Blogging & Your Research Site
Blogging might sound like a lot of work, but using content as a marketing strategy is effective in the patient recruitment process and should be a top priority for your clinical research site. Whether you are sharing content relevant to your studies or about your site, it is the best way to increase visibility for your research site's website and engage with potential patients. A common misconception is that more content is better; quality still trumps quantity, so there is no need to go crazy. Whether you are doing it internally, or hiring a marketing agency like ClinEdge, these guidelines are essential to creating patient-friendly content for your research site that your audience will enjoy and share.
- Know your audience.
For clinical research sites, your target audience will be current and potential patients. Writing content that is highly medical and complicated to understand will go right over their heads. For the most part you want to write articles that are answering your patient's questions about indications your site conducts studies for by sharing treatment options to make your site a more reliable source.
- Keep content current.
Blogging occurs in synchronicity with breaking news. Blogging about a medical breakthrough that happened last month may not still be relevant to your audience. Blog about current issues and happenings that are relevant to your readers. It is important to know who your audience is so that you can tailor posts appropriately. If you focus on a specific therapeutic area, subscribe to online news reports on related topics and share this news on your blog. And be sure to share any new developments in your office such as new staff/physicians and new trials.
- Be one in a million.
These days it seems like everyone has a blog. To avoid getting lost in the clutter, make sure your voice, topics, and perspective reflect the uniqueness of your organization. The goal is to give your reader an “aha” moment through story-telling. For clinical research sites we recommend writing about how to manage indications for any enrolling studies or when to get help as a patient recruitment tactic. Just keep the goals in mind: What will drive people to your facility? Do you have a unique professional focus? What do your patients love about your facility? That will likely be what drives users to your blog as well.
- Avoid controversy.
Avoid topics like politics and religion. Anything that could alienate a portion of your readers will not benefit your blog or your business. Inflammatory topics have a time and place, and your blog content is neither. (This rule of course does not apply to those who make their living stirring up debate, but we’re guessing your medical facility prefers to be on the cutting-edge of medicine, not drama.) Be conscious of IRB ethical codes, and avoid anything seemingly coercive. Some facilities will submit content to IRBs to get trial advertisement approved for blog posting, although this is not always necessary for general health content.
- Know when to stop.
Generally speaking, blog posts should be kept under 500 words. (If the topic is particularly dense, try to keep it even shorter.) If you’re discussing a topic that begs further explanation, break it up into a series. Using images and visuals will help break up blocks of text and keep the blog from looking daunting to a reader. Many medical issues are exceptionally complex and difficult for patients to truly grasp. Turning medical jargon into short, informative posts helps bridge the gap between overly-complicated medical
Blogs are a fairly modern tool that can enhance your patient recruitment efforts. Watch our webinar on other tools that assist you in enrolling and retaining patients: