Doctor by day … blogger by night?
You bet it’s a thing.
In 2020, 90 percent of businesses out there are blogging because it’s the single biggest thing you can do to improve your visibility in the search engine. In fact, if you don’t have a blog on your site, you’re all but invisible online.
However, as a medical professional, you can’t just fill your blog with all manner of random pieces of content.
You need medical blog content from a writer who actually knows what they’re talking about.
Finding good medical blog writers can be tricky, so here are a few insights on what goes into writing medical blogs and what are the best practices around writing a medical blog.
By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly what to do – and what skills to look for in a candidate when you go to hire a writer.
Why Medical Professionals Need to Blog
If you’ve started a medical practice, a blog probably isn’t at the top of your list. Yet, it’s a powerful tool to grow your practice and reputation. Starting a medical blog helps you:
- Increase visibility. According to SEO Tribunal, companies and brands with a blog generate 97 percent more traffic than those without one. More eyeballs mean more potential patients.
- Answer common questions. Are there questions your patients seem to consistently ask? Save everyone’s time by crafting thoughtful content that answers these questions.
- Connect with your current (and potential) patients. Blogs offer one more way for you to connect with your community. Whether you’re discussing relevant events or talking about health issues that impact your patient base, your readers can connect with you by interacting with your blog.
- Become a reputable source of credible information. Way back in 2013, Pew Research found that some 77 percent of people started their search for health information online. That’s still true today, as the rush to correct pandemic misinformation in 2020 has shown. Writing a medical blog allows you to meet patients where they are – online and looking for information you can provide.
Clear, Concise, Credible: The Medical Blog Writer’s Eternal Struggle
Medical blog writing is a skill in its own right.
Unlike other industries, you aren’t simply writing to entertain. People turn to medical blogs for information that will have a direct impact on their lives. That raises the bar quite a bit regarding the quality of what you publish.
No matter what your specialty, medical blog content must be:
1. Clear: Because There’s Enough Confusion Out There
Do you know what sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is? (Try saying that five times fast, heh.)
It’s characterized by the acute onset of cephalgia resulting from referred pain when the trigeminal nerve is triggered.
I’ll bet you a whole penny you’ve never heard of that condition … and another penny that you’ve experienced it. 💰
It’s called brain freeze.
But that wasn’t clear at all, was it?
With medical blog writing, it’s super easy to get carried away with technical jargon or complex explanations, especially when you’re a professional who already knows what these words mean. However, doing this reduces the clarity of your writing. That’s a problem because unclear content:
- Inspires panic. Which sounds more frightening: sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia or brain freeze?
- May prevent or delay someone from seeking medical attention. Good medical blog writers know when to make it clear that readers should seek prompt medical attention.
- Undermines your professional authority. Through your blog, you’ll demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about – so make sure you’re clear!
Bad advice abounds. Medical blog writers must be a light in the dark. Source: XKCD
2. Concise: Because People Want Answers, Not Science Lectures
How many times have you gone searching for answers, only to spend several minutes scrolling three-quarters of the way down a page for a simple answer to a question that you still couldn’t find because it was buried in a wall of text?
(If you’ve done that more than once or twice, you’re a rarity. Most people spend 15 seconds or less on a page before they bounce.)
Think about how much more annoying that is when you’re looking for answers to a potentially serious medical problem.
Be concise. Answer the question upfront, then go into detail further down the page.
3. Credible: Because It’s Your Money or Your Life
2020 superbly illustrated the prevalence of confusing and inaccurate information. From misinformation about how to wear masks to reports of deaths from people following bad advice, unclear or confusing advice isn’t just unhelpful … it’s dangerous.
That’s why credibility matters, and why Google has special quality requirements for medical blogs, legal advice, financial articles, and similar topics that may impact a person’s health, happiness, or financial stability.
In , Section 2.3 talks about “Your Money or Your Life Pages” and the very high quality score they must achieve to rank well in the search engine. In Section 3, you can read about exactly the metrics Google’s evaluators use to rank the quality of sites. They are:
- High E-A-T. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. Those are three major metrics that Google uses to determine the overall quality of a site.
- Positive site reputation. Evaluators are trained to look through your – or your practice’s – reputation online. They’ll use things like Yelp reviews, industry news, and more.
