First off we need to look at your goals for blogging so we are clear on those before you embark on this journey.
Who do you want to target and attract? The nice part about the internet is that it allows you to really niche your content marketing. TV commercials are dead now that people have DVRs. In the old days of TV, when I was a kid, there were only like 10 different stations to watch. It was easy to reach your target market since you had a pretty solid idea where they were to be found. The same held true for radio as well.
Now viewers are not watching commercials since they can fast forward them, but more importantly there are like 1000 stations now! I am just using TV to illustrate a point - mass media was always just that - media created to appeal to the masses. Social media and the internet have made it possible for you to really create messages that resonate to only the targeted niches you decide on. So don't think mass appeal when you are using content marketing to blog on social media or your personal blog site. Think about niches.
Ex.) Old School - I want to market to people with kids. (Wow - that's pretty open ended.)
Ex.) New School - I want to market to Female Empty Nesters who are 50 years old, work out once a week, love to watch HGTV, still subscribe to fashion magazines like Vogue and Glamour, and drink special blends of tea and coffee.
- Decide who your target audience is. It might be different for Pinterest than it is for Twitter. Who you target on FB might be different than who you target on Linkedin. Etc...
Let's jump right into some of the juice then we'll go back to goals.
Use Visual Content to Spice Up Your Dry, (Somewhat) Boring Dental Information:
- PHOTOS - A picture is worth a thousand words remember? Prospective patients and existing patients will pay much more attention to your blogs if you add in visuals.
- INFOGRAPHICS- Infographics pair information with graphics to make a blog more visually interesting. If you took the same information and posted it in a text only format - not many people would take the time to read it. But people will take the time to digest information in this visual format.
- ANIMATED GIFs- are infographics that incorporate motion. Even more visual stimulation! these are quite expensive though so I won't blame you if you decide to not use them. We don't use them either unless we give credit to the people who made it. In this case, thanks to the folks at WYZOWL, we have an animated GIF to show you. This particular GIF has a message any dentist can learn from in regards to marketing so that is why we chose it.
- VIDEO- If a picture is worth a thousand words then video is worth a billion! YouTube stats are amazing in terms of how much video is uploaded onto YouTube everyday and how much video is consumed by people each day. If you do nothing else, you must incorporate video into your blogs. What kind of video? Well you can put patient video testimonials on YouTube and then embed them onto your website. You can answer questions. You can show snippets of procedures as long as you have a waiver from the patient. You can have animated videos made to illustrate what dental implants are. You can give advice to patients. All in video format.
YouTube really drives SEO, and I have a separate page dedicated to video, so I'm not going to go into all the specifics here. That's how important video is! To read more on the importance of video, please go to: https://www.growthhackercentral.com/how-patient-video-testimonials-youtube-enhance-dentist-seo/
Incorporate Trending Topics into Your Blog to Make Dry Dental Information More Engaging
Don't know what is trending? That is fine. The internet is also a great resource for finding out. Facebook is now placing a featured article on what is trending each day on your newsfeed. Go to http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/01/16/facebook-launches-trending-to-highlight-popular-items/4516147/ You can go to Twitter and type in #trendingtopic of @trendingtopic and a dropdown list of all the different twitter accounts that can tell you what it trending will show up. On Google+ you can see what is trending by going to http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends.
Just because something is trending does not mean you have to use it in your content. Be true to yourself. Incorporate news items if you like those topics or maybe movies and sports if you like those topics. During the Winter Olympics my wife wrote a blog post on "Tips For Using Social Media Marketing Like Olympic Curling Teams". Go to https://www.growthhackercentral.com/tips-for-using-social-media-marketing-like-olympic-curling-teams/ to scope it out.
