If I were to ask you to start a blog, I’m going to bet you’d become really uncomfortable. It’s a natural response because you are a therapist and not a writer or marketer.
Now what I asked you to take an everyday conversation with a client and turn that into words on a page? Outside of the confidentiality issues, it doesn’t sound that intimidating, does it?
Blogging is an amazing marketing technique, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. It isn’t a college thesis or a scientific paper.
When done right, a blog is authentic and conversational. As a therapist, it’s what you already do every day in your practice.
But that all said, blogging isn’t for everyone. If it is for you and something you’d like to use in your marketing efforts, I’d like to teach you how to do it right. Over the last decade, I’ve trained thousands of people on how to write blog posts. When I tell you that you are capable and that you can use a blog to help people, take it to heart.
What is a Blog?
A blog is short for a “web log.” Here are some highlights:
- A blog is a collection of individual posts or articles.
- A blog is maintained by either an individual (a therapist) or a group of authors (a private practice with multiple therapists).
- A blog will typically focus on one topic (mental health) or niche (mental health for the LGBTQIA+ community).
- A blog has individual posts that are published on a regular basis.
- There is no limit to the variety of content a blog can contain.
- A blog can include commentaries, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics, charts, or videos.
- A blog can be, and often is, a multi-media experience.
When a blog is good, individual bloggers are branded as authority figures or celebrities and gain momentum in and of themselves. They become experts for new outlets, speakers, or book authors.
Why Does the World Love Blog Posts?
I like blogging. I was a very early adopter of blogging and find it a bit therapeutic. It allows me to express myself in a creative way and it helps people. It also helps my marketing efforts because search engines and humans both love blog posts.
- People Like Blogs – Blogs provide a sense of intimacy. And it’s this intimacy over the Internet that allows the therapist to capture an audience. And if you can do this, you will capture Google’s attention and traffic.
- Search Engines Like Blogs – Search engines like blog posts because they create fresh content that is relevant to the website and the reader. I believe this is most demonstrated with the speed in which Google picks up and publishes blog content. Google can find and start using a blog entry in seconds.
- Marketers Like Blogs – Blogs help a marketer promote their website, business, or service. They feed and nurture the core website, help to cultivate branding, convey the marketing message, and recruit people to follow their website, business, or service.
- The Media Like Blogs – Blogs can also be picked up by other bloggers, the media, or anyone online. Once you solidify yourself as a solid point of information, your blog posts can quickly create momentum all on their own.
Why Would a Therapist Want to Write Blog Posts?
Blogging can be an incredibly powerful tool for therapists to start and grow their practice. Blogging allows therapists to reach a wider audience and build a strong online presence.
Here are some important reasons why a therapist might want to consider launching a blog:
- Education – A therapist can use their blog to provide education on various mental health topics, provide advice on how to improve mental wellness, and share information on the latest research.
- Authority – By sharing their expertise and knowledge, a therapist can establish themselves as an authority in their field and build trust with their target market.
- Clients – A therapist can use their blog to connect with potential clients and showcase their skills and approach to therapy. This can be a great way to attract new business to launch a new practice or grow an existing practice.
- Trust – By openly expressing yourself in a conversational manner, you allow future clients to get to know you and how you might interact with them as their therapist. It allows them to build a base level of trust before they ever walk through the door for their first therapy session.
Whether it’s to share their expertise and knowledge, connect with new clients, or simply express themselves creatively, blogging can be good for the therapist’s mind, clients, and revenue stream.
15 Best Practices for Launching Your Blog
- Focus on One Key Topic or Niche – Stay focused on mental health. You can discuss anything from trends and challenges to treatment options and success stories. The important thing is to stay focused on mental health and not veer off and discuss something off brand or off topic.
- Build Your Blog Around the Kitchen Table – If you are using your blog as a marketing tool, think about what the reader would want to hear if you were sitting at the kitchen table with them casually discussing your therapy service. Don’t write like you’re a professor in a university lecture hall. Talk like you’re speaking to a friend or family member.
