So far we’ve gone over some common blog terms, chose an online identity, decided on an avatar, selected a blogging platform, have placed the needed disclaimers and/or disclosures, and finally considered adhering to the Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics to remain in compliance with HIPAA. Now what?
It’s (finally) time to start blogging!
Finding Your Voice
Every mighty oak was once a nut who stood its ground.
The content you create on your blog will develop into your “blogging voice”. It is important to realize that your voice will help further define your identity online and will be what readers connect with so you should make it unique as possible to differentiate yourself from others.
Here are a few tips on finding and developing a unique blogging voice:
- Be true to yourself – allowing snippets of your personality and personal life is a good way to keep your writing interesting and unique
- Blog your passion – Assuming you’re an EMS blogger, then it should go without saying that you are passionate about EMS… but what specifically about EMS are you passionate about? Is it patient care? Standard operating procedures? Disaster response? EMS Research? EMS education? Whatever your passion is about EMS, be sure to blog about it
- Have a point and make it – there should ultimately be a reason behind your blog and every blog post, so make sure that you clearly make it
The most important aspect in finding your “blogging voice” is that it is what will help make your blog, but your blog is ultimately what you make of it!
Frequency and Length
Blogging frequency and the effect it has on a blog is a hotly debated topic. While multiple posts a day may create greater search engine fodder, a well thought out single post a week usually creates a stronger bond between reader and blogger. Ultimately the “right” answer to this question is what you yourself decide upon. I just strongly suggest that whatever frequency you decide upon you try to stick to.
The length of your blog posts is another form factor that needs to be considered. It’s important to understand first who your readers are, and whether or not they are deep readers or skimmers. Another factor is the type of content that you’re writing because, as you’ll see, there are many different types of blog posts.
Still not sure how long your content should be? An easy way is to go and actually read some blog content yourself. Where you feel yourself starting to skim is usually a good point to end your own content.
Types Of Posts
Not all posts need be the same! Here are a few different types of posts that you can use to help make your blog content diverse:
- Narrative Posts – relatively self-explanatory, but a post that relates an occurence in narrative fashion. While there are many great examples, but one of the bloggers who stands out in my mind for these types of posts is Insomniac Medic
- List Posts – a simple enough post listing any number of subjective items. Kelly Grayson deploys this type of post successfully into an EMS1.com article
- Link Posts – this type of post is similar to a List post, but instead of listing items you’re listing links. An example of this can be found in the This Week In EMS Blogs posts that appear on the main site.
- Informational Posts – this is a post that simply provides information, whether from a press release or through other material. Tom Bouthillet has a great example of an informational post, including the appropriate disclosure for such an item.
- Review Posts – this is an actual review of a service or product. Greg Friese has a great review system
- Interview Posts – find someone interesting, interview them, and then provide a transcription. Scott Kier has a great interview with Chief Skip Kirkwood that can serve as an example.
- Research Posts – while these may be a little time consuming to create they are both great conversation starters and a way to quantify your thoughts and opinions. Have you read Rogue Medic lately? While a research post is not necessarily about published research, it can surely be an interesting topic to bring up
- Meme Posts – Memes are both a bloggers best friend on the days when the creative well runs dry and it can be their worst enemy when overused. Jonathan used a popular internet meme to add value to one of his posts.
- The Rant Post – amazingly these types of posts are usually the ones I profess against, even though I seem to write them relatively well. I think it’s important to strike a balance in order to be true to myself, and as part of my blogging voice I do occasionally write these types of posts. To continually perpetuate that everything in EMS is peaches and cream I think is not just overly optimistic but relatively unauthentic. I do however suggest that after you write that rant, save it as a draft. Walk away from it until your emotional level comes down and then go back to it and look it over again before hitting that Publish button to make sure that it is actually what you want to say
Previously: The Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics and HIPAA
Next: Linking To Other Bloggers