Or I wrote a post entitled, "What Bodie Miller Can Teach You About Getting New Patients with Your Dental Marketing Video On YouTube". Go to https://www.growthhackercentral.com/getting-new-patients-with-your-dental-marketing-video-on-youtube/ to read it. This reminds me, you can use visuals that are not photos, you can use a drawing like this one of Bodie Miller crying after getting a Bronze metal in the Super-G at the Olympics. My wife wrote a blog during the Superbowl called "How the Superbowl Affects Social Media Marketing for Dentists", and you can find it at https://www.growthhackercentral.com/how-the-super-bowl-affects-social-media-marketing-dentists/. So definitely incorporate current topics, news, sports, movies, music, celebrities, etc... I love this picture since it illustrates how I personally felt about the show "The Jersey Shore".
But if you are targeting patients between the ages of 18-35 this sign might not have seemed so amusing to them. Possibly they liked the show, so pictures and visuals are great ways to get readers to read, and a great way to engage a targeted niche. Make sure you keep in mind who your target audience is!
Men love sports and I love these two examples of how to incorporate sports into your blogs. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26885343 "Good Teeth May Help Sporting Success".
And https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140407174141-15893932-baseball-players-with-big-smiles-live-longer?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews "Baseball Players with Big Smiles Live Longer".
USE NOSTALGIA TO RESONATE WITH TARGET MARKETS
People 40-80 years old have a strong yearning for their youth. Incorporating stuff to evoke a nostalgic response from patients will also work well for you. Think old VW buses, Michael Jackson's Thriller Video, the Beverly Hillbillies, Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, Star Trek, etc..
So now you know you should try to weave trending topics, news, sports, celebrities, movies, television shows, singers, etc... into your blog posts. And you know you need to add in visuals to keep patients and prospective patients reading. But you might be asking yourself, "How do I structure an epic blog post?" Good question.
SPEND A LOT OF TIME ON YOUR TITLES.
It is your best chance of catching a readers attention aside from the visuals you add. Here are some examples of the types of titles and types of blogs that do well with readers:
- Lists or Roundups - People love lists. "3 Tricks for -----". "6 Tips for ------". "The Top 9 -----------". Marketers also call these roundups since you are compiling a list of whatever. "Ten Best Smiles of 2013", "10 Ways You Can Give Kids A Smile in 2014"
- Weave in news, trends, celebrities, etc. into the title. "How the Kardashians's Smiles Made Them Millions!" "How Cosmetic Dentistry Made These 3 Celebrities 60% Better Looking". "How Dr. Spock Was Always Jealous of Captain Kirk's Smile". "Why Dancing With The Stars is Great For Your Dental Health".
- How to blogs are very popular. "How to Get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth." "How to Keep Bad Breath From Adversely Affecting Your Success at Work." "How to Live a Longer, Healthier Life By Maintaining Your Teeth" "How to Have A Gorgeous Smile On Your Wedding Day"
- Problem-Solution - You present a problem then suggest a solution. Pretty self explanatory. "Did You Know There IS a Way to Get Your Kids To Brush Their Teeth?" "Did You Know Bad Breath Could Be Negatively Affecting Your Success?" "Did You Know Great Teeth Can Lead to Success in Sports?" "Did You Know 88% of Women Say They Won't Date a Man With Bad Teeth?" "How A Great Smile Can Land You A Date With Your Dream Girl".
- Reports - "Boy Loses His Front Teeth Playing Duck-Duck-Goose But Dental Implants Restored His Smile" I was in an office one time when a 18 year old boy was having his bridge re-done. I asked how he had lost his front teeth and I expected him to tell me a story about skateboarding or riding his motorcycle. I was surprised to hear a story about a head on collision playing duck-duck-goose when he was 10. He ran the wrong way and he and the other child ran right into each other. You have a wealth of stories sitting in your office right now that you could report on. "Local Dentist Pays Kids For Halloween Candy Then Sends Candy to Our Troops!" This is another true story. One of our clients bought back Halloween candy from kids for $1 per pound and then sent the candy to our troops overseas. He worked with a group called Operation Gratitude. He simultaneously created positive word of mouth about his practice in his community, got kids to eat less candy, and did something altruistic. What better thing to report on than that? What could you do to create word of mouth in your community?
