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August 29, 2008
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Should you have a practice blog
By Jean Murray, PhD

When you set up your marketing strategy, you will likely include a practice website. As part of the setup process, your Web designer might ask if you want to include a blog. A blog (short for web log) is an online journal in which someone shares thoughts and information with others. Blogs are hugely popular on the Internet. At present, there are about 15 million blogs out there, ranging from “mom and pop” simple blogs to top blogs in networks and blogs integrated with online newspapers and magazines.

As mentioned recently in Chiropractic Economics, chiropractors aren't blogging. But one DC has found that blogging is a great way to get and keep patients. Dr. Eben Davis, founder of Executive Express Chiropractic in San Francisco, says blogging is “just one way we work to advance our mission to improve comfort, mobility, and quality of life for individuals managing temporary and chronic pain."  His blog is sfbackpaindoctor.com/

If you are considering adding a blog to your practice website, here are some things you need to know in order to have a successful blog:

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• Having something interesting to say. Write from the reader's point of view when you're talking about chiropractic. Stress benefits, not features. Tell stories about how people have been helped by chiropractic care. Don't preach. If you keep up with the chiropractic literature and publications like Chiropractic Economics (subscribe to CE's NewsFlash), you won't have any trouble finding something interesting to talk about.

• Be passionate about your subject. Show your passion in your blog content; let your caring show through in your posts. Putting your personality into your blog is important. You don't have to tell the intimate details of your personal life, but you can show that you are human, and it's important that people see you as real and genuine so they begin to like and trust you. A continuing dialogue about subjects you feel deeply about is a great way to gain blog readers.

• Commit to Blogging Every Day. Successful blogging takes time. That means every day. You should post 3 to 6 times a week and check daily to see if there are comments. For example, Dr. Smith had 28 posts in July 2008. That's almost one every day. You can pre-post (with a “timestamp”) so you don't have to post every day and you can set your posts to run while you're on vacation, but you still must be working constantly to be sure you have consistent content.

• Be Persistent. It takes a long time for a blog to become successful, no matter how you define it. You can't just blog for a couple of weeks or months and expect success. The most successful blogs have a body of content (100 posts at minimum) that readers can look at and react to.  If you're not going to stick with it, don't start. Dr. Smith has been blogging since June 2006.  That's persistence.

• Understand the Game of Blogging. Blogging is about getting people to your site and keeping them interested. The “getting them” piece is about search engine optimization. If you want people to read your blog and become patients, you have to play the SEO game. You can get help with this through websites like About.com Guide to Weblogs, or by reading books like Search Engine Optimization for Dummies, or by hiring someone to teach you about SEO.

Remember that the goal of a blog, as with other marketing efforts, is to get and keep patients.  If you want to get into the blogging game, follow the rules for success and you will be rewarded with a continuing flow of new patients who know, like, and trust you.

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