A lot of physical therapy clinic managers say “We’ll use content marketing for free exposure.” While that’s technically true, it’s incredibly difficult.
Building a blog from the ground up is hard work. Even if you are an established physical therapy clinic, getting traffic to your new blog isn’t easy. Converting that traffic into prospective patients is even harder.
You have to have talent. You have to experiment and constantly tweak your strategy. There’ll be months of seemingly talking to no one. And, most importantly, you need to understand that there’s no secret formula that will take you from zero to million overnight. It’s a complicated process that requires hard work and dedication. But, all your efforts will be well worth it in the end.
In this post, we’re going to share the steps you need to take to build your PT’s blog audience.
Understand Your Audience
Here’s the truth about content marketing: if you want to be successful, you have to send the right message to the right people, and at the right time. When you don’t understand the problems your audience is facing on a daily basis, your message gets diluted.
Of course, it’s reasonable to assume that since you’re a physical therapy clinic, your audience is interested in pain management techniques and other tips that can improve their quality of life. Although general assumption can help you get started with content marketing, you’ll need to craft a well-researched buyer persona if you want to create content that truly captures the attention of your audience.
A persona is a fictional representation of your ideal patient. It can help you visualize the type of patients you’re trying to attract and relate to them as real humans not just walking dollar signs.
Define the Problem You’re Solving
In all likelihood, you’ve created a blog for your physical therapy clinic because you wanted a channel to promote your business and help solve a problem or fulfill a need.
Write that problem down.
Now, ask yourself what the steps you took to solve that problem were? What language would you use to describe the solution to your patients? What keywords would you have used to look for a solution on Google?
These are the things your content should focus on in the early stages. Your goal now is to show your patients you have an interesting approach to an old problem. You need to get them interested in your services and position yourself as a solution to the challenges they’re facing on a daily basis.
Here’s an example: we know from researching our audience that time is a scarce resource for physical therapy owners. However, they still need to acquire new patients and nurture existing ones. Since we have a vast experience in content marketing, we can share tips and advice with them about content frameworks that can help them jumpstart their web traffic.
Leverage the First Mover Advantage
According to a study from Harvard, companies that are early adopters gain a competitive advantage and are more likely to lead both in market position and revenue growth than their peers. By adopting new technologies, you gain a “first mover advantage” since you can explore the benefits of it and understand how it’s best to use it before your competitors.
The main takeaway here: don’t be afraid to experiment with new content formats, new platforms, and technologies. If you have the opportunity to get ahead your competitors and build an audience before a platform gets too crowded, then you should do it.
Develop a Unique Voice
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is neglecting to define your tone of voice. Sure, finding the right topics and optimizing your content is important, but don’t forget that what makes your physical therapy clinic’s blog stand out is its distinctly human voice. People want authentic communication and not being talked to formally.
But, how do you develop a tone of voice that is natural and highlights your personality? Make sure that you write from the first person. Address your readers like they’re in front of you and you are telling them about the latest chronic pain control techniques you’ve tried.
Avoid using fancy words just for the sake of sounding clever. It can be hard in a niche where you constantly need to name muscles, bones, and odd medical terms, but do it in a way that’s easy to comprehend. In one experiment, researchers took a long and complex dissertation abstract and created a shorter easier to follow version by replacing all the sophisticated words with simpler synonyms. The subjects rated the author of the second version as more intelligent.
Last but not least, learn how to tell stories. Write concisely and engagingly, use an active voice, and engage all of your audience’s senses.
Build a Relationship with Industry Influencers
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: it doesn’t matter what you know but who you know.
The same stays true for content marketing.
When you’re just starting out, and your blog has zero audience, content outreach can be one of the best ways to put your PT blog in front of the right people.
So, how can you start getting to know influencers in your niche?
Engage with top bloggers on social media by sharing their content, mentioning them in your posts or commenting on theirs. Leave helpful comments on their blogs posts. Don’t include anything promotional and focus solely on adding value to their content. Create interview round-ups and ask them to contribute.
Contribute on the TOP Blogs in the Physical Therapy Niche
If you want to grow your PT clinic’s blog, contributing guest posts to blogs in the industry will be extremely effective.
Start by identifying the blogs with an engaged audience. Connect with the content creator before pitching your idea. This step is vital and can increase your success rate. After all, would you be willing to grant favors to complete strangers? Most probably not.
After you’ve created a relationship with the blogger, it’s time to pitch them your idea. It’s essential to come up with content ideas that are relevant to their blog’s niche and that the audience will be interested in reading. Make your pitch about how your content will add value to their blog and why it’s beneficial to them and their audience.
When the time comes to create the content, make sure to give it your all. Write a well-researched article full of valuable advice and actionable tips.
Don’t forget to promote your guest post like you would promote an article on your blog. Not only that you’ll reach a wide audience, but the blogger you’ve written for will appreciate your effort and will be more likely to accept future collaborations.
Create Content That Your Audience Actually Wants to Read
You’ve identified your audience, developed a unique voice, and define the problem you’re solving. Not, it’s time to start creating content. But, what should you write about?
While it’s an excellent idea to experiment with different content topics and formats to discover what your audience wants, you also need to pay attention to what your patients are looking for on the web.
Use Google Trends to monitor the keywords that are trending in your niche. Writing about them is an excellent way to get visibility and put your content in front of the right people. Use BuzzSumo to find popular content and see what type of articles get the most traction on social media. Review the comments on the blogs of thought leaders and your competition and write down the question the people are asking. Go to forums, social media groups, Q&A sites, and the places where your patients are hanging out and pay attention to what they’re discussing.
Using these strategies you will build a library of subjects that people are interested in and want to read.
Focus on Content Promotion
The secret to building an audience for your blog has nothing to do with how many articles you write every week. In reality, it has to do with how good you are at getting your articles in front of the right audience. That’s why most content marketing experts recommend spending just 20% of your time on writing and 80% of your time on content promotion.
Let’s be honest: Creating content is difficult and time-consuming. You need to brainstorm ideas, research your topic, write, edit, automate, and promote. After spending several days on a piece, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure that as many people as possible read it before you go back to the drawing table?
Here are some content promotion ideas that you can use:
- Send your new article to your email list;
- Share multiple times on social media;
- Pitch your best-performing articles to PT blogs in case they’re interested in republishing;
- Reach out to influencers in the physical therapy niche and ask them to share your content;
- Mention an influencer in your articles then let them know you’ve mentioned them;
- Make it easy for your audience to share your story by adding social media buttons in strategic places;
- Invest in paid advertising;
- Repurpose old articles and turn them into infographics, videos, cheat sheets, and so on.
Here’s the hard truth: it takes a lot of time to build and audience and commitment to keep creating content when no one seems to be interested in what you have to say. Consistency plays an essential role in this process. You can’t just create a few months’ worth of content and give up when you don’t see the results you’re expecting. We’ve posted a lot of articles on our blog, and we’ve written tons of guest post before we could see a steady flow of readers and subscribers.
One of the best ways to stay consistent is to build a content calendar. That way you can’t allow yourself to make any excuses like “I don’t feel inspired today” or “I have too much to do right now.”
Over to You
Building an audience from scratch for your PT blog is probably one of the most difficult things you’ll do. But, the rewards are worthwhile. Seeing people enjoy your hard work and share your content is amazing.
If you’re struggling to build your audience, let PatientSites give you a helping hand. We are the ultimate business tool for creating content that helps you stand above the competition, grow your readership, nurture current patients, and save oodles of time.