- Cheat Sheets - Who doesn't like short cuts and cheat sheets? "The Healthy Mouth Cheat Sheet", "The Official Cheat Sheet For Having Fresh Breath"
- Profile or Biography - This is usually about a famous, influential person. My daughter recently told me Vincent Price was originally from Missouri and he is famous for the voice over in Michael Jackson's Thriller video! This made me laugh heartily since he was such a famous actor, but she is only 10 and to her the Thriller video is pretty big time. Has anyone famous come from your neck of the woods? Also, if there are people of influence in your community you can write about them. You are trying to appeal to your patients and potential patients - no one else's. Therefore, if there was someone who donated a lot of money to the local hospital before they died, or was a prominent person in the community in some fashion, maybe you should write about them. Maybe there is some local politician or philanthropist who is still alive?
- What -If blogs answer that exact question and can be very interesting to readers. "What If Dentistry Hadn't Changed Since 1776?" I used to sell Septocaine and it was very interesting. You know the old saying, "Bite the bullet?" People really used to bite the bullet during medical procedures since they didn't have anesthesia like we do now. They would also drink whiskey to try to not feel the pain! Try having a tooth pulled with no anesthesia! I personally think people did not smile in the old days in pictures because they had a lot of missing teeth. Just postulating.
- Comparisons - You can compare two things to make an interesting post. You can compare Lumineers to regular veneers. Or compare mouth washes. Or compare the Sonicare to the Oral-B Sonic Toothbrush. Of course we talked about how your posts shouldn't all be about dental, but when you compare dental products you show patients you have put some serious thought into your decisions. Why don't you have a Cerec machine? Maybe you have done some research and found your local dental lab makes better, more accurate crowns and bridges. Maybe you do have the Cerec - maybe it's time to tell people why you bought it, and don't forget the WIIFM! That stands for What's In It For Me. Patients don't really care about your equipment unless there is some benefit to them! If it makes your life as a dentist easier - so what? If it cuts down on chair time and makes your work more profitable - so what? All they want to hear about is the WIIFM.
- Behind the Scenes - So maybe the Cerec machine is better in this category. You can do so many things in this area. Behind the scenes in terms of what goes on at the dental lab when you are waiting for your final restorations. Maybe behind the scenes when it comes to infection control. But since 40% of your blogs are not going to be about dental, all these blog ideas can be applied to any topic.
- VIDEO - All these types of blog posts can be made into short videos also. McDonald's Canada did some videos to show how their burgers are made. Like a Q&A video session. One actually shows why the burger looks a little different in real life, in comparison to how it looks in the professional photos. Why? Because people had wondered if they were not really showing the same burger in the photos. One of McDonald's executives explains why it actually looks a bit bigger and everything is shown on video. Remember to edit these videos down to 1.5 to 2 minutes or less is my suggestion. No one wants to watch a 20 minute video on infection control, or the Cerec, or your perio laser in your office! Or any topic for that matter. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSd0keSj2W8 to see how McDonald's does Q&A's on video.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) - Answer all the frequently asked questions in blogs. Think of all the time you use up answering questions and many are probably the same ones over and over again. By placing FAQ's on your on-site blog, you will eliminate a lot of questions people have. (More on on-site vs off-site blogs is explained below.)
- Use Keywords Sometimes Like "Dental Implants" or "Cosmetic Dentistry". Remember it is great to use keywords to try to optimize your posts for SEO benefits, but using a great title to get someone to read your post is more important.
Not every post has to incorporate dental though. Social media is all about being social and many dentists who are progressive marketers have a lot of success because they don't focus 100% on dental. The 80-20 rule comes into effect here. Only 20% of your posts should be promotional. Of the 80%, I suggest half of them be educational pieces utilizing the principles you learn here, and the other half be totally unrelated to dental. So essentially 20% are promotional, 40% are educational and interesting since you are using the principles we teach you, and the other 40% should be totally unrelated to dental. You don't want to get muted, and if you send out 100% dental stuff your patients and potential patients might get tired of you.
