Please see the updated version of this article, now posted at Mindset Market Blog
When you create a therapist blog, there’s one thing you must remember – most other good therapists already have a blog. Their blogs have been around for longer than yours, which means they enjoy a better SEO ranking and a more solid online reputation. In other words, for your blog to get noticed, you have to make it stand out.
This requires first of all a good understanding of what makes your practice different from all the other practices in your area. Is it your specialization? The care you offer your clients? The good pricing? Make sure you integrate that into your blog. Build your content and your calls to action on your unique benefits.
Here are some ways in which you can increase therapist blog engagement. Let them inspire you to create a more compelling blog.
A blog is a powerful marketing tool for therapists when it successfully connects them to their clients. Clients come to your blog to learn more about your practice and find solutions to their problems. They are not that interested in mental health news that doesn’t concern them, therapist conferences, or any specialized subjects not easily understood.
Remember that first and foremost, your blog is most effective when it’s used as a social, not professional platform. Keep the language simple and the topics accessible.
Today, many people read blogs on the go on their smartphones and tablets, while they travel or commute. If your therapist blog doesn’t run flawlessly on mobile devices, you are losing traffic and possibly clients. The simplest way to ensure anyone can access your website on mobile is to run it on a platform like WordPress and choose a responsive theme (note: Therapist Marketing designs are built on WordPress and checked regularly to maximize device responsiveness). Test the theme on your own mobile device to see how it performs. Make sure the images load properly and that the font is easy to read and can be easily magnified.
Visitors will more easily interact with you if they can see your photo and read a friendly description of yourself. If you only offer them an enumeration of qualifications and hide behind your practice logo, like some therapists do, it will be harder to connect with them. The voice behind your posts is also crucial. Leave out any psychobabble and speak openly.
Don’t be afraid to share details from your life. It will invite your readers to open up. Take the time to create an About page that presents you not only as a professional, but also as a person. If you feel comfortable in front of a camera, consider recording a video of yourself greeting visitors. It not only makes a more powerful impression, but is good for search engine optimization, too.
Even if you share your practice with one or two other professionals, it’s still important for each of you to have your own identity. Feature photos and bios accordingly.
Visitors to your therapist blog will run a mental check on a title before deciding whether to continue reading a post or not. A clumsy, long, or dull title will reduce the time visitors spend on your website, which can mean fewer leads. Here are some tips for writing titles that increase therapist blog engagement, with examples:
Your therapist blog will become more exciting if it becomes an exchange of experiences, rather than a monologue. If you are the only voice that is talking on your blog, and all others listen, the level of engagement for users won’t be as high. Invite users to share their thoughts and experiences at the end of every post. Respond to comments that add to the discussion to encourage further comments. Successful blogs are two-way conversations: in return for the expertise they are receiving, your readers can share their own experiences.
There are so many therapy resources on the web that it may seem that every topic has been covered. It is reasonable to assume that many people who come to your website know about common cures for depression, anxiety, and other popular topics. Serving them the same information they know already isn’t a very encouraging way to attract clients. Look instead for new information available for the same old problems, such as fresh research and studies.
Too many calls to action on your blog can confuse readers and actually decrease engagement. If you include a call to action at the end of your posts, one in your sidebar, and another in the footer, the power of each will be diluted by the others. Decide what action you want visitors to take and build your calls to action to support that. If you want people to call or schedule an appointment, use a visual sidebar or footer call to action. If you want people to check your social media profiles or discover your other content, add links at the end of your posts.
Guests posts can add freshness to your blog. They are also a natural way to generate content for your blog. As a therapist, you may know other therapists and professionals in the industry who would be willing to share their expertise with you. You may not even have to pay any of them to write a post or two for your blog. Posting on your blog will increase their visibility online and leave a valuable backlink to their own blog or website.
Many will also feel flattered to share their expertise with you. Don’t expect all you ask to say yes, but ask nevertheless. Going a step further, you may also want to feature guest posts from clients (under fictitious names, of course).
To encourage comments on your blog, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to comment. If they have to log into WordPress or manually enter their email address and name before they can comment, that can discourage them. With a simple plugin you can enable all people who visit your blog to comment using their Facebook account. Since so many people use Facebook, that makes it much easier for anyone to comment on your blog.
Increasing therapist blog engagement is an ongoing effort. There’s no single strategy that can make your blog engaging to everyone instantly. Approach blogging with as much care and consideration as you approach your clients and make it a part of your life. If you do that, you’ll find that it transcends the bounds of marketing and becomes a powerful platform through which you can communicate and connect with people.