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You know you've got a lot to say! Starting your veterinary blog

Posted in Social Media @ May 14th 2015 - By Judy Gillespie, Vetanswers
You Know Youve Got A Lot To Say Veterinary Blogging

Just think of all the "You won't believe this!" stories from day to day work in a veterinary practice

A version of this post appeared in the VNJ V20, No 1

I spend a LOT of time reading & researching on the internet and I come across many interesting articles, thoughts, resources and opinions that would be useful for pet owners.  Much of this information is from the USA, Canada & the UK and although it may still be useful, it’s not..... well.... Australian. 

Often the information and stories are about diseases that are not applicable to Australia or the season is totally wrong (want to hear about how to avoid heat stroke in dogs in June?).  And then of course there is the plethora of information on the internet from not so reputable sources that is ‘interesting’, to put it politely!  

And this is also the information your veterinary clients find when they’re searching the internet.

Clients will continue to search for pet information online – this is not going to change, but it would be great if when they were searching online they found more good quality information that is applicable to Australian conditions. One way for this to happen is to encourage the publishing of more good quality blogs written by Australian bloggers – and that would be you!

Who me? I’m no writer!

“But I’m no expert” I hear you say “I don’t have an area of speciality that I could write about”.  Well this is precisely one of the reasons I think veterinary nurses and veterinarians are perfect for writing blog posts to help educate pet owners. You experience events every day that are funny, gross, heart breaking, annoying – sometimes all at the one time!  These are exactly the experiences that can be turned into stories to help your clients understand why it’s important to have regular checks on their pets, why they should be concerned about heart worming, tick prevention and all the other things you wish clients would actually do.

Stories win over facts - every time!

It has been scientifically proven that telling a story is so much more memorable than just giving the facts. Telling a story plants emotions, thoughts and ideas into the brain of the reader and has the power to activate more parts of the reader’s brain, which is what makes the information in stories much more memorable than hard facts.

Telling stories gives you, the writer, the ultimate power to influence others. Your funny, heart breaking, “Ewww....gross” stories have the power to activate your reader’s brains and make them feel like they’re experiencing the story first-hand and influencing the emotions you want them to feel. And when you’re telling stories about pets, these emotions are not hard to activate! Throw in a couple of images and you’ve got the pet owner’s attention completely.

Once a reader’s emotions are activated they are far more likely to listen to your message and take action.

But I wouldn’t know where to start

Here's a bit of background about blogs....You may not realise but the word 'blog' is a shortened version of ‘Web log’.  They are usually updated regularly, posted in chronological order and often allow readers to add comments.  Entries to the blog are called ‘posts’ and can be any length from a few to a couple of thousand words.  A blog post can be an image with a comment, a link to another article or blog post with a couple of comments or even a funny photo.  There are really no rules apart from the fact that the content should be of interest to your intended audience.

You could start by checking if your practice website has the capability to host a blog.  If that’s not an option you could consider setting up your own (free) blog site such as Wordpress or similar.  Or you could contact me at Vetanswers as I’m always interested in publishing Guest Blog Posts!

Just remember a few points...

ALWAYS... 

....keep in mind client confidentiality and if possible ask for permission before using someone’s story. You might want to consider changing names, breeds and any other identifying information even when the person is happy to share their story.

ALWAYS...

...get signed permission before using any images of your patients even though most people are happy for you to share photos of their pets.

ALWAYS...

...get someone to proof read your blog post before publishing. Your readers will forgive the odd grammatical error and maybe the odd typo here and there but regular spelling mistakes and poor grammar will turn people away and take away from your professional reputation.

You never know where blogging can lead you...

Writing a regular blog can give you a voice online which can be quite powerful. If you feel powerless in aspects of your role, maybe you feel no one listens to you at work or you’re tired of telling clients the same things and not being heard, then writing a blog post may help to give back some power. It takes time to build up a regular following but that’s ok as it will probably take some time for you to find your blogging ‘voice’.

You’ll never know unless you start writing! 

Contact me if you have any questions – I’m always happy to help promote Australian stories and content for the veterinary industry and I know you all have some great stories to tell.

Still need some more information?

Have a look at another blog post: What do you mean you still don't have a veterinary blog? for a range of resources and information including a useful 'Blog Posting Calendar up to December 2015'.

If there's something I've forgotten, just ask me in the comments section below.

 

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