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Answers to your top 3 questions about blogging for your veterinary practice

Posted in Web Sites @ Aug 8th 2013 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
Dive Into Blogging 2

More ideas to help you to dive into the wonderful world of veterinary blogging

This blog post was previously titled: Dental Health Month - a great time to dive into your first veterinary blog posts

During the week I received a comment on my blog post ‘Tasty Tips for Newbie Bloggers in the Veterinary Industry’ which I thought asked some good questions that may also be in the minds of others in our community so I decided to turn the question and my response into a blog post....

Lisa from Belmont Vet Centre, commented....

Thanks Judy, very timely – we’ve just started a “ghost” blog which we’ve done for a couple of weeks – just to make sure there are plenty of topics and we won’t start posting and then have nothing to say!  And it is giving us a chance to find a “voice” that reflects our clinic culture and attitude (and it will give us some spares for when we DO commit to delivering content). Do you have any suggestions for length (I’ve done some that are only 2 paragraphs, but my dental one was a page and a bit and I’m worried about being boring...) or regularity?  We thought once a week with a calendar – one funny, one newsy, one blog post & one about a theme of the month...does that sound right?  Appreciate the help – as an introvert I am struggling to believe people want to hear what I spew out once a week, but I’m doing it anyway. Sigh.  Now what will I write about this week....

She also followed up with another good question....

One more question....So now I've got blogs I don't know what to do with them…..Luckily my team run Facebook and our webpage but there might be others like me out there without a clue.  Do I just post it on my webpage, or do I use Wordpress?  (10 points for using Wordpress in a sentence.  An extra 10 for using it in context. Yayyy me)  There might be people out there who think they can do it but then don't know what to do with their content when the create it.

And here are my responses....

Thanks for the comment you left on the Blog post – congratulations on getting involved in the world of blogging!

1. How long should your blog posts be?

This is a tricky question as the answer is..... “It depends”.  I usually suggest between 200 and 500 words to Vetanswers Guest Bloggers but my blog posts are often longer than that (this one’s over 1000 words!). 

  • More than about 750 words and you may run the risk of people tuning out before getting to the end of your post so you might want to consider turning longer posts into Part 1 & Part 2
  • One way to cut down the word count is to use as many section headings & bullet points as possible – people often scan blog posts & headings & bullet points help them to do this
  • Research and follow some other veterinary blog posts to get an idea as to the lengths others are publishing – it’ll help give you a feel of what works for you

2. How regularly should we publish our Blog Posts?

If you can commit to one per week I think that’s a good goal and I like your idea of ‘mixing it up’ – I’ve put together a 4 page Blogging Calendar that you might find helpful with your planning & scheduling – it includes:

  • Blogging Content Calendar from November 2014 to December 2015 to help you plan topics & nominate who will write them
  • Over 40 suggested  blog topics
  • Some basic tips on writing great titles

You can download a copy if you click here: Vetanswers – Resources - Social Media

 

Perfection is overrated!

One last thing – don’t spend so long trying to make your blog posts perfect that you never end up publishing anything.  Perfection is definitely overrated!  In fact I wrote a blog post on exactly that topic: Perfection is overrated!  Is this the excuse for not writing blog posts?

Don’t worry if you don’t think your blog posts are ‘perfect’ – very few are! You’ll get better & faster at them the more you write.  Just make sure there are no typos or glaring grammatical errors and unless you’re a proof reading perfectionist – get at least one other person to read over your blog post before publishing.

Then....just ...press...publish! 

3. Ok ..but publish where..on what?

An excellent question & one I hadn’t considered!

When I had my website built I had a blog module included so it makes publishing my own blog posts super easy.  I also had it designed so I could have a link to one blog (usually mine) and a guest blog post on my home page (see pink arrows on the left). 

To publish a regular blog effectively and get all the associated benefits you are either going to need a blog module added to your website (if that’s possible) or use something like Wordpress that can also be integrated into your website.  Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with any of the blog sites such as Wordpress as I’ve only ever blogged using my website. 

The reason I suggest these options rather than just uploading them onto your website is that Wordpress etc. and blog modules have functionalities such as allowing comments, making your blog posts easy to share on social media sites and via websites such as ‘Feedly’ (I use Feedly to keep track of all the blogs, etc. that I follow – it collects all the new stuff posted by those that I follow so I can read it when it suits).

One of the aims of your blog is for people to share your information with their friends and encourage new clients to contact your practice, so you want to make it easy for people to do that. 

You also want to encourage them to visit your practice website and then of course contact you.  So my advice is to firstly get in contact with whoever put your website together and then see if adding a blog module is an option for you.  

As for advising whether it’s best to use ‘Wordpress’ or ‘Blogger’ or some other format, I really can’t advise and so would like to turn it over to those experts out there who are using one of these options for some advice.  I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below.

Before you go, I’ve recently come across this blog post from LifeLearn that I think also has some great advice on the importance of blogging locally: How to make your veterinary practice blog well worth the effort

Hope all this helps!

    

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