthcare provider or Phd is certainly advantageous.  They are familiar with technical terms and have been exposed to the medical/health field.  But not every health professional knows the “rules of the road” when it comes to writing.  See if the writer has gotten training or certificates related to medical writing from the many professional organizations that offer them (and expose the individual to the high standards and guidelines that come with this thyme of writing)

Software program familiarity may be very important when incorporating charts and diagrams to the published work in addition to usage of analytical data.  Check to see if the writer is familiar with them.

5)  How long will this project take? 

A good estimate will allow for an idea exchange between you and the writer.  Consider setting up milestones along the way to keep pace with your deadline but also to ensure that the project is progressing within the scope of your ideal. Beware of someone that quotes you a time frame that is markedly shorter than everyone else or one much shorter than you had anticipated.  A rush job by the writer may signify a compromise in the quality of the work. Editing may take only 24 hours to turn around while original work may take several weeks.

 

If you ask these questions and get a satisfying reply to each one of them, you can feel more confident and comfortable employing this health writer.

Good luck with your project!