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Dentists are uniquely positioned to help people maintain their health by providing practical advice, tips and industry insights with useful blog posts.
Becoming a dentist is not easy.
A study done by the Health Policy Institute showed that the average cost of a private dental school program was $67,087—not to mention another 4 years of schooling after you complete your undergraduate degree.
You want to do right by your patients and do your best to serve them. And of course, you want to justify your substantial investment of time and money by turning your dental practice into a thriving business.
How do you do that? Before someone can become your dental patient, they have to trust you. The best way to establish that trust is by demonstrating your expertise.
Starting a blog for your dental practice is a good way to show your knowledge as a dentist, offer useful information to your patients, and position yourself as an expert in your field. Here are some blogging tips unique to dental practices to help get you started.
1. Come up with manageable goals
People joke that blogs are a waste of time; that blogging is a “joke job.” The truth is that successful bloggers put in a lot of time and effort to produce effective content.
That being said, having a blog just for the sake of having one is not a good use of your time and energy. It’s better to have specific goals in mind. What do you want to achieve with your blog?
Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Find new patients? Have more content to share on your social media platforms?
When you set about creating your blog strategy, it’s important to have goals that are S.M.A.R.T: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
2. Start posting once or twice a month
Once you have some goals for your blog and have some content ideas in mind, the next step is to start posting. Get into a rhythm and flow of posting consistently just a couple of times a month.
This will help you get into the habit of consistent content creation. Start slow—try out different types of content and just see what works. Include actionable self-care tips and answers to your patients’ most common questions. Share new industry insight or trends which show that you’re at the top of your field. Find your voice and personal blogging style.
Try posting twice a month for the first 6 months. See how people react, and what content brings you the most inbound web traffic.
3. Then, ramp up to once a week
Google likes to see websites that are updated frequently with fresh content. After you’ve successfully posted content twice a month for 6 months, try posting once a week.
A good practice is to have at least a month’s worth of content in your backlog repository. That way, you can publish consistently while writing more to replace it.
A blog is essentially a product of your dental practice. If you want it to work for you, you need to treat it with the same time and attention as you would any other product.
4. Position yourself as an expert
As of 2019, there are 200,419 dentists in the entire United States. That’s roughly 60 for every 100,000 people. How are you going to stand out in that crowd?
You do that by positioning yourself as an expert: demonstrate your knowledge in a way that shows your patients how you measure up to other dentists in your community.
Educate your patients with your own original findings and research. You can also post case studies that showcase the successful procedures you’ve done.
Of course, you could also interview industry experts and ask them questions. Pick their brains, draw out their knowledge, and share it with your patients.
5. Answer your patients’ questions
One of the best ways you can use your blog is by answering your patients’ questions about their dental health and oral hygiene.
Browse your social media and your email CRM, and identify what questions pop up most frequently. You could also survey your patients and find out what questions are at the top of their mind when they come to visit you.
Turn that information into content. Create a FAQ post on your blog that answers all the most commonly-occurring questions.
An example could be tutorials such as “How to floss properly” or “Five ways to make sure your teeth stay white.”
6. Make it manageable
As we learned earlier, blogging is an ambitious venture. If it grows the way you hope, it will eventually be too big for you to manage on your own.
That’s when you’re going to need to bring other people in to help manage your blog for you. Hire freelance content writers to help produce content on your behalf, so you can focus on the business of running your clinic.
Alternatively, you can invite guest bloggers to make content for you in return for an SEO backlink and cross-promotion.
If hiring people or inviting guest bloggers isn’t an option for you, you can circulate your editorial calendar and ask your staff to write posts from time to time.
Once you’ve produced the content, you have to promote it on social media to keep your patients updated on new posts.
For this, you can use social media automation tools such as Later, Hootsuite, and Juicier.io to automate and streamline the process of sharing your posts on your social media or website.
7. Assuage your patients’ fears
Ever hear the phrase “I’d rather get a root canal”?
People have negative associations with going to the dentist. A 2018 study showed that more than 60 percent have fear or anxiety at the thought of going to the dentist.
Your blog can be a great place to help your patients overcome the fear and anxiety they feel when they come to visit you.
Try explaining your procedures in practical, matter-of-fact ways, such as “Here’s what happens when your teeth get fitted for braces.” People are less afraid of procedures they understand. Show them what to expect and assure them they’re in good hands.
8. Educate your patients
Your blog is where your patients are going to find information about what you do. Educate them, and give them useful, easily understood advice.
Tips on good oral hygiene practices can be very educational. Try topics like “The best brushing techniques to keep your teeth as clean as they can be.”
You can also review products that you give out after your patients’ teeth cleanings—for example, “Which toothpaste is the best for fighting cavities?”
Dental jargon is often confusing for patients. Try defining different health conditions such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, plaque and more. You could incorporate these into a roundup post like “Ten Dental Health Problems You Want to Avoid.”
Incorporating common dental problems into your content could give you an SEO boost; as people search for these definitions on Google, they can come across your blog post and discover your practice.
Moreover, educating your patients with your blog content helps you build a relationship with them. It demonstrates that you care about their oral hygiene before they even come to visit you, thereby establishing trust. Trust is how you get your patients to keep coming back.
9. Show your patients who you are
This tip ties back into how most people are afraid of going to the dentist. Your patients will be less afraid to visit you if they know more about you as a person.
Your blog is a great place for your patients to get to know more about you and your practice. Feature profiles on you and everyone on your staff, or try a “Day in the Life of a Dentist” series of blog posts.
Humanizing your practice in this way will help make you and your dental clinic more approachable, which will make your patients feel comfortable with you and want to return.
10. Think like your patient
At the end of the day, you are writing for an audience—a group of people (in this case, prospective patients) with a set of predetermined wants, feelings, and needs.
So, as you go about planning your blog, you need to be constantly asking yourself what your patients want to read.
What questions do you hear most in the office? Are there topics you wish you had more time to explain when patients are in your chair?
Above all else, strive to help your patient with your blog, just as you would when they come in for a visit.
As a dentist, you are uniquely positioned to help people maintain their health with your blog. You can provide them with practical advice, give them easy-to-follow tips on brushing or flossing, share industry insights that inform them of the latest trends in dentistry, or just show them who you are behind the face mask.
To sum up, here are some tips you can follow to help your blog grow with your dentist practice: