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Starting a blog can seem overwhelming, but in truth, it’s one of the simplest ways to build an online community with your patients and physicians. Follow these tips to ensure your blog is positioned for success.

 [1] Define your hospitals goals ::

Before you start a blog it is essential that you define your goals for it. Your blog has a greater chance of success if you know from the beginning what you hope to accomplish. Make a plan on what you would like to gain from the hospital blogs in time intervals of 6 months, 1 year and 3 years. Then take some time to write content and dont forget to market your blog to meet the goals.

[2] Know your audience ::
The design of your blog and its content should mirror what your audience expects.
Example :: If you intended target audience is teenagers, the design and content would be very different than that of a blog targeting academic researchers.  Your audience will have certain expectation for your blog – dont confuse them. Try to meet and exceed the users requirements and build reader loyalty.

[3] Be Consistent ::
Your blog is your hospital brand. Just like McDonalds or Bank of America, your blog represents a specific message and image to your audience. The blog design and content should consistently communicate your hospitals overall brand image and message. Beingn consistent allows you to meet your audiences expectations and create a secure place for them to visit on an ongoing basis. Your consistency will be rewarded with patient and reader loyalty.

[4] Be Persistent ::
A busy blog is a usefull blog. Blogs that are not updated frequently are percieved by their audience as static web pages. The usefulness of blogs comes from their timeliness. Its essential to update your blog frequently with relevant  information.  The best way to keep readers coming back is to always have something new for them.

[5] Be Inviting ::
The most unique aspect of blogging is its social impact. It is essential that your hospital blog welcomes patients and invites readers to join in a conversation. Ask your readers to leave comments by posing questions. Your blogs success is partially dependent on your readers loyalty to it. Make sure they understand how you appreciate them by involving them.

[6] Be Visible ::
Your blogs success relies on your efforts outside the blog. These efforts include finding like-minded bloggers and commenting on their blogs, participating in social bookmarketing through Digg, StumbleUpon and joining social networking sites [Facebook, Linkedin, etc.] Developing a successful blog requires hard work. You must create interesting content as well as promoting and developing a community around it.

[7] Take Risks ::
New bloggers are sometimes afraid of the new tools and features. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things on your blog. It’s important that you keep your blog fresh by implementing changes that will enhance your blog – try a new plug in or live feed widgets.

[8] Ask for Help
Even the most experienced bloggers understand the blogosphere is an ever-changing place and no one knows everything about blogging. Bloggers are part of a close community and we understand that everyone is a beginner at some point. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

[9] Keep Learning
In interactive marketing everyday there are new tools to keep up with. The web changes quickly and the blogosphere is no exception. As you develop your hospital blog, take some time to research new tools.

[10] Be True to your Hospital
Remember your blog is an extension of you and your hospital. Your loyal readers will come back to hear what you have to say. Inject personality into your blog and adapt a consistent tone for your posts. Determine whether your blog and brand will be more effective with a corporate tone, a youthful tone or a snarky tone. Then stay consistent with that tone in all your blog communications.

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