In Search of Excellence author and renowned business consultant Tom Peters says “No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It has changed my life. It has changed my perspective. It has changed my emotional outlook. And it’s the best marketing tool by an order of magnitude I have ever had.”
In spite of that ringing endorsement, of 1.229 hospitals engaged in social media, only 149 host blogs, according to Ed Bennett’s Hospital Social Network List.
Those other hospitals are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Four reasons why your hospital should be blogging
- Build loyal relationships with your community. Regularly blog useful, interesting information and readers will return to your website again and again.
- Humanize your organization. Blogging adds a personal touch to your hospital website that a list of services simply can’t. See what Seattle Mama Doc, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, has done for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
- Give your leadership, staff, patients and community members a voice. Anna Roth, CEO of Contra Costa Regional Medical, is a great example.
- Boost your Google rankings. Google search loves websites with fresh information, and blogging is a powerful way to accomplish that.
So why do most hospitals hesitate to blog?
Blogging requires more thought and preparation than short Facebook posts or Tweets, and to be successful, you need to post a blog at least once a week. Posting two or three times a week is even more effective. Add that to a lengthy list of daily tasks, and you can definitely feel overwhelmed.
Some tips to make blogging easier
- Develop an editorial calendar and stick to it.
- Recruit a team of bloggers: CEO’s, dietitians, educators, nurses, pharmacists, Cancer survivors, new moms, board members, donors, grateful patients. They are all possible blog writers.
- Keep your blogposts short – under 400 words – and to the point. Readers will appreciate it, and it will strengthen your writing.
- Don’t worry about writing a blog masterpiece each time. Just do it.
- Be yourself.
- Use a friendly voice.
- Write with your patient in mind. You’re not trying to write to everybody. You’re just trying to write to somebody.
- Avoid terminology and medical speak like the plague!
- Don’t be discouraged if you feel no one is reading your blog. It will take some time to build readership, but if you consistently say something useful and interesting, people will find you.
- Make sure you offer an RSS feed so you’re easy to follow.
As an added bonus, a hospital blog is the perfect place to update your staff, the community and media during times of breaking news, emergency or natural disaster.
Tom Peters is right. I have found that nothing helps me organize and clarify my thinking better than blogging, and that pays off in dozens of ways. Try it, stick with it, and you’ll like it.
How we help
Hive Strategies helps health systems create HIPAA-compliant online communities for better health, lower costs and greater loyalty.