Writing a blog can provide several benefits to your practice including:
1) Providing dental health information and updates to your current patients,
2) Attracting new patients who find your blog in Internet searches or who have been referred to your blog by a current patient,
3) Providing links to articles on your website,
4) Providing fresh content to your website when the blog has been incorporated into your website domain and
5) Creating an opportunity for your followers on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to learn more about you when you post a link to your new blog entry.

Blogs are a simple and often free way to expand your web presence. Writing a blog is made easier by free services such as Google Blogger and WordPress who both refine their services on a regular basis to make them user-friendly to people with limited knowledge of blogging. Since I already had a Google account set up, starting with Google Blogger was my easiest choice. I was amazed by how easy it was to figure out and how quickly I could post my first blog entry.

What should I blog about?
Your blog can be a mix of information for current patients and marketing to new patients. Dentists can use a blog to establish expertise, but also to show a more personal side. Considering we work in one of the most feared professions, taking opportunities to show that we aren’t so scary is always a great idea. A dental blog can include helpful health and dental health articles, as well as patient testimonials. However, let’s be honest here, how many people are going to choose to follow a blog that is only about promoting a dentist’s business and learning about dental health? To make your blog appeal to a broader audience, consider including healthy recipes, health and wellness tips, cartoons or funny stories and details of activities in the local area.

Get your patients involved by asking them for input on what they would like to read about. Patients can also be asked to provide recipes and event ideas. Consider featuring before and after photos along with a case description and patient testimony about once every month or two. One of our most popular newsletter features is a patient profile. This idea can be incorporated into a blog as well. Make sure to get written patient permission before posting any images or quotes from a patient.

Cross Promoting Your Blog, Website, and Social Media Efforts
You can easily link to your blog from your website, but a better choice may be to add the blog to the website domain. I am looking into this possibility with my blog right now. If you blog regularly it will provide fresh content on your website and help encourage the search engines to crawl and take note of your website more often. If a searcher comes across the blog and enters your site through the blog page, there is easy access to the rest of your website and all that you have to offer patients. Obviously, you can link to your website from your blog and vice versa, but an integrated blog provides the searcher/potential new patient with immediate access to your site without having to hunt around for the link.

For those who take advantage of free social media marketing opportunities like Facebook and Twitter, make sure to mention that you posted a new blog entry and link to it from these sites. Also, use your blog to link to articles on your website and your social media memberships. If your blog is not incorporated with your website, be sure to include a link to your website(s) in an important links section on your blog and in your profile. The major networking sites will create a box for you to add to your blog displaying that you have an account with them and how to find you there.

My last piece of advice is to make sure you make it easy for people to follow you by highlighting your “follow” or “subscription” choices at the top of your blog. I’m always looking for ways to improve my blogging efforts. Please comment if you are a dentist who currently blogs and you have any ideas to share.