A well-written, well-maintained blog can turn your practice’s website into a true resource for your patients.
A good blog is memorable. It utilizes engaging images and offers patients and consumers content that’s relevant, useful, practical, and interesting. It can also help keep-or put-your practice on the map. Here are a few tips for maintaining a noteworthy blog, and a few optical businesses that are doing a great job of it.
1. Update frequently
With a blog, you can share industry-related updates, inject some fun into your website, and even share your own perspectives on industry issues. But you don’t want the content sitting there, getting stagnant. From a technical standpoint, Google searches give preference (in many cases) to websites with frequently updated content. From a business standpoint, you want to keep it fresh. No one wants to check out the blog on your website only to find that the top entry is from October 2012. Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD, aka Dr. Nate, of Bright Eyes Tampa, FL (brighteyestampa.com), maintains a successful, interesting blog for his practice. His rule of thumb for frequency is to post new content about once a week.
2. Make it visible
Patients should be able to find your blog quickly and easily. Bright Eyes Tampa’s blog is listed along the top of the practice’s site, in the navigation bar. Gogosha Optique (gogosha.com), a Los Angeles-based retailer with two locations, takes another approach: It features its blog right on its homepage. Visitors to the eyewear boutique’s website are immediately treated to relevant, fresh content, which is always paired with bright, appealing images.
3. Pair it with a strong overall social media presence
When you find a blog you enjoy, or find helpful in some way, what’s your next move? Perhaps you share the latest article via Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform. Or maybe you look to see if you can follow or “like” this business. Regardless of your exact action, the expectation is the same: following this entity on social media will make it easy for you to receive its content. So as the blogger, it’s important to ensure that all new blog posts are shared across social media, wherever you have a presence. (And yes, you should have a social media presence.) This is the easiest way for consumers of your content to share it with their own networks, which will really get the word out about your business.
4. Think about what you would want to know
Whether you call it a blog or not, it’s critical to offer patients, potential clients, and anyone else who finds your blog information they can use and that will keep them coming back for more. Think About Your Eyes (thinkaboutyoureyes.com) accomplishes this on its homepage with articles that have a real magazine sensibility. Rick Holt, director of marketing, Think About Your Eyes, says the goal of the site overall is to get people to have an annual eye exam, so they strive to produce content that will keep people coming back. The articles range from eye-healthy recipes, to details about various eye conditions (cataracts, at press time), to points about the importance of eye exams. Holt notes that the content should not be staid or boring. “We want it to be more fun and whimsical-it’s consumer engagement on a lighter level,” he says. Dr. Nate even references past blog posts during appointments. “I will specifically suggest that a patient look at a blog post that is on a topic that is of interest to them,” he says.
5. Maintain your blog’s voice
Whether you have one or three (or more!) people writing for your blog, it’s important for any blog to have a consistent tone. Shwood
Eyewear’s blog (experimentwithnature.com) is linked from the company’s main website, but actually exists as an entity unto itself. This is intentional and it’s effective. “We have a clear idea of what our blog is and what the tone of it should be,” says Josh Fulfs, brand manager, Shwood. “Discipline is about saying ‘no’ so we are conscious to only put out articles that fit what we are fully excited about.”
Whether you’re looking to launch an all-new blog or just want to improve the one you already have, a blog for your practice is well worth your time and effort.
Rachel Bozek is a writer and editor who includes the optical field as one of her areas of expertise.