Online marketing is a wide concept consisting of various ways to market your clinic. If I were to define online marketing in more specific words, I would say that online marketing is basically marketing or advertising on the internet by using different marketing and advertising tools, methods and strategies. Some of the powerful mediums, tools and strategy of online marketing include social media advertising, PPC ads, email marketing, search engine optimization, etc.
When we talk about online marketing for plastic surgeons, the options to market your practice are many. You could use PPC ads to promote your specialized treatments or you could reach out to your target audience directly on the social media. If not these, you could use the indirect yet effective method of marketing your business right in front of the people who need your services through SEO.
SEO or search engine optimization is a comprehensive method of growing your website visibility and increasing the amount of traffic you receive by ensuring your website ranks high on the search engine result pages. To make this happen, a lot of research and planning is required. To simplify this task, here are some tips for plastic surgeons to optimize their website.
Get the Basics Right
Before you set off to make your plastic surgery website optimized for the search engines, you might as well want to explore some amazing SEO tools available on the internet. These tools are analytical tools which provide you with data pertaining to your website and its performance.Also, some of these tools are available for free.
If I was to point out the most commonly used search engines, Google and Bing would definitely top my list. So let us start with the free tool provided by Google search, the Google Search Console (also previously known as the webmasters tool). By logging-in to this tool, you are able to analyze the overall performance of your website on the Google search engine. It shows you how easy it is for search engines to access and crawl on your website. The added advantage is that this tool also gives you suggestions on how you can improve your website HTML.
Coming to Bing, it has a similar tool known as the Bing Webmasters tool. It provides the similar kind of data about your website for the Bing search engine. The idea to log in to Bing is to make sure your website fairs well on not just Google but other majorly used search engine like Bing as well.
The whole point behind logging in on these tools before you work on your SEO is to make it easy for you. When you use these tools, you get an idea of how well your website is performing already. Also, you get to see where you are lacking and where you might need to put in that extra effort. With this analysis at hand, you can now easily move on to plan your SEO.
Find and Use “Buying” Keywords
Now let us move on to one of the key factors of search engine optimization, the keywords. Keywords are words or phrases used by online users to search for anything online. These keywords play a pivotal role in search engine optimization as they provide you with an understanding of what exactly your potential clients are looking for. And when you use the right keywords in your website and in your content, your ranking improves. So how exactly do you use keywords for search engine optimization?
Find your keywords
Use of keywords in your website and content cannot simply be made based on assumptions. There is a need for in-depth research. You need to identify exactly what the users are looking for and how you can be the answer to their needs. So how do you identify these keywords?
A simple way to do so is by conducting searches with some assumed keywords and analyzing the results. For a set of keywords, see what suggestions the search engine makes. These suggestions can be a good starting point for you. Also, when doing a manual search, analyze how you and your competitors rank on a certain keyword. Based on the ranking you will get an idea of how much efforts you will need to put in to rank well on the very same keyword.
Another method of finding the right keywords is through some free tools available at your disposal. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool serve the purpose of doing a research on your behalf and help you find apt keywords for your website and content. For a plastic surgeon, all you need to do is make a list of all your services such as nose reshaping, Botox treatment, liposuction, etc. and analyze if they can be used as strong keywords using the keyword planner.
Organize and use your keywords
Once you get hold of keywords, you can start using them accordingly for your website content. Soon you will realize that you have a long list of keywords to use. Now you cannot simply use any keyword anywhere or else the whole purpose of optimizing your content with keywords will be useless. So how about you organize these keywords. Use a spreadsheet to make groups of keywords and use them accordingly. For example, for your service page of liposuction, using a keyword about nose reshaping may not help. So make specific groups of keywords and use them in relevant content for optimum results.
The other thing you just cannot ignore is the long-tail keyword. Sometimes commonly used keywords can result in your website ranking low as there are many other plastic surgeons who might be using the very same keyword. For example, if you simply use a basic keyword such as “plastic surgery”, there will be millions of other contenders in the race. How about making it more specific? Come up with a long-tail keyword such as “liposuction plastic surgery in Edmonton”. This long-tail keyword will give you a more targeted traffic and a patient much closer to your clinic.
Create Great Content
There is no doubt that keywords will help in optimizing your website and content. But should optimizing be your only aim? Of course, to get that high ranking on the search engine result page, optimization is necessary. But if you only optimize thinking about search engines, then you are making a mistake. Eventually, it is the potential patients who will be reading your content. So make sure you write keeping people in mind and not just the search engine.
