Communication , Online Exclusive

Eliminate ‘blank page’ blogging syndrome

An editorial calendar covering a full year and linked to seasonal events will provide ideas for fresh, relevant website content.

Eliminate ‘blank page’ blogging syndrome
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Blogging is a helpful way for veterinary practices to add fresh content to their websites and move up in internet search results. That’s because search engines value quality content, and for veterinary practices, this means helpful content for local pet owners.

Need proof that blogging is worth it? Here’s one statistic reported by HubSpot: Business marketers that use blogs receive 67 percent more leads than those that do not.

Yes, blogging is a highly valuable marketing approach. But one of the big hurdles for practices is, “What do we write about?” Most practices are so busy that they’re overwhelmed by the idea of sitting down each week — or every other week — to write something meaningful.

You can overcome this problem by mapping out a blog editorial calendar for the year. This calendar provides an at-a-glance reminder of great topics that pet owners want to read about. In addition, it helps you promote your services and special offers.

For instance, think about the common questions pet owners have. Two that come to mind are “How do I prevent fleas in my dog?” and “How do I get my dog to stop freaking out during thunderstorms?” Blogging practices can answer these questions while offering flea-prevention products at a discount or anti-anxiety solutions.

In addition to these common questions, your practice can tap into local and seasonal pet health concerns as blog topics, such as the prevalence of tick disease and what to do about it, or hurricane evacuation tips.

Creating a blog editorial calendar will help you see there’s an endless supply of subjects that will hit home with pet owners and result in better search engine results.

Here’s a sample calendar to help you eliminate “blank page” syndrome. Use it to map out your practice’s entire year of blog posts. The calendar shows two blog posts a month, but you can easily expand it to a post each week, bringing in even more search traffic.

 Topic 1Topic 2
JanuaryNational Train Your Dog Month: Tips for top behavior issuesNational Pet Travel Safety Day: How to prepare records, etc.
FebruaryDental month: What I often find during an oral examResponsible Pet Owners Month: Preventing common illnesses
MarchThe “why” behind annual wellness screeningsPoison Prevention Week: Top poisons threats in dogs and cats
AprilNational Heartworm Awareness Month: Prevention tipsOpen house: adoptions, tours, prizes, specials
MayNational Heat Awareness Day (Alert pet owners and the media.)Summer boarding kickoff
JuneAdopt A Cat/Shelter Cat Month: Specials for adopted catsHurricane season: Pet-evacuation preparedness tips
JulyPet skin allergies: Helpful tips and specialsPet anxiety (thunderstorms, fireworks): How to help your pet
AugustNational Check the Chip Day: Stories of local lost and found petsNational Take Your Cat to the Vet Day: Top 3 reasons to visit
SeptemberAlternative medicine: Insights on laser therapy and acupunctureWorld Rabies Day: What to watch for in local wildlife
OctoberAdopt a Shelter Dog Month: Specials for adopted dogsNational Pet Obesity Awareness Day: Nutrition and exercise tips
NovemberAdopt a Senior Pet Month: Specials for senior dogsThanksgiving: Foods that pets should avoid
DecemberHappy holidays: Most common pet ER visitsNew year’s resolutions: Ideas for happy and healthy pets

Tips for Successful Blogging

  1. Always use relevant, local phrases such as “veterinary” and “local” in blog titles and content, such as “Springfield, Missouri, Veterinary Tips on Flea Prevention.” This helps local pet owners find your website when they type in “[your town] flea tips” for instance.
  2. Start with national resources but bring in your local perspective. Most national pet health awareness causes and events offer a wealth of client-communication materials for your team’s use. That’s great, but don’t just cut and paste. Bring in a local and personal perspective on these topics so they resonate more with pet owners.
  3. Use a personal, conversational tone in your posts. The best blog posts sound like a one-on-one conversation with individual readers. It’s your chance to establish a comfortable rapport with local pet owners. Show your heartfelt concern about certain topics and also your playful side when appropriate. Pet owners will see you as a local authority and as someone who is approachable and not stuffy.
  4. Include original photos whenever possible. Candid photos of pets, staff members and your practice setting are much more powerful than generic stock photos. Perhaps there’s someone on your staff who enjoys taking photos around the practice. Smartphone photos are fine. The more authentic, the better! Most clients will give you permission to use their pet photos as well. Just ask them to sign a simple one-page agreement allowing you to do so.

Pam Foster is a certified SEO copywriter and the co-author of “Wildly Profitable Marketing for the Pet Industry.”

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