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8 Ways to Increase Comments On Your Hospital Blog

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Do you write a hospital blog that isn’t getting much interaction? Perhaps you’re wondering if anyone is even reading your blog.

Would you like to see comments increase and two-way conversations become the norm on your blog?

Increased blog comments indicate an interactive community

Here are some ways in which you can make that happen:

#1. Make it super-easy to comment

Eliminate features on your blog that make it cumbersome to comment e.g. ‘Log-in to comment’ or those annoying capture (word-verification) options that are almost always impossible to please.

#2. Check your comment settings

If you use WordPress, check your discussion settings to ensure that comments are enabled and that ‘ANYONE’ can comment.

#3. Use Disqus to enhance conversation

This might be a little controversial since some organizations will want to review and moderate comments before posting them on their blog. However if your hospital is ready for real-time posting and updating of comments then Disqus is a great tool that even allows for a threaded comment option (thus keeping track of who is saying what to whom) and is also compatible with mobile websites. But if you’re not ready for this, take a look at the next point.

#4. Develop a Comment Policy

This is simply a statement defining your policy regarding comments on your blog. It keeps everyone accountable by ensuring that your readers understand what is allowed and what is not allowed on your blog. Everyone is aware of what their responsibility is.

#5. Ask for comments

At the end of each article, ask a question that will encourage readers to leave a comment. Take that one step further and be creative about it. Don’t just say, “Please leave a comment below.” Instead say something like, “Over to you: What do you think about tweeting in the Operating Room?”

#6. Respond to all comments

There’s nothing more discouraging than taking the time to comment on a blog only to be ignored or forgotten by the author. When people take the time to give you feedback, make them feel important by responding to them as well.

If you think you might forget to check for new comments, set up an email notification so that you’re alerted when new comments appear. Also try to respond within 24 hours.

#7. Welcome disagreeable people

As long as they’re not violating your comment policy, be sure to welcome all your readers even those that you may not agree with.

However note that there is a big difference between blog trolls (people who habitually leave nasty comments on blogs) and those with sincere differences of opinion. With the former you want to deal with them firmly. But with the latter you want to leave room for an open discussion.

#8. Eliminate spam

Finally make it difficult for spammers to comment on your site by using spam moderating tools such as Akismet. A blog that is polluted with spammy comments such as “My ex-girlfriend made $200 an hour working from home!” looks tacky and turns away serious people who might otherwise be valuable commentators on your blog.

Bonus Tip

It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that bo]ring blog posts will not attract any comments at all. So be sure that your headline is interesting and that your content is worthy of discussion.

Over to you: Have you tried these or any other tips to increase blog comments on your hospital blog? Please share

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3 Reasons You Should Not Miss Content Marketing World Health Summit

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Is your healthcare business taking advantage of content marketing?

According to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing, Budgets and Trends Report 89% of all healthcare businesses have adopted content marketing, putting the industry at third place (in adoption rates) behind professional services and software industries. While this is great news to hear it is still evident that healthcare lags behind other industries when it comes to actually leveraging content marketing for business. That’s why MedCity News and Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing World have come together to launch Content Marketing World Health Summit, which will be held in Cleveland Ohio on November 7th – 8th

In case you haven’t heard about it, here are three reasons you should not miss the summit.

#1. Valuable content

The summit will deliver highly valuable business content guaranteed to inspire you with actionable new ideas you can begin to implement as soon as you get back. Here’s a quick glimpse of the amazing content you can expect from Content Marketing World Health Summit:

  • Trends – Discover the latest content marketing research in the healthcare industry and the challenges that will inspire change and innovation in the future.
  • Tactics – During the workshops sessions you will learn the best ways to market your organization with content marketing. Everything from how to leverage physicians’ limited time to develop valuable content to finding interesting topics for social media content and much more.
  • Strategy – The general sessions will also explain key strategies for attracting and retaining customers. You will learn how to integrate your content creation with your marketing objectives, learn from some of the mistakes and successes of leading brands such as Johns Hopkins and Cleveland Clinic. You will also learn the A to Z of content marketing strategy and how strategies for B2B differ from B2C.
  • Business building – See how successful health brands create more business via content marketing. You will learn how even a small budget can make a huge impact with content and social media marketing and how smart content planning can save you lots of money!
  • Social media – Find out how to create valuable social media content even with federal regulators in mind. You will also learn why doctors shy away from social media participation, how to change their minds and even what social media platforms are right for your organization.

