Creating and maintaining a blog is like planting and nurturing a garden. If cared for properly, it will flourish and produce something of value in return. However, if neglected, nothing good will grow from it.
In dentistry, having a blog is a great way to create an additional connection with patients and educate them about oral health issues and important dental treatments. It is also an excellent way to increase traffic to your practice’s website by providing fresh content on a regular basis.
And just like having a garden, the determining factor in making your practice’s blog work for you is TLC.
What Is a Blog?
At My Dental Agency, we are strong proponents of blogs and regularly create and maintain them for our clients. First and foremost, a blog is a way to showcase and share your professional expertise with a wider audience than just the patients who come into the office.
Anyone who visits your practice’s website should be able to come away with a decent sense of your priorities as a dentist after reading one or two blog posts. A blog reflects your practice’s personality and, when done properly, creates rapport with patients before they ever visit the office.
Creating and Structuring a Blog
A blog offers quite a bit of flexibility in structure and format. The average blog post tends to be around 500 to 600 words, but this is not a hard and fast rule. If the topic warrants it, the post can be shorter or longer, and that is perfectly okay, as long as the content can effectively hold the reader’s interest.
The writing can have a serious, informative tone, or it can be lighthearted and humorous. The content should always be factual, however, especially for a dental practice. Otherwise you risk damaging your practice’s reputation.
Part of what makes a blog such an effective tool is its flexibility. Blog posts can educate patients and encourage them to think more seriously about their oral health. A blog post can also highlight organizations, causes, events, and community activities that are important to you and your team. Basically, a blog is a platform that offers endless possibilities for marketing your practice.
How to Write a Blog Post
When writing a blog post, always keep the target reader in mind. In other words, if a blog post includes a lot of highly technical concepts, even if you—as a dental professional—find them fascinating, it will not likely hold the interest of a prospective patient who is a layperson.
That is not to say that technical topics are off limits. In fact, they can make for some very interesting subject matter. The key is in the approach, for instance, using imagery or humor to explain a complex procedure in terms that anyone can understand.
In any case, a blog post should be written in plain (and grammatically correct) language and use very little jargon to appeal to the widest possible audience.
As with any type of writing, a blog should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. This simple structure provides continuity and leaves the reader feeling satisfied. Cliffhangers can occasionally be used as a tool to keep the reader wanting more, as long as you actually deliver on the promise for more information in the following post.
Inside a blog post, paragraphs should be on the short side to break up the content and avoid bogging down the narrative. Using headings to clearly identify the main topics in the post is also a good way to break up the text and keep the reader interested.
What to Blog About
Choosing what to write about is another area where the flexibility of a blog is a real advantage. The possibilities are literally limitless, even for a dental practice. A good place to begin is with the hot topics that come up most often at your practice.
If your typical patient is interested in cosmetic dental treatment options, write a blog post highlighting the specific treatments offered at your office and their advantages. If you are actively seeking patients who need dental implants, a blog explaining the benefits of implants is an easy way to enhance a marketing campaign to attract those patients.
Here’s a pro tip. Don’t be afraid to name names—that is, the specific brand names of the products or devices used in your office, especially if you know that what other practices offer is different or inferior. By taking this approach, your blog becomes one more way for you to distinguish your practice from the competition.
Beyond highlighting treatments and procedures, a blog post can be used to showcase the patients who have had highly successful experiences at your practice. Consider interviewing a patient who has had extensive work done or has experienced a significant improvement in their oral health. Ask them to explain their experience and feelings in their own words. Then, blog about it. This will not only present your practice as patient-focused, it will also provide another perspective on the particular treatment you want to showcase—a perspective that will resonate with a potential patient who is looking for a similar procedure.
Topics do not always have to focus on oral care and dental treatments. In fact, blogging is a great way to reveal the various facets of your practice’s personality. This type of blogging serves not only to keep the content interesting, but it also humanizes your practice and further endears your team to prospective and current patients.
One great blog topic is to spotlight a team member. You can also write about the area where your practice is located, the community organizations and charities the practice supports, or significant milestones such as anniversaries, awards, or important certifications. The key is to keep it fresh and avoid repetition, which should not be hard to do given that there are countless topics to choose from.
Blogging Makes Sense for Every Dental Practice
Whether a blog for your practice is something you want to manage on your own or you choose to entrust the process to a professional dental marketing agency, you really cannot go wrong, as long as you take it seriously and don’t give up after a month or two. Then, with a little creativity and TLC, your dental practice’s blog will yield valuable rewards in the form of new and returning patients.
With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. Ulasewich–Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.