Thank you to Marisa Goudy, Writing Coach and Editor for this guest piece. We appreciate how you have been helping therapists find their voice! Check out Marisa here.
You’re doing this 21st century therapist thing right.
You’ve established a niche. You’ve set fair fees and confidently ask clients to pay you what you’re worth. You’re building relationships as your build professional expertise.
And, of course, because you’ve embraced the internet and its unprecedented ability to connect people with solutions, you’ve launched a website and started a blog.
Congratulations! You started a blog! Um, pardon me for prying, but are you sustaining that blog?
The Secret of Sustaining a Blogging Practice: Success
There are so many expectations placed on the shoulders of an independent health professional in 2015. Run a practice, maintain your own relationships and self care, and keep up something as demanding as a useful, authentic blog? Too often that seems impossible.
Really, it is doable. And the potential pay off promises much more than increased web traffic and new clients.
Think of blogging as a game. To play a game, you have to know the rules. And, once you start seeing blogging as play and you start winning, you’ll appreciate and even love the process.
The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone if you don’t want to. You can assemble a team and/or get a coach.
But, before we think about how you can find the right writing support, let’s look at five ways you can improve your game on your own. When you tune up your blogging style you’ll see some instant results that will inspire you to keep writing and posting.
How to Make Your Next Blog Post Readable, Shareable, and Worth Everyone’s Time
What’s going to inspire you to keep up a blog and do the content marketing thing despite all of the other demands on your time? Results.
You want increased website traffic, more social shares, and more phone calls and bookings. You’re also looking for a writing practice that gives back to you (more on that below).
In order to get those results and win at the blogging game you need to produce posts that are readable, shareable, and worth everyone’s time.
Make your writing more readable.
Every sentence you write has one single job: get the reader to read the next sentence.
In order to get your readers to to make it to the end of a post and read the next thing you publish you need to make it easy and engaging.
Be informal. You’re not in grad school anymore and a blog post isn’t a scholarly article.
Go with short sentences and paragraphs. Use contractions. Allow your sentences to end with a preposition. Resist the temptation to use a thesaurus to make yourself seem smarter. Write as you speak.
Be skimmable. Your online reader has a very limited attention span and she’s not reading every word you write.
Guide her through the post with clear rather than clever headers. Make lists. Bring attention to important points with bold text. Incorporate text into your images to bring attention to the key points and takeaways.
Make your writing more shareable
How do you get more readers? By turning your current readership into fans who love sharing great content from a resource like you. Your writing helps their community and that makes them look good.
Make the reader the hero. Yes, this is your blog and you’re writing in order to promote your practice. Your personality needs to shine through, but it’s not really about you at all.
Speak directly to the reader. The word “you” must appear a lot more than the word “I.” Every post is intended to help the reader solve her problem. As she reads, she’s always asking “what’s in it for me?” Give her a helpful answer.
End every post with a call to action. Posts that get shared are useful, inspiring, or entertaining. They’re also focused.
Write your post with a specific call to action in mind. Ask the reader to sign up for your newsletter, listen to the podcast you just appeared on, or call to set up an appointment. This will help you stay on target and write an article that is clear, to the point, and worth passing around.
Make your posts worthwhile for everyone
Follow the four tips above and you’ll be sure to write posts that appeal to your readers. That’s actually the easy part… The challenge (but the work that offers the greatest long term reward) is about crafting posts that hold a deeper worth for you.
Make your blog part of a greater plan. Rather than writing, posting, sharing and then forcing yourself to simply repeat the cycle, look at blogging as part of a broader content strategy.
Your blog posts can be repurposed to create an email opt-in offer, an online course, a live workshop, or a book project. Track your own output with a spreadsheet that records the post topic, keywords, and the most quotable lines. (Think about all those cool graphics you can make with your own quotes using Canva!)
When can you put these recommendations into action yourself and when do you need help?
You’re a DIY writer/blogger when...
You believe in the writing process and understand what it can potentially do for you.
You’re a reasonably confident writer who can be more focused on picking up new skills than on silencing the “this is terrible!” voices in your head. You have the discipline to create an editorial calendar and stick to it. Resources like Copyblogger and other writers’ blogs (like mine!) help you fine tune your writing for a digital audience.
You’re a writer who needs an editor or an “extra set of eyes” when…
You’re willing to do the writing. You know you become a better therapist when you write and publish regularly, but you’re just not happy with the results. You may simply lack the time to produce well-organized, typo-free posts. Maybe your super powers just don’t include grammar and smooth sentence structure.
You might find some blogging buddies and read one another’s when you can, but hiring a professional writer to edit your work guarantees the process will be efficient and offer best results.
You’re a blogger who needs a committed writing coach when...
You thrive on dialog and connection. Forcing yourself to sit alone with your laptop isn’t working. If you produce anything at all, what shows up on the page isn’t nearly as compelling as what was originally in your head.
Imagine your blog posts grew from conversation with an engaged, committed reader who gives you real perspective on what connects with readers. Suddenly, your writing is readable, shareable, and it becomes an important part of your own process of thinking and becoming.
In addition to helping you brainstorm ideas, a writing coach holds you accountable to your editorial calendar and offers substantive editing services so each posts shines and leads you to the next step in your professional journey.
Your Next Steps to Being a Readable, Shareable Blogger
Start writing! But be sure that you treat blogging as a different art form than academic writing or journaling.
These five tips are just a quick intro to the rules of the blogging game. Go deeper and pick up my free video/ebook series 3 Writing Insights Every Therapist Wishes She Had Before She Spent Years Learning the Hard Way
Marisa Goudy is a writing coach, editor, and copywriter for creative entrepreneurs and healing professionals. She combines her background in academia, her passion for holistic health, and her dedication to being a mama who designs a business around the needs of her family to help her clients make life more beautiful, bearable, and bold. “Write your way to Sovereignty” is Marisa’s evolving signature concept that she tracks in her weekly Sovereign Standard newsletter.