I recently posted about how to make your veterinary blog easy to read by writing with shorter sentences.
Since short ones are easier to follow and digest, they improve readability.
Compact writing doesn't mentally tax your blog visitors. On the other hand, slogging through long, winding text does. Readers will lose patience if they struggle to read and understand your writing.
Remember, your blogging goal is quality content, so concise communication is vital.
The bottom line is that poor readability creates a bad user experience. And bad experiences drive traffic away from your blog.
More tips to improve readability
Since readability is essential to a positive experience for your audience, what more can you do to improve it?
Allow me to make some suggestions …
A helpful online writing assistant/tool that catches problems plaguing writers and suggests corrections. If your writing gets wordy and long, Grammarly recommends revisions to improve clarity and conciseness. (Such as splitting long sentences!)
This test rates how easy text is to read based on a 100-point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is. The calculation formula looks at the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence.
The rule of thumb for easy reading is a score between 60 and 70.
As the name implies, this test scores readability by grade level. For example, an 8.0 score means that an eighth grader in the U.S. could understand the text.
The recommendation is to score between 7.0 and 8.0.
The Flesch Reading Ease Readability tests guide you in determining if your writing is easy to read.
And both tests are included in Microsoft Word under the Review tab on the menu.
Oh, and one other thing about readability, it can impact your search engine optimization (SEO).
Don't lose traffic with those technical veterinary terms pet owners don't know
You know that Google and other search engines aim to give users the best information.
And we know that through SEO, Google will give users content based on the keywords they're searching with.
But what happens if your blog posts or articles don't include those keywords?
Suppose you want to build traffic to your veterinary website. You may be writing articles that include many technically correct veterinary words.
But if your audience is pet owners, they most likely wouldn't use that technical terminology in their searches. So the search engines wouldn't direct them to your site.
And if users did find your site, they probably wouldn't understand those words or the message you're conveying.
This situation defeats the purpose of your blog, which is to offer high-value content.
To prevent this, explain technical terms in plain English with words that pet owners will likely use.
In short, Google doesn't rank content on readability; its algorithms don't calculate this.
But it can affect SEO if your language doesn't match the language users are searching with. Or if technical words pepper your text and speak over your audience's head.
From the user experience and SEO perspective, we agree that readability is key!
Let's talk about that writing project you've put off; email or call me at 508-277-4929!
I'm a content writer/consultant and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets. I dive into the intricacies of writing excellent content so you don't have to!
Does your veterinary website include a blog?
Besides being informative, the content must be easy to read and understand. These qualities give readers the most value.
"Okay," you're probably thinking, "that sounds reasonable. But how do I make the content easy to read?"
I'm glad you asked!
One way is by keeping sentences short.
I touched on this in my blog post, Five quick tips for writing an outstanding veterinary blog, but I'd like to explain more.
Length doesn't always mean in-depth
Long sentences don't necessarily give more detail. On the contrary, they can be confusing, dreary, and exhausting to read.
Mentally taxing your blog visitors with voluminous prose is unwise; they may retaliate by not returning.
To show what I mean about a never-ending sentence, read the following. It illustrates how lengthier ones can be a struggle.
"It is given as a course of two injections, with the first dose priming the immune system, but producing no physiological effect, and the second dose stimulating anti-GnRF antibody production and consequent suppression of gonadal activity a few days after administration."
This sentence… is just long. Breaking it into shorter sentences makes it more manageable.
"It is given as a course of two injections. The first dose primes the immune system but produces no physiological effect. The second dose stimulates anti-GnRF antibody production. The antibody production suppresses gonadal activity a few days after administration."
The brevity in the rewrite simplifies reading, and your brain doesn't strain to remember the points made.
Reining in sentence length can be tricky, though.
That's why I use and recommend Grammarly. It's a writing assistant/editing tool that, among other things, highlights lengthy sentences and suggests revisions.
But there's another reason for keeping sentences short.
