How to Start a Blog for Your Private Practice
Everyone’s granted the same 24 hours in a day, but as a therapist, you need at least 25. Between seeing clients, running a small business, marketing your services, and attempting to have a personal life, you don’t have much time to devote to blogging. You know you need to blog for your private practice (or at least that’s what you’ve heard), but it’s so hard to find the time to actually sit down and write.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what we’ll tackle in this post: How to blog when you have absolutely no time in your schedule to do it. But before we go into the how, let’s talk about the why. Why should you even make time to blog? Is it enough to have a website?
The Benefits of Blogging
Having a website for your private practice is crucial. Because many prospective clients will find you through a Google search, you need a website for online representation purposes. Your website markets your services, educates clients on the need for mental health care, and also provides contact information for your private practice.
Beyond your website, you also need a blog. Here’s why:
Blog posts help you rank higher on search engines for user queries
Search engine users ask questions in Google such as “Are there any reduced fee marriage counselors in DFW?” or “How can I help my troubled teen in Denver?” You can predict the types of questions a prospective client will ask and then create blog posts to attract that client to your site (and services).
Blog posts help to boost your SEO
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. Search engines like Google like when websites create “fresh” content. Fresh content is one of the factors Google uses to determine whether they should display your website in the search engine results. In order to reach the most prospective clients, your site needs to appear as high as possible on the search engine results page (ideally, on page one of any relevant search result).
Blog posts educate your prospective client
In your blog, you can tackle all of the frequently asked questions that you find yourself answering over and over again. With a blog, you answer once and then direct all queries to that post. It also benefits the prospective clients who have the same question but are less likely to ask you directly.
Now that we’re solid on the benefits of blogging, let’s discuss how to squeeze blogging into your tight schedule.
Understand Your Audience
Step one is to understand who you’re writing your post for. It may sound elementary, but it’s a step that many well-meaning therapists skip over. By understanding your target audience, you’ll save a lot of time. When you write to a generic, faceless crowd, it takes up a lot of time, because your post needs to be inclusive of every person who could possibly read it — that may include prospective clients, current clients, former clients, parents of clients, children of clients, other therapists, and more.
It can be an exhausting and impossible task to try to speak to multiple types of audiences in the same post.
However, if you pare down your post and only speak to one type of audience, you’ll find it a lot easier to write. That’s because:
- You know the reader’s specific pain
- You know the specific answer to solve the reader’s pain
- You know how to relate to that reader
Here’s an example of what I mean: Let’s say you work with mothers of adult addicts. Your blog posts are targeted to that specific group of people. You’re speaking directly to those mothers (not the fathers, not the children, and not the addicts themselves). You can be much more effective (and save a lot of time in the process) by simplifying your message so that it’s directed to one group, instead of trying to reach all of those groups at one time.
However, if you cater to multiple types of clients in your practice, you can also write blog posts for each type of client.
Plan Ahead of Time
Once you understand the audience(s) that you’d like to reach, it’s time to plan content for them.
Planning ahead will save you so much time. In less than two hours, you can plan an entire year’s worth of blog posts. Once you get into the zone of thinking up new post ideas, you’ll see how quickly one idea leads to the next.
Think of it this way: If you plan to write one new post a month, that’s only 12 post ideas that you need to brainstorm. You can do that in one sitting. Or, if you plan to do two posts a month, you can still come up with 12 posts ideas for the next six months.
Schedule Time to Blog
In order to make time for your blog, you must make it a priority. That means that you’ll need to schedule your actual “in the chair blogging time” in pen on your monthly calendar.
Look at your monthly calendar and find an open hour or two that you can devote to blogging. Next (and this is the hardest part), claim that time in ink. Once you have a set time to blog and nothing else to do, it’ll be a lot easier to sit down and write.
Blog in Batches
It’s a good idea to set aside time each month (or even each week) to blog for your private practice. However, don’t limit yourself to just one blog post each time.
One of the best time-saving blogging strategies is to write several posts at one time. If you plan to publish two blog posts per month, write both of them on the same day. This way, you’ll get two posts but you’ll only need to write once a month. If you’re in the writing zone anyway, it’ll be a lot easier to churn out two posts than it is to write them on two separate days.
Depending on the length of your posts and the time available to write, you may be able to create three or more blog posts in one sitting. How amazing would it be to invest a couple of hours on your blog and be done for the next three months?
Make a List of Blog Ideas
Sometimes the hardest part of blogging is coming up with blog post ideas. This tip will help you overcome that struggle:
Start with at your most frequently asked questions. Can you turn your answer into a complete and thorough blog post? Next, take a look at your list of services. What questions might a first-time client have that you can answer on a blog post? Also, consider current clients who need help understanding their diagnosis. How can you educate them through your blog posts?
Inspiration may hit at the most random of times. Consider carrying a notebook, or creating an idea folder on your smartphone to chronicle all of the potential blog posts ideas you may come up with during the day.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
You may be avoiding your blog because writing feels like a punishment. Once it’s time to sit down and write, don’t make it a chore.
Instead, embrace the Pomodoro Technique and break up your blogging into 25 minute mini-sessions, or pomodoros. The Pomodoro Technique acknowledges our inability to stay focused on the same thing for extended periods of time. After every 25 minutes, take a short 5 minute break. Walk around, do a quick exercise, or rest. Then return and write again for another 25 minutes. After four pomodoros, you’ll take a longer break (between 15 to 30 minutes). Repeat as needed.
Follow a Script
Consider creating a simple template for your blog posts. A template helps you quickly craft a blog post because you won’t need to think about structure or other technical elements that can slow down your writing.
Here’s a simple template you can adopt:
Start with a strong introduction
Ask a question or make a bold statement that pulls the reader in.
Support your introduction
Create the body of your post with 5 to 7 points to support your opening statement.
Create a call to action
Give the reader somewhere else to go once they come to the end of your blog post (i.e. Join my email list, schedule an appointment, read other posts, etc.).
Insert internal links
Add links within your post to other, relevant posts on your blog.
Before you go, check out these additional posts: