October 4, 2011
If you’ve written about dentistry before, you might think that writing web content for a dental website, or composing dental blogs, won’t be too much of a challenge. In some ways, you’re right. However, penning a print ad or typing a term paper don’t require search engine optimization.
A good dental writer needs more than the ability to write coherent, or even interesting, content. A good dental writer needs a solid understanding of search marketing. Factors to consider include:
- Keyword selection
- Keyword integration
- Links, incoming, internal, and external
- Length of the piece
- Audience’s reading level
- Goal of the piece (more web visitors, education, etc.)
- Where the piece will be published (blog, article, website content, etc.)
- Distribution (social networks, sharing options, submissions, etc.)
Each of these factors requires some thought and attention prior to composing text for a dentist to use online. We’ll delve into these topics in coming weeks. Feel free to comment and leave your thoughts as we move through the information.
September 28, 2011
While I wouldn’t use the word in a dentist’s website or blog… “Do you have ginormous mouth problems?” …well, I might use it in a bog for the right dentist… I learned today that, according to MS Word’s spell check, ginormous is a word. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, since Google (noun) spawned the spinoff of google (verb).
I do want to focus on word choice a moment; I’ve covered this topic before. There are a few words that just seem lazy to me: put, get, and it’s. Actually, it’s can work well in the right context.
Let’s explore alternatives:
Get: select, acquire, grab, grasp, collect, accumulate, assimilate…
Put: set, shift, use, utilize, utilize, apply, employ, place, arrange…
And it’s SHOULD be a pronoun. However, if we say: It’s important for you to understand… What does it’s replace?
Those are my word thoughts for the day.
April 28, 2011
Think of the most beautiful person you know. Let’s just use J-Lo as an example, since she was recently named Most Beautiful Woman by People. Whether you like her or not, for 41, she looks pretty darn good.
So put Jennifer Lopez in the spotlight, and she’s quite a sight. She makes her own statement. You can adore her flawless skin, beautiful eyes, flowing hair, and smooth curves.
Put Mrs. Lopez at the zoo, on public school day, with a twin on each hip (she’s a mom of twins, if you can believe that), and she looks like a mom. An attractive mom, but just another mom in the crowd.
The same is true of words.
Choose the most beautiful words to represent your idea, and place each word in the spotlight. Readers will feel the rhythm, soak in the sounds, and grasp the power of your statement.
However, when you take your well chosen words and surround them with a bazillion other words, some with the same meaning, you dilute the power of your writing. The most beautiful phrase in the world becomes lost in the crowd.
Here are a few practical tips to help your words preserve their mojo.
1) Carefully select the most choice words to represent the subject of your sentence.
2) End your statement with power. Placement of words within a sentence is crucial. The last word should resonate.
3) Say it once. Don’t rephrase your idea in a second sentence, like I just did. It dilutes the impact. If your words pack power, you will not need to repeat them.
4) In On Writing by Stephen the King, the prolific and insanely popular writer tells us that he cuts his drafts by at least 10% during editing. So arm yourself with bandages and antiseptic, then hack at your masterpiece until it’s polished.
5) Don’t rely on a thesaurus. Instead, read good literature to improve your vocabulary and your eye for great phrasing. Real chefs don’t use cookbooks. Professional gardeners don’t consult the Home Depot gardening staff. You should not rely on tools for quick fixes. Improve yourself long term by sharpening your own tools — those that reside between your ear — and you can become a professional writer.
February 5, 2011
I’ve interviewed over 1000 dentists, and it’s always funny to me when a dentist banns contractions from his website or blog. This isn’t a rant, it’s a fact that I want to share with dental copywriters and dentists.
It’s Okay, Nay, Preferred to Use Contractions in Internet Text
Whether we’re talking about a blog, website, social networking, directory listing, or any other Internet destination, readers want to hear you in your writing. They do not want to read text that sounds like it’s spewing from a professor. On the contrary, my dear Watson, folks prefer to read text that feels like a conversation. And if you have omitted contractions from conversation, you’re weird.
Contractions will not make your website or blog appear unprofessional. They will not belittle your training, experience, or respect.
Contractions will make people feel more relaxed reading about you and your practice. They’ll make you seem like a human, not a robot.
So to the copywriter, if your client dentists demand no contractions, warn them that it’s not wise to go that route. But, as always, give the customer what he wants.
To the dentist, Chill Out.
January 21, 2011
No, not the cereal comma. The serial comma, or Oxford comma. It’s the last comma in a list of three or more words. For instance: Should I read To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations, or Jane Eyre tonight? The comma between “Expectations” and “or” is the one under discussion here.
Some folks were taught to use the serial comma. Some folks were taught not to use it. According to Elements of Style (Strunk & White) and the Chicago Manual of Style, we should use it. According to the Associated Press Style Guide, we should not.
In the example above, with the book titles, the sentence would be completely understood by the reader whether or not a serial comma were used. However, in medical and dental copywriting, we often present new words to readers. In an effort to improve communication, I recommend using the serial, or Oxford, comma. Read the rest of this entry »
January 12, 2011
I wanted to share and article I wrote for dentaljunkie.co. It’s on a topic I’ve preached for years — dental advertising guidelines set by state boards and the ADA. So many copywriters and marketing professionals take on dentists as clients and have no clue what the legalities are. It’s quite frustrating.
Here’s the dental advertising article. I welcome questions and comments!
January 7, 2011
I’ve said it before, but writing for dental patients is different than writing for dentists. That’s why many dentists and doctors choose to use a copywriter. If you’re writing content for a dental website, blog, or other marketing material, one little trick that tends to keep readers’ attention is to mix up the format. Instead of using straight paragraphs and statements of explanation, try these formats:
- Pose questions (but always answer them)
- Use bullets (people love to scan lists)
- Include videos (from YouTube)
- Use quotes from sources
- Use statistics or charts (use “%” to break up letters instead of writing “percent”)
- Compose titles with “Tips” or “Secrets”
- Always use pictures or diagrams
- Always include links to other websites
Don’t skimp on text because search engines crave it. Do, however, visually break up the text to make it more enticing to readers. Once they’re on your page, you want them to stick there for a little bit. As writers, we have a proclivity for words – we love to read, write, play word games, and (if you’re like me) read the dictionary. Not everyone feels this way! Most people like visual stimulation. Diversity in the appearance of your text is important. Round out your writing world and think like an artist before hitting “publish.”
January 3, 2011
If you’re in the first steps of creating a new dental website or blog, you’ll need to purchase a domain name. In short, a domain name is the address people will type into their browser to find your website or blog. For instance, the domain for this blog is www.wordsfordentists.com.
The first thing to do is select a domain name. It’s wise to include your city and service in the domain, if possible, because your domain can tell search engines about your dental office. A cosmetic dentist in Denver might choose denvercosmeticdentist.com, cosmeticdentistdenver.com, denvercosmeticdentistry, denversmilemakeover, denverdentalmakeover, or something along these lines. Read the rest of this entry »