Imagine your favorite magazine. Really, think about the experience of sitting down with time to read and peruse its pages. You have your favorite caffeinated beverage with you, of course. Personally I like design magazines – Dwell, House Beautiful, that sort of thing. I love Texas Monthly because the journalism is excellent, the writers are witty and it’s about Texas. And when I am feeling thinky, I like to read The Atlantic. But your magazine of choice can be anything you like. Let your imagination run wild.
One of the things that distinguishes a really good magazine from a crummy magazine is the ratio of articles to ads. A crummy magazine is ad after ad after ad for things that don’t interest you.
A great magazine, on the other hand, consists primarily of well-written articles that offer exactly what you are looking for – decorating advice, political commentary, fashion trends, etc. When you read these articles you feel you have learned something or you’ve been inspired or entertained.
Content vs. Copy
There is a big distinction in the types of writing used for ads and for articles. The articles are content. They can stand on their own and provide something useful to the reader. The reader doesn’t need to sign up for anything, call an 800 number or visit a website to get the full value of the article.
The ads on the other hand are copy. Copywriting is writing for the purpose of getting the reader to take an action. Often it’s to buy something, but it might be to sign up for more information or visit a website.
People buy magazines over and over again for the content, not the copy.
When you get bombarded with too much copy, you just ignore it because no one likes to be sold to all the time. So a good magazine keeps this balance in mind.
This is a very important concept to keep in mind for your medical blog. Most of the time, you should be writing content not copy. Consistently deliver articles your readers can walk away from feeling educated and informed, and maybe a little entertained.
You should choose content topics that will appeal to the audience. A urologist’s blog might include articles about sexual health and preventing prostate cancer, but a shoulder specialist is not going to write about these things. But your content articles shouldn’t be directly selling to that audience.
Like a good magazine publisher, you sprinkle in ads – reminders to make an appointment or information about screening days or promotions in your practice. But these should be scarce, and they should make sense in the context of all of the excellent content you’ve written.
It is important to note that these terms are often used interchangeably. And everything that is on your website is referred to as content as a whole. The usage is blurry because of this. I don’t really care what anyone calls it – this isn’t about being a language snob. I just want you to understand the distinction of content vs. copy when you plan your editorial calendar.
Go through the articles you’ve written for your blog and classify them as content or copy. Now ask yourself this question:
If this was a magazine, would I be turned off by the amount of advertising?
If your answer is yes, start planning your editorial calendar to include more content and less copy.
If you answer is no, ask yourself this question:
If this was a magazine would I ever feel the need to take action of any kind?
If you answer no to this question, it might be time to throw some copy in the mix. Maybe you can add an article that talks about the importance of the flu shot, and then encourage your patients to come in during special hours you’ve set aside for flu shots. Or, as the time for school athletes to get their physicals approaches, write up something about sudden cardiac death in athletes and offer a physical/ECG clinic for local student athletes.
Try to aim for one promotional/copy article for every eight to twelve content articles and you’ll be in good shape.
Get a Head Start on Your Medical Practice Blog with Five Free Blog Recipes
And speaking of copy – did you know we want to help you start blogging? We have created Five Free Blog Recipes for you to use for your medical practice blog. We give you the topic, several points you can cover in your article, links to evidence to support those points, and even some suggested images you can use. Our goal is to make blogging for your medical practice as easy as possible.
These blog recipes are free for you to use as you see fit now or in the future. Go ahead and grab them now!