#2. Connect with leading healthcare brands

Content Marketing World Health Summit  is the only content marketing event in the world dedicated exclusively to the healthcare industry. It is designed to bring together experts and thought leaders from some of the leading companies in the world.

You will not only learn from their unique and insightful perspectives at the sessions, you will also get to meet and hang out with experts such as Elizabeth Tracey (Director of Electronic News Media – Johns Hopkins), Scott Linabarger (Director of Digital Marketing – Cleveland Clinic), Lee Aase (Director of Mayo Clinic Social Media Center), Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing World, Chris Seper of MedCity Media and many others.

#3. Night out networking

You will have an opportunity to meet with 200 industry professionals from the healthcare industry. In fact an awesome treat prepared for you on Wednesday night is the ‘West Side Night Out on the Town Event’. You will see the best of historic KAMM’s CORNERS neighborhood of Cleveland’s West Side where award winning restaurants and night clubs will be waiting for you.

Join me

I am excited to be one of the speakers for this groundbreaking event and would love for you to join me in Cleveland on November 7th – 8th. You will see first hand how content marketing can transform healthcare, improve engagement and the work you are doing in the sector. Please Visit the Health Summit event site to see the agenda. In the meantime I’d also like to offer you this coupon code (SKGGUEST) to receive $100 off your registration!Over to you: Do you think you could benefit from this content marketing event? Will you be there?

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One Thing You Should Start Doing in 2012 #mocosmb

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Escaping the daily rut and re-thinking the way we do our jobs might be the most urgent order of business in our day.

That’s not exactly a newsflash, but what most tuned-in business owners realize is that the excessively hectic lives we lead are not conducive to innovative thinking.

So here’s something that I’m committing to do in 2012 and perhaps you should too.

Get involved in a small engagement team

mocosmb One Thing You Should Start Doing in 2012 #mocosmb

Small engagement team at #mocosmb – with @shashib and @obrienmedia

Recently I had the pleasure of stealing some time away to have breakfast with a group of entrepreneurs and social media experts from Montgomery County, Maryland – Shashi Bellamkonda – Social Media Swami at Network Solutions; Nakeva Corothers – photography expert and founder of The Nakeva Network; Patrick O’brien – Social Media Manager at Gannett; Kevin Fawley – Director of Social Media at Somego; Chef K.N.Vinod – owner of Indique Heights (Chevy Chase, MD) and Bombay Bistro (Rockville, MD); and DC productivity expert Kim Oser of Need Another You.com.

One of the things that was clear from the beginning was that it wasn’t enough to just sit at the table and exchange ideas. The goal was for each person to borrow three ideas that they found most interesting and to develop a plan of action around them over the next couple of months.

In our group of 7, three core ideas were considered. Dubbed the ‘beg, brag and what-if’ approach, each one of us was asked to discuss;

  • a business challenge that we’re facing, and to ask for help or ideas to overcome that challenge
  • a major accomplishment we have achieved recently
  • a ‘what-if’ scenario that challenges the way that we think about or do business

Benefits of small engagement teams

Through this insightful exchange we were able to entertain new ideas and imagine different ways of doing things. The ‘what-if’ scenarios were particularly helpful in sparking the imagination.

Even for a seasoned entrepreneur, I think the time and effort invested in a smaller engagement team offers tremendous benefits:

  • It enables a creative idea-sharing culture
  • It promotes accountability
  • You learn from shared experiences
  • You initiate new business relationships or deepen old ones
  • You get to listen – really listen.

After hearing everyone speak, I came away with four important lessons:

  • Don’t always ask the obvious questions
  • Don’t be afraid to re-think the traditional methods we use in business
  • Innovative ideas aren’t always new – Most great ideas are just a mash-up of existing ones applied to our specific set of circumstances.
  • Don’t wait! As soon as you get back to work, start implementing learned ideas immediately. The sooner you experiment and test them, the sooner you’ll know whether they work or not.

In 2012, I plan on making time to meet with this group on a regular basis at the Montgomery County Social Media Breakfast – #mocosmb.

What about you? How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process? Does it involve other people? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below.

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How Small Businesses Can Use Social Media to Achieve Big Business Goals

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What are your business goals for 2012?

How do you plan on using social media to increase your chances of success?

Much has been said about big companies such as Starbucks and Intel, and how they harness social media to drive massive traffic to their sites and subsequently generate enormous sales.

But when small business owners are asked about social media, most of them have no idea how to use it in a practical way that can impact their business goals.

