How To Write A Blog Post
It’s one thing to create powerful health tech tools that can transform lives. But it’s another thing to be able to communicate the value of these tools in a way that buyers identify with, understand, and desire. Yet the long term success of your product or services often hinges on this very facet of health tech marketing.
Fortunately, there are several marketing best practices that any company can quickly implement. In fact, you may already have potential content in the form of white papers or case studies just begging to be used. Blog articles are an easy way to turn technical jargon into functional content for your customers.
So whether you’re new to marketing or consider yourself a pro, here’s how to start a blog and keep it going for the long run.
Why bother with a blog?
Startups are often strapped with two difficulties - funding and limited staffing. In other words, most new ventures need to create cost-effective content with maximum ROI.
Very few content forms give as great of returns (both in the short term and long term) than blogging. Not only do you get a chance to establish yourself as an authority in your field, but more importantly blogging (used the right way) drives traffic to your website, drawing more leads and conversions.
Blog content also keeps giving back to you since you can repurpose it, update it, and repost it through channels like Twitter or Facebook. All this to say, blogging is one of the best ways for small marketing ventures to gain traction in their industry.
If you’re ready to create cost-effective content that generates new leads for months to come, this is what you need to do.
1. Understand the problem
One key mistake I see people make in digital health marketing is to THINK they understand customers’ problems when in reality they’re often missing many serious pain points. If you can solve this one mishap, you’re well on your way to creating solid content that connects with your buyer.
Take a step back, regardless of how well you think you understand your customer, to evaluate your awareness of your target audience. Here are some questions to ask yourself during this planning phase.
What are their needs?
We could go in depth on this, but suffice it to say, customers face different nuances of pain. In order to assess this variety, start by defining your broad audience. Then narrow down to precise people.
First, consider the larger target audience (those who might experience pain points that you solve) by asking yourself these questions:
What specific industry are they in?
What is their company size?
What is their revenue?
How long are their sales cycles?
Who buys, evaluates, and uses their product?
Once you’ve identified this larger sector of potential buyers, you’re ready to narrow down your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) - the people who have the exact problem you’re trying to solve. For instance, what is their specific title? What role do they play in the buying process? And what size of team do they operate with?
All of these factors, influence their commitment to any tech solution they may consider. If you can cater to their environment and role in the buying process, you’re blog posts will connect with them even more deeply, leading to more buyer engagement in the future.
I could go on and on about this, but here’s how far you need to narrow down your audience. You need to be close enough to their journey to understand what a day in their life looks like - daily tasks, goals, challenges, metrics, and budget pressures. All of these factors can set you apart and make you a resource worth revisiting and, eventually, buying.
What are their values?
Customer values span wide gulfs. Not only do they include company goals, but they also include personal considerations as well.
For instance, how could your tech solution help an individual’s personal career? Can it make business procedures easier, thereby improving productivity, scalability, and better relationships?
Or what about government or organizational regulations, policies, and ethical considerations? Does your health tech marketing strategy take these driving factors into account as well? If not, you could be allowing stumbling blocks to stay in the middle of your buyer’s journey, preventing them from moving down your sales funnel.
Where are they headed?
Consider also your ICP’s trajectory. In particular, will your digital health solution help them reach any particular aspiration or goal?
On the ground level, does it have the potential to make their day-to-day activities easier and more feasible? Can it change their status or perception in their industry? Or can it alter their feelings about specific procedures or relationships?
If you notice, none of the previous questions focus on your tech solution. Instead, they hone in on your customer, making your tech solution more valuable as they see how it can get them to their promised land.
Perhaps, at this point, you’re recognizing that you’re not as in tune with your target audience as you thought you were. But that’s ok! The first step towards better content is to recognize the problem and address it head on.
2. Craft a compelling introduction
Now that you understand your ICP inside and out, you’re ready to create blog content that reaches down into their deepest frustrations, creating a sense of empathy and understanding.
Your customer needs you to immediately capture their attention in your introduction and relate to them on four personal levels:
You can communicate these sentiments through compelling statistics, facts, or brief anecdotes. Remember, no one buys simply because they’re rationally convinced. Everyone (myself included) makes purchases because they feel a strong, compelling need - a need that only you can meet. So use your blog introductions to evoke emotion.Insert empathy map
Then challenge your readers to think for themselves by asking insightful questions. As you write, you can hint at the answer, but don’t deliver the solution right away. The introduction is a great teaser to lure your readers all the way to the bottom of the page.
As far as structure, it can be helpful to think of an introduction like a funnel. For instance, you can start with a broader issue (i.e. population health) and draw your readers along to discover the real problem at the end of the introduction (i.e. not adequately addressing the social determinants of health).
3. Design engaging content
The body of your blog should exude consistency while still keeping your audience on the edge of their seat.
