Does your website have a blog? When was the last time you updated it? Are you yet to publish your first post? As I mentioned recently in Everything You Need to Know About Outsourcing in Private Practice, I do not single-handedly create all my content. I’ve been working with copywriter Franky Shanahan since 2018. With her help, I’ve built a huge archive of blog posts, both for therapists like you and for my private practice. I attribute being fully booked in my clinic for over a decade to blogging; it’s the reason I was given the opportunity to write a book and now I make an income from blogging on Therapist Corner over on Substack, link above.
I’ve experienced some of the benefits first-hand but blogging regularly is hard work. Not everyone is able to outsource this task right away, so I’ve invited Franky to share her top tips and advice to help you get started (or restarted) and keep going.
How to Blog for Your Private Practice
Why blog at all? I could write a very long post about the benefits, but I’ll try to keep this brief! Blogging is an opportunity to connect with existing and potential clients in a deep, meaningful way. It allows you to share expertise and build trust with your audience. Doing this regularly over time can help establish you as a ‘go-to’ expert within your profession or a particular niche. This can lead to more enquiries and higher conversion rates.
Blogging happens on your website – the platform you own and arguably have the most control over. By creating useful content, you give people a reason to visit your website. Every post you publish is also an opportunity for others to share the link to your blog.
All the major search engines love fresh, relevant content. When you blog consistently, you’re providing the likes of Google with new content to index. It’s also an opportunity to insert relevant keywords that people use to search for the services you provide. In other words, blogging is one of the best ways to increase the visibility of your private practice so potential clients can find you.
Create a Blog Content Plan
If you want to blog consistently, start by creating a content plan for at least the next six months. Make sure it’s achievable. Be realistic about the type of content you can create and how often. Then you need to pick 3-4 general topics you want to cover. I call these ‘content buckets’. You should choose topics that are representative of your brand and relevant in the context of your business. For example, Sarah’s content buckets are Journaling, Therapy, Mental Health and Therapist Corner. The post you’re currently reading belongs in the final bucket!
Your next job is to fill these buckets with more specific ideas. As well as being relevant to your audience, your content needs to be useful and valuable. Give people a reason to read it by addressing their goals and challenges. What are they trying to achieve? What are they struggling with? And how can you help them?
Try to focus on things that will always be relevant to your readers. This will help you create what’s called ‘evergreen content’. Like evergreen trees that retain their leaves all year round, evergreen content stays fresh forever and can deliver traffic to your website (and hold a valuable position in search engines) for months or even years after publication.
Finally, once you have a list of topics and titles, allocate these to a specific day, week or month. This is your content plan.
Plan Each Post
As well as planning your content in general, I’d recommend planning each post before you start writing. Blank pages are intimidating. They remind you of everything you haven’t written yet and how much work you have left to do. Brain dump ideas, make rough notes, create a loose structure or type out what you’re trying to achieve with the post you’re writing. Having something, anything, on the page always seems to help.
Sometimes a simple list of points is all you need. Here’s how the post you’re reading now started out:
– Intro from Sarah
– Benefits of blogging
– Content plans and planning posts
– Quick writing tips
– What to do after you hit publish
– Useful links
Now that I’m writing this post in full, all I need to do is refine the subheadings and build out each point. Creating a plan can feel like an extra step, but it always saves time in the long run.
If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of blogging, it can be helpful to remember it’s actually lots of little tasks. Some elements are more time-consuming than others, but you can break things down and batch the work involved.
4 Quick Blog Writing Tips
Focus on speaking the language of your ideal client so people can recognise themselves in your words. It also helps you connect with them and build a relationship. Make sure everything you write sounds the way your ideal clients think. Try to put yourselves in their shoes.
Don’t overwrite. Explain things simply. Focus on potential benefits, but don’t overstate them. When you exaggerate or make wild, outlandish claims you risk losing the trust and respect of your audience. For therapists in particular, it’s important to create a blog that feels safe and inclusive, so you should also bear this in mind while writing.
Don’t worry, your first draft is supposed to be ugly! Let the magic happen when you edit. It’s important to check your spelling and grammar, but don’t panic if you find these things difficult. A tool like Grammarly.com might help but done is always better than perfect. My top tip for proofreading your own work is to read the whole post from start to finish and then each sentence in reverse. This stops your brain from automatically correcting mistakes or filling in missing words because it thinks it knows what you’re trying to say.
Finally, always end a blog post with a call to action or at least a next step designed to keep people on your website. A blog post should never be a dead end. You can direct your readers to related content, invite them to continue the conversation on another platform, or encourage them to purchase a product or service.
What to Do After You Hit Publish
Even if you’re not paying someone like me to blog on your behalf, creating content takes time and effort, so you want to maximise your investment. Once you hit publish, don’t forget to promote your post. Share it with your mailing list, post about it on Instagram and pop a link on your Facebook page. Instead of writing promotional posts from scratch, save time by repurposing the content you’ve already written. For example, you can turn an introductory paragraph into an Instagram caption and invite people to visit your website to read more.
The more you blog, the bigger your archive becomes, so you’ll always have useful, relevant content you can share. Good luck and happy blogging!