- Studies show 55% of people have Liked a business or service on FB and then later "Muted" them due to not wanting to get all the promos constantly.
Back to the best dentists who use content marketing and blogging via social media online - many will post about things they are interested in like photography, art, sports, philosophy, astronomy, etc...They will get a lot of positive social signals like Shares, Retweets, +1's, and Likes from these posts that have nothing to do with dental. They also interact with their patients and prospective patients on social media. Many dental offices make the mistake of just posting stuff, but never proactively try to connect with anyone, and they never proactively +1, Like, and Retweet their followers posts. You know the old saying, "tit for tat" or "quid pro quo"? If all you do is blast out dental information and promotions then you are missing the social part of social media.
- DON'T FORGET THE PETS! People love their pets more than ever and experts say it might be due to a high divorce rate. Whatever the reason, you can take advantage of the fact that people love their pets. Cat pictures are super popular online. People never seem to get tired of them. Everyone's day is brighter when you use animal pictures.
I always like to highlight dog smile pictures as a great contest to hold on one of your social media networks to attract new patients as well as engage existing patients. Add a quote to a picture and you have completely changed the picture and made it even more interesting.
- QUOTES get a lot more social interaction than other posts. You will get 19% more Shares and 26% more Likes with quotes when compared to other types of posts. Why do you want these social signals? Google looks at these social signals as a positive sign you should rank higher in SERPs. (Search Engine Results Pages.) Your SEO efforts will be enhanced when you start getting a lot of social interaction. Quotes are short, interesting, and hopefully brighten your follower's day. Why not Share a quote?
I highly suggest you purchase Photoshop Elements for altering your pictures for quotes and much, much more. There is a FREE way to do some of the things you get on Photoshop at a site called Picmonkey.com. You can also create a quote on a blank slate on this site. (If you don't want to use a photo with your quote.) I made this one to illustrate how you can do it...
My point is blogging without specific goals, and without doing it properly is not going to be worth the effort and money you spend. You must learn to use these principles of content marketing to make your blogging efforts work for you.
- EMOTICONS will increase the comments you receive by 33%. Yes those little smiling faces you use on your phone can also be used on your computer. Go to http://www.free-emoticons.com/. There are a million sites for them, this is just one example.
FREQUENCY and LENGTH:
You should blog once a week, but maybe you start by committing to twice a month and then ramp it up from there. My point is, if you are just starting to blog it might take you longer to create a quality blog since it is new to you. Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself so you want to throw your hands in the air and give up.
Using an editorial calendar can help you keep on a schedule. Sometimes you will easily write a blog, and other times your inner muse will not be available to help you write. You will hit a road block. My suggestion is when you feel like the writing is coming easily, you might want to pump out 2-3 blog posts in one sitting, and save them for later. That way when you hit the road block, you can just skip writing that day, and use one of the blogs you have saved up. WordPress has a free editorial calendar you can download at https://wordpress.org/plugins/editorial-calendar/.
Your personal blog, attached to your website, you can blog as frequently as you want really, but I suggest you not overdo the posts on social media like FB, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, etc... You have the potential to overwhelm your followers so they mute you if you overdo it. This is one of the reasons earlier I said you should think about the 80-20 rule. If you are posting interesting things besides dental related items, then you probably will not run the risk of being "muted" even if you post 3-4 times a week.
The length of blog posts can vary. Marketers used to think short 500-800 word posts were read the most, but new research shows if your post is 1500+ words and has great content, people will still read it. The key words here are "and has great content". If you post an epic blog that is witty, has great content, makes people laugh, and informs them - you will have a winning post no matter the length.
This brings up an important point. A blog has to be either informative (great content) or funny. Optimally it will be both. I'll say that again for emphasis. Optimally your blogs will be both funny and informative.
