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Publishing veterinary facts might be more popular than you think

Posted in Client Service @ Nov 10th 2016 - By Judy Gillespie interviewing Dr Andrew Spanner, Walkerville Vet
Publishing Veterinary Facts Might Be More Popular Than You Think V2

Sometimes it may seem that I go on (and on, and on…) about the importance of writing veterinary blog posts... 

....but there is a reason.

Sure, from a business perspective, writing blog posts is great for driving traffic to your website but there’s another important reason for publishing veterinary blog posts. The more factual blog posts written and published by veterinarians and veterinary nurses, the more accurate, useful information will be available on the internet for pet owners which may potentially counteract the seemingly massive amount of ‘not so factual’ information.

I came across an excellent example of exactly this situation recently when I saw a blog post by Dr Andrew Spanner from Walkerville Vets in South Australia: Does Bravecto Kill Dogs?

I shared the post on the Vetanswers Facebook Page and this is what happened:

  • Over 10,500 people reached

  • Shared over 30 times on Vetanswers Facebook Page

  • In total 239 reactions, comments and shares

  • In total 2,307 post clicks

So why was this post written?

I contacted Andrew to find out more about why he wrote the post (and to apologise for almost breaking his website!).

1. Why did you decide to write a blog post addressing the Bravecto issue?

The best blog subjects come right out of a client’s mouth. I often find myself saying to a client: “that’s a great question, and an even better blog subject- just hang on while I note that down”. Simultaneously I’m groping for my iPhone to write it in my Blog Ideas page. Clients always love this, and are even happier if I ask them if I can make their pet the star of the page. 

With the Does Bravecto Kill Dogs post, I was aware of the talk about the Facebook page (of the same name) for some time from clients and social media. Like most vets I have a good open relationship with my clients and try not to get on my high horse too often. Therefore they often ask me about things they’ve heard or read on the net. This one was getting a lot of questions so I Googled Bravecto. When I saw the page was appearing in the first few search results I realised there was no point in pretending it wasn’t having an influence on our clients. Time to act.

Most blog posts I write are done with one eye on optimising our website's rankings on search terms that Adelaide pet owners will use. It’s all about generating web traffic while educating at the same time. This time I had a different goal: write a post that might rank well enough to appear alongside the search result for the Facebook page, and offer a genuinely different, and clearly more objective point of view to unbiased readers. That’s why I titled the page the same as the Facebook page.

2. Who were you hoping would read your blog?

Ideally the page will reach people who have yet to form an opinion on the safety of Bravecto. It’s also hoped to influence those who question the safety of vaccines and other veterinary medicines as the issues are the same. Maybe along the way we can even get more people to understand a little bit of statistics! 

I can’t see the ‘true believers’ being able to climb down from the battlements and admit the truth is more complex, but if I can sow the seeds of doubt in an untainted mind I’ll feel I’ve done a good job. 

3. How long did it take you to write it?

Most blogs I can bang out in an hour or two, and in fact these are usually the lightest, chattiest and most fun. This wasn’t one of those. Before I even started I read several years of posts on the Does Bravecto Kill Dogs page, listened to US vets talking about their experiences, went back in time to read up on the ProHeart recall and made copious notes along the way. I also obtained consent and a photo from the cat's owners.

I then wrote a huge document from all these sources, plus my own experiences, which was frankly rambling and unreadable. Here’s where my wife stepped in; I gave her the draft and she made some good suggestions on the structure. I did a rewrite, back to her, more suggestions etc etc. 

I tinkered over the Bravecto blog for around three weeks, cutting and pasting, deleting, adding extra sentences here and there until it was around half its original length and had a semblance of a narrative flow. Thankfully, I was on a long driving holiday to Uluru and had plenty of time to tinker, and I never lost the sense of mission which started me along the path.

4. Do you know how many have read it so far?

It’s early days yet, but the post it is being read by around 200 people a day, with a nice average of nearly six minutes on the page per person. It’s up to 1600 reads so far.

Now it's over to you...

I think the veterinary industry could do with more 'Does Bravecto Kill Dogs? type blog posts. What do you think?

Visit the Walkerville Vet website here to check out more blog posts

Visit Walkerville Vet Facebook Page here

And you can also follow Walkerville Vet on the following social media platforms:


Andrew Spanner @ Nov 11th 2016 6:52am
Just a word of warning though. You have to get clients to read it ALL, not just the headline (which I stressed in the link on our Facebook). This is what happened when I sent the link without instructions: "Pretty sad to read about the Brovectol effects which i feel opens a big door to questions on pharmaceuticals and side effects. Harder to notice side effects on pets especially when people have to go to work and can't see it happening. Same with human medications - lots of online campaigns to shut drug companies down."
Judy @ Nov 11th 2016 9:55am
Thanks Andrew - that's good advice and also a good warning. You're right - many people will just read the title on social media so although it's essential to have an eye catching title it shouldn't be misleading. I think the question mark at the end of your title does a great job in enticing the reader to go further....
Elizabeth Rozalia Chmurycz @ Nov 16th 2016 5:48pm
I loved the post, and yes, clients are the best inspiration for blog posts. A blog post is essentially any question a client asks a vet.
Judy @ Nov 16th 2016 6:05pm
Thanks Elizabeth, and you're right - if you listen to the questions from your clients you'll never run out of ideas for blog posts!

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