Hopefully by now, you’ve had a chance to digest the last two posts. If not, it would serve you well to go back and read them. Strategy One was discussed in Part 4 and Strategy Two was discussed in Part 5.
Before we move further, let’s go ahead and list the first two out of five strategies on how to safeguard your chiropractic practice in a Web 2.0 world. They are as follows:
Strategy #1: Start a Blog
Strategy #2: Start Using Social Media Networks
Now, for those of you who are already utilizing the first two strategies, I’d like you to take a moment to share your thoughts, opinions and comments on how these two strategies have impacted your chiropractic practice.
Since blogging is a dialogue, your thoughts on the topic are just as important as this post. Simply put, other chiropractors may be hesitant to start a blog just because they’re not sure if this stuff actually works. So, why not share your testimony! I know they’re out there because I’ve received multiple emails and Twitter DMs telling me so.
The third strategy may be even more intimidating than the first two. However, like I’ve mentioned before, with a little creativity and a great deal of commitment, you can make it happen and see tremendous results from it.
The third strategy is to start a podcast.
Wikipedia defines a podcast as follows:
A podcast is a series of digital computer files, usually either digital audio or video, that is released periodically and made available for download by means of web syndication.
The syndication aspect of the delivery is what differentiates podcasts from other ways of accessing files, such as simple download or streaming: it means that special client software applications known as podcatchers (such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes or Nullsoft’s Winamp) can automatically identify and retrieve new files in a given series when they are made available, by accessing a centrally-maintained web feed that lists all files currently associated with that particular series. New files can thus be downloaded automatically by the podcatcher and stored locally on the user’s computer or other device for offline use, making it simpler for the user to download content that is released episodically.
A podcast is a powerful marketing tool. It gives you the ability to transfer the benefits of your knowledge on-the-go. Since we all live busy lives, prospects and patients will thank you for it.
Think about it. How many times do you see people jogging down the road, sitting in airports or doing any other activity with those well-known Apple iPod buds hanging from their ear lobes? It’s a daily occurrence, right?
People like to multi-task. People like to learn. But, the simple fact is that most don’t enjoy reading so they turn to either audio or video. Using an iPod or any other mp3 player frees them to efficiently accomplish their goals.
How to get started:
There are various ways and a myriad of software available to get started. I prefer GarageBand by Apple but they also offer Podcast Producer which is part of their Mac OS X server software. For a free tutorial that demonstrates just how easy it is, sign up at Apple’s website.
A Step-by-Step Guide:
These instructions assume that you have a blog and are relatively familiar with it’s features.
1. If you have a blog, add a new category for podcasts and set-up an RSS feed specifically for that category.
2. Place a link to the Podcast Feed somewhere prominent on your site. You may also want to create a page of instructions for listening to the podcast.
3. Check that the RSS feed is capable of supporting podcasts. (Many newer blogs are already podcast enabled, but if yours is not you may have to edit the xml file in older versions of Movable Type, or add a plug-in such as Podpress to WordPress blogs. If using Podpress make sure to edit your Podpress settings as appropriate to your Podcast.)
4. Record your podcast, edit the audio and save it as a .mp3 file. (Audacity works well for this.) DO NOT include any blank spaces in the file name.
5. Add informational metadata to your .mp3 file. (You can add much of this by importing your .mp3 file into iTunes, choosing “Get info” and adding the data.) Read the iTunes Podcasting Specs to learn more about metadata and adding podcasts to iTunes.
6. Make a new blog entry featuring the title of your podcast episode and write a brief description about the podcast and the episode. Save, but don’t yet publish.
7. Upload the .mp3 file from your iTunes library (to ensure that you use the version to which you added metadata) to your blog and include a link to the .mp3 file in your blog entry. Be sure to include only 1 audio file per blog post.
8. Publish your blog entry. Visitors may now play the file directly directly in your blog entry or may subscribe to the feed using iTunes or their preferred podcatcher. Your podcast does not need to be listed in the iTunes store for this to work, but submitting it will help you market the podcast.
9. Test your links to make sure they play on the Web and that when you subscribe to the podcast it downloads and plays.
Whichever way you choose, the fact remains that podcasting can provide you with tremendous respect, give you more authority and help you to be seen as THE chiropractor within your community. My question is why not include the benefits it provides for everyone that connects with you? If you do, your practice’s foundation will be that much stronger within the Web 2.0 world.