Keep it short
Readers are more likely to stick with you if you use short sentences and paragraphs. That being said, a few longer sentences here and there can spice up your flow of thought and keep readers engaged.
As you try to create captivating content, it’s easy to lapse into cliches. However, these overused terms and comparisons inadvertently scream to your audience that you’re lacking in original thought - the exact opposite of what thought leadership is supposed to be doing. Do yourself a favor and avoid these platitudes.
It’s also worth noting that blog content needs to use words consistently. For instance, if I’m talking about “health plans” referring to insurance coverage, I don’t want to also use this phrase to also refer to wellness goals that help patients manage their illnesses. In other words, if I’m not consistent, I run the risk of losing my audience before we even get to the punch line.
That being said, you want to avoid overusing words. When I run into a brain fog where I can’t think of original phrases, I like to use an online tool like Power Thesaurus to get language variety without sacrificing clarity. As a general rule, you should try to avoid using the same word two sentences in a row.
Use different formats
Nothing catches the eye more than some unexpected white space in the middle of several paragraphs. That’s why formats like bullet points, infographics, or charts are so useful.
They deviate just enough from paragraph form to keep your audience engaged all the way through your blog post. Used sparingly, these formats also allow readers to productively skim while not missing any important points.
Create eye-catching subheadings and headlines
Subheadings are like mile markers on an interstate. They help your reader know where they are and where they’re going. The more eye-catching, the more likely your audience is to stop and think about what you’re saying.
Headlines need to be filled with sensory words that bait the reader to engage with your content. They need to be concise while also using powerful words that make sense to everyone. One online tool that’s especially helpful is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It’ll show you how to optimize your wording to draw more attention.
As a side note, a catchy title cannot redeem blog content that doesn’t actually deliver. In other words, if your headline claims to teach your reader “How To Optimize Your SEO,” you actually need to do that in the article.
4. Be persuasive but not pushy
It goes without saying that any claims you make need to be credible. For example, that means if you assert that many people are successfully coping with chronic back pain through a new digital health product, you need to be able to back it up from medically reliable sources. Don’t just tell your audience… show them.
Also, remember that persuasion does not necessarily mean you have to be salesly. It’s true. You can be passionate without being pushy. Sometimes the most effective way to convince your audience is by leading them to conclusions without actually saying it directly.
One way to do this is to anticipate and answer objections they may have to your solution. For instance, have they tried other similar tech solutions that left them hanging? What hesitations do they have about investing in another solution?
Your best asset for driving conversions is to set yourself up as a guide - a friend who wants to lead someone to their promised land.
5. Polish your draft till it shines
If there’s one step you don’t want to skip, it’s polishing your draft. In this phase, you’re setting your blog post up for long term success.
There have been so many times when I finish writing, and I’m still not completely satisfied with what I wrote. I’ve found it very helpful to read the content aloud as if I were speaking it to a friend. In general, if it’s awkward to speak, it’s awkward to read.
Be willing to cut sections
Sometimes instead of adding to your draft, you actually need to cut sections. Many times I’ve grappled with particular paragraphs only to realize that if I deleted one bundle of sentences the whole issue resolved itself in a flash. If it doesn’t make your argument stronger or help the flow of thought, that paragraph probably needs to go.
Clearly define your CTA
A common mistake is to create convincing content but never explicitly tell readers what to do next. That’s like using Google Maps without ever reaching your destination… frustrating. So spell it out for them. Do you want them to read another blog post? Download a checklist? Sign up for a webinar? Whatever it is, make it easy to understand and simple to access.
Optimize your SEO
If you want to drive more traffic to your site, don’t skip over optimized keywords. For instance, if you’re writing about patient engagement (a commonly used phrase in search engines), then that term should be used at least once in your body content and in your meta description (more on that later).
In addition, consider how many sources you’re including in your articles. Are you using internal links at all? Are you using so many from your own website that it’s beginning to hurt your SEO rather than helping it? Do your external links connect to credible sources?
All of these factors play into the kind of leads you’re able to generate through your website and the ROI you get with your blog content.
A meta description is like a teaser for your whole blog post. It shouldn’t be any longer than 155 characters and should use keywords that your audience searches for regularly.
These descriptions give search engines a better sense of what your article is about, and it also lets readers get a glimpse into your topic before they ever click on the link. This means your meta description could be the reason a potential buyer chooses your site over a competitors’.
As you wrap up your body content, remember to put yourself back in your readers’ shoes. Briefly remind them of the problem, summarize the solution, and then motivate them to act on what they now know. You can do this by including a strong CTA that gives them a decision point.
Ready to create your comprehensive health tech marketing strategy? Read my guide.
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WHO IS WHITNEY?
Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.