If you are considering starting a blog for your hospital, some of our previous blog posts have already discussed important considerations. However, there’s a recent study that gives some new insights; and suggests that the best strategy for an impactful blog is a narrow focus with posts on a single subject.
Researchers from Penn State recently published a study that analyzed 370,000 posts, published between December 2009 and May 2010, from 2,275 bloggers. They looked at bloggers’ publishing patterns and measured the impact of the bloggers. Through their study, they identified two types of bloggers: specialists and generalists. Specialists are bloggers who post mainly on a single topic. They found that specialist bloggers outperform generalists in impact. In the study they defined “impact” by measuring bloggers’ productivity and their buzz-factor.
The researchers suggest that the difference can be attributed to the specialists “deeper subject matter expertise.” They also note that although specialists do have greater impact, they don’t all contribute in the same way. Some specialist bloggers are very productive but generate average buzz (the study refers to them as “busy beavers”), while others create a lot of buzz from only a few posts (they call them “stars”).
However, if you are developing a blog – remembering to focus and create a “specialist” blog can serve as a useful guide.
• Don’t start a general hospital blog, instead segment blogs into different single topics: birthing center issues, sleep center issues, cancer care, etc.
• Choose areas where you have deep expertise.
• To make the blog more manageable, you may still choose to have several contributors to one blog (a physician, a nurse, even consider a patient), but stick with the single topic. For example, consider a blog on issues surrounding aging. Along with your staff gerontologists, ask your nutritionist to contribute posts regarding special diet needs for aging populations; ask the surgeons at your joint replacement center to post about hip or knee replacements, common procedures for an older population; and ask the volunteer coordinator to post on the benefits of volunteering to senior volunteers.
Research has already affirmed the usefulness of blogs as a tool to engage your community, foster transparency and trust and humanize your organization. Now, with this new information, consider narrowing your blog’s focus to make an even greater impact.