Yesterday I attended a blogging for business webinar put together by HubSpot, an online marketing and web analytics company that helps businesses track what is being said about them on the web.
Blogging as a whole is a fairly underutilized form of social media for hospitals. According to Ed Bennett, a social media expert, of the 906 hospitals in the United States, only 106 of them use a blog as part of their social media strategy. This is compared the 719 hospitals that manage a Facebook page and 674 that have a Twitter account, so the difference is significant.
Why is it that so few hospitals have added blogs to their social media arsenal? As I listened to the webinar today, I realized that part of that reason might be because blogging takes time. It’s not as easy as posting the latest news on Facebook or Twitter.
That being said, if your hospital is one of the ambitious few venturing into the world of blogging, I thought I would share four takeaways from the webinar that may help as you begin your journey into the blogging world.
“Blog as often as you want people to pay attention to you.”
According to Paula Berg of Linhart Public Relations, you should blog as often as you want people to pay attention to you. Meaning, how often do you have something to say that you want others to hear? If that answer is once per day, week, or month, then that’s as much as you should blog.
But in order to make your blog frequency work for you, you need to consider your resources. For example, if you are the only one on your staff in charge of your blog, it may not be realistic to post everyday, but rather once per week. The important thing to keep in mind is that once you decide how many times per week to post, you need to create consistency and stick to your plan.
“Invite others to blog to get different voices.”
The art to interesting content is telling stories and being authentic. Write about what you know and in your own voice. It’s also important to provide different points of view, and inviting guest bloggers accomplishes this. It also helps to lessen your burden because you’ve got someone to share the responsibility.
At your hospital you could invite physicians, nurses, clinicians, or even patients to contribute to your blog. For example, if you are managing a blog for your cancer center, invite an oncologist to discuss breakthroughs in technology, or the chaplain to discuss ways to cope with a loved one’s death. As a rule of thumb, anyone who touches the patient throughout his or her experience is a person you could ask to contribute.
“I don’t mind being marketed to. I just don’t want to know it.”
Everything you write in your blog is ultimately a marketing tool for your hospital. But what you don’t want to do is make your readers feel like that’s all you care about – the bottom line. One way to accomplish this is to provide information that is useful for your readers without directly tying it into specific services you offer. It also speaks to one of our Hive Core Values – Be Generous. Don’t always expect something in return, just do it to provide value.
“Develop your own blog strategy.”
In addition to these takeaways, the overall idea I took from the webinar is that blogging is different for every person. So consider the thoughts I’ve provided and figure out how they fit into your blog strategy.