A few weeks ago, we talked about how partnering with bloggers can benefit your veterinary practice. Now that you know how beneficial blogger relationships can be for your veterinary practice, we’re going to take a few steps back to talk about exactly how your veterinary hospital can attract a blogger’s attention.
Usually when we talk about bloggers, you assume that we’re only talking about the relationship between pet bloggers and consumer brands. Many consumer pet brands do often partner with bloggers by offering the opportunity for product reviews, contests and giveaways, but the way veterinarians and other veterinary service providers attract the attention of top, industry bloggers is very different.
Here are a few, easy and realistic ways you can attract a pet blogger’s attention to your veterinary practice:
Offer to Guest Blog
Bloggers often welcome the opportunity to offer their readers new, interesting and useful information from a trusted source. Before reaching out, take time to learn about them, their blog and their niche. Then craft a pitch with some topics you think would be interesting and helpful to their audience. Keep your email short and make it personal by including their name, what you like about their blog and what value your content would have for their readers.
Send Press Releases
Have you implemented a new procedure in your practice? Contributed to clinical research? Had a remarkable success story with a patient? Turn that into a press release and circulate it through a distribution service. Specialized services like PetPR.com can get your release into the mailboxes of local, national and trade media contacts, as well as pet industry bloggers, and even help you determine the best ways to leverage your news.
Pitch Media-Owned Blogs
There are a number of larger, media-owned blogs that allow for unsolicited pitches and proposals. For example, Catster.com and Dogster.com encourage submissions from writers, veterinarians, trainers and other animal-focused professionals. These sites cover a variety of topics including health, spay/neuter, nutrition and behavior. Before pitching an idea, however, read some articles to get a better idea of the types of articles they’re looking for.
Keep Your Own Blog Current
While you’re reaching out to other bloggers, don’t neglect your own blog (and if you don’t have one, it’s time to get one! See our post about blogging, and how Fetching can help). Consistently providing content on your site will help increase trust, credibility and SEO. Your content also gives potential blogging partners a better idea of your interests, expertise and writing style.
For more information about why your veterinary practice should partner with bloggers, check out our first blog post in the series.
What makes a good veterinary case study? Well, the answer depends on what you are looking to accomplish with it. Do you need content for your website? Newsletter? A veterinary trade journal? Consumer media outreach? Since all require diverse elements and different case studies will appeal to different audiences, we’re going to examine what makes a good veterinary case study for general or consumer media.
First, what is general or consumer media? National or local in scope, general/consumer media is simply the media that consumers or the general public reads or watches. It can be something as small as your community newspaper or something as large as Good Morning America. But for the most part, when Fetching Communications pitches case studies to general/consumer media, we pitch local newspapers (community and larger city-based papers) and news broadcasts at local stations. Why? Because the regional outlets are going to be most interested in a story with a local angle, i.e., the pet parent and/or veterinarian reside in the area, so it resonates with the community.
Now that we’ve defined the type of media we are targeting, let’s examine the elements that comprise a good case study for a veterinary practice.
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Like the public, the media prefers one. They want to know that the pet made it out of the woods all right. Stories where the dog or cat may have had a near-death experience – but miraculously survived – are usually of interest to the media because they are hopeful and have a positive outcome. With all the current bad news, no one wants to tell or hear a sad pet story.
Unique visuals are typically appealing to consumer media – particularly television. Is there a compelling X-ray? A 3D model? Or is the dog or cat themselves the visual? Any collateral images that you can provide – including images and video – will help tell a more complete story and the TV station will appreciate the extra footage.
In order to have a powerful case study, you need a pet parent that is happy with the pet’s outcome, comfortable in front of the camera, and on-board with sharing their story. Not everyone will be open to this, so it’s important that the pet parent knows what will be asked of them. At the same time, the veterinarian or specialist also must feel comfortable discussing their treatment of the pet and being on-camera.
Uncommon Diagnosis or Very Common Ailment
Did the pet have a condition you have never seen before? Is it something that is happening only in your area due to environment or weather? If so, that may pique the media’s interest. Conversely, is it a common ailment or condition that affects many dogs or cats? That could also be of note because it will resonate with more pet parents in the audience.
Groundbreaking Use of Technology or Unorthodox Treatment
Was any new technology used in the pet’s treatment? Or, did you use traditional technology in an unconventional or unorthodox manner to care for the pet? Both would potentially help bolster the case study’s credibility when it comes to media coverage.
