Newsletter Sizzle, Not Fizzle


IT'S ALL FREE! Newsletter Sizzle, Not Fizzle

I read a lot of newsletters and blogs by nurses, legal nurse consultants, and attorneys.  I'm always disappointed when an author that I like gradually posts less frequently and then stops posting entirely.  I think that one of the problems is that most of us don't know what to write.  If you're an independent or expert LNC, here are a few ideas to make your newsletter or blog sizzle instead of fizzle.

Before you start writing, you MUST know whom you're writing for.  If you don't identify your target audience, you'll start meandering into areas that are of no relevance to your intended audience.  Your target audience gives you a focus, but your newsletter or blog will also appeal to others on the perimeter of your target area.  For example, my target audience includes new legal nurse consultants.  I always write my newsletters with them in mind, even though many experienced LNCs also read my newsletters. 

If you're an independent LNC, specific types of attorneys will probably comprise your target audience.  For experts, your target audience could be attorneys, other professionals in your field, or the public.

What should you write about?  Write about things that you know will help your target audience.  For example, if your target audience includes medical malpractice attorneys, consider writing about:

* Sections of the medical record.  Although attorneys have a general idea about the chart, they don't always understand the significance of what they're reading.  You could probably post 10 or more times about the importance of different parts of a history and physical.  For example, most people know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer, but not everyone realizes that it also raises the risk of pancreatic, kidney, bladder, cervical, and other types of cancer.

* Different roles (physicians, nurses, assistants, managers, etc.) and how they function in the healthcare setting.  For example, the role of the evening or night supervisor is something that may not be well known.  These supervisors are responsible for the entire hospital at certain times of the day, but no one reports directly to the supervisors.  That's a confusing concept to some non-nurses.

* How things function in your healthcare environment.  For example, you could explain why labs are drawn early in the morning, how easy or difficult is to obtain an MRI for an ER patient, how surgeries are scheduled, etc.  These are all things that many attorneys are unlikely to know.

You're probably wondering why you would give away your knowledge when your goal is to have attorneys hire you.  Here's the reality: you will always have more medical knowledge than the attorneys will.  They'll be getting information in dribs and drabs.  You're the one who will help them put it all together.

If your target audience is the general public, consider writing about:

* News about health and treatment of disease.  You can post a link to a current news story, but a newsletter or blog is more powerful if you rewrite the item in your own words as well as provide implications for patients.  For example, nutrition and diet information are of interest to just about everyone.  If you specialize in cardiovascular nursing, you could write about the effects of the latest diet crazes on the heart. 

* Diagnosis of conditions within your area of expertise.  For example, if your specialty is medical-surgical, you could discuss the symptoms of gallbladder disease (or hundreds of other conditions) and how it is diagnosed.

* What to expect during treatment.   For example, if your specialty is postpartum nursing, you could write about what patients and their significant others can expect in the immediate postpartum period.

If your target audience includes other professionals, consider these topics:

* Nursing implications of information from non-nursing journals.  For example, one of the articles in the June 2012 issue of The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology describes a study about the relationship between psychotropic drugs and patient falls.  Discussing the implications of this study would be useful to nurses in geriatric settings. 

If your target audience includes those new to your profession, you could do what I do - write about things you encounter in your daily professional life. 

By now, you're probably thinking that this sounds like a lot of work!  Blogs and newsletter DO require a commitment.  However, if you like to write and you write about things you know, these methods of communication and marketing aren't a chore.  Just remember to always include a call to action and contact information with every newsletter or blog posting.

Newsletters and blogs can help establish you as the go-to person for your specialty.  Writing regularly about these topics can help your postings sizzle, not fizzle.

...Katy Jones