Even if you don’t know much about blogs, it’s probably obvious to you that they have become more and more popular over the years. You’re probably puzzled about why on earth blogs are so popular. Some people might even think that they seem a waste of time, right? Wrong. Blogging has become the trendy, believable way to market your business, and it’s likely this is a trend that is only going to become more influential and have more power than many other forms of advertising.

The importance of blogging is hard to understand if you don’t understand the basics of what a blog really is. Let’s look at the world of blogs (a.k.a. the “blogosphere”) in a little more detail.

What is a Blog, anyway?

A blog, which used to be referred to as a web log, is an avenue of sharing with others online. When blogging first started it was basically online journaling. These days, blogging has taken on a whole new meaning. Even though many blogs still exist that are solely the voices of random people, sitting at coffee shops or on their couch, looking for a way to share their innermost voices and opinions about random subjects, there are also an entirely different class of blogs. This other “class” of bloggers is focused on marketing businesses, brands and gaining followers who happily look to them for direction in the online marketplace.

Think of a blog as a tour guide. Just like we turn to people we trust and respect for advice on what to do in life, a blog can provide a similar comfort level in the online world.

What are the benefits of Blogging?

The main reason for any type of marketing is to grow your business. In your case, not only do you want to gain new patients, you want to make sure that you keep your current ones. So how can a blog help you to accomplish those things?

1. Show those search engines who’s boss. Want to be top-ranking when people Google “local dentists”? Posting to a blog is of utmost importance. Think of your company’s website as a heart and your blog as what keeps it beating. A consistently updated blog with current information (you know, the stuff people actually read) will up your ranking, up your traffic and get you more business.

2. Prove that you know your stuff. A blog will help you establish yourself as an authoritative figure that is on top of your specialty. Talk about the trending topics and the latest treatments and procedures and keep people informed. They’ll be more apt to turn to you if they trust you’re education and practices are up to date.

3. Relate to your patients. Showing your patients that you’re not just all business all the time will help them to see you as a person and a friend rather than just a service provider. Building relationships is the best form of marketing and blogging will help you to achieve it. Show your personality and the personality of your staff. Write about causes that interest you or hobbies you enjoy. If they see you as just Dr. Jane, you’re kind of boring. If they know you as Dr. Jane who has two Huskies who used to play roller derby and enjoys sailing, you’re much more exciting.

Should you BE the Blogger or hire one?

Now that you get a sense of why having a blog is so critical to marketing your business online, just how you want to accomplish it is up to you. If you don’t have the time or feel unqualified to start and manage your own blog, there are many blogging services out there that are up to the task. Some business owners enjoy writing their own content, while many others find it simpler and more effective to hire an article writer to take care of it for them.

Being “social” online needs to involve a mix of informational posts with a good portion of personality. No one wants to be bored out of their mind reading posts after post of your business “mission”! Come on! Would you waste your time reading that stuff? Probably not. To get interest and make people want to read your posts they need to be intriguing. Hiring a writer and someone to manage your blog has great benefit for that reason. They’re purpose is to make sure you have a good online presence and your job remains the same: to run your practice.

How to share content across different social profiles

In order to get the most out of your blog, it’s important to make sure your posts are SEEN. The best avenue of spreading blog content is to announce it on various social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Keep in mind that images get much more attention than text alone (and might even be “pinned” on Pinterest). Try posting an image with the content attached. Also, make sure that your posts are accompanied by social media “connect” buttons so that readers can quickly and easily share your images and content across their social scene as well.