With a good set of keywords, you need to now focus on providing quality content to the potential patients. Adding the keywords to the content is a priority but adding it to quality content is a necessity. Imagine yourself in a user’s place. Would you be interested in reading a content which is just woven around the keywords without any quality information? The answer is no. Therefore, provide the users with quality content.
A good way to start is by thinking what common questions the users might have? Now try to be a solution to those questions. For example, a user will search for something like “How is liposuction beneficial? “ You could provide a solution to this user by having a blog topic on “5 benefits of Liposuction”. Similarly, keep posting blogs with content related to your services. This will keep your target audience engaged. Do keep in mind though, the key to audience engagement is giving fresh and interesting content on a regular basis.
The quality of your content is not just dependent on the information you provide but also how you provide it. By this I mean, you need to format it well. Make sure your spellings are right. Also, proper punctuations should be used. Lastly, do not purposely fill up your content with excessive keywords as it will not only make it sound grammatically incorrect but search engines may identify that you are purposely trying to add keywords and so, they may penalize your website.
Focus on your Website
With your keywords handy and in use, you now need to make sure your website is sound enough to give appropriate support to your SEO strategy. You may not know this, but well planned and organized website has a great impact on your SEO strategy. So let’s look at some aspects you need to work on:
How your webpages are, says a lot about your website. For a website to be easy for user navigation, clear webpages with relevant data should be present. Try to come up with keywords for all the services that you provide. This will improve your ranking on SERP for keywords that are relevant for every page. To give you a better example. If you have services such as liposuction, nose reshaping, breast augmentation, etc., you need to have relevant services pages for them too, such as www.yourwebsitename.com/nose-reshaping/.
The website arrangement
You may have the right amount of webpages, but is your website arrangement suitable to accommodate these pages correctly? What I am referring to here is the flow of your website. Is it clear and simple for a user to navigate and a search engine to crawl on? It is simple to find out if your website is well arranged. A basic arrangement universally accepted by all users and search engine is the website>the section>the subsection>the pages.
So basically, a user or search engine should easily be able to find your service page within a related subsection or section. This should also be clearly visible in your URL. An example of a well arranged URL would be – www.youwebsitename.com/services/body/tummy-tuck. The idea is simple, to help search engines crawl easily on your website.
The website code
Search engines are programmed using codes. This means that they understand technical and programming language better than plain vocabulary. To move one more step ahead in optimizing your website for search engines, you need to make sure your website code is concise and easy to comprehend for the search engines.
First, make sure your website URL is easy to understand and does not have any extra unnecessary characters such as @#$%$. Do this check for all your URLs such as blog URLs, service page URLs, etc. The next thing to check is that the meta description is present appropriately for your website content. This is very important as a meta description gives a user an idea of what your blog post or website is all about. Most often than not, a user decides whether he wants to open your website or not based on the meta description. After checking your meta description, you need to ensure that appropriate pages titles are present on each webpage so that the user does not get misled.
Screaming Frog is a tool that does this website code analysis for you. It is an excellent tool for you if you have a small practice as it is free to analyze up to 500 pages. You can simply use this tool and find out what is wrong with your website code. Apart from giving you a fair idea of your website code inconsistencies, Screaming Frog gives you the number of HTML pages you have indexed. The same can be found out by simply typing the site command and your URL in the search query on the search engine. This will give you the number of indexed pages in the search result. If the number does not match up with your actual HTML pages, you need to find out why the number is incorrect and get your appropriate the right number of webpages indexed.
The website responsiveness
When you are scrutinizing your website, not checking the responsiveness of your website would be a mistake. With the speed of digitization, majority of the users are known to browse websites on their smartphones. So should your website be built for desktops or for smartphones? Well, the answer should be for both. You need to have a website that is easy to load for both computer and mobile viewing. If the website is not mobile-friendly, then imagine the number of potential patients you will be losing out on.
Apart from being adaptable to different platforms, your website needs to be quick-loading. The reason to have a quick loading website is simple, to avoid the bounce rate. A bounce rate is when a user leaves your website too quickly, without browsing anything. This generally happens when your website is not able to keep a user interested or simply give a fast solution to their problem. A slow loading website is not what a user will wait for when there are innumerable other options available.
To help you find out the responsiveness of your website, Google has a free tool known as the Test My Site Tool. It is a very helpful tool as it analyzes your website and informs you about your website loading speed, responsiveness and other shortcomings if any.