- Write About What You Know – If you try to blog about something you hate, you will, in turn, hate blogging. Blog about something you love and your blogging will become a passion and not a chore. If you are passionate about play therapy, discuss this and how it helps improve the mental health and lives of humans.
- Make it Interesting to Read – Your blog post should be easy-to-read, fun, and interesting, so make sure it doesn’t read like a dissertation or thesis. If it’s not immediately interesting to read, it doesn’t sell across the Internet. The easiest way to make a blog interesting is to tell a story of interest and make it personal.
- Skip the Industry Jargon – Write so everyone, regardless of education level, can understand and digest your content. Skip formal terms and opt for words regular people will understand. If your favorite aunt wouldn’t understand your blog post, you wrote it incorrectly. Rephrase things so Aunt Betty will understand your intent and why it matters.
- Include a Great Title – Pick a great title that is unique and grabs your audience’s attention and makes them want to read more.
- Have a Great Introduction Ready – You have a few seconds to engage the reader, so your introduction or initial paragraph better be good, and it better align with the rest of the blog post. It needs to set the scene and provide something that entices the reader to stay with you and actually read the full blog post.
- Don’t Forget About Bullets – Not everybody likes to read paragraphs, so mix it up. I rarely sit and read an entire paragraph. I scan the paragraph and pay more attention to bullets than anything else. Bullets also can help break up content, so that more complex topics are easier to digest.
- Bring it Back to Your Service – If your website is there to bring in new therapy clients, remember not to lose sight of your marketing goals. You can discuss virtually anything, as long as you bring it back to your therapy services.
- Stay Focused – Stay on point and your audience will stay in touch with you. When my daughter was younger I would refer to her as the clock builder. If you ask her the time, she just can’t say it is ten o’clock. She would go into painfully slow detail about how she built the clock or how she figured out how to tell time. As much as I love her, she would lose my attention.
- Update Your Blog Regularly – If you post blog entries irregularly, your benefits from blogging with be limited. To gain a base of followers or subscribers, you need to have something tangible for them to follow or read. This means regular and meaningful updates and posts.
- Make Your Post a Multi-Media Experience – Consider it eye candy for your blog. A blog can include a variety of content that can consist of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics, charts, or videos. One word of caution is just don’t include a graphic to have a graphic. Make sure the graphic is relevant and adds to the post. If it is just filler, it is annoying and not helpful.
- Soften the Sales Pitch – Your blog post isn’t a constant sales pitch. If it feels like a sales pitch to the reader, you will lose your audience and you will fail in your blogging efforts. You can insert a call-to-action, as this will be your pitch opportunity, just don’t be too aggressive.
- Watch Your Spelling and Grammar – Make sure you proof your post before publishing. Check for any spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors that may appear. A poorly written post can damage your credibility and Google’s desire to bring people to your website.
- Share it on Social Media –Share new posts to your company’s Facebook page, your LinkedIn profile, your Google Business Profile, or highlight in Instagram.
Why Blogging Works So Well
I will tell you one quick story to close out this post and illustrate why I am passionate about blogging.
About 20 years ago I was at a trade show in California. I’m a Michigan girl so this is a little bit of a journey. At the show, a man continued to tell me we had met before, and we knew each other.
The problem was I had no idea who this man was and I surely didn’t know what he was talking about. In all honesty, he was starting to freak me out because he was adamant about us knowing each other.
Finally, after a few hours, he remembered that he subscribed to my blog, and he started to tell me his favorite posts. This was back in the day when most of the world still didn’t know what blogging was and they certainly didn’t follow many.
Not only did he recognize my face from my blog, but he also remembered individual posts I had written, and he could tell me what I had written about months prior to our meeting.
Now pause for a moment and let that sink in. Someone I didn’t know had such a strong sense of me that he was 100% certain we knew each other. And it was all because I wrote about software in a very conversational manner.
That is powerful. And that illustrates the power of blogging.