Short sentences = less scrolling on digital devices
When writing for the web, whether blog posts or web page content, only so much text can display on a screen and even less on a smartphone.
So, keeping sentences brief and avoiding big chunks of text helps your reader avoid endless scrolling.
Shorter sentences mean fewer words. And fewer words mean you must be picky about your chosen ones to communicate your point precisely.
Remember, for content to do its job, people must understand it to recognize its value. Reading your blog should be enjoyable, not a test of mental stamina.
Otherwise, you're writing for yourself.
Let's talk about that writing project you've put off; email or call me at 508-277-4929!
I'm a freelance copywriter and former veterinary assistant specializing in the animal health and veterinary markets. I dive into the intricacies of writing excellent content so you don't have to!
You own a veterinary practice, and you've decided to start a blog to stay in touch with your clients.
Great idea -- because as a practicing veterinarian, you're in the business of animal health. So why not take steps to help your practice thrive and keep clients returning?
A blog can be an effective way to do this.
But before you put your fingers on the keyboard and publish your first post, here are some tips for writing an outstanding one.
Choosing topics for your veterinary blog
As you choose topics, remember that you're writing for your readers, also known as your target audience.
And most people read blogs to learn something. Especially pet parents keen on animal health because they want the best for their pets!
What you write about should be something that will help them, whether it's the benefits of a particular flea and tick product, the best way to trim nails, or answers to questions you field every day like, "Should I feed my pet a raw diet?" or "Why does my dog eat cigarette butts?"
Tone and format of your veterinary blog
Blog readers don't want to be pitched, so avoid selling your product or service outright; keep that lowkey.
Instead, be personable. Write conversationally with a story-telling approach. Tap into insights from your day-to-day experiences to tell stories that will make your posts interesting.
For instance, maybe a recent euthanasia case raised a point you'd like to share. Readers will appreciate your perspective and advice on this sensitive subject; this builds trust. And trust builds relationships.
Another thing to pay attention to is the format of your post.
Avoid long sentences and big chunks of text; they can be tiring to read. Use headings with paragraphs to break things up, making it easier for readers to skim what's written or jump from one section to another.
Depending on your topic, include statistics when possible. Verify the stats by linking to external sources, which is helpful for a few reasons.
Give readers more helpful content with external links
Linking is akin to citing a reference. It supports your writing and provides readers with additional valuable information.
Linking to quality sources inspires search engines to view your post favorably. External links to other relevant sites add credibility to your post. And that improves search engine results.
Here's an article explaining external linking best practices to learn more.
Help readers discover your blog with search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO plays a role in blogging because its practice, when done well, drives readers to your blog.
But not just any readers, the right readers.
In a nutshell, you optimize your blog and web pages to stack the deck, so to speak, so the people most interested in what you have to offer will find you.
Although many steps are involved with SEO, one of the more important ones is choosing keywords.
Essentially, the keywords you select for your blog post should be the ones your target audience is googling. And to find those keywords requires keyword research.
Keyword research takes time and effort. I could devote a lengthy blog post to this topic, but instead, here's a link to a comprehensive keyword research article.
Once you have your keywords, judiciously place them in your blog post, such as in the title and headings, and sprinkle them throughout the content.
You don't want to just slap the keywords in there or overuse them. Search engines will be suspicious of this behavior and may view your content as spam.
I like to write the post first and then go back and insert keywords. This approach lets you focus on the point of your article without worrying about where to put the keywords.
Get your blog post read with a blockbuster title
So let's imagine you've just written a gem of a blog post with content sure to please your audience.
How do you get them to read it? With a title that catches their eye and sparks their interest!
The title has to inspire, entice, or intrigue so the reader opens and reads your post. Coming up with a blockbuster title is no small feat, so don't treat your title selection as an afterthought.
Spend some time thinking one up. And don't necessarily go with the first one that comes to mind.
To create an irresistible SEO-friendly title, I use CoSchedule Headline-Analyzer.