As a plastic surgeon, getting a good brand visibility is a must. But wouldn’t it be more beneficial to tap the local masses as that’s where your major business will be coming from? To make this possible, you need to focus your SEO strategy more locally. This specialized focus to optimize your website locally is known as local SEO. Now local SEO is a complete section of SEO that I would rather not talk about in this article, but I would definitely like to touch upon a few aspects of local SEO which will definitely help you boost your overall SEO strategy.
Claim your listings
You may be aware of what online business listings are. Business listings are commonly known as citations in the SEO world. These citations are nothing but the mention of your business on other websites such as Yelp. These listings could include both popular and unpopular websites. Now some of these listings may be made by you while some might have happened without your knowledge. Your task is to find out which websites has your citations and make sure the details mentioned on those websites are correct. A major citation you cannot miss out on is the Google My Business page. Having your business correctly listed on Google My Business has a great impact on your SEO. If your business listing is already present on Google My business without your knowledge, make sure to claim it and rectify mistakes if any on the listing. Apart from Google My Business, for a practicing plastic surgeon in a specific location, I would recommend you to list your business on the website of the local authoritative body for plastic surgeons. For example, if you are a practicing plastic surgeon in Canada, try to get yourself listed on the Canadian Society of Plastic Surgeons. Such type of listings not only increases your credibility in the eyes of the patients but also the search engines.
Check your NAP
Once you have claimed business listings on reliable citation websites, you now need to optimize the information these listings are providing about your business. The information I am referring to here is your NAP+W (Name, Address, Phone number and Website). Having consistent NAP+W details on all websites is essential as it makes it easy for the search engines to connect these listings to your business and website.
Bifurcate your pages
Now if you are a plastic surgeon with a business that has branches in different locations, I recommend that you create a separate page for each location. This will make it easier for a user in a specific location to browse the services available only in that area. Also, it will add to your local SEO strategy.
When creating a location page, ensure that it has sufficient information for the user’s possible queries. This means that the page should have the NAP details of the location, the services, the location’s surgeon details and testimonials of local patients only. Typically, this separate location page can be a part of your main website itself. For example, you can have a page dedicated for each location with a URL looking like this – www.yoursitename.com/Edmonton-clinic, www.yoursitename.com/Calgary-clinic and so on.
With this article, I have tried to cover some important points about search engine optimization to help you optimize your plastic surgery website. Do keep in mind that SEO is a comprehensive method and it requires adequate time and efforts to make it a success. Stick around for the continuation of this blog, in which I will talk extensively about how you can use social media strategies to enhance your online marketing.
Online marketing is a wide concept comprising of different forms of marketing channels, which include search engine marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, etc. These marketing channels are generally combined by businesses to form a good online marketing strategy.
The good thing about online marketing is that anybody and everybody can do it. This means that you will find a variety of businesses trying their hands on online marketing to make a mark on their target audience’s mind. A growing trend noticed for a long time now is the pattern of medical entities marketing their business online. This makes it even more important for a surgeon to work on the online marketing strategy.
Social Media Marketing For Plastic Surgeons
Determine Your Objectives
The first step in your social media marketing plan should be to identify the objective of promoting your surgical practice on social media. Whether you have an established practice or a new one, promoting the practice is a necessity for the masses to know you and approach you for treatment.
When we talk about social media marketing objectives, promoting your surgical practice is not the only goal. There are multiple objectives that can be achieved with the help of social media. The first and foremost thing for every business is to create a brand presence and brand awareness on the internet. Apart from your website, social media platforms work really well in increasing your online presence. With this enhanced online presence, you are able to reach out to more people for your surgical practice and the chances of potential patients knowing about you increases.
For an established surgical practice, social media marketing can be a great tool to grow your practice by acquiring more leads. To make the most of social media, all you need to do is engage with your followers and get them to trust your practice. Apart from this, social media marketing is also a great way to connect with like-minded professionals to build your network and at the same time increase your credibility. For example, let us assume you are a neurosurgeon who recently build his network on LinkedIn and added some general surgeons as connections. There is a possibility that one of these general surgeons may recommend one of their patients to you as they lack the specialized knowledge of neurosurgery. This will help you get more patients.
Having a social media presence also benefits your practice apart from brand and service promotion. In today’s time having a loyal patient base is a necessity for a practicing surgeon. With the help of social media, you will be able to build a loyal customer base who will follow you on different social media networks. This following will encourage more potential patients to trust your knowledge and ability as a surgeon. Apart from building loyal followers, social media also opens a medium for you to communicate directly with your patients. Using this medium, you can address their problems and grievances and also provide them with necessary advice.
