Write your website part 4 : Bloggingon 10th June 2019
Kathy Nathan explains how you can blog your way to better business
Blogs allow us to inform, entertain, build relationships with our ideal patients, increase our credibility and secure sales.
A blog to book plan
From the outset, plan to publish your blogs collectively as a book to maximise the return on your writing efforts and to create an additional marketing platform for your practice.
Choose a book title that best reflects you and your brand; identify your main themes from your business plan, CV, personal interests, brand mission and target market information. Search online to check your title is original. Your title might well be the name of your practice. For example, my book, based on blogs written about my work managing dental phobias, has the title ‘Gentle dental’ and the tagline, ‘Facing dental fear.’ (Search for ‘Dr Kathy Nathan’ on Amazon.co.uk).
Your tagline conveys your value proposition. It needs to be clear, informative, personable, lively and sometimes clever. Try splitting your tagline for impact. Two parts may be used with one side playing off against the other, eg ‘Sore teeth: Dental relief.’ Or, use three parts; three-word sequences where each individual element is short, eg ‘Prevention, restoration, aftercare.’
Make bold, specific and demonstrative statements. ‘From shy to smiling in just one appointment’ (From X to Y, where Y is the outcome). Present participles, ‘ing’ words, give the idea that a process is current and ongoing. ‘Smiling’ is more active than ‘smiles’.
Address readers directly with personal pronouns, you/your/we/our.
Your book plan, or outline, follows from your title. List chapters in a logical sequence to satisfy structural conventions. Typically, an outline contains a foreword/preface (explanation of how the book came into existence), Introduction (explanation of how to use the book), Contents, opening chapter (lead blog), body content (development blogs), closing chapter (summary blog), epilogue (what happens next/going forward/call to sction), index, references and an about the author section.
Write your blogs in the order dictated by your outline and publish regularly and often to maintain momentum and readership. Each blog needs to be around 300 to 600 words in length.
Topics for your blogs include your craft (dental tips and stories focussing on your area of special interest), your service (testimonials, your practice development, your training and why it is important, good customer service experiences and what you learn from them, open evening/seminar or webinar reports, and community activities that demonstrate your business grows via recommendation) and lifestyle pieces (health, fitness, celebrity interviews, your thoughts on dentistry, healthcare and wider issues, seasonal and community events, practice news, special birthdays, weddings, arrivals, new pets, sugar-free recipes, book reviews and charitable and community causes you support).
Your blog headline
Keep each of your blog titles simple, self-explanatory and brief, with an attention grabbing hook. Research online to avoid plagiarism/imitation. Consider using cultural references – sayings/aphorisms/ proverbs, metaphors, books, movies, song titles and common phrases in idiomatic language. Use meaningful and resonant words, clichés, word play, puns and rhymes specific to your brand and your target audience. ‘Why sparkling white fillings attract more kissing’.
Try to give a good idea of what’s in your blog while invoking curiosity. Use different models (or a combination of blog models) each time to add variety.
‘How-to’ blogs offer practical life hacks/top tips. ‘How to (achieve benefit) even if (common barrier) in less time than (time period)’ For example, ‘How to clean between teeth when you’ve run out of floss.’
Lists, or ‘listicles’ work a numbers angle, ‘X ways to (do something useful)’, or ‘The top X reasons you’re (something bad).
Shocking, funny, unexpected or unusual headlines play on humour, anger, controversy or surprise, ‘What I learned about (topic) from (surprising person)’, or ‘(Surprising person’s) guide to (topic).’
Secrets promise revelation, ‘X secret ways to do (something good)’, ‘What your (person in authority) doesn’t want you to know about (something in their field.)’
Questions promise inspiration, disclosure and self discovery, ‘What would happen if you (big change/achievement)?’, ‘Has (problem) ever happened to you?’, ‘Do you know the top reason why (something good/bad happens)?’ Generally, open questions are better than closed. Flattering or exclusive rhetorical questions require no answer and convey membership to an elite. ‘How do you join the top 10% of people with the best teeth in town?’
Your blog content
Your blog content builds on your headline. Answer all the questions that arise from your blog title: who, what, when, where, why, how and so what?
Your blog close
The goal of your close, or CTA (call to action), is to trigger action. Make an offer that leads to a call, email or online appointment for a consultation for example.
The form of your CTA depends on the frequency of the blogs: the bigger the step, the more motivation and blogs are required. Multiple blogs are able to focus on benefits and deal with objections one at a time. Link your CTA to your blog content as part of the value, entertainment and natural next step for your readers. Adding a P.S. linked to your contact page encourages your readers to connect, ‘If you’re ready for your Smile Care Visit contact us today at (practice name). Click here for details.’
Publishing your book
When you have completed all the blogs in your book outline, it’s time to collect, collate, edit, proof read and publish your work.
Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is the most accessible and commonly used platform for self-publishing your book. Format your work with MS Word using doc. files and always save copies of the original manuscript before making changes for e-book conversion.
Click on ‘Independently Publish with Us’ link at the bottom of the homepage if you already have an Amazon account or visit amazon.com/self-publishing/signin. Check the ‘Getting Started’ file as required, fill in your details and sign up/log in. Click ‘Add new title’ on the KDP dashboard and choose whether to enrol in KDP Select (marketing program offering free promotions, timed discounts and paid borrows).
Provide metadata for your product page information:
CORE: Price, category, title, author name.
ENHANCED: Reviews, author biography, one to two sample chapter(s).
KEYWORDS: Assign up to seven keywords/phrases, separated by commas, different from your categories already assigned to your title by Amazon. Select keywords that best describe your book and generate the most results when you search using them.
SERIES INFORMATION: Titles of other e-books by yourself in the same genre (see below).
AMAZON INCLUSIONS: Amazon may include further information e.g. file size, customer reviews, sales rankings, ‘Also bought’ recommendation lists and new release listings.
Upload your front cover image or use Amazon’s Cover Creator. Keep to a minimum number of clean, simple fonts, and a maximum of three basic colours with a consistent layout for each genre title by the same author (you may choose to write and publish more than one book and develop a series!) Use images (photo/art work) that reflect the theme of your book/genre. Keep ample space between the elements of your cover design and place your title at the top of the cover and your author/pen name at the bottom of cover.
Design your product page/ back cover with images and colours to complement your front cover. Place your tagline in capitalised font at the top of the page, summarise your theme in a single sentence. Add your book description/blurb, in around 150 words, introduce and describe main theme of your book. Create intrigue, pose questions (What would you do if…?), use ellipses… make readers care about your topic. Include naturally placed keywords and phrases especially in the first 50 words.
Include a brief biography of yourself, a cover image, a description of your book and links to your website.
Send personalised review requests to colleagues who work in your area of interest. If invited, send a free copy of your book in the specified format. Place positive reviews/awards at the bottom of the page.
Upload your e-book .doc file, review your KDP file using the previewer and correct as required before saving and choosing the territories where you want your e-book to be available. Read the terms and conditions, then check the box and click ‘Publish’. Your book will go live in 12 hours.
After your book is available, include links to it on your website and social media sites. Offer free copies of your book to your ideal patients to incentivise their first visit and to your existing patients to consolidate their engagement and loyalty. Send out press releases to local newspapers/journals with a picture of your book cover and your contact details.
Dr Kathy Nathan
BDS BSC DGDPUK MGDSRCS
Dr Kathy Nathan is the founder and director of ‘Writing for dentists. She provides extensive writing and training services for UK dental professionals. A published author, speaker and teacher, Kathy has over three decades of award winning experience and qualifications in dentistry and communication. ‘Write your own Website’ articles are excerpts adapted from her book of the same title.