One of the most potent public relations tools available to aesthetic practitioners is the Web blog. The format and functionality of a blog combines most of the important tools needed for successful physician-customer interaction online.
The blog provides an informal venue for you to write about your practice, procedures, current events, the state of the aesthetic arts, and much more in a diary-type format.
Your Web site acts more formally as a sales and marketing tool for your practice, and usually the information presented there is static when compared with a blog. In a blog, the physician can write about anything and everything on his or her mind, and give the reader (and prospective patient) a place where they can easily (and anonymously, if desired) respond with immediacy, as well as engage in a dialogue with you and other blog readers.
Herewith, then, in no particular order is a list of what I consider the best plastic surgery-related blogs. You should study them and emulate their accomplishments, for the end result of acquiring new patients will follow if you follow their examples.
Nip This Tuck That (www.drfpalmer.com/blog)—As one of the few blogs written for aesthetic surgeons by an aesthetic surgeon, Francis R. Palmer III, MD, FACS, has shown it can be done and done well. There are other great blogs written by and for physicians, and in spite of the frequent self-promotion his tone is always light. Even technical subjects are rendered very readable.
The big deal here is how Palmer provides multiple “virtual entry points” to his practice: prominent links to his Facebook page, a Twitter account, an RSS (really simply syndication) news feed, and other bells and whistles. In other words, he takes the time to promote himself via all manner of online modes.
Suture for a Living (rlbatesmd.blogspot.com)—This is not the first time I have held up Ramona Bates, MD’s blog as a good example of a medical site that also works well as a personal site. In this case, Bates waxes eloquently about her passion for quilting in and around cogent aesthetic topics, with blog entry titles such as, “An Unusual Case of Itching in a Surgery Patient,” “FTM Chest Contouring—Lessons Learned,” and “Keeping Patients Warm Perioperatively.” Beyond that, Bates is thoroughly plugged into the blogosphere unlike any surgeon out there. She is involved in “twitterviews” (interviews conducted using Twitter), online medical confabs, Blog Talk Radio, and can be relied upon to relentlessly comment on medical news from the most reliable sources on the Web.
Derm Matters (dermmatters.blogspot.com)—Hosted by the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD), Derm Matters is JDD editor James Gormley’s well-attuned news and analysis blog devoted to the dermatology community. It is an excellent example of how to balance technical discourse with timely analysis of current developments in a medical field. The same approach can be ported to plastic and cosmetic surgery issues, as one can see in the blogs of Anthony Youn, MD (celebritycosmeticsurgery.blogspot.com), and Rob Oliver, Jr, MD (www.plasticsurgery101.blogspot.com).
Secrets of a Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgeon (blogs.webmd.com/cosmetic-surgery)—Robert Kotler, MD, FACS, does a good job of writing in an informative fashion to appeal to both the aesthetic surgery patient and the physician. This is not as easy to do as it looks, and Kotler’s success here should be instructive to any plastic surgeon wishing to jump into the blogosphere. Importantly, the blog receives widespread attention because it is published as part of the very popular WebMD Web site. This does much for his practice marketing efforts. In addition to taking a stand on issues to attract the attention of colleagues, he also manages to appeal to online readers who are at WebMD looking for the “right” plastic surgeon for them. It’s a win-win scenario for him and his practice.
VERY HONORABLE MENTIONS
Other worthwhile sites to check out include Ricardo L Rodriguez, MD’s cosmeticsurg (www.cosmeticsurg.net/blog), which integrates video very nicely into the usually successful strategy of talking to patients in a straightforward manner combined with multimedia and social networking “hooks.”
In addition, check out PSB—the Orlando plastic surgery blog (blog.plasticsurgeryinflorida.com), in which Thomas Fiala, MD, FACS, FRCSC, provides insightful analysis of plastic surgery-related news and ties his commentary to patients’ commonly asked questions; and Reecemd.com, Richard L. Reece, MD’s excellent blog that covers news-, political-, and science-related issues, with a keen eye for uncovering recent medical innovations.