How to Make Weekly Blogging Ridiculously Easy and Fun by Natalie Moore
As private practitioners, we know the benefits of blogging for our practice.
1) It builds our website’s S.E.O., making it easier for our ideal client to find us.
2) It helps clients get to know us, starting the therapeutic relationship before a phone call is even made.
3) We build an audience to connect with over time that we can offer additional services to – should we choose to publish a book, launch an eCourse, etc.
But if you’re like me, the idea of starting a weekly blog was intimidating! I thought “What if I don’t know what to write about?” “What if I forget to post?” “What if no one reads it?” and probably a dozen other fears. I had a couple of unsuccessful attempts at blogging when I first started my site – it always felt a bit forced and I could never keep a consistent schedule, so I would delete the posts and would give up on the idea of a blog entirely (link to other article.) That is until I finally cracked the code to making blogging ridiculously easy and fun! Here’s how I did it:
1. Keep it conversational.
The biggest obstacle to keeping a weekly blog going is not busyness, laziness or procrastination…it’s perfection! If you think your posts need to be scholarly or error-proof you are mistaken! Think of the blogs that you like to read. They’re probably written in a casual, conversational tone. Just because we’re therapists and have an advanced degree doesn’t mean we need to write the way we would in a grad school paper! We want people to enjoy reading our posts, not for it to feel like a homework assignment. The best way to do this is to think about how we would describe a concept to a client in a session. Write like that!
- Find inspiration all around you.
When we feel like we have to come up with something it takes all the fun out of it. Instead, take notice of what you’re naturally drawn to lately – what are you reading and thinking about? What types of issues keep coming up over and over again in sessions? What pieces of wisdom or insight have you found yourself sharing a lot lately? If you feel like you need to write about something, you’ll resist it and procrastinate big time. But if something interests you, you’re going to write about it with passion and ease.
- Think seasonally.
What are people thinking and talking about in January? Probably their New Year’s resolutions. In February? Relationships. December? The holidays. You see where I’m going with this. There are limitless possibilities of mental health blog topics that are related to what’s going on during the current time of the year. But be sure to keep your niche in mind. For example, if you work primarily with couples, your February posts might be about adding romance to one’s relationship – whereas if you work with recent divorcees, your posts might be about embracing singlehood or coping with loss. This strategy will also keep your content fresh and relevant. If you’re super ambitious, you can even put together an editorial calendar for an entire year of posts that you plan to do based on seasonal topics.
- Create a formula that works for you.
We all know that things go more smoothly and quickly when we implement systems. The same is true for blogging. I’ve enacted a formula that works perfectly for me. I create what are known as “listicles” which are articles that use lists as the main structure, filled out with plenty of information to make it useful to the reader. Think “10 Ways to Communicate with your Spouse,” “9 Reasons to Try Meditation,” – you’ve seen them! BuzzFeed is famous for these. I find this format super easy and fun to work with. I write an intro paragraph, a list of tips or actionable steps (with descriptions) and a short outro and boom! Blog post ready to go.
- Squeeze time out of your day.
It all starts when an idea for a post pops into my head. I quickly type it into a notepad app on my phone so I don’t forget it (obviously a regular notepad will do, too, but I find it so much more convenient to use an app and you’ll see why.) I keep a running list going so that they’re all in one place. Then once I find myself with some time to kill (i.e. I’m waiting at the car wash or I have a no-show client, etc.) I pull out the list of blog ideas, and find one that I could totally expand on. I open a new note on the app and start creating my list of steps that I’m doing to delve into. Next time I have a chunk of time to spare I elaborate on each step (that I’ve already filled in) by describing the step in more detail. 3-6 sentences will do. We’re almost done! Next, I email it to myself, copy into a Word document, add my intro and outro and I’m finished!
- Schedule out your posts.
Since my new way of approaching blogging has become so easy and fun, I have lots of articles in my arsenal just waiting to be posted. What I have done is decided upon a day and time each week that my blog posts go live and started to schedule posts out in advance (I know Allison is a huge fan of this method, too!) so that for the next 6 weeks I don’t have to think about blogging if I don’t want to. This is great for multiple purposes – it reduces stress because it’s one less thing to think about, it ensures your posts are going out consistently, and if you happen to be in a doldrums of inspiration, don’t worry! You’re covered.
- Create a series.
A great way to stretch out one topic is to create a series of posts around it. Let’s say you’re interesting in working with individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse. You wouldn’t want to just write one blog post about recovery and then be like “well, already did that, now what else do I write about?” You’d want to expand on that as much as possible, for example creating a series of a number of topics, ranging from how to know if you need help for addiction, to where to find help, to how to prevent relapse and so on.
8. Get ideas from previous posts.
Still having a hard time coming up with ideas? Look at your previous posts for inspiration. I did this with one article and found 12 concepts that I mentioned that could be expanded on in 12 separate posts. For example, let’s say you write an article about how to reduce depression and you mention positive self-talk as a coping mechanism. Bingo! Write a post about positive self-talk. Once you write it and share it, don’t forget to link to your post about self-talk in your article about depression. Not only will this be beneficial to readers to better understand your material, but it will also give your S.E.O. a boost!
Did you notice that this post was done in list format? I wrote this article with the exact formula I gave to you guys in about an hour and it was easy and fun! I swear to you! One last thought to leave you with…you need to find a way to make blogging turn from an “I should do that” chore to an “I want to do that!” activity. It helps to connect to the intention of blogging.
For me, it’s spreading awareness about mental health issues, helping my ideal client find the therapist they need and giving people the tools they need to live a fulfilling life. The “how” of blogging is only helpful once we’ve nailed down the “why.” Best of luck in your blogging endeavors!
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, and get help from Allison and a small group of new, close friends in Abundance Practice-Building Group. Allison is all about helping you gain the confidence and tools you need to succeed.