So you see other therapists out there with their fancy looking blogs and are instantly intimidated. You have likely heard about the benefits of blogging because blogging is still one of the best ways to reach your ideal therapy clients, establish your expertise, and drive more traffic to your website and practice. It’s not as difficult as it can seem.
Starting a blog can be completely worth it in private practice, but it doesn’t have to take up all of your time. Before you decide to commit the time to blogging, it’s important to first determine whether or not it’s the right tactic for your practice.
Blogging isn't for everyone, and that’s ok. Starting a therapy blog isn’t the only hallmark of a successful practice. Blogging is not your only option for increasing your visibility and reaching more people. Additional strategies include educating your target audience on other platforms and mediums like a Youtube channel or Facebook Lives, hosting or being a regular guest on podcasts or radio shows, and guest blogging.
Consider your personality, whether you are a writer or a talker, whether your ideal client is a reader or a viewer, as well as the amount of time you can devote to writing regularly before making your decision. If you have the time and interest it takes to give blogging the consistency and effort it requires, it can be an extremely helpful tool in your marketing plan. Blogging also requires consistency and effort, which means it also demands your time. While blogging does take an investment in money to build it, and your ongoing time to maintain it, everything is an experiment. You can stop blogging any time you want. Likewise, blogging consistently may unlock something inside you, allowing you to realize you want to shift your focus, which means it can help you narrow your professional "sweet spot."
Before starting a therapy blog, you need to decide if this is something you’d like to experiment with, whether it’s to drive web traffic, attract new clients, elevate your thought leadership, or just to find a new way to share your professional thoughts.
Every time you post a blog, Google sees that as a new web page affiliated with your site. The more web pages affiliated with your site, the more opportunities potential clients have to find your website in a Google search. This falls under tactics for SEO (search engine optimization), strategies that help your website show up in search engines. Blogging boosts your SEO in two major ways:
Another advantage to blogging regularly is the potential for referral resources to connect with your content, and become more likely to offer your name when they know someone who is looking for a therapist. And, of course in private practice, clients tend to come for a while and then take a break. Blogging is a great way for past clients to stay connected with you. This makes an easier on-ramp for them to return to therapy in the future.
Blogging also helps build trust in potential clients and referral resources. Imagine if you were looking for a therapist for yourself and you had a few different therapists’ websites pulled up, wouldn’t you gravitate towards the one who has great content on their blog? Not only can you show who you are through the voice you bring to your blog, but so few therapists blog actively that simply by showing up in this format you help yourself stand out from the crowd.
If you live in an urban area, or in a geographical area saturated with therapists, then niching your therapy services and blog content can help your ideal client set you apart from the competition. Instead of blogging on just anything, narrowing your focus can help you be sought after for particular philosophies, treatments, issues, and approaches.
Blogging consistently will lead to more therapy clients, because you are writing (and sharing) articles on topics that appeal to them; it can also lead to more opportunities, and therefore, income, because your expertise will be available to people and other professionals outside your geographical area. Whether or not you are in private practice, blogging is a worthwhile endeavor for you, if you'd like to share a message with a larger audience. Conference organizers, podcast hosts, writers, among others, will have a much easier time finding you online. This is good for business, and for your career, in general. Blogging expands your reach.
Blogging will increase traffic to your blog or website through search engine optimization (SEO) as well as any online promotional strategies you employ. Through a tailored online presence that includes blogging, sharing blog posts on social media, and interacting with your online audience, ideal clients will begin to see you as a knowledgeable source of information (as an expert) on their problems and/or goals.
In order to launch a blog, you’ll need to prepare and do some legwork before the big reveal. Firstly, you’ll need to start a new website just for the blog, add a blog to your existing website, or connect your blog to your existing therapy business page. Most web service providers like Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, and others have a blog platform built in. Just make sure you use this built-in blog feature rather than creating a separate domain name. The benefit of this is that connecting the blog with your primary domain name helps boost that domain’s SEO.
If you have a private practice website, blog on the same site. Visitors will be able to peruse your other pages, including information about your therapy services and ways to contact you. Every time you write a blog post and add it to a page on your website, Google takes the keywords from your post into account when potential clients search for a therapist. Think of it like this: each blog post drops a few pennies into your SEO piggy bank. One post might not make a huge difference, but if you keep saving those pennies they will really start to add up your SEO game over time.
Next you’ll need to write 3-4 blog posts to seed the site with initial content so that when people come to your blog there’s enough to read and peruse. This will also keep you ahead of your chosen blogging schedule and minimize last-minute writing.
Once your blog is all set up with the initial posts, it’s time for the hard part –– planning and sticking to a blogging schedule. Whether you decide to blog monthly, weekly, or some cadence in between, it’s important to do a little planning so that you are able to stay ahead of schedule.
Ultimately, the more frequent and consistent you are with your blog posts, the faster you will generate an audience and see reader engagement. However, having a schedule--any schedule--is what matters most. Whether you blog monthly, or weekly, consistency communicates credibility and encourages trust.
It’s easy if you can decide on topics ahead of time so that you aren’t stuck staring at a blank document during crunch time. Choose subject matter that’s relevant to your business, but make sure you're interested in the topics, too. You are busy. Most likely, the last thing you want to be doing is researching a topic you find boring; this will cause blogging to become a burden. Writing for your target clients should be enjoyable (at least most of the time!). It is also a process by which you will develop personally and professionally; you will see these results over time, if you follow your curiosity, interests, and vision.
Potential clients want to know that you see them and their problems. They want to learn tools to help them with their specific issue. Blog posts are also a perfect platform to tackle a single problem your ideal clients might be experiencing. By offering simple tips to help potential clients resolve that problem, you start to build a sense of trust with them before they ever contact you. The idea is NOT to squeeze an entire therapy session in your blog post. It’s just to be able to send somebody away with a helpful tool to solve that problem.
Most of all, don’t overthink it. It’s ok to keep posts straight forward. In fact, blog posts do not have to be 2,000 words, with a list of references. SEO best practices recommend at least 750 words per page, which shouldn't be too hard. Share an experience, tell a story from your work, provide a list of resources, summarize a book or article you've read recently. Focus on your ideal client, and know you already know more about therapy (without any research) than s/he knows. You already have knowledge to share.
While just having a regularly updated blog alone will increase your SEO and drive traffic to your site, it will help to actively share and market your blog. Share the link to new blog posts across all your professional social media platforms, include your blogs in newsletters, and you can even put the URL for your blog on your marketing collateral.
Becoming a blogger requires forethought and planning, but, if it's the right option for you, it will increase your visibility by showcasing your therapy expertise. Blogging is an option for reaching your target audience, as well as developing your voice. It allows for creative expression that can lead to insights related to your work, while at the same time engaging your ideal therapy clients.