By Melanie Graham

How to give your blog a fresh voice in 2018

As we head into the new year, it’s always a good time to start fresh and try some new things.

No, we’re not talking about a new diet. We’re talking about content. What are some ways you can reach new readers in 2018?

One answer: Guest bloggers.

Adding guest bloggers to your content strategy is a great way to enrich your blog’s voice and reach a new audience. Readers may also find your hospital or practice more trustworthy if they are hearing from real voices (i.e. patients and doctors) who can share first-hand experiences.

And, bonus: Guest bloggers can supplement your content creation and ease the workload on your writing staff.

How can you find guest bloggers? Here are a few ideas:

  • Social media is a good place to start. When you’re seeking out new voices for your blog, check your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram channels for patients or caregivers who are active in your community. They may even have their own blog where they’ve shared some of their patient experiences.
  • Keep an eye out for your clinicians who are active on social media or blogging on other sites. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to participate if he or she is already familiar with the social and blog landscape.
  • Check out your blog’s comments section. Do you have an active reader who may want to become more than just a commenter
  • Consider putting a call out to your clinicians. Do they have any patients who would be interested in sharing their story? Do they have a story themselves?

Here are a few more tips from HubSpot on how to find guest bloggers.

Read more: Why your current patients are your best customers – and most passionate brand advocates.

Once you have some interested writers, remember these tips:

Offer ghost writing, if needed

Oftentimes patients are hesitant about their writing skills, and clinicians may not be able to find the time to draft a post. That’s OK. Offer to have a writer interview them and ghost write the blog post.

Before you publish any ghostwritten blog posts, keep in mind:

  • The post should be written in the voice of the storyteller, not the writer.
  • Always review the post with the patient or clinician before publishing.

Don’t be an editor

When you receive a guest post, don’t be an editor. Well, not exactly. Yes, you can edit the post for spelling, grammar, and some style. What we’re saying is: Remember the guest blogger’s voice. This isn’t a post from your organization, it’s a post from a patient, caregiver, or clinician. Once you’ve finished editing, make sure it still sounds like the guest writer.

Show your gratitude

Once your guest blogger’s post goes live, make sure you let them know and send along a link. Encourage them to share it with their social networks, friends and family.

And don’t forget to share your own gratitude on social media – tag them in posts and thank them for contributing their story. Not only does it reach their followers, it can also help maintain a positive relationship and encourage more posts from them in the future.

And one final reminder…

Don’t forget about HIPAA consent for your patients who are guest blogging. Make sure you have their written consent to share their stories — all release forms should be signed before any posts go live on your blog.

Do you have tips for guest bloggers? Share them with us in the comments section below!