Note: This post is the first in a series of articles and videos discussing social media in healthcare. While I don’t profess to be an expert on social media, I do frequently receive questions from doctors and other healthcare professionals about getting started in social media. “Why should I spend time being active on Facebook or Twitter?” “How do I start a blog?” In these posts, I’ll share my thoughts on potential uses of social media by healthcare providers and tips for how to do it quickly and effectively.
At the time of this writing, I have written nearly 700 blog posts, recorded close to 140 podcast episodes, and written hundreds of articles for other websites and publications. I’ll surely run out of ideas for topics at some point, right?
Honestly, there is absolutely no chance of that happening. I collect ideas for posts, articles and podcast discussions for use at a later time. I would guess that I have ideas for over 100 topics that I haven’t used. That list continues to grow.
Here are six ideas for creating original content in your field of expertise in health care.
My guess is you read the health section of the newspaper or health articles on sites like The New York Times and CNN. If an article strikes you as one worth sharing, keep it. Write a post discussing the article and offer your perspective on it. I use Evernote to “clip” articles into my account. I clip them into a notebook for the blog or one for the podcast and use tags for the topic of the article. Alternatively you could keep a word document with different topics and copy the URL of that article into the section for that topic.
6 common concerns of healthcare providers about social media
How can you pick a theme for your content?
Write down patient questions.
If patients are consistently asking you certain questions, you can bet people are searching online for those answers. You don’t have to share patient information (although many patients would like participating in your articles). Just share the question in a general sense and then answer it in a way that the average reader can understand.
Turn talks you give into blog content.
Chances are that you have both expertise and passion for a topic if you have created a talk on that topic for medical conferences. Take that content and turn it into a series of posts or videos aimed at people with those conditions. Include research as needed, but remember to talk using language people can understand.
Brainstorm topics for your blog
How often should you write blog posts?
Write about new studies presented at medical conferences.
Often these conferences feature the latest medical research. Discuss the new developments that could benefit people with those illnesses. Explain how do you think they will impact your field and your patients.
Discuss journal articles.
If you read one or two journals to keep up-to-date in your specialty, keep studies that you feel could benefit your readers. Make sure to explain the main conclusions and findings in simple language. Not only can this practice help readers with those conditions, but your post could stir discussion among other healthcare providers who read them.
Write five posts
6 ways doctors and health professionals can use Twitter
Keep a notebook or laptop with you.
This might be my most important suggestion. Ideas will come to you at all times. You might be watching TV, in the carpool line waiting to pick up your kids, or in the doctors’ lounge between surgeries. If an idea for an interesting post comes, have some way to jot it down right away. You don’t have to write the post right at that instant. Having a place to store the idea can be invaluable when you do find time to write later.
The bottom line with all of these strategies is to remember that everything you see, read and hear can become content for a blog, video, tweet or Facebook update. You just have to look for them and collect them in some way that works for you.