First I would like to thank Dr. Jarod Carter for the opportunity to guest post here. I think there is a great community of PTs here on this site that are passionate about the physical therapy profession and are looking for ways to grow their businesses in the midst of all these healthcare changes.
As a marketing consultant, I am often asked, “Hey Sam, is having a blog for my physical therapy practice worth it?” If you have wondered about this as well, the short answer is an emphatic YES!
There are too many PT practice owners out there that simply have no idea how important and beneficial having a blog can be for your business. Online statistics show that many people in the U.S. are looking to the internet to search for healthcare related information. Health professionals in a variety of fields are now capitalizing on this trend and are creating blogs to build better relationships with potential and existing patients.
They are also creating blogs to increase search engine traffic to their existing websites and to the services they offer. Having a blog is a great way to create an online presence for your physical therapy practice and grow your patient referral base. A lot of the benefits you get with having a blog are not possible with a traditional “static” website.
So hopefully you are sitting somewhere comfortably in front of your laptop or iPad because it is now going to get interesting. I’m going to share with you six ways having a blog can boost patient referrals and or lead to other growth potential opportunities for your physical therapy practice.
Become Relevant & Visible On Search Engine Rankings
Blogs are VERY search engine friendly. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing love having blog content to serve to their website users. Having your own blog can help prospective patients in your area find out about your services. If people can’t find you online or don’t know that you exist, you could be missing out on an incredible method of growing your patient referral base.
Because blogs are customarily updated more frequently than static website content, the search engines are attracted to blog posts like bees to honey. The more blog posts you create, the more searchable content you will have on the search engines. This gives you more opportunities to reach prospective patients who are searching for physical therapy services in your area.
Establishing Your Brand Identity
Most static physical therapy websites I have come across are of a clinical nature. They are fairly similar and say the same things (blah blah blah). These boring static sites are generally good for leaving basic information about your physical therapy practice as well as your qualifications.
On the contrary, blogs allow readers to experience your knowledge of a topic and learn more about you as a person and clinician. With your blog, you can let your personality and your professionalism meld together to establish your brand. You can convey your thoughts and your passions. This will help your readers to connect with you more and make them want to contact you for services they may need. Gaining the reader’s trust (especially if they are local to your area) will help you to gain new patient referrals and retain your existing ones.
Build Relationships through Interaction
It’s part of human nature to interact and be social with others. This is how we develop and grow relationships. Interaction is equally important for developing relationships with your website visitors. Providing helpful, entertaining, valuable information will make them want to read more of your blog content, which further develops their relationship with you and your brand.
The most important way for you to interact with your readers is through the blog comments area. Your visitors can post their comments and opinions about your blog post or even ask you direct and challenging questions pertaining to the topic. Engaging in conversations through your blog comments is how these types of relationships and connections are formed. Make sure that you respond to any questions or comments left at your blog. It is essential that your writing not only encourages readers to leave comments but that you engage your readers by interacting with them. This is how you build trust and credibility in your blog community.
Software Technology You Can Embrace
Many physical therapists just don’t feel that they are technically savvy enough to build a blog and keep it populated with content. There is a misconception that you need to post to your blog every day. Not true! You just need to create highly engaging content that provides value. Even if you post just once a month, make sure to provide a ton of value to your readers.
Creating a professional blog for your physical therapy practice is not difficult. If you are the “Do It Yourself” type, there are tutorials and software online to help you start this process. I personally, have been using WordPress to build blogs and have also used it to build “static” websites. It is the best and easiest platform on which to create a blog for your physical therapy practice.
The truth is that you can build a blog that looks very much like a traditional website with all the bells and whistles but still get the perks of having a blog. WordPress is a win win content management platform for your online presence and it is very user-friendly, so you won’t get stressed out building your blog. If you are too busy and don’t have the time to do it yourself you can always outsource to a web developer to assist you.
Grow Your Traffic through Social Media
Blog posts are very “social media friendly.” If your readers find your blog content valuable, they can share it through their social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). This can bring in a flood of traffic and new visitors to your site.
They will want to learn more about your physical therapy practice, consume more of your blog content and will be more likely to use your services when the time arises. I have seen this happen many times to some of my PT colleagues who blog. All it takes is one person to like your blog post and share it with their Facebook friends, Twitter Followers and LinkedIn Network. Your blog could reach new audiences and get more exposure with the potential to bring in new patient referrals to your physical therapy practice.
The Option for Opportunities
There are many opportunities that can result from blogging outside of just attracting new patients. You never know who is on the other side reading your blog who may be impressed with your knowledge or writing style. I landed a freelance writing gig with Advance Magazine and PT Products Online as a result of blogging. A physical therapist I recently interviewed who specializes in orthopedic manual therapy gets plenty of invitations to speak at a nearby physical therapy programs as a result of his blogging efforts.
Quite a few support groups for those suffering from certain diseases, neurological and orthopedic dysfunctions seek out knowledgeable yet caring PTs to address the group and your blog could help bring them to you. Even non-profit groups, school sports teams, and physician’s offices could find your blog and want you to speak at their seminars or events.
Hopefully I was able to give you some ideas of what is possible through blogging, and what it can create for your physical therapy practice. The opportunities are out there, and you just have to get started for these opportunities to present themselves.
I would be glad to answer any questions you have in the comment section below.
Samuel Awosolu is a licensed physical therapist with extensive knowledge in web and mobile marketing. He has written for Advance Magazine, PT Products Online, and other industry magazines. He has helped many physical therapists in private practice including companies in different industries promote their websites, traffic generation, new patient referral strategies, and with offline marketing techniques.