Social media is word-of-mouth marketing

Not knowing how to leverage social media to achieve business goals is a huge problem for small businesses, since they typically get most of their customers through word-of-mouth referrals.

What they probably don’t realize is that social media is essentially, word-of-mouth marketing. The only difference is that those customer conversations that used to happen in person have moved to the Internet where they are easily enabled by social media.

Savvy entrepreneurs get this.

Take Curtis Kimball for example. In the Mission district of San Francisco where he is known as the Crème Brulee Man, Curtis uses Twitter to advertise his daily specials, ‘secret menus’ and specific locations where his cart will be parked.

Curtis who says he has no marketing budget, currently has more than 20,000 followers, many of who literally follow him around from neighborhood to neighborhood to get a taste of his delicious custard treats.

Then there’s Umi Sushi Restaurant also in San Francisco.  They tweet about their fresh fish with colorful, hunger-inducing descriptions that pull customers off their couches and into their store.

According to co-owner Shamus Booth, they receive an average of five new customers a night from Twitter!

What about you? What if you could get even five new clients a week! How would that impact your business and even your lifestyle?

Identify your goals

If you’re a small business owner or a professional marketer working for a small company, some of your 2012 goals might be to:

  • Increase exposure for your brand
  • Find the right audience and engage them in the most effective way
  • Obtain quality business leads
  • Increase traffic to your website
  • Reduce your marketing costs
  • Convert your social media activities into sales

If that sounds like you, then you should consider attending Small Business Success Summit 2012.

What is it about?

Small Business Success Summit is a brand new online event brought to you by Social Media Examiner and designed exclusively for smaller brands with the intention of teaching them how to use social media to achieve big business goals.

The summit will take place during the month of February 2012. When you attend the summit you will learn:

  • The best and newest ways to market your small business with Facebook, Google+, blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter and video marketing
  • How to create a smart social media marketing plan
  • How to sell your products and services with social media
  • How to creatively grow and engage a loyal social media following
  • How to integrate social media with your other marketing efforts
  • How to track and measure your social media ROI
  • How other small businesses execute successful social media campaigns
  • And much more.

Social media lessons from small business experts

All the speakers are themselves small business owners who are deeply entrenched in social media marketing. They include:

  • John Jantsch from Duct Tape Marketing
  • Anita Campbell of SmallBizTrends
  • Jesse Stay, author of Google Plus for Dummies
  • Hollis Thomases, author of Twitter Marketing An Hour a Day
  • Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner
  • David Siteman Garland of The Rise to the Top.com
  • Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute
  • Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger
  • Ramon Ray of Small biz Technology.com
  • Lee Oden, founder of Top Rank Online Marketing Blog
  • Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies
  • Ed Gandia, co-founder of International Freelancers Academy,
  • Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion
  • And many others.

Sample classes

The sessions are carefully customized for small business owners. Here’s a sample of some of the sessions you’ll be able to attend:

  • Putting social to work: How to rapidly grow your fans, your prestige and your small business
  • From social to sales: 4 steps for growing your small business revenue
  • Getting past start: How to move your social media marketing into motion
  • How small businesses are growing with Facebook (case study)
  • How to develop a raving small business fan page for your brand
  • 10+ Google Tips for every small business owner
  • Mastering LinkedIn for small business success
  • Building your small business with blogs

Because this is a fully on-line conference, you don’t have to worry about missing a session. If something comes up and you’re not able to attend, transcripts and recordings will be provided for free on the same night!

Justify your expense

Are you worried about getting funds to pay for the summit? It’s a valid concern.

Being a small business you want to make sure that the investment is worth your while. As you ponder over your decision, keep in mind that:

  • Tickets are currently on sale for 50% off until Friday, November 18th. Click here for more details.
  • If you land just one or two customers as a result of attending the summit, it will have paid for itself.
  • You really can’t afford not to give social media a chance to grow your business – As you saw in the two examples, social media is where your potential clients are located and you want to make sure that they’re aware of and connected to your business.
  • The convenience and affordability cannot even compare to a typical convention.
  • There will be plenty of networking opportunities via Twitter and LinkedIn – you will have access to thousands of people who are expected to attend.
  • Even if you don’t need the summit for yourself, it would make a very special Christmas gift for a friend, son or daughter who just started a business, or who is in business but not familiar with social media marketing.

Over to you

So now that you know what’s at stake for your business are you ready to take the next step?  Will you make the right decision to move your small business forward in 2012?

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