With so many possibilities through social media, you need to now decide what your objective would be. Whether you want to focus on brand awareness only or are you looking to communicate more closely with your patients. When you have this factor decided, it becomes easier to choose the right social media platform to initiate your social media marketing.
Do a Social Media Audit
Sometimes, it so happens that you already have a social media presence that you never paid much attention to. It could be a business page or a profile that you created one day and forgot about it completely. When you have such pages prevailing, it would be a good idea to evaluate how these social media pages are working in your favor and if you have received any patient leads from these pages.
When you are assessing your existing social media presence, you need to take a close look at all the platforms you have a presence on. Check for social media accounts that you never created. These could be frauds trying to scar your online reputation. In case you find any such accounts, report them as frauds without fail, as this reporting will ensure that the online users are only connected to you through your genuine profile. Then analyze on which platform you have a majority of the following as this platform would be the first one that you will have to refine and reinforce for your improved social media strategy. The next thing to evaluate is how well your competitors are performing online and which platform are they using for their online promotion.
After doing a complete analysis of your social media’s existing presence, it is time to organize it. Device a method, following which you can keep a constant watch on how each social media platform will be used. For this, you can simply create a spreadsheet and maintain a data of each platform. This data should include the details of each account along with a date and timeline to ensure that frequent and good quality content is shared on each platform. Once this spreadsheet is ready, ensure to maintain it properly.
Identify Your Audience
Image Source: wikimediacommons.org
When you plan to target your audience through social media, you need to have a clear picture of who this audience will be. From the time of its introduction, social media has extensively been associated with a very young demographic. However, in today’s time, you will find a variety of age groups using the social media platforms. This makes it easier for your surgical practice to promote on the social media platforms.
Before you start any type of marketing, identifying and understanding the target audience is necessary. For social media marketing, you need to know your audience so that you can provide them with appropriate content that keeps them engaged. Start your research to find out the type of people who would be interested in knowing more about your surgical practice and will eventually convert into a patient. Understand not only the demographics but also the psychographics, as it will give you a better idea of the type of tone you need to use to converse with this audience.
The process of finding the target audience is highly dependent on your practice. Taking surgical practices into account, for a general surgeon, the process will be a little complicated as there would be a larger age group and patients with multiple ailments to cover. However, if you are a surgeon with a specialized practice such as an orthopedic surgeon, your focus will be on a selected set of people suffering from bone-related ailments. So an orthopedic can simply address problems based on his specialization. However, a general surgeon needs to decide what all he wants to address or mention on his social media pages.
So how do you find out the target audience for your surgical practice social media? Start with a platform that has the largest number of people, like Facebook. Simply log in to Facebook and browse through the followers of your competitors. You can check out a few profiles to find out more about the users. This will give you a fair idea of the type of people you will be addressing on your social media pages. Once you have this information, try to be more specific and create personas of these people.
Start by filtering out the gender. For a gynecologist, the focus will majorly be on the female audience. So as a gynecologist, you can put posts on your social media to attract the attention of the females. Then move on to the age group of the target audience. This may not be very specific but try to create a range as it will help you maintain the tone of your messages. Apart from these, try to figure out the general interest of the target audience, income level, reason for opting for your service, etc. Keep in mind, you are not working to create an accurate profile of a potential patient, you are simply creating a persona that is likely to be your patient.
Choose Your Platform
After chalking out who your target audience would be, you now need to focus on the platforms that you will use for the social media marketing of your surgical practice. Initially, social media had about two to three options but today, there are a large number of platforms to choose from. For your social media marketing strategy to shine, you do not have to create a profile on each and every platform. You simply need to focus on the major platforms that are being extensively used by a majority of the masses. Take a look at some of the most popular options you have.
With the level of popularity Facebook has, it is impossible to talk about social media without mentioning this social media channel. It is one of the most widely used social media platforms worldwide. This makes it an essential platform for any type of business. The other benefits that make it a popular choice for businesses are the multiple promotional options it provides. On Facebook, you not only have the option to create a complete business page for your surgical practice, but also the chance to obtain patient reviews, insert call-to-actions and provide customer service through the messenger.
