When you decide to start a healthcare-related blog, there are a lot of elements to consider. You have to determine how much time you can devote to managing a blog, what your comment policy will be and some strategies for how to gain followers.
But there is something else you should consider, something that I think is perhaps more important than all of the above items: what purpose you want your blog to serve.
I read a lot of healthcare related blogs, and for the most part, all of the blogs have a specific type, which features the strength of the writer. So as you are preparing to start your own blog, I want you to consider what you want your blog to accomplish.
Do you want to educate your readers by giving them information about topics such as immunizations, and latest health research? Or do you want to tug on their heartstrings by telling stories. Or do you want to weave your own personal life experiences into your blog? This is a crucial step to take because it will ultimately decide why your readers return for more.
An educational blog is one that is practical. It covers topics that are useful to the audience and helps them make decisions for themselves. An educational blog is great for many reasons, and is a good choice if you are the type of healthcare provider who keeps up on the latest medical research and has a strong desire to share practical applications with a larger audience.
A great example of an educational blog is one by Registered Nurse Linda Scherf. Scherf manages her hospital’s Birthing Center blog in McMinnville, Oregon, and covers topics from car seat safety to how to obtain your baby’s birth certificate to breastfeeding advice.
A narrative blog is a powerful one, especially if you are the type of person who is a storyteller. When done correctly, a narrative blog pulls readers in and captivates them through a story that revolves about anything from a tense moment in the ER or a special encounter with a patient.
A narrative blog is an extremely powerful blog because you are using your personal experiences to drive the content. But be careful with a narrative format because it has the risks of running long and revealing proteted patient information.
The blog One Case at a Time by anesthesia resident Felicity is one of the best narrative blogs I have read. She is a talented writer and has the ability to pull me into every one of her posts with dramatic and tense stories about her experiences with patients and colleagues.
A personal blog is one that might be educational and narrative, but pulls largely on personal opinions and stories to make a point. A personal blog is one that is powerful because it gives you insight into who the blogger is, and can be full of personal thoughts, fears and hopes.
If you are a healthcare provider who has the desire to give information through personal experiences, and if you are comfortable giving out details from your professional and person life, this type of blog can really help you connect with your audience.
I suggest following the blog Reflections of a Grady Doc, written by Dr. Kimberly Manning, if you are considering a blog that draws mostly from personal experiences. Her blog also combines a narrative element, which makes her blog even more engaging.
Although I encourage you to decide if you want your blog to be largely educational, narrative or personal, a good blog will incorporate all three. But by choosing a specific type of blog, you give yourself some boundaries and guidelines to follow, which can be extremely helpful when you are deciding what to write about on any given day. It also will attract a certain type of reader, so you’ll want to be aware of what you want your blog to accomplish.
If you are writing to a specific audience, educational might be your blog type. But if you are writing to a larger audience who may not be in your area, a narrative blog may fit you. And if you want to connect with your reader, wherever they may be, a personal blog is an effective way to accomplish that.
But no matter what type of blog you choose to write, keep in mind what your strengths are as a writer, because you’ll want to make sure you can sustain your blog and enjoy it at the same time.