The recent article posted to the WHPRMS.org website titled Connect your hospital blog with your community encourages marketing professionals to establish a blog strategy. The article reminds us that blogs are a simple way to present information online.
Remember, your communications audience seeks different kinds of information according to their needs. If they want to learn about medical conditions, treatments or new providers, they seek out feature articles. If they want a quick and easy read to learn an expert opinion and perhaps are not seeking specific medical advice, blogs could be their primary source of information.
This blog addresses how to write both feature articles and blogs. With this as guidance, you’ll be able to determine which forum best suits your message.
When to Write a Feature Article, When to Blog
First, let’s discuss the difference between articles and blog posts.
Feature articles have these characteristics ‒
- An editor need not be involved
- Opinions are not typically allowed
- Usually written in the third person, and doesn’t encourage a conversation with the reader
- Conveys information, explanations, news, researched accurate facts, and written in straightforward, objective tone
- Presented in a clear and structured nature: a clear introduction, middle, and conclusion.
- Contains interviews and quotes from others
- Longer than 300 words
- Spelling and good grammar are important
- Headlines should be straight to the point and factual
- Content reviewed by an editor
Blog posts have these characteristics ‒
- Written in the first person and reflect the author’s “voice”
- Are mostly an individual’s opinion
- Exhibits a casual, breezy style and reflects the blogger’s personality
- Use of fragment sentences and short paragraphs is normal
- Can focus on unfinished, evolving ideas
- Doesn’t typically include interviews, comments by others, research and references
- Short in nature – 300 to 500 words
- Good spelling and proper grammar are optional (It pains me to write this!)
- Addresses the readers as “you” and invites comments, participation, involvement, to take some action
- Includes headlines that surprise, inform and stimulate interest.
Choose the Right Format
Whether you choose to write a blog or a feature article, the questions you should ask yourself are these – “Do I want this article to be a fun and breezy reflection of my thoughts?” Or, “Is this an in-depth article that summarizes an important work-related development, perhaps requiring an introduction, explanatory text and a conclusion?”
In summary, if you want to share your thoughts in a fun and easy-to-read manner, write a blog. If instead, you have need to convey complex information with an explanation of why it is important, write a feature article.
James Shulkin is the Internal Communication Manager at Quartz Health Solutions, Inc., and a member of WHPRMS since 1999. If you would like to contact him, write to firstname.lastname@example.org