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Blog Like You Mean It: Four Tips for Healthcare Marketers

April 2, 2015
Blogging, Content Strategy, Healthcare Marketing

It is well-understood these days that hospitals and other healthcare organizations need to maintain a blog. It’s a great way to reach potential patients, referring physicians and your own staff. Whether you are launching your organization’s blog yourself or just being asked to contribute one article, here are four tips to get you started. 

Forget what you know

Writing about what you know implies that you actually know something–something important, or incredibly interesting, or that has never, ever, been written about before. Who can write anything under that pressure?

Instead, think about what you don’t know, what you’d like to learn or some mystery that has always eluded you… then bring your readers along for the ride. People are more likely to engage with a quest they’re experiencing with you, than an insight handed off to them.

How can you admit you don’t know something if you’re representing a hospital filled with experts? Readers want to read a blog written by an actual human being, not an institution. People like to get healthcare information from friends and family, so just be yourself—write from your own point-of-view. You’re a real person just like your readers and they will enjoy sharing your quest for knowledge.

Focus on a Failure

There are plenty places to get “how to” health information, but what about “how NOT to?” After all, we learn more from failure than we do success. Share some of that hard-earned wisdom by telling the stories that lead you to it.

Mine your connections

Call up three to five people in similar roles and pose a question (any question). Then write about their responses. Keep the conversation light… you don’t have to name names or quote sources. But an informal survey can be just the thing to kick-start your article. 

The questions can be anything from “what’s your biggest hiring challenge?” to getting thoughts on a medical topic making news. Have fun with it and your readers will, too.

When you are done, stop

My mom and I are the writers in the family, but it was my math-minded, engineer dad who gave me the best piece of writing advice I ever received. I was having a hard time finding a way to end an article. His answer? “Stop writing.”

It was a joke, I know. I did it anyway… and have used it time and time again since. It almost always works. As writers, we want the last word to leave our readers with that brilliant conclusive nugget that will stick in their minds. But the thing about endings is we rarely know when they’re coming and it’s obvious once they’ve gone. So step away from your article for one hour, then take another look. Chances are that last sentence you wrote makes a pretty good ending after all.

Paula Rae Forastiero

Senior Digital Strategist
Paula has spent more than 20 years in health content strategy, building products ranging from patient education websites to mobile appointment scheduling applications. She holds a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration and Policy and has worked for companies as diverse as healthcare start-ups, iVillage/NBC and PatientPoint.

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