(This article is an 5 minute read)
THREE THINGS YOU’LL GET FROM THIS ARTICLE
1. How to think about the balance of content on your blog
2. The process by which content marketing works
3. How to make your content house a home for readers
I see a lot of dying dental blogs. They all have the similar, standard blog content for dental practices. There’s a few short articles about how dental implants work, or how to get the perfect smile. The most recent one was always published more than six months ago. The one before that, three months earlier. Then a couple within a few weeks of each other.
They look like their owners have given up on them because they don’t have time to feed them. We all get busy, right? That’s understandable.
But they also have an air of exhaustion about them. They look like someone has bolted at the start, then slowed down as no-one has come back to read their work.
As they get fewer and fewer readers, it seems less important to publish more often. Then they start to question why they’re doing this at all.
They are expecting their blog content to function like a billboard. In fact, to function better than any billboard ever has. They hope people will read the blog, drop everything and make an appointment. But content doesn’t work like a billboard. It’s more like a house.
Let me explain.
Blog content builds a structure of information and trust. It doesn’t tell people how clever you are—it shows them. That’s a distinction all writers make. Show people, don’t tell.
When I look over the readership data for our websites, it’s very clear that virtually everyone reads it in a different way. Some people will go in and read every article we have over the course of a couple of hours.
Others will clearly read half an article and dip out, or come back to it many times. Sometimes we’ll email articles to people which they won’t read for a week or more. Those articles aren’t solving an immediate problem for them, so they don’t interact.
All that is fine. As long as the content is there, ready for them when they do need to know answers, then the first part of my job is done.
I like to think that writing content that solves readers problems is like laying the slab and foundations for a house. If that basic foundation isn’t there, the rest of it will never work. That basic foundation has to be content about people’s problems.
I know you want to write about your products and services. And the opportunity for that will come. But you need enough basic content about the problems people have. The problems they are searching the web for solutions to. Otherwise your foundations will be too weak.
The walls of your content house are those articles that deal with the solutions to the problems people are searching for. So if people are searching for ‘teeth whitening’, you can have some basic content that talks about the process of whitening teeth. Then you might add an article that talks about how dentists whiten teeth better than beauticians.
What I'm talking about is targeting people at different stages in their buying process. It’s the same way that building walls is a second step after laying a foundation. First acknowledge the problem, and show your empathy with them. Secondly, present a range of solutions. The effect of doing that also showcases your expertise.
Finally, the roof of your content house is content about you and your practice. It completes the structure by showing people:
1. That you recognise their problems;
2. That you have the expertise to know a range of solutions to their problem; and
3. That you can solve their problem.
If you only have lots of content about you and your practice, it’s like building the roof of your house first. Not only does it not supply a very attractive shelter—it makes it hard to build the slab and walls when the roof is already there.
Finally, like building a house, building content takes time. You can’t just throw something up online and expect a reaction to it. You can speed up the process by throwing more resources at it. But more resources doesn’t mean greater trust.
The relationship between time and trust is exponential, not linear. I might be stretching the metaphor a bit far with this, but … you can get a house quickly, but it takes time for it to become a home.