Apart from the above mentioned marketing options, do keep in mind that Facebook is a platform used by people to chat and interact with each other casually and frequently. So if you plan to target your audience through Facebook, keep your tone casual with a lot of visual content to keep the users engaged. Also, you will have to be an active promoter on Facebook with regular content that engages the users. For a surgical practice, you can have posts or videos about different types of surgeries and sometimes a few memes about surgery as well.
For social media marketing, Twitter may have a limit of characters to state your message. However, it gets your brand well promoted within the limited options that it has. Twitter is a platform that is more like a broadcasting platform as it allows the users to post and share updates with a limited word count.
To make the optimum use of Twitter for your surgical practice, I would suggest that you follow other surgeons, medical pages, hospitals, etc. Do not stop at just following other professionals and medical entities, retweet their tweets and mention them in your tweets as well. This way the followers following these pages will know you, be able to connect with you and follow you. Another nifty idea to promote your practice would be to create a good mix of the tweets you post. Do not simply talk about your surgical services, alternately tweet about other related news and articles as well.
Google+ was launched by Google to compete with Facebook. The platform has features that are quite similar to that of Facebook. It enables the user to post messages, share videos, photos, etc. The thing that differentiated Google+ from Facebook was the option to maintain circles. These circles are groups that you can create to cluster like-minded people together. This feature is something that you can use for the social media strategy of your surgical practice. For example, If you are a general surgeon with a Google+ profile, you can simply create groups for different ailments and send posts related to only that ailment to the respective group. Another effective use of Google+ is to hold live informative sessions with a circle of people through Hangout messenger.
Instagram is a platform that is also very popular among the masses. It is a visual image based platform on which the users can upload images, GIFs, videos, etc. The good thing about Instagram is that you can sync it with your Facebook account. So the images that you share on your Instagram page will automatically appear on your Facebook page. This way you can tap the users on both the platforms.
So how can you use Instagram for your surgical practice? You definitely cannot share an image of an open heart surgery. Instead, you can share X-rays and sonography images of certain ailments to educate your followers. Apart from that, you can help to reduce your follower’s anxiety regarding any surgeries by sharing images of how patient-friendly your staff and premise is. The best use of Instagram would be to provide information to your followers by adding medical diagrams, surgery-related infographics and recovery guidelines.
Not all social media platforms are casual and visual based. LinkedIn is a social media platform which purely caters to professionals working in different fields. With the help of LinkedIn, people from similar professions are able to connect with each other and form a professional alliance for professional opportunities. LinkedIn also provides its users to share content. However, this content is professional content, related to different industries and serves the purpose of providing information.
LinkedIn is a great opportunity for your surgical practice to build a professional network with like-minded people from the medical industry. By connecting with other surgeons, there is a chance you may get more patients. Sometimes, general surgeons are contacted by patients with very specific ailments. Such ailments need the attention of a specialty surgeon such as a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic. If you are a specialty surgeon, a general surgeon may ask such patients to contact you. You could also benefit from the recommendations other professionals will give you on your profile.
Engage with Good Content
Whichever social media platform you choose, you will need exceptionally good content to make the page stand out and create an impact on the minds of your target audience. The type of content you choose to create depends completely on the platform you choose for your surgical practice. For example, if you choose to use Instagram, you will need to have image-based content such as short videos and infographics. Apart from that, when working on content, the important thing to keep in mind is your brand image. For a surgical practice, you need to come up with a theme that matches with your practice’s persona or else there is a risk of the users feeling confused on your social media pages.
Another factor which highly affects your followers is how well and subtly you promote. When you use social media marketing, always keep in mind that the tone should be conversational and the idea should be to engage the user and not sell or promote your practice directly. If you completely focus on promoting your practice, there is a chance that a potential patient might unfollow you. So make sure your content is interesting, informative and engaging. Avoid simply talking about what you do and the services you provide. For example, if you are a neurosurgeon who constantly boasts about the number of surgeries you have done and the specialized service that you provide, people will unfollow you. Instead, give your readers some factual data to read and information to learn from such as a video on “how your brain neurons function” or “how the success rate of brain surgery has drastically increased”.
Apart from using well-drafted content, what else do you need to engage the potential patients? The frequent and regular posting of the content. You may post an excellent content one day on your Facebook page, but that won’t last for days. The users move on and they want something new to view each day. So how do you manage to do that? You create a social media content calendar. A social media calendar is a simple schedule that has predetermined dates and times of each posting you wish to do on your social media pages. The idea behind having this calendar is not just to ensure that you have regular posting, but also that you have time in advance to create remarkably good content to engage your potential patients. Also, if you have a large chunk of content ready for the upcoming dates, you could simply use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule these posts.
