3 ways to come up with blog & content marketing topics that your patients will love
Chris is the co-founder of Private Practice Surgery, a membership site dedicated to helping consultants grow a healthy private practice. He’s CIM qualified and has worked in marketing for well over a decade. Outside of work he is a happy husband and (sometimes unhappy) football fan, supporting both Spurs & Stevenage. You can find him on LinkedIn.
One of the hardest things about blogging, creating videos, or other content marketing is thinking of topics to talk about.
It might be why your blog is gathering dust, untouched for months… or why maintaining your blog takes up so much of your time and energy. Or perhaps it’s even the reason you don’t have one yet.
Why should I have a blog for my clinic or private practice?
A great blog has many benefits to you and your business, and it can be a key part of a wider content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the creation, publication and distribution of ‘content’ online to a defined audience.
For the purposes of marketing your clinic or private practice, your audience is your patient, potential patient, or even family members researching on their behalf… and your content is what you create to answer any questions they might have about their condition, how it’s treated, and your services.
Search engines love fresh, relevant content, so by creating it, you’ll improve your chances of appearing higher up the search engine results pages. This increased (free!) traffic could translate into more patient appointments.
But most importantly, when done well, you’ll be answering the questions patients have. You’ll show yourself as an authority on your subject. You’ll demonstrate your expertise. You’ll show an openness, transparency and helpfulness that patients want to see.
By connecting with a potential patient through your content, it won’t be long until they become your actual patient.
Why should I write about medical conditions on my blog?
Our first port of call when we want to find something on the internet is, of course, Google.
We ask Google everything. Sometimes even things we wouldn’t ask our closest friends and family!
You may be surprised about the intimate things we’ll ask the Internet but are too embarrassed to ask people we know and love.
And of course, our health is the most important thing we have. If we’ve got a problem, we want to know what’s wrong. If we’re diagnosed with something, we want to know everything about it.
So it makes sense to be there for people when they need answers. And who better than you to give them?
How do I figure out what to write about?
So now we know that you need to create interesting, insightful, relevant and useful pieces of content – how exactly do you tick all of those boxes? Wouldn’t it be useful if you could access the ‘hive mind’ of patients and find out exactly what they want answers to?
Well now you can!
The three methods below will help you to come up with plenty of ideas. Even better, it helps you come up with the right ideas. No more guessing about whether your topic will hit the spot. No more wondering whether the time and effort you put into content creation was well-spent or wasted.
On top of the search engine optimisation (SEO) benefits, meaning more patients will find you in the first place, you’ll also be converting more of those online visitors into patients too – because your content will truly resonate with them.
That’s the power of content marketing done well. We just need to know exactly what your patients are asking online…
3 ways to access the patient ‘hive mind’
1. Your patients themselves
As a doctor, you’re one of the privileged few to get asked the questions we don’t want to ask our family and friends. Take some time to think back over all the questions patients have thrown at you over the years.
Each one could be a blog or video topic on its own. You’ll no doubt have been asked certain questions a lot more than others, so if you end up with dozens, prioritise the most popular ones.
2. Google Autocomplete
Google Autocomplete is a feature designed to make it faster to complete searches that you’re beginning to type. It uses “real searches that happen on Google and shows common and trending ones relevant to the characters that are entered” – so it gives a great indication as to what people are looking for.
In my example above, you can see I’ve typed in “irritable bowel syndrome a” and a number of suggestions have appeared. Any of these could be great topics for you to cover in your content marketing.
Type a keyword you’d like to rank for in Google, such as a condition, and cycle through the alphabet to come up with ideas, e.g. “irritable bowel syndrome b”, “irritable bowel syndrome c”, etc.
Pro tip: This method is a great (and free) way of coming up with ideas for your content marketing – but it isn’t perfect. Some of those search terms will have millions of results, and getting to the top of that pile will be incredibly tough.
Aim for some of the longer search terms (known as “longtail” in the SEO world) as you’ll likely have fewer results to compete against. Remember to use that specific search term in your page title, metadata and HTML headings, as well as scattering it throughout the content itself. There’ll be fewer people searching for that term, but you’re more likely to be nearer the top of the results when they do.
This is my favourite tool for coming up with ideas for content marketing. It’s a free tool that analyses data from search engines and summarises all the questions people ask (about a particular search term) in a visual way.
It categorises and displays any questions related to your keyword into ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘why’, and ‘when’, alongside ‘how’, ‘can’, ‘are’, ‘which’ and ‘will’. It also shows comparison searches like ‘and’ and ‘versus’.
This is incredibly useful information, and will no doubt give you plenty of content ideas to help you answer the questions patients are actually asking.
See the video below for a quick demonstration for the search term “frozen shoulder”.
Over to you
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for blog posts and content marketing, then give these ideas a try. I’m particularly fond of AnswerThePublic.com. You’re limited to two searches a day unless you pay for a premium package, but give it a go for your specialty or preferred condition and let me know how you get on.
Happy content marketing!