I received a very flattering email from an aspiring blogger who fancied me as “whimsical” a little while back. They actually wanted my advice about starting a blog as a healthcare professional. Of course, in my usual rambling style, they got a short novel for their answer. Since I had already written it out and everything and I do enjoy sharing things I have learned with others, I decided I would go ahead and wrote a post detailing some of the things I’ve learned after over a year of blogging as a nurse.
A few things that I think has made my experience with blogging more fulfilling and have increased my reach, and consequently expanded the impact of my voice in the blogosphere:
- Content – Lots of its, and good SEO optimization. Half my traffic is from google. Actually probably 1/4 of it comes from one topic “lateral violence” or “bullying in nursing” or some form of that phrase,and I have less than 10 post out of nearly 200 that deal with that subject…. it’s sad that people google that at all, but writing about topics that people face but don’t talk about, especially personal
experiences, are what readers are looking for. They are looking to see they are not alone in what they face. They want a connection. Give yourself to your readers, be professional, but personal and treat your blog like your child and not like a job. You’ll enjoy it more and it will show in your writing.
- Tweet! – engaging in conversation with tweeters, not just tweeting blog updates or personal musings.
- Comment- find other doctors and healthcare bloggers, comment on their blog. Hopefully they’ll return the favor, your content may even inspire them to post, and they will link back to you. This is GREAT for google hits, and sends others to your blog. – other bloggers are going to be your biggest allies in spreading the word about your blog. Make yourself known, do a little ego stroking by commenting and spreading their content, (remember to include “via @theirtwittername” when you share, so they’ll see it, and they’ll likely come and read your blog and return the favor. IT’s like the unwritten blogger code… and now that I’ve written in down, well I may be forced to turn in my copy of WordPress and be banned from my WYSIWYG editor… gah. I hope you are worth it!
- Guest post on other blogs (like KevinMD.com). At first you’ll be doing this for free, but after a while you may be approached to write for blogs on a paid basis. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when someone offered to pay me to write for them. If you don’t do this at least comment on other blogs a lot. (But only thoughtful, meaningful, and relevant comments!)
- If you’re on linked in, and use groups, manually type out your fill url at the end of every post. I do this: Brittney – The Nerdy Nurse – http://www.thenerdynurse.com (I get more traffic from that than I would have imagined.)
- Make sure your sharing buttons are obvious, but not intrusive. One of my favorites is Stumbleupon. I get a ton of hits from stumbleupon, so make sure your buttons include that! (By the way, you should totally Follow me on Stumbleupon! We can find cool stuff on the internet together!) I personally have settled with just a few to now be overwhelming: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Stumbleupon, Goolge+ (you want people to do this one! puts you higher in google results.)
- Engage – I can’t say that enough. Blogging is unique because it’s about personality and community. Your readers will come because they saw a random link, but they will come back because they enjoyed what you had to say, or how uniquely you said it.
- Good blog design – I actually am not thrilled with mine. It loads too slow and has some quirks, but I don’t have the patience to mess with it too much right now and haven’t found a design I am thrilled to pieces with yet anyways. I also HATE to pay for designs when there are so many for free… but honestly, if you want a good one with good support you really should. Genesis framework, by Studio Press, is one of the most popular, and I think can be had for between $60 and $300 depending on the options you want. It has tons of options for good customization and great SEO built right in. I should really just suck it up and spend the cash to get something good!
- Your content as a healthcare blogger will get you a good amount of search results. Write about what you know and love. Write about what you hate as well, but try not to be a downer. We all need to rant and enjoy reading a good rant every now and then, but the healthcare profession needs more uplifting individuals representing itself in the blogosphere. So do us all a favor, and make our professions look good!
- Share your passion with the world. If you do what you love and love what you do, it will shine in your writing. It is so uplifting to read the writings of inspiring nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers who take the time to share what they do with the world. I have found that our stories can touch the lives of those who don white coats and those who don’t.
And because I love all you folks in the blogosphere so very much, I’m gonna go ahead and throw in a bonus tip for you. Yep 11 tips for the price of none, cause you’re getting them all for free anyways.
- Make yourself a nice email signature with your social media links. This should include your blog address, email, and primary social media outlets.
Now get out there and get your blog on!