Measure Your Performance
Now that your social media marketing strategy is live and functioning, you need to keep a close eye to see whether it is benefiting your surgical practice or not. Any type of marketing strategy that you implement needs to be evaluated to measure the performance as you are investing a good amount of time and money in it.
There are multiple ways using which you can get a basic measure of how your strategy is performing. To make your task easier, almost every major social media platform has its own analytics tool to help you find the performance of your page.Apart from that, if you choose to use Hootsuite scheduler, you could try their social media analytics tool to find out how your social media pages are faring. If you do use Hootsuite, you could also try using their URL shortener to find out how many clicks you received on a link shared on Facebook or Twitter. Apart from analytic tools, the best option to know your performance is through your audience. You can request your followers to fill up a small assessment and ask for what more they expect from you. Give them a chance to post questions and queries about medical issues which they want to be addressed either through a post or through a video. In this process, you can also ask them how are they liking your posts so far and what they do not like. Keeping such surveys anonymous will help you get more ideas.
These are some important factors to help you start social media marketing for your surgical practice. While you may think of starting right away with multiple social media platforms, I would recommend that you start slow and choose platforms that will be good for your surgical practice. This will help you channelize your energy in one direction and will give a good start to your social media strategy. Once you have got a good response on a fewplatforms you can add more social media platforms to your strategy. Now that I have addressed the management of your social media, I will talk about working on content and blogging in the next article.
Blogging and Content Marketing
Online marketing has been around for a long time. What started off with just online advertising and direct marketing soon developed into more innovative methods of marketing such as search engine marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, etc. With this shift, a majority of businesses now look to promote their business and brand on the online platforms with a reinforced vigor.
The first and the most common reason for businesses to opt for online marketing is the major attention shift of the masses on the internet. With a majority of eyeballs to grab on the internet, online marketing became the most cost-effective method to promote a business as it enables you to reach to a maximum audience in a minimum to no cost. This does not just hold true for specific professions, but all professions including your surgical practice. That’s right, even your surgical practice can be promoted through online marketing. In this article, I will give insight on how you can use content marketing and blogging to promote your surgical practice.
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Before we get into the details of managing your content marketing strategy, let us understand more closely what content marketing and blogging are. If I define content marketing in the most basic terms, it refers to the method of creating and publishing content such as blogs, videos, images, infographics, etc. that does not directly promote a product or service. It serves the purpose of engaging the potential customer with relevant information and makes them know more about you and your services. Blogging is one aspect of content marketing that is used by many businesses these days. It is a simple concept of writing informative articles addressing the different problems of the people, or to simply inform them about something related to your medical practice. So let us now start to understand how you can make blogging and content marketing work for your surgical practice.
Start with a Goal
When you studied medicine and started your surgical practice, you simply didn’t do it because you had to. You had a goal in life, to become a successful surgeon and to help the people. With this goal in mind, you were able to come this far. This personal experience of yours tells you how important it is to have a goal to make any plan a success. So start your content marketing strategy with a goal and aim to achieve it.
For your surgical practice, you can have more than one goal to achieve through content marketing. Generally, when you plan to use a marketing strategy, the main goal in your mind is to promote your business and get more customers, or in your case, patients. But there are other goals that you can achieve through content marketing. Content marketing is also used to create a favorable brand image. With engaging content, you can try to create an impact on the minds of the online users and eventually build your online reputation. Apart from this, a majority of professionals with a substantial customer base start content marketing to educate and inform the online users related to their queries. For example, as a surgeon, you could start a blog to impart knowledge to the online users about your specialization such as orthopedic surgery or neurosurgery.
The other goal you could have is to expand your reach out of your locality. If you plan to attract patients from other provinces, you could use content marketing by focusing your content on the location you wish to attract patients from. This can be done by adding location specific keywords in your content. For example, if you have a practice in Calgary but wish to get patients from Edmonton, you can add keywords such as “surgery in Edmonton” to your content. This will ensure that people who live in Edmonton will see your content in the search engine result pages when they search for surgery related keywords. However, you need to follow many other SEO elements to get your content featured in the search results. You could also use content marketing to keep your existing patients updated about the new developments in your practice.