Are all five elements necessary for a compelling case study? Absolutely not. But several, like the happy ending and the people are make or break when looking to generate media awareness in papers or on your local nightly news.
Additionally, if you are more interested in television than print outlets, then it is a necessity to have some visual elements on-hand to help audiences better understand what the pet and its family endured and what you as the veterinarian had to contend with.
We specialize in developing case studies and media pitches for practices like yours. Contact Liz Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to learn more about our media relations services. We can discuss your practice’s specific challenges and the solutions available.
Similar to how an article in a local newspaper or magazine can lead to increased brand recognition and new customer appointments for veterinarians, an article on a high traffic pet blog (even if it’s outside of your immediate practice area) has the ability to produce new customer leads and establish trusted relationships with your clients.
- External blog posts boost your practice’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
When a respected blogger links back to your site from theirs, it helps your own site’s SEO. And that means more people in your area will find you when searching a
site like Google for a veterinarian close to where they live. How many times have you searched Google when looking for a nearby restaurant or even a dentist’s office? Pet parents do the same thing; in fact, consumers are relying on search engines to find veterinarians more than ever before.
- Positions you as an expert in the veterinary field.
When you’re mentioned on a blog, or in the media, it helps build your credibility and elevates your status as an expert in the field. Think about this: if a potential client searches Google to find more information about you and your practice (which we know they do), and they stumble across a blog post where you are positioned as an industry expert, are they going to feel more comfortable trusting you and your team with their pet’s health? The answer is “yes.”Trust is a key factor when it comes to attracting and retaining clients in the veterinary field. Seeing a quote on a reputable blog post gives pet owners the confidence and trust they need to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment at your practice.
- Builds your content library.
Sharing content with your clients and your community builds loyalty and gets people talking about you. Blog posts are an easy way to increase your content library and can be repurposed in a variety of ways and shared through social media, e-newsletters, your website, etc. Who couldn’t use a little extra content to share on social media? We know how hard it is for veterinarians to keep up with Facebook pages. Want to know how your practice is doing on Facebook? Sign up for our free Facebook page analysis and we’ll let you know!
In a few weeks we’ll dive into exactly how you can build relationships with bloggers, and why veterinarians need to take a slightly different approach to getting the attention of this audience.
Fetching Communications can help you build your veterinary practice by connecting you with pet industry bloggers and influencers. Contact us at email@example.com or click here to learn more about our blogger outreach campaigns.
Now that you’ve created a Facebook page for your veterinary practice with an eye-catching cover photo and a comprehensive “about” section, as we discussed in “Setting Up a Veterinary Facebook Page That Works: Part 1”, let’s talk about how you can amp up your presence on Facebook.
Unfortunately, just because you build it, doesn’t mean your customers will find it.
Here’s how you can start getting your veterinary practice noticed on Facebook, along with some tips to help you draw pet owners into conversations about pet health and the services you provide:
Create a community
Build a place for pet owners to come and connect with other like-minded people by posting relevant content and engaging with your fans. Not only will you be building loyalty with your past and current clients, but when Facebook fans share your content on their own pages, you’ll also reach thousands of potential new clients (and get a strong endorsement from one of their friends!).
Post fresh content on your page at least three times a week. Including a picture or video in your post heightens the interest level for fans. Also, consider releasing your posts at the time you receive the most engagement (you can determine this time through your Facebook Insights).
Make sure you’ve enabled your Facebook page’s email notifications (it’s in the settings). That way you’ll receive alerts when people post comments to your updates or if they send direct/private messages via your Facebook page. You need to respond, and fast! The online community moves at the speed of light and if you let a comment sit for too long, fans will think there’s no one manning the page. Why would they want to visit a ghost town of a page?
Also, a negative comment left to sit on a page unanswered might gather steam and you could get slammed with a slew of others chiming in to support the person or sharing their own negative comments about your business. Try to respond the same day the comment is posted, even if it’s just to take the conversation offline or say you’re following up on it and will respond within 24 hours.
Engaging with your clients/fan base is the heart of social media marketing. Don’t skip it!
Expand your reach
Once your page is created and you’ve published some content, it’s time to build awareness. Pet owners need to know your veterinary practice is on Facebook so they’ll follow you there. The way they find your page is through promotional efforts like these:
- Add the custom Facebook URL and the Facebook icon to marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, magnets, newsletters, etc.
- Place the Facebook icon/social button on your website and link it to your Facebook page.
