Six Ways to Up Your Rheumatology Blogging Game

Deciding to start a blog comes with a lot of questions and requires a lot of thought.

One of the most important questions during this process is, “Will it be beneficial to me and my practice?” According to rheumatologist Paul Sufka, it is! “You have complete control over what is in your blog, as opposed to physician review sites where you have no control.”

This allows patients to have a chance to learn about you as a physician directly. It also provides a way to express your interests both inside and outside of medicine and will make you and your practice more relatable.

If starting a blog is something you have debated and you are ready to take the plunge, here is a list of blogging basics to help you up your game.

Consider who you are blogging to.

Obviously, your blog will have something to do with rheumatology, but it needs to be more specific. Target your demographic population and find your niche.

The World Wide Web is full of blogs; how will yours stand out? Doing this early in the process will help you establish the tone and voice of the blog and clearly define who your target audience will be.

Choose your name.

This may seem simple but choosing a name or description for the blog section of your website can be difficult.

As you select your name, think of some exciting taglines, brand messaging, and content that will capture the reader’s attention.

Create a quality design.

It is crucial that your blog is visually appealing and makes a significant impact. Humans are visual creatures, so while you may not feel that a rheumatology blog needs an excellent design, think again.

Consider your audience again as you put together your design. Keep it classic, and don’t overwhelm your reader with clutter, annoying pop-ups, or hard-to-read fonts.

Stay consistent.

To stay relevant and effective, at least one to two blogs should be published per month on your website. This will help keep your practice relevant in the eyes of the search engines, which are constantly scanning for new, updated, and interesting content.

Patients who visit websites for doctors and look at blogs will also expect to see fresh content, at least monthly. If the content is too much older, they may stop following the blog posts. Even monthly posts can be hard to keep up with, especially for a busy rheumatology practice. Maybe incorporate some marketing professionals who know how to incorporate the Search Engine Optimization [SEO] terms that are appropriate and popular for your specialty and your practice.

Optimize for SOE.

Popular search engines look at several criteria to determine your rankings – such as keywords, frequency, and readability – which should all be taken into consideration when you are blogging. Some things you can do to ensure you are optimizing for SEO include:

  • Select keywords or phrases that you’d like your blog to show up for when users search for them. Incorporate several instances of these keywords throughout the blog article.
  • Include proper meta titles and meta descriptions, which tell the user what page they are on and what the page is about.
  • Include alt-text on images.
  • The readability of the content is also important and can be improved by using subheadings, shorter paragraphs, and images or bullet points to break up the content.

Draft your posts.

Draft several posts ahead of time. If you cannot manage at least ten posts in advance, now may not be the best time to start a blog. Doing this ahead of time will help you plan for posting in the future and give you plenty of time to edit and make changes.

Keep your posts reader-friendly, especially with a medical blog. It may be easy to get wrapped up in medical terms but once again, remember your audience.

[Need more tips for relating to your patients? Click here!]

Allow your readers to engage with you.

Keep yourself accessible to your readers. This makes you and your blog more relatable. Let readers comment on your posts, and when they do, be sure to reply.

Include a small personal profile somewhere within the blog and include email contact information.

Keep in mind the best blogs are written by those who are knowledgeable and passionate. Write about what you know and what excites you. If you aren’t excited about it, your reader won’t be either.

A blog is a creative outlet, but it is also a way to mold your online presence, build your reputation, and ultimately your practice.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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