Yet ANOTHER Post On Healthcare Blogging

Dear Healthcare friends, hospitals and other parties interested in health:

Blogging is dead.

What that means is: blogging is dead as a topic of conversation in tech circles. It’s a good thing that blogging is dead: it means you’ve got a trusted canvas to do your work.

I know so many bright people in Healthcare – but most just tweet. It’s as if they spend all their day on Twitter. But what comes of it? A few speaking gigs? A few mentions in trade magazines? A few moments in false fame? There is no Brad Pitt in healthcare social media.

But if you truly care about Healthcare, if you truly believe in social media as many of you say, then why wouldn’t you take a few minutes out of your day and share your thoughts?

You’re wasting your talent if all you’re doing is tweeting those thoughts, those links, looking for the next thing to retweet.

It blows my mind – absolutely blows my mind – that *most* Healthcare communications and marketing agencies rarely blog. You do all that content work, do all that learning from clients – and you can’t find time to share your wisdom without compromising your competitive edge??

Do you realize how bad that looks? – advising clients on digital media and you yourself don’t have the logistical chutzpah to do so yourself? How good is that for your industry?

If your response is: “But I don’t have time – my client work-load is too big”. Well, then – for your clients’ sake and your own health – you need a better workflow ethic and process.

I’m not going to write a lot here. I’ve got a stomach virus and don’t feel like investing too many words convincing too few people to blog.

But I’d recommend you read and heed what @msuster wrote about blogging. Just apply it to healthcare.

Don’t give in to Twitter. I’m WAYYYYY crazier about Twitter than you, and even I don’t waste my days and talent – and most importantly, my passion – there. Yeah, I schedule tweets – but I’m still human and interact more than most people who claim to be “social”.

On behalf of the patients and professionals who need your leadership and knowledge and wisdom, consider the cost of a few tweets, grab a moment of solitude and write your heart out on your blog. Because your blog is the only thing you can own on the Internet.

You have zero equity in Twitter – just a mortgage you’ll never pay off.

Your blog is an estate bequeathed to you by uncle Vint Cerf. Why on earth would you abandon it to the weeds?

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter

 

 

 

Proper Attribution Tips for Healthcare Bloggers

A few words about making the best of a networked world where attribution is the simplest, easiest and cheapest way to build community and presence.

Those of you who follow this blog know that Healthcare has been slow to adopt emerging media. That’s been changing though. It’s important that the people who are in the learning stage understand the cultural ramifications of what happens online.

Blogging is ancient sport these days. It may be new to many hospitals and nurses and doctors – and even healthcare marketers and agencies! – but that doesn’t mean a kind reminder of attributing sources and inspiration properly isn’t in order.

So here’s a video with a reminding appeal to healthcare bloggers to consider linking back to the posts you read that may have influenced your thinking (or view it here):

It’s not just about being ethical (although I would argue that healthcare professionals and marketers should hold themselves to higher standards in their communications than certain other industries).

It’s actually a benefit to link out. Why? Because the economy of blogging is made of hyperlinks. That’s a big part of how Google works. That’s a big part of how people find you, spread news of your existence and expand your horizons.

It can take years to ramp up a blog.

So enjoy the ride by shooting out those thready spindles to the very people who just might help to catch you when your blog takes a dive into a snare because you thought it was all about you.

And if you’re worried about “competition”, you clearly don’t understand how this social media stuff works.

I’ve said it before: If you can’t Retweet your competition, you just don’t have what it takes to succeed in this business. Quit now and do something better with your time.

Link. Or sink.

UPDATE: Bryan Vartabedian had a great riff today over on 33charts. He’s 100% right about how much of blogging over the years became about the mechanics of search engine optimization, etc. It’s still a huge problem today. He’s also right about the narcissism involved in link-love, and that blogging is about the reader, not the blogger.

Bryan has extremely valid points and they stand alone. But that’s not the issue in this post.

The concern in this post is primarily about two completely different things.

First, it’s about being mindful of crediting back to a source that a blogger knowingly uses (not inadvertently being influenced). This is consistent with the spirit of ethical behavior and thinking (note: I wouldn’t say it’s unethical not to courteously attribute, only the kind of thinking involved in trying to appear original).

Second, linking is one of the simplest ways of helping readers. It’s a benefit to readers if it’s done elegantly – and not overdone.

Linking-out isn’t a pat on the back to the original author. It’s a finger telling the reader where you’ve been travelling in the hope that they’ll find new land.

