Creating a successful blog for your senior living organization involves much more than sitting down at your keyboard and cranking out text about a subject of interest to you and your customers. Like anything else worth doing, it’s worth doing right.
An effective blog requires forethought and planning, as well as awareness of some key steps that apply to any written piece designed to elicit a desired response from the customer-reader. From start to finish, effective content creation has several checkpoints, with each being an important ingredient in the finished product.
In her June 28, 2013, article entitled The Ultimate Editing Checklist http://blog.hubspot.com/ultimate-editing-checklist, author Pamela Vaughan offers a useful list of points to make sure your next piece of branded content is ready for publishing, whether it is a simple blog post or something using a longer format.
These points are helpful guides and can add to the quality and credibility of your blog, as well as your senior living brand.
- Subject Matter — Does your topic align with your organization’s marketing content strategy; is it timely? Is it something your prospective customers care about it, i.e. will it have value to them?
- Organization and Presentation of Content – Is your content organized in alogical manner that flows comfortably for the reader? Have youbroken up large blocks of text by using paragraph breaks and subheads to allow the text to “breathe” and make it easier on the eyes? Are you including images where appropriate to add visual interest to your blog?
- Written Text — Do your title and your introductory paragraph catch the reader’s attention? Are they interesting and relevant enough to get your prospective customer to keep reading? Does the tone and terminology you use align with the audience you’re targeting?
- Supportive Elements – Are you using data, statistics and quotations to back up our points, e.g. the majority of senior living community shoppers are the adult daughters of aging parents? Are you including examples to illustrate your points?
- Source Attribution — Alwaysmake sure you give credit where credit is due. Are statistics, quotes, ideas, etc., properly attributed to the original source? Do you use links back to the original source when referencing articles?
- Title Selection — Is the title relevant to your audience and compelling enough to get them to read more? Does it use pertinent keywords to promote SEO?
- Style Guide Alignment — Use a recognized style guide for preparing your text, e.g. the AP Style Book, and always be consistent with all content you publish.
- Some Final Items to Consider — Have you taken advantage ofinternal links to other pertinent resources, landing pages, or blogs for your community? Have you proofread and spell checked your work? Have you made sure the piece is consistent with your mission? Most importantly, have you read the blog through the eyes of your target customer? Is it useful? Does it provide value? Does it compel you to take action? If not, how can you improve it to have the desired effect, i.e. to provide value to prospective customers to build your brand and grow your business?
Implications for Senior Living Providers
Blogs are the most powerful form of social marketing today for women—your primary target audience. “The scale of social media usage among U.S. women continues to grow, and blogs remain the go-to resource for those who want to gather information, share ideas and get reliable advice,” says Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer co-founder and COO, http://www.atelier.net/en/trends/articles/us-female-social-media-users-blogs-most-influential-social-networks-most-popular. Blogs move the meter on SEO and make your business more visible and accessible. For that reason, it is important to devote sufficient time and expertise to your social marketing strategy. If your strategic marketing efforts require outside assistance, be sure to look for an experienced organization that operates exclusively in the senior living marketplace and has the specialized expertise and experience required for you to succeed.