3 things to help you blog during the pandemic
Now, more than ever, people are online—a whopping 40-100 percent more.1 Between working from home, staying connected with those who we’re not seeing as much in person, and seeking digital distraction, entertainment, and education, we’re doing our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. This means people (your audience) are also looking online for credible sources of health information that can help them successfully get through this pandemic.
So, the demand for health content during the pandemic is here! This is where health professionals like you come in.
As a health professional with an online presence and blog, helping your clients and patients deal with their concerns in your area of expertise is more important now than ever. (So is amplifying research-based credible health information so we can get on the other side of this as quickly as possible.)
Before the novel coronavirus, there was no shortage of online health information. Now there seems it seems to be overflowing. Whether it’s health authorities, science communicators, the media, or bloggers, health information is abundant online.
The question is: How should your online health content and blog pivot?
1 – Choosing relevant topics for your health blog
You may have a content strategy and editorial calendar that seems to be less relevant due to the pandemic. If so, then it’s time to temporarily pause it and work toward a new strategy for the time being. As a health professional, you have expertise that can help your audience get through this tough time. You may be licensed or have specific training in a particular area. It’s time to lean in on how you can help meet your audience’s immediate needs.
Spread your word to help as many people as you can within your scope of practice. What content do you have that is super-relevant right now and can just use a quick refresh? Your readers and followers may need your help with eating better, keeping fit, getting better sleep, managing their current health conditions, or improving moods and reducing stress. Share your expertise far and wide.
One example is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who created a free course to help people with their mental health: Mind Control: Managing Your Mental Health During COVID-19. You certainly don’t have to create a brand new course to offer for free! Others have created virtual/online, new, or more affordable options for their audiences, like my fake news course with a free option for now.
People are looking for connection and leadership—especially from trustworthy health professionals. Beyond offering your expertise, consider being open and writing/recording how you’re responding to the pandemic professionally and personally. Even share some of your struggles and experiences. These kinds of posts help people get to know you better and reduce stigma for issues that many people deal with but don’t talk about.
Another great use of your platform is to help spread information and updates from trustworthy and reputable sources. Help your readers and followers understand what scientists are learning about how to stop the spread of COVID-19. Keeping physically distant when seeing people whom you don’t live with, enjoying the great outdoors as much as possible, proper handwashing and cleaning high-touch surfaces, as well as the growing body of evidence showing that masks help curb the spread (especially when indoors or in crowds). Help combat the plethora of misinformation circulating that undermines the best science and fast-moving, most up-to-date knowledge we have about preventing and treating this brand new disease: infodemic.
2 – Positioning your health content so it resonates with your audience
Of course, health blogging (or vlogging, podcasting) during the coronavirus pandemic isn’t the same as other times. After you’ve decided on a topic, how you present it is oh so important. Your audience may need information that is super-simple to implement because they’re stressed, exhausted, and distracted these days. When creating content, consider
- What are your audience’s biggest fears right now?
- Where are they physically located? Are they in an area of past or current outbreaks?
- How are they feeling? Do they need resources and support for their mental health?
- What do they need to know to protect and build theirs and their loved ones’ physical health?
- Have they been affected by the pandemic financially?
- What about their experiences of inequity? Have those been exacerbated lately?
- Are they mourning losses in their own circle of family and friends?
Health blogging in a pandemic challenges us to be more thoughtful and sensitive in our messaging because we know that just about everyone is under a lot more stress. Your audience many need resources and messages of support, so bring those into your communication.
Be generous. Be kind. Be a spreader of credible and trustworthy information.
3 – Creating health content when you don’t have the bandwidth to do so
This is the first blog post I’ve written from scratch in a few months. I’ve been having a hard time focusing and keeping up with client work, learning about why people share misinformation (which quite literally has life-or-death consequences right now), dealing with having everybody home all day since March, finishing up another done-for-you health article for you, distracting/entertaining myself from time to time, and *trying* to enjoy the summer and prioritize more self-care.
BTW, I recently finished watching the Netflix docuseries Connected and the episode on digits blew my mind! 🤯
You may be feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or not expert enough in the pandemic-related topics your audience wants. In that case, it is totally legit to not create something brand new from scratch, but rather build your authority by curating trustworthy health content (including your own content!). Here are four places bloggers can get content including re-purposing what you already have, inviting guests, using done-for-you health articles, and hiring it out to a freelance health writer.
For example, one type of post that doesn’t require a ton of research and expertise, but is very helpful for your audience, is a “round-up” post. This is where you gather (curate) some awesome content that is already out there created by others whom you trust. It’s like a podcast or YouTube playlist, but for blog posts. Simply find a few (three or more) excellent resources for your audience, then create a blog post introducing and linking to each one.
Here are some examples of curated roundup posts:
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Times have suddenly changed and your health blogging can pivot to address this. By knowing what health info is trustworthy and most helpful for your audience right now, you can make a big difference in their lives. Be generous. Be kind. Be a sharer of credible health information. Our collective health, economy, and everything in between will benefit.
Signing off and toasting: To smart and strategic health blogging during the pandemic!
Over to you
Have you pivoted your health content since the pandemic started? What are your readers struggling with most that you can help them with? What type of content are you going to create if you don’t have the same bandwidth as before? How are you amplifying trustworthy information?
I’d love to know in the comments below!
- De’, R., Pandey, N., & Pal, A. (2020). Impact of Digital Surge during Covid-19 Pandemic: A Viewpoint on Research and Practice. International Journal of Information Management, 102171. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102171
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I'm Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.