With so many possibilities, you may feel the urge to set all of these as your content marketing goals. However, do not make this mistake. You cannot have numerous goals for your content marketing strategy without a clear thought process. Having limited and related goals ensure that you can focus on them easily to achieve them. Also, have definite goals, with predetermined numbers so that you can assess your progress in the future. For example, your goal can be to get a minimum of 2 patient leads through content marketing in a month.
Define Your Content Viewers
After specifying your goal to conduct content marketing, its time you identified to whom you need to address your content to. How well you understand your target audience has a great impact on the success of your content. Content creation and content marketing cannot just happen based on the topics and issues you feel like talking about. Neither can you create content simply to rank well on the search engine result pages. You need to create content for people with real needs and wants. For this, you need to identify who are the people whose needs and wants correlates to your business.
As a practicing surgeon, it is evident that the people who would be interested in reading your blog content would be people with medical ailments or their relatives. However, this information is not sufficient to start blogging and content marketing. What you need is a complete persona of a person who would be reading your blogs. A persona is an imaginary depiction of your target audience, created by you to get a better understanding of the target audience’s personality.
So how do you create this persona? You do research for it. To know the people you will actually need and read your content, try to figure out not just the demographics of people but also the psychographics of the people. You need to list out the gender, the age group, the income bracket, etc. This is a common segmentation that will work for every business. For a surgical practice, you need to refine your target audience a little more based on the medical conditions they are suffering from.
Now it is easier to decide the demographics, but the psychographics of your target audience is something you can simply assume as this includes interests and behavior patterns of the target audience. It is alright as the target audience that you find out need not be accurate, and close assumptions can also help you work out a good content blogging strategy for your surgical practice.
Analyze the Existing Content
When you have a website and an existing online presence, you will already have some content present on the internet. It is time you analyze the existing content or blog posts that you have and figure out how it has benefited your practice.
Start by going through all the content that has already been published by you. Read through them and start by checking where the mistakes are. Look for the shortcomings and vocabulary errors. Check if the structure of the content makes it easy to read and comprehend for the readers. Always remember, a good blog post is the one that has a clear structure for the easy understanding of the reader.
Another important factor to consider is the tone of your existing content. Since you have now got the persona of your potential patients and readers, it is essential to see if the tone of your content will be suitable for the reader’s or not. For a surgeon, the ideal tone to keep would be professional and informative as casual and fun tone is not something you can relate to medical ailments and surgery. The other thing to look for is the SEO-friendliness of your surgical website content. No doubt your content should be a good read for the readers, but it should also be good enough for the search engines to identify your content and get it rank well on the SERPs as well. What makes your content SEO-friendly is the addition of tactfully scrutinized keywords. I will talk more about it in the next section.
Finally, after analyzing your existing content, sort out the content and eliminate the blog posts that are not going with your content strategy. Then select the one that is good and can be reworked and reused for the fresh content marketing strategy.
Research and Plan your Content
After analyzing your existing content, you now need to start a fresh thought process of new content for your content marketing strategy. With your target persona specified, you will be able to decide on content ideas much easily. This is because you now have the answer to the question of what your potential patients might be looking for. But before you simply start selecting blog topic ideas and start writing, you need to plan to make your content SEO-friendly.
The main factor that makes any content SEO-friendly are keywords. Keywords or keyword phrases are a set of words commonly used by online users to conduct a search on search engines. It is necessary to identify the keywords that your potential patients use and include them in your blog posts. Why? Because these keywords will act as an indicator for the search engines to relate your blog posts to the query of a potential patient.
No matter how well drafted your content is, it would not be able to get you consistent traffic if it lacks keywords. So how do you know what keywords to use? The answer is research. It is not that difficult to come up with a set of keywords that you can use in your blog posts. To make a start, create a list of tentative keywords. For some surgeons who already have a few blog topics of interest on mind, creating this list will be much easier as you need to simply create keywords related to the topics in your mind. If you do not have any topics on mind, simply create keywords related to your surgical practice. For example, if you are a cosmetic surgeon, your keywords may include, liposuction procedure, breast augmentation, Botox treatment, etc.
Once you have your list of self-made keywords ready, simply add each keyword phrase in the Google search query. Now search the types of result you get and scroll all the way to the bottom where you will find searches related to your keyword. Make a note of the suggestions given in this section as these are some of the commonly used keywords as per the search engine itself. Here is an example of the suggestions given back by Google.
By using this method, you will be able to collect a good number of keywords to start blogging. I would also recommend that you try some free online tool such as Google’s very own Google Keyword Planner to find the most appropriate keywords for your surgical website.
