We may be a bit biased, but we’re big fans of blogging here at LifeLearn. We believe that blogging is an essential part of any content marketing strategy, and that it has the ability to make a real difference in your marketing efforts. Blogging has several benefits, and regular blogging has even more advantages, including:
- Educating clients
A blog is an excellent opportunity for you to increase your client education offerings. Make your website the go to for pet health information with informative blog posts that help clients better understand their furry friends’ health conditions and behavior. For more ideas on what kinds of educational blog posts you can create, check out our post on beating Dr. Google with your blog.
- SEO benefits
Blogging has multiple different SEO benefits. It creates more pages on your website to be indexed by search engines, it allows you to optimize your website for more keywords, and it means that your website is updating more often, which looks good for search engines.
A blog post is a great chance to convert readers into visitors. By including call-to-actions in your blog posts, you can encourage people reading about relevant topics to take action and come in for a visit to your clinic! For example, if you’re writing about dental cleaning, make sure to include a sentence encouraging readers to bring their own pets in to see you for a cleaning.
- Establishes authority
A regularly updated blog featuring valuable pet health information helps your practice establish authority and knowledge in the veterinary industry. When you speak confidently about topics relevant to pet health care, especially related to current events or controversial topics, you demonstrate your expertise in the field and encourage pet owners to trust you and your practice.
One of the biggest themes we see repeated over and over again is that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to create and maintain a blog, on top of all the other duties. Most practices don’t have the luxury of dedicating a single person solely to the task of regular blogging, and even an individual who is eager to volunteer to blog may find at the end of a long week that they simply don’t have the time or energy to churn out a post.
A common misconception about blogging is that it’s a task for one person. Maybe it’s the person with the most veterinary knowledge at your practice, or the person with the most free time, or the person with the best writing skills. But whatever the deciding factor is, it seems like the job of creating blog posts is frequently delegated to a single person. And unfortunately, that’s part of what allows blogs to become forgotten or neglected.
Content creation, and by extension, blogging, should be a collaborative effort. Nobody in your practice knows everything, and the best recipe for a great blog with awesome content is to get some input from everyone. By collaborating on your practice blog, you can achieve the widest range of perspectives, opinions, and areas of knowledge, and this creates an interesting reading experience with a blog that offers something for everyone.
If you’re the person in your practice who is considering starting a blog or responsible for your current blog, these collaboration tips are specifically for you!
- Ask people to contribute from their unique point of view.
Just like with online reviews, the key to getting blog posts from other members of staff is to ask. Each member of your team has something worth contributing, whether that’s advice about animal behavior or dealing with a medical condition. Even the front of house staff can contribute, with information like what pets you see most often, or what the most popular pet names are. When you ask people to talk about something related to their area of expertise, you make it easier for them to create the piece, and more likely that they’ll say yes!
- Give them topics to make it simpler.
Tying in with the first point, the easiest way to get people to say yes to you is to make the task of blogging as easy for them as possible. Do some brainstorming ahead of time, and consider what topics you think they would be knowledgeable about and willing to write. Of course, if they want to write about something else, that’s fine too. But by suggesting some topics ahead of time, you can simplify the process and break down some initial barriers they may have to say yes.
- Encourage people to write, even if it’s only a little bit.
Not everyone will be as passionate about or as skilled at writing as you are. Additionally, not everyone has much time to write. If the person you are asking to write turns you down because they are too busy, suggest an alternative. For example, a format we use often here at LifeLearn is bullet points. The subject matter expert creates a bulleted list of what they want to say. Then I, the primary writer, turn that list into an actual blog post or publishable piece. It doesn’t have to be bullet points either. Just ask the individual to write down the general gist of what they would like to get across. Then you can take that free writing, polish it up, and make it sound pretty. This is a win-win situation for everyone. You get the benefit of having to do less work and of a piece written by an expert. And the expert gets to contribute while also saving time.
- Try an interview format.
Another alternative for the expert with no time is to ask them if they’d be willing to do an interview instead. Use an app to record their answers, and then transcribe their words into a quick and easy blog post that combines their expertise with your writing prowess!
- Create a template.
In some cases, time may not be the issue, but knowing what to say might be! If the people you ask are uncertain of what to say, you could always help them out with a predefined template that uses questions to help guide them from intro to conclusion. This template can be as simple as a few questions outlining what the problem is and how it can be solved. A template makes the process of creating a blog post quicker and easier for people, increasing the odds that you’ll receive positive responses.
Ideally, you could incentivize with a little thank you gift for contributing, or creating a draw that contributors are entered into to win bigger prizes. But many practices won’t have the budget for this. If that’s the case, there are smaller ways that you can incentivize your staff to contribute, such as mentioning the contributor by name in your next staff meeting to give them a shout out for their blog post, and ensuring that their name appears on the blog post so that everyone knows who wrote it.
Whether you’re just starting out with your practice blog or you’re looking to take your dusty blog off the shelf where it’s been hibernating, these tips should get you on the right track to creating a thriving, regularly updated blog with advice and perspectives from all the members of your practice.
Looking for more advice on marketing your practice? Check out our veterinary marketing blog, full of helpful tips and strategies for bringing pet owners through your doors!