- The amount of “MC.” MC stands for main content, and they expect it to be satisfying to the reader – I.E., comprehensive enough that questions and curiosity are answered.
An example from the Evaluator Guidelines showing high-quality YMYL pages.
How to Write Medical Blog Articles That Engage Readers
Feeling like the bar has been set high for you? Good, because it has. Good medical blog writers who understand all of these tightropes can be hard to find, but they’re well worth seeking out.
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and write your own medical blog articles, here are a few tips. We’ve rounded them up from our expert medical blog writers to give you the inside scoop. 😉
1. Speak to Your Readers … in Plain English
As a medical professional, you’re probably used to the lingo. BUT…
How would you feel if you went to the mechanic to get something fixed on your car and, while he did a great job, explained exactly what he did in technical terms that went waaaay over your head?
You’d feel overwhelmed at best.
Pay attention to your target audience when you craft your medical blog articles and write to their reading level. DO:
- Use technical terms if it can’t be avoided. Make sure you define these terms, however. A link to a reputable definition will do.
- Break paragraphs into bite-sized nuggets. See how I’ve broken every paragraph in this article into two or three lines? That improves clarity and readability.
- Feel free to get conversational. Addressing the reader (using “you” instead of “one”) creates a friendlier vibe that can help readers connect with you.
Bonus tip: Pictures are worth 1,000 words. Visuals often help break down complex topics much more easily.
2. Pay Special Attention to Citations for Medical Blogs
Make absolutely sure you’re only citing from the best and most reputable sources because Google will absolutely check to see if you are.
In fact, links and citations are one of the biggest ways that Google determines the quality of a page. The practice of linking to (and receiving links from – called backlinking) is known as linkbuilding. It can be a great way to build your status in the SERPs but linking to poor quality sites can easily destroy your ranking as well.
- Use pages that rank highly. At Express Writers, we use the Alexa Page Rank tool to identify sites that rank 100,000 or lower. The lower the number, the more established (and credible) the site.
- Link to major medical institutions. Link to prominent organizations in your specialty to show that you’re up to speed with the current science.
Healthline links to PubMed Central, a repository of peer-reviewed studies available online.
3. Make Your Advice Actionable
Want engagement? Make it actionable.
To many content writers, actionable blogs mean including a CTA. While you should definitely do that (CTAs increase conversions by 62 percent), medical blog content needs to take it a step further.
After all, people’ve got questions and they’re coming to you for answers. Make sure to give them what they expect – in a format they can use.
- Use the inverted pyramid. Put the immediate answer first, followed by data and details, followed by sub-questions and finally the CTA. This helps set your entire page up for your readers to act.
- Make steps super clear. Use headings to visually highlight steps. Break down steps as simply as possible to avoid overwhelming readers.
- Include relevant contact information. Whether it’s yours or another organization’s, make sure your readers have everything they need at their fingertips to act.
Actionable medical content provides answers in a way that allows readers to act on them. Source: Moz.
4. Emphasize Your Medical Authority
You’re an expert in the medical world, so make sure your blog reflects it. Remember that Google will look at your reputation, but they’ll also look at your specific credentials.
When it comes to YMYL content, they want to know that actual experts are producing it.
There are a few ways you can demonstrate authority both to the search engine and your readers:
- Include your author bio. You can have a simple blurb with your name and credentials at the bottom of each medical blog that links to a more in-depth bio.
- Set up your LinkedIn or other professional social media. This will help boost your authority by proving to Google you’re an actual professional, not just someone with a site.
- Check if your business or site has a Google Panel. Setting your business up in Google My Business helps prove to Google that your practice really exists.
Bottom Line: Get the Right Writers for Your Medical Blog
Writing medical blogs isn’t something that just anyone can do – and not just anyone should.
With medical blog content, you need an authoritative writer at the helm who knows how to use terms correctly, break down complex topics into a readable format, and satisfy Google’s special quality requirements.
We’ve rounded up some of our best tips to help you get started writing medical blog articles, plus the special considerations that go into writing on this topic.
If you’re pressed for time or would prefer a qualified writer, check out our content shop. We’re thrilled to provide you with authoritative medical copywriting. Or, talk to us about finding an expert copywriter in your unique niche.