ON-SITE VS. OFF-SITE BLOGS:
On-site blogs are the ones directly attached to your website versus an off-site blog is one you have on a social media site like Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter, FB, Google+, etc... The on-site blog is the one I want you to work on establishing immediately! Your blog on your website will create fresh content for you regularly (once a week if you are doing it properly), and this will stimulate your SEO efforts with Google.
Blogging off-site means you have to drive traffic back to your website. People easily get lost in the shuffle online. It's called G.D.D. or Google Distraction Disorder. Have you ever gone online to find something specific, and then an hour later thought to yourself, "Oh yeah. What am I looking for again?" Yes. We have all been there. The internet can take you down wormholes you never imagined possible if you are not very intentional in fighting the G.D.D. phenomenon. But blogging off-site on social media networks is pivotal to driving traffic back to your website.
Off-site blogs will get more traffic since they have tons of people on the site looking around. Your on-site blog won't generate traffic on its own. If you do nothing to promote your website's blog then it will most likely rarely be read. This is why you need to be blogging both on-site and off-site. Blogging on social media sites will drive prospective and existing patients to your website where they will digest information on procedures they are considering or just on dental health in general. Blogging on your website blog will help your SEO efforts.
All blogging will establish you as an authority on dentistry. Everyone is online now, even older folks who you think maybe are not online, they are online too! Ken 's parents are 75 and they are online. My parents are 75 and active online. If you do not have a presence online then you are missing out on a lot of new patients and even might lose established patients since they might go online and decide some other doctor is a better fit for them.
HOW TO END YOUR BLOG POSTS:
You should always end your blog posts with a call to action. What I mean is, you need to drive traffic back to your website remember? And you want positive social signals like Likes, +1's Retweets, Shares, etc.. To get these things you have to ask for them and direct people where to go.
Many times dentists want social signals but are hesitant to ask for them. They offer Starbucks Gift Cards and whatnot for Likes. I'm not suggesting you stop doing that, but there is a cheaper and easier way that is proven to get you more social signals - ask for them. At the end of your post say, "If you liked this post please let me know by "Liking" it." You will get 50% more Likes by simply asking, than if you don't ask.
Tell people at the end of posts they can find more dental-related, educational posts on your website's blog at -----. Make sure to hyperlink the address so they can easily click on it to go there. Don't know how to hyperlink something? Whenever I don't know how to do something my husband says, "Google it. Don't ask me. Google it." And you know what? I have never been disappointed. No matter what you need, someone has put information on Google about how to do it.
If you are offering a promo (20% of the time remember), then you need an even more clear call to action. You want to give them a deadline for taking advantage of the offer. No deadline means no urgency.
If your blog is not promotional you can encourage comments by asking a question. Remember social interaction does matter. On FB, your posts do not reach every one of your friends anymore. Each post goes out to a small percentage of your friends, and then FB gauges how good the post is via social interaction and engagement like comments and Likes. If you get a lot of engagement then your post is forwarded to a ton of your friends and maybe even more people who are not your friends. If you get no engagement, then FB estimates it is a lame post, and will only send it out to a few more of your friends.
So if you ask a question at the end many times people are encouraged to comment more than if you had not asked a question. For example, if you write about "How the Kardashian's Smiles Made The Millions", at the end of your post you might say, "What Hollywood star do you think has the best smile?"
Posts that end in a question get 100% more comments than those without!
WHEN TO POST FOR OPTIMAL ENGAGEMENT
Posting on Thursday and Friday will get you 18% more interaction.
Posting on the weekend will get you 32% more interaction
There are distinct times to post for the most interaction and it ranges from site to site.
Maybe it's time you trained one of your assistants to become your Dental Marketing Assistant! Growth Hacker Central has a Dental Marketing Assistant University so you can have someone in your office trained properly to take care of blogging, your online presence, video testimonials and video blogging, as well as all your social media needs. Go to http://www.GrowthHackerCentral.com/dental-marketing-assistant-university/ today!
Or you can call and request more information at 800-875-9066 or email me at Lisa@MassReferralSeminars.com.