By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Many doctors still have a gaping hole in their social media plan and Internet presence.
For many, “too busy” is a quick and convenient excuse. It seems that everyone has a million other priorities, plus the compensation questions, and then there are all those pesky HIPAA sensitivities.
For whatever reason, many physicians and medical practices opt to ignore or neglect having and using a blog, which, in many situations, can be their most valuable, versatile and powerful channel to new business development.
Your blog is a content-driven, online voice. It’s a personal platform—one that you exclusively control and direct—to engage, educate and connect with a specific audience.
Why blog? Here’s what other doctors say…
A few of the compelling reasons—and benefits—of blogging for doctors include using a powerful platform to grow a community, build relationships, tell your story, inspire referrals, enhance your reputation, present a human touch—and ultimately attract new patients.
But don’t take our word alone. Professional peers, the public and major media recognize the blog-voice of some physicians as (nearly) digital rock-stars. Kevin Pho, MD—a practicing, board-certified internal medicine physician—is the founder and editor of the high-profile KevinMD.com site and blog.
One of the ways that physicians can use social media, Dr. Pho writes, is to make their voices heard. “We live in an era of healthcare reform, but a lot of the decisions are being made by policy-makers and politicians with little clinical training. It’s important for physicians to make their voices heard, to share their story so we can have an influence on our evolving healthcare world around us.”
Dr. John Mandrola, MD, is a practicing cardiac electrophysiologist and self-described “doctor blogger” at Dr. John M. He asked fellow doctor bloggers and published these Six Reasons Why (I) Doctors Blog. Briefly summarized, he writes:
“The practice of medicine inspires,” and doctors write because they are passionate about what they do.
“To educate,” providing a win-win where both student (reader) and teacher (doctor) learn.
“To better mankind.” Many doctors, Dr. Mandrola says, measure self-worth in how much we help people.
“To give a look behind the curtain.” Quoting Dr. Pho, “by shining a light on physicians’ frustrations that the mainstream media may ignore, perhaps we can get one step closer to resolving these issues.”
“To archive useful information. Social media has transformed and expanded the usefulness of our [old-school, handwritten training] notes.”
“To display our humanness.” Doctors are human and doctoring is an intensely human experience that inspires some physicians to write.
The Collective Value of Your Healthcare Blog
The business of blogging has value in generating revenue as well as providing benefits to both the author and the reader. These collective reasons to blog and benefits that follow include:
- A path to personalizing, storytelling and engaging patients
- A timely means to monitor and influence news and trends
- A two-way channel for listening, discovery and learning
- A handle on your reputation management
- An ongoing means to proactively market doctor and practice
- As a personal outlet for creativity, expression and professional satisfaction
- As a thought-leader’s forum for opinions, vision and experience
- Creating a demand for your expertise and experience
- Creating an open-door connection with more people
- Creating trust among the public and patients
- Educating and informing the public, prospective patients and patients
- Enhancing online exposure and search engine results
- Increasing visibility and building brand awareness and name recognition
- Positioning the doctor as an authoritative voice
- Providing dynamic exchange paths between and among many facets of online presence
- Spotlighting your personal brand and personality
- To humanize the otherwise faceless or clinical business of practicing medicine
An online presence for doctors and medical practices is incomplete without a regular (and interesting) blog platform that synergistically works with your website and other social media tools. Success requires a regular and ongoing commitment of time and attention, but the payback—in addition to business growth—includes personal and professional satisfaction.