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They Might Be Giants, But You Should Blog, Too

Jacqueline Fellows, for HealthLeaders Media, July 31, 2013

1. Cancerwise
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's blog is about all aspects of cancer, from diagnosis to survival and all the research in between. The blog features stories from a mix of physicians, patients, and caregivers, and the content ranges from first-person accounts of surviving cancer to tips on what to pack for an appointment at MD Anderson. Patient stories are the most engaging, and it's a place where the hospital shines, too.

Most hospitals and health systems know this, and have made patient stories a cornerstone of their marketing strategies to showcase patient experience and clinical expertise. Using the blog as another platform allows a separate space where you can embed videos, clinical advice, or other parts of the website that are easily overlooked or are difficult to find.

For example, a physician finder is a pretty standard tool that exists on an organization's website, if the system has employed physicians. If an organization has hundreds of physicians, it's easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. On the Cancerwise blog, when the topic turns to research or education, a physician is usually featured in the blog post with a link that opens in a separate window (pay attention bloggers!) to that physician's page, which includes current and past research projects as well as their history with MD Anderson.

Another important part of this blog is that it is updated at least four times a week. Even if you can't blog every single day, establish a pattern that users will come to know (and appreciate). There's nothing worse than finding a blog you enjoy reading and following only to come back to the same entry three days in a row. Patients and users are savvy and time-restricted. If you don't have what they're looking for, they will find someone else who does.

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