This tool ranks your title's potency based on phrasing, word count, emotional impact, and more. The higher the score, the stronger the title.
Successful titles frequently ask a question, use numbers, and, most importantly, clearly describe the blog post's contents.
Nothing is more frustrating than reading a blog post that doesn't deliver. You don't want to burn your audience.
So, are you ready to get started blogging?
It's an effective way to stay in front of your veterinary clients and build relationships, but it requires time, effort, and patience to produce consistent blog posts that your audience will find and read.
Otherwise, why bother?
If you'd like help with blogging for your veterinary practice or business, please email or call me at 508-277-4929. I'm happy to assist!
Recently a client asked me if I could guarantee my work.
Could I ensure what I wrote would garner a particular result?
If I could guarantee that my copy would produce a specific outcome for my animal health or veterinary clients, that would be a game-changer!
But I know that a guarantee of that sort could never be, given the nature of content marketing. There are just too many variables that a copywriter can't control that influence the effectiveness of the copy.
These include product, competition, market, price, marketing strategies, traffic, quality of traffic, demand, and buyer preferences.
When these factors converge, it's hard to predict what might happen.
And this applies whether you're trying to improve a response rate percentage or grow a brand's recognition.
Would your financial advisor tell you a particular investment is a definite winner? (If he does, you might want to look for a new one.)
Writing copy is like investing money.
Be diligent with research, but understand that the market is unpredictable, so there are no sure bets.
So back to my client, how did I respond to the question about guaranteeing my work?
With tact, of course.
I said that I couldn't answer with certainty whether my copy would produce their desired result.
But I was confident if they did no content marketing, the chances of achieving it were next to none.
If you want to grow your veterinary practice or animal health business by sharing helpful content or want to learn more about content marketing, contact me or call 508-277-4929.
"When I saw his white blood cell count, I expected he'd have a fever or diarrhea."
These were the words of my veterinarian when she told me Pan's white blood cell count was low.
Looking at him, I didn't see a sick horse. His temperature, which I'd been monitoring for several days, was normal. Whenever my hand moved near my jacket pocket, his ears pricked in hopeful expectation that I'd slip him a treat.
Nope, nothing outwardly wrong with this animal's health.
Animal health is rampant with disease and illness, which gives an animal health copywriter (that would be me) lots of fodder to write about. All critters are afflicted, from pigs and chickens to beloved house pets. And just like in human medicine, veterinary medicine turns to diagnostics for answers.
But what happens when the patient's behavior contradicts what the science reports? What do veterinarians do when the test results are abnormal but the animal seems fine?
In Pan's case, he had a WBC (white blood cell) count that was low, as the results from his lab report below show.
But contrary to what my vet said about fever or diarrhea, he displayed no symptoms indicative of the low count. He didn't act sick at all.
We reran the test one week later, and the count, although still low, improved to 3.3.
These results presented a dilemma. A horse with such a low count might have something brewing. Pan might be risky to admit to Tufts Large Animal Hospital for his upcoming dental surgery.
After weighing all the facts – Pan's WBC test said something was wrong, but his demeanor spoke otherwise – my veterinarian had to consider the conflicting evidence and make a call.
She decided that his lack of fever and otherwise healthy behavior took precedence over his white blood cell count. Luckily, Tufts agreed with her, and Pan's surgery went as scheduled.
Unfortunately, this experience is not uncommon.
Symptoms and test results in veterinary medicine don't always go hand in hand to align neatly with a diagnosis. Much to the dismay of veterinarians and owners.
Scientific data always has a role in the veterinary diagnostic process, but it's never the be-all or end-all. Good vets listen to and observe their patients, knowing that sometimes the animal gives a better indication of what's going on in its body than the results of a lab test.
If you're a veterinarian, you're probably busy caring for patients, so thanks for taking the time to read this! If you want to grow your veterinary practice or animal health business by sharing helpful content or want to learn more about content marketing, contact me or call 508-277-4929.
Suzanne Quigley - Copywriter