- Write a blurb or article about your new Facebook page for your pet owner newsletter and ask them to connect with you there.
- Run a Facebook advertising campaign to get in front of local pet owners. These days, it’s a critical component to building momentum for your page. When Facebook introduced advertising, it changed its algorithm so that businesses lost most of their organic reach.
- Plan and launch a Facebook contest using an app like Woobox.com. Fans love taking part and sharing contests with their online circle.
- Review your analytics via Facebook’s Page Insights. Here you can find out when your fan base is most active on the platform and what content is performing best. By regularly checking these stats, you can determine what is working best (i.e. receiving the most shares, likes, comments) and do more of it.
Relax and let us do it
If starting and managing a Facebook page sounds overwhelming or you just can’t imagine who on your staff would have the time, or the expertise, we can help.
Fetching Communications specializes in managing social media accounts for veterinary and pet businesses and offers packages personalized to your practice’s needs. We set up pages, write posts, review your analytics, monitor comments, and develop and oversee Facebook advertising campaigns. Interested to see how your veterinary practice is performing on Facebook? Click here for a free Facebook page analysis.
Let’s discuss what would work best for your business. Contact Liz Lindley at 877.703.3824 x105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you’ve crafted engaging newsletter content, you’ll want to create a design that attracts attention and is easy to read. Ask your in-house designer or vendor for a layout that’s streamlined and simple with lots of whitespace for readers’ eyes to rest.
Besides the usual items – a masthead, table of contents, page numbers – we find it’s the little, but crucial things that often get missed when designing a print or electronic newsletter.
Here are the five newsletter design essentials you shouldn’t overlook:
- Contact information
If readers want to get in touch after receiving your newsletter, they should be able to do so by quickly skimming your newsletter to find your contact information. Be sure to include your address, phone and fax numbers, and client service email address. Plus, if you have multiple locations, listing all of them helps build awareness of hospitals that could be more conveniently located to the reader. If you’re creating an e-newsletter, you can link your hospital information to a page on your website so the reader can click through, generating more traffic for your site, and hopefully encouraging them to look around a little bit while they’re there.
- Social media links and icons
It’s important to promote your social media accounts in multiple ways. Let readers, who may be keen to communicate via social media, know you’re on there, too. On a print newsletter you could include the Facebook icon plus the phrase “follow us on Facebook” and your Facebook URL, which usually looks something like this: www.facebook.com/COMPANYNAME. In an e-newsletter, you can simply insert the Facebook icon and link the image directly to your Facebook page, so the reader can click the icon to access your page.
- Your website
Don’t forget to send readers to your website for more information. Besides including the website address at the bottom or top of your newsletter, you can also offer special, online-only content. If you have text or images you couldn’t fit into your print newsletter, you can ask people to go to your website to read more. For example, if your story is, “The Crazy Things Dogs Eat,” you can insert a teaser at the end of the article that says, “To see all the x-ray images of weird things dogs eat, visit ABCVeterinaryHospital.com.” For e-newsletters, don’t forget to link your logo to your homepage. You can insert links to specific pages of your website as well.
- Opt-in and opt-out messages
These terms are used for e-newsletters, but can also be applied to print. An opt-in message is a reminder about why the reader is receiving an email from you. It generally sits at the very top or bottom of the email and says, in small print, something similar to: “You are receiving this email because you requested pet news and health updates from us.” An opt-out message is usually at the bottom of an e-newsletter and offers a way for people who no longer want to receive your e-newsletter to unsubscribe. Both messages should be included in every e-newsletter you send. This helps reduce the number of people who might label your email as spam and also ensures that the subscribers on your email list truly want to receive information from you.
When it comes to print newsletters, it’s a good idea to mention how readers can contact your organization to update their mailing address or doctor names, or ask to be removed from your mailing list.
- Brand identity
Your brand identity is something that helps rDVMs and pet parents quickly recognize your practice. It’s your logo, the fonts used within all of your external documents and publications, and the signature colors you use on your website, brochures and signage. In two words, it’s style consistency. Don’t forget to carry your style through to your newsletter design as well. It should feature your colors, logo and preferred fonts.
Want a FREE design assessment?
If you already have a newsletter design, but know it needs work or want to make sure it’s in stellar shape, we can help. Click here, or contact Liz Lindley at email@example.com to get a complimentary review of your newsletter. We’ll use our 5-point checklist to identify what’s working and what needs tweaking.