@PhilBaumann –       @HealthIsSocial

Healthcare Blogging: Wide Open Opportunities

“Blogging is dead.” I can’t tell you how many times I hear that. According to Ed Bennett’s Hospital Social Network List, fewer than 90 hospitals have blogs. That’s less than 2% of all US hospitals! Meanwhile, over 600 hospitals have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Does that mean blogging is dead? Or does it mean that hospitals are passing on important opportunities to communicate?

I understand why some people think blogging is dead. More and more people are turning to Twitter and other ‘real-time’ media to publish and interact.

Also: Resources are scarce: a tweet…well a tweet is 140 characters. It’s Twitter. How can it get any easier? Why blog when you can tweet? Attention spans are short anyway.

Twitter and Facebook also supposedly ‘viral’ (wonderfully seductive buzzword for the uninitiated).

I’ve been in discussions with clients who have told me their agencies advised them that Twitter, Facebook  and Youtube were all that’s needed anymore and that their websites were basically useless. That blogging wasn’t worth the effort and that nobody reads blogs.

NOBODY READS BLOGS

Nobody reads blogs? Well: Google does. Google loves blogs. Don’t you think Google is an important ‘follower’? Hypothetical: which of these two kinds of ‘followers’ would you rather have?:

  • Ten thousand followers on Twitter, 99.9% of which ignore your tweets and the rest aren’t paying strong attention to you
  • 1 search engine, like Google, who indexes and archives your blog’s content and serves it up to people who are actively looking for what you might have?

Patients read blogs too. “Oh, we tried a blog, but only had 25 subscribers.” Only 25? You mean those 25 people – human beings – don’t matter? What if a few of those readers were healthcare journalists or philanthropists or patients who are connected via their own communications platforms to thousands of others?

For that matter, what if you had 1? What if she’s the one person with a condition and she finds your content of immense and rare value? What if your content enables her to lead a better life, even if in some small way? Why would you refer to her as an ‘only’?

Nobody reads blogs. OK, well nobody reads your tweets. 🙂

You see, Twitter and Facebook and other streaming media create the illusion that longer form content doesn’t matter much anymore.

Actually: where do you think all that good stuff people share on Twitter and Facebook come from? Who do you think earns ROI (however it’s defined) from those tweets and other social streams? The fact is, many of the items shared on streaming media are links to…blog posts.

PROCESS IS POWER

You need three integrated things in today’s world in order to have any chance of having an audience: content, context and process. Content and context provide relevance – a no-brainer.

But you need process in order to deliver that relevance. If you have none of the skills required for blogging, then you won’t understand how to develop and execute the kinds of processes needed to properly execute whatever strategies you have. It’s that simple. Blogging is a skill, and it’s no longer just putting up content – it’s a process.

You don’t need a huge following on your blog. You do need to be good at content generation. Twitter and Facebook won’t do that – in fact, they’ll make you sloppy and lame if that’s all you do.

In today’s world, you do have to be swift in your interactions. But that’s a skill too, one best honed by the experiences of blogging. Too many agencies and clients have for too long forgone the education and skills-building that blogging provides.

I’m not saying you need a blog – I am saying you need the underlying skills. If you know another way to garnish those skills, more power to you.

YOUR BOAT ON THE ELECTRIC SEA OF INFINITY

You (or your client) don’t own Twitter or Facebook. You don’t own your tweets. You have no control over Twitter. No control over Facebook. You don’t even own your name on those services.

The only place you own on the Internet is your domain name. Why would you abandon the only thing in an uncontrollable world that you have some control over?

Why would not take advantage of the wide opportunities to produce an infinite combination of content – enduring and timeless content – that matters most to the very people you serve?

Don’t get taken in by get-rich schemes.

21st Century communications is an endurance feat, not a popularity contest.

Healthcare content is far too important to leave to Twitter and Facebook. You (or your client) are experts (I hope). If you are, I hope you know how to bring forth your expertise online.

There’s so much content in Healthcare and yet one of the most common questions is: But what do we talk about?

OMG – the amount of topic is more than one organization can ever cover. So the opportunities are wide open!

Twitter and Facebook and other social media have value, don’t get me wrong: but without a home-base of your own, you’re missing a key ingredient in your online presence. Kind of like apple pie without real apples.

The Internet is the Electric Sea of Infinity: it’s easy to get shocked and tossed and drowned if you don’t have the right kind of boat.

A well-written and engaging blog is about the only place on the Sea of Infinity where you can build a boat with an anchor.

@PhilBaumann@HealthIsSocial

In future posts and Webinars, I’ll discuss more about healthcare blogging because I think it’s an ignored topic.