Create Outstanding Content
Once you are aware of the keywords that will work best for your surgical blog, you now need to create good quality and powerful content. When we talk about content marketing, it covers varied types of content such as Ebooks, templates, blog posts, infographics, videos, and podcasts. Each of these has a different method of communicating with the target audience.
As we are focusing more on content marketing and blogging for your surgical practice, you need to choose and create content that will be suitable for the blog section of your website. When choosing the content for your blog post, you need to analyze the different options you have and choose one or more accordingly. Here are some types of blogs you can consider for your surgical blog post.
The tutorial or informative blog post is the most common type of blog post used by a majority of businesses worldwide. In this type of blog post, the aim is to provide guidance and information to the reader about how certain things are done. For example, a good informative blog topic for a general surgeon would be, “Preventive measures to avoid medical errors” or “How to reduce the risk of infection post an invasive surgery”.
A listicle is also a widely used format of blogging. It is popular for the content structure that consists of a list, which makes it an easy and quick read for the reader. For example, “5 types of surgery wound gauze”.
The factual blog is similar to a general information blog. However, it consists of factual data and statistics which is backed by reliable resources. These types of blogs are generally created in categories for easy bifurcation. For example, “Facts and survival rates of open heart surgery in the year 2018”.
Infographics are not long-form word-based posts. They are image-based posts that have recently become popular. Infographics are graphical depiction of information that is used to make topics interesting and engage the readers. For your surgical blog, you could use infographics to depict different surgical methods in a vibrant form for your readers.
A podcast is an audio-based blog. It is a recording of a person talking about a selected topic. These type of blog posts are quite common and are used by professionals to impart expert knowledge to their listeners. It is similar to a pre-recorded lecture. When adding podcasts to the blog section, you should also add the podcast show notes, which gives a summary of what the podcast is about. Some people even take the efforts to write the complete spoken content down for the readers.
Guest blogs as the name suggests is not something you write for your blog section. It is a blog that is written by an industry expert as a contribution to your blog section. Guest blogs are a good way to get a fresh writing style and opinion on your blog page for your readers. For a surgical practice, getting a renowned head of a specialty surgery to write would be a good idea. It will not only increase your content value but also your trust factor in the eyes of your potential patients. Apart from that, being a specialist surgeon yourself, you could also write guest blogs for other websites. This will help you get good backlinks.
Plan your Frequency
You may come up with the best keywords and topics for your content and blog, but this complete effort can fall flat if you do not manage the content well. By managing the content, I refer to the process of identifying what topics to use when and how often to post blogs and content. The online users are fast paced. You will be able to engage them with your content once, but if you do not have something good to offer again, they will stop following and reading your content altogether.
To avoid losing out on your audience, you need to ensure that you make blog posts on a regular basis. To make it happen, you have to prepare a content calendar. A content calendar serves the purpose of setting timelines of the frequency at which you need to post a blog. With a content calendar, you will have a systematic process that will make sure that you always have good content on a regular basis for your patients to read.
Apart from having content publishing timelines, these calendars can be made comprehensive. Simply include the channels for distribution such as social media platforms and email marketing. This all can be done using spreadsheets. However, having a date based app is a better option as it will even give you reminders on pending deadlines. The importance of content calendar is well-known, and hence there are various free tools that can make your job easy. For a basic content calendar, you could try using Trello. However, if you wish to have a detailed calendar specially dedicated to manage your content try CoSchedule.
Decide Distribution Channels
After creating quality content and devising methods to manage it, you need to plan how you will promote your content. That’s right, even content needs to be promoted to grab the attention of potential patients towards your blog. The obvious choice to spread the word about your blog post content is social media. You simply cannot consider promoting content without using social media. Social media has been the most successful platform to promote almost anything due to its wide reach. When promoting your blog post on social media, do not just mention your blog and ask for the readers to view it. Give them a reason to actually view your blog. For surgical practice, I would recommend that you earn their trust and prove them your reliability to make them believe your blog posts. Give your audience reliable data and engage them with vocabulary they can connect with.
Once you are able to follow these steps and implement a good content marketing and blogging strategy, do not forget to evaluate your performance. You need to make sure that your efforts are actually working and your content and blog are getting optimum views. If you still need help to make sure your content marketing and blogging strategy go in the right direction, do not hesitate to take help.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing – Canada’s fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500’s and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company’s customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches. Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they’re most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.
Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches.
Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.