Guess what, you don’t have to be a narcissistic millennial who takes pictures of your food and humble-brags every other post to have a blog. Errr, sorry about that. I just showed my initial bias against blogs.
Here’s an awful, true story that may make you hate me: in the early days of LiveJournal (2001-ish), my then-boyfriend had a blog. I actually got mad at him, like a crying fight, for blogging about missing his deceased grandfather. My problem was that he blogged about it rather than talking to me, his closest confidant/highly enmeshed girlfriend. I didn’t see it as a virtual diary; I saw it as an announcement to everyone we knew that he was hurting while sitting beside me and staying quiet about it. Don’t worry, all our friends let me know I was being ridiculous and I apologized. I tell this story because not everyone gets blogs and I certainly didn’t.
Now, I don’t recommend your counseling blog contain anything about your current misery. Or anything highly personal. Your counseling blog serves a specific purpose. Let me lay it out for you, bullet point-style.
WHY YOU NEED A BLOG ON YOUR WEBSITE
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): the more your website says the words your potential clients are googling, the more likely they will be led to your site. You can create metatags and all sorts of other internet gobbledygook, but you can only say something like “couples therapy sacramento” so many times on a static website. You can throw it in easier in a blog like “When I see couples in my office here in Sacramento…”.
- It gives your potential clients a chance to get to know your stance on things or your treatment modality. If you blog “5 Ways to Save Your Marriage After Infidelity,” potential clients know you aren’t going to throw in the towel when you hear that one of them cheated. If you write “What’s the Difference Between ACT and CBT?” they get a feel for how you approach therapy.
- It attracts more of your ideal clients. Let’s say someone is given the standard 3 names from which to choose their provider. The potential client looks at yours, Therapist A and Therapist B. You and Therapist A have blogs. Therapist B doesn’t. Therapist B is probably no longer in the running. The potential client will get a good idea from reading your blog and Therapist A’s blog about who feels like a better fit. It’s okay if s/he goes with Therapist A. You want YOUR good fit people, not Person A’s good fit people.
HOW TO GET IT DONE
- Make a list of topics. Next week I’m sending out an exercise that will yield a ton of topics. Then when it’s writing time, simply choose what you feel like writing about from your list. You’ve just taken a whole step out of the creative process. Need help creating your list? I’ve got you covered!
- Make it valuable. Never, ever write a blog post just to write a blog post. Make sure your ideal client will get some value from your content. Every time you write a filler post, you’ll lose credibility.
- Write like you talk. This will also help with giving clients a chance to know you a little bit. You can tell this is how I talk, right? You probably know whether or not you’d want to grab a beer with me. Well, before I ruined it with that LiveJournal story… But seriously, you want to write like you talk to the clients you see (or want to see) everyday. Not like a journal article or a robot.
- Be consistent. Decide how often you are going to post and stick with it. Once a month is great. Weekly is awesome as long as you’re still cranking out good content. If you write once in April and then again in November and December, you look flaky. No one wants their therapist to be inconsistent. Which leads me to…
- Batch your writing. If you have a blog article hanging over your head every week or every month it creates a dreadline. Haha! See what I did there? But seriously, knocking it all out in batches makes it so much easier. You can get into a flow with writing and then schedule out your blog posts so they publish when you want them to. You can take 2 half days or one full day and write a year’s worth. Done and done.
- Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to write the best thing you’ve ever written. Write some stuff down and read over it a couple times. You’ve already determined that it’s valuable content. The rest is gravy. Publishing “there” when it should’ve been “they’re” isn’t going to cost you business, unless your ideal clients are hardcore grammar snobs.
- Expect to feel vulnerable at first. When strangers started getting my Tasky, Confidence-Boosting Checklist and reading this newsletter I started to feel really uncomfortable. What did those 13 strangers in Colorado think about that last post? Does what I have to say actually help anyone? Is my style too “out there?” Maybe people are reading this because it’s like a slow moving car crash? Hellllooooooo Inner Critic. Yeah, so you just have to bring self compassion to the party and acknowledge that people you’ve never met are going to read what you wrote and judge it as a fit or not a fit. Not good or bad. It doesn’t make you worthy or unworthy. Trust that the exposure therapy you get thanks to all that consistency helps with the anxiety of hitting schedule or hitting send.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there is an important upgrade you can do for your blog. A video blog or Vlog is a huge value-add for people. They get to see you, hear you; they probably get a much deeper understanding of you than the written word provides (aside from you writing experts out there). If you’re comfortable-ish in front of the camera, I highly recommend getting in front of your smart phone (it’s plenty, really. No need to buy anything fancy). If you’re not comfortable, it doesn’t hurt anything except your ego to practice. I intensely resisted video, partly because I’m super-animated and look like a muppet when I’m excited. And boy does practice-building rile me up. But you’ll see some videos from me in the near future. Ego be damned.
Comment below with your biggest blog problems!
Allison Puryear is an LCSW with a nearly diagnosable obsession with business development. She has started practices in three different states and wants you to know that building a private practice is shockingly doable when you have a plan and support. After retiring her individual consultation services, she opened the Abundance Party, where you can get practice-building help for the cost of a copay. You can download a free private practice checklist to make sure you have your ducks in a row, get weekly private practice tips, listen to the podcast, hop into the free Facebook Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.