Vida y Salud is a blog about health and wellness for Spanish-speaking audiences
“I believe that, when it comes to blogging, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg – especially for the Latino market. This is a very exciting time.” – Dra. Aliza Lifshitz
Aliza Lifshitz is a medical doctor and a medical correspondent. She’s been practicing medicine and reporting on Univision TV for over 20 years, in addition to working in other media, including radio and print. In essence, she has two very different practices: a private one in which she sees individual patients, and a public one in which she uses mass media to empower people to live healthier lives.
Dra. Aliza graduated from the Medical School of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She currently maintains a private practice in Los Angeles, CA. Dra. Aliza is the spokeswoman for the Peabody Award-winning Univision health initiative Entérate: Salud es Vida.
Dra. Aliza currently hosts the weekly live El Consuntorio de la Dra. Aliza, for Univision Radio. She also writes a monthly columns for People en Español and Ser Padres (the Spanish language edition of Parent’s Magazine). Her health column appears weekly in ImpreMedia newspapers, including La Opinión, Los Angeles; El Diario, New York and La Raza, Chicago. She also writes a column for the Vista Sunday supplement, which appears monthly in 29 U.S. newspapers.
Dra. Aliza has received numerous awards and recognitions. Hispanic Business magazine named her one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in 1999, as well as, the Hispanic Media 100 Award in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007.
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Mequoda – How long have you been blogging?
AL – My husband, Carl Kravetz, who is the publisher, and I started VidaySalud in June 2009. I’m the Editor-in-Chief. VidaySalud is a health information website for consumers (sort of like WebMD) that reaches all 21 Spanish-speaking countries, including the Hispanic community in the United States. It is essentially a hub comprised of 18 health-topic-specific blogs, all of which I edit and am the main writer for.
Mequoda – How many blogs are you currently writing for?
AL – In addition to VidaySalud, I write for tuvozentuvida, which is part of AOL Latino and for QueRicaVida from General Mills. From time to time I contribute to others. My newspaper columns are published online as well.
Mequoda – Which CMS (ie: WordPress, Typo) are you using? What do you like about it?
AL – We use WordPress on VidaySalud.com and AOL uses BlogSmith. Both are easy to use. We chose WordPress for VidaySalud because of its flexibility and the many plug-ins that allow us to engage our user community.
Mequoda – Are you blogging for your company as part of you job (ie: corporate) or is this a personal passion?
AL – I’m very lucky in that my passion became a business. As a physician, my mission and passion is to heal. As part of that mission, I inform and educate people on health related issues. Fortunately, many corporations share my passion. I get to do what I like and our sponsors get to market their products and services in a respectful, and respected, high-quality environment. That allows us to support the website. We also have a 501 C 3 Foundation. A percentage of our gross sponsorship income goes to the Foundation to provide scholarships for Latino students who would like to become medical doctors or nurses. This is another way to give back to the community that supports us.
Mequoda – Has your blog enhanced your professional reputation? How?
AL – My professional reputation was very well established in the United States, but the blog/website is enhancing it outside of the country as my exposure grows with it. It is still young, but it has been very well received all over the Spanish-speaking world.
Mequoda – How often do you post a new blog? Are you the only one posting on your blog?
AL – We update daily. We post about 20 original stories every two weeks. So far we have over 1,000 original posts. We also have a partnership with Meredith’s Ser Padres in the children’s and pregnancy sections, where they post some of their content. We also have an A to Z health glossary under an arrangement with Harvard Health Publications. We’ve translated and adapted their content for our audience. And we have some collaborators who occasionally contribute posts. We are looking to add other original voices in Hispanic health.
Mequoda – Who is your target audience?
AL – Spanish-speaking consumers throughout the world. Our users are primarily women 18 to 54, but we have a solid core of male users as well.
Mequoda – What are you doing to grow your audience and to create customer loyalty?
AL – First and foremost, we are providing great quality content that is easy to understand and apply to our users’ own lives. We’re paying close attention to their comments and questions in determining the site’s content. We’re using my radio program, in-person presentations and the site’s logo and url at the end of my columns in the print publications I work with. We have one weekly and 13 bi-weekly email newsletters, free special reports and we manage almost 10,000 search terms in Google AdWords.
Mequoda – How are you using social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) to promote your blog? Has that changed the way you blog?
AL – We just recently started using Twitter and Facebook. We post brief summaries of every article with links back to the site. After two months we have about 2,300 Facebook fans and 500 Twitter followers.
Mequoda – What is your main source of revenue: ads, sponsorships, product sales, or donations?
AL – Our website is sponsor/ad supported. We do not sell products.
Mequoda – Approximately what percentage of your overall revenue comes from product sales vs. advertising/sponsorships or other sources?
AL – It’s 100% from sponsors. Our site is very young but we were very lucky since I was already in the media and my husband was CEO of an ad agency and Chairman of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. We both knew advertisers and ad agencies – and they knew us.
Mequoda – What is your main source of referrals?
AL – Google, both paid and organic search. Facebook, AOL and Univision.com are next, but far behind.
Mequoda – What key metrics (or sites) do you monitor to analyze the health of your business?
AL – We watch unique visitors and page views. We keep track of links. We compare ourselves against other Spanish-language sites targeting women with health or parenting content.
Mequoda – How many sites have you linked to in the last 30 days?
AL – We are up to over 10,000 links to hundreds of sites. About 2,000 of these have come in the last month.
Mequoda – What changes have you seen in your market since you began blogging?
AL – There are a lot more Hispanics online and they have become avid users of social media. Advertisers have discovered them and online is the only significant growth area in ad dollars spent.
Mequoda – Any interesting experience you’d like to share?
AL – When we started we thought that, since I was particularly well known in the United States, we would be catering primarily to the U.S. Latino market. But we were rapidly embraced by Latinos all over the world. Our success in Spain was particularly interesting since Spaniards tend to think that Latin-American Spanish, which is what we use, is often not “up to their standards”. Similar to the way the British view American English… But quality content will always find an audience.
Mequoda – What advice would you give a new blogger?
AL – Find your own voice and stay true to it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. And strive to create content that makes a difference in your users’ lives. If you deliver value, you will be valued!
Mequoda – What ways are you planning to expand over the next year?
AL – We will be adding support groups (communities) for several diseases and a monthly live chat event at which users can ask me questions directly. And we’ll continue to grow with the support of our readers, who have been phenomenal, and our sponsors, who continue to find ways to promote our work and to whom we are very grateful.
Mequoda – Is there anything you’d like to share?
AL – If someone had told me when I went to medical school – before cell phones, smart-phones, iPads and personal computers – that one day I would be able to help Spanish-speaking people all over the world understand their health better, I would have said, “I’d love to do that, but it’s an impossible dream.” I’m grateful that I’m able to help so many people, and it’s great to be able to do it with my husband.