The last thing you need is another task on your to-do list.
But, what if that task could both build your practice’s reputation and boost your bottom line?
That would make it worth it, wouldn’t it?
This article covers why you need a blog (and it might not be what you think), as well as some practical tips on how to get started with your private practice blog and what to include in each blog post.
Why You Need a Private Practice Blog
Here are four reasons you need a blog for your practice. With a blog you can:
1) Boost Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Site Traffic
The more site visitors you have, the more people learn about your business, and the more likely they are to book an appointment.
But the million-dollar question is how to boost those numbers…
Blogging is an ideal starting place if you have a limited budget and time restrictions. Google values freshness, which means they’re more likely to rank a site that’s getting regular updates. And they also value experts in a niche, so every time you write a great blog post, you’re building authority in Google’s eyes, and they’re more likely to rank you ahead of your competitors.
Blogging doesn’t replace paid advertising or other SEO strategies, but every post you publish is one more opportunity to let potential customers know what you’re about and build your reputation long-term.
2) Grow Your Audience
Well-researched blog posts that are compelling and thought-provoking expand your audience. Articles that resonate with your followers and clients will likely be reshared on social channels, exposing you to new potential clients who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of you.
3) Build Trust, Authority and Connection
Content marketing builds trust and authority so, if you’re looking for new referrals, you need to establish yourself as a thought leader in your field.
It’s also an ideal opportunity to educate potential clients about your specific areas of focus as well as your thoughts on various therapies.
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Writing gives readers an insight into who you are, which can be as important as what your practice offers.
4) Get Great Newsletter Content
If nothing else convinces you to start a blog (or re-start your blog!), hopefully, this point will. Email marketing is incredibly powerful (we’ve covered it in a stand-alone article here), and your blog posts are an integral cog in the email marketing machine.
Glad you asked!
If you’re sending out boring newsletters, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Clients and potential clients have given you their email addresses and are willing to be contacted by you. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you send thoughtful, helpful email newsletters, they’ll keep opening them, and your practice will remain top of mind. But where do you get content for the newsletter they want to read? Well, excerpts from well-written blog articles on topics that are interesting to them are going to go a long way toward capturing interest.
If the answer is a resounding (or even a moderately enthusiastic) yes, here’s what you need to get started.
How to Blog for Success in Private Practice
1) Narrow Your Focus
There’s no point in writing on just any old topic; you need to understand who you’re writing your blog post for. If your practice works with children, the blog posts should be aimed at educating parents; if you focus on sports injuries, then your blog posts would answer questions that athletes and fitness people have. You can’t be everything to everyone, and it won’t help you achieve your goals of growing your practice. You’re just going to get burned out and demoralised.
Instead, speak to your target audience, and you’ll find the task of writing much more manageable because:
- You already know what your clients struggle with.
- You know how to solve those pain points.
2) Get Planning
The key to a successful blog is planning ahead. You can prepare the year’s blog posts in just two hours because one idea tends to lead to the next and the next. If you’re planning on writing a blog post once or twice a month, that’s only 12 – 24 ideas.
Before you get ahead of yourself, here’s where you need to take a long hard look at your capacity; you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. If you plan to post twice a week, but you run a busy practice, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to keep it up. If you’re easily meeting your target of two blog posts a month, you can always increase the number.
And then there’s the challenge of what to write about… Sometimes coming up with ideas is the hardest part, so to get the ball rolling, here’s how you can find great topics to cover:
“People also ask”
Google the top types of issues your clients have, then look at the People Also Ask section and check that your blog posts answer the most common questions.
Look at Others in Your Niche
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; look at the content that other therapists are putting out. Steer clear of direct competitors in your area; you don’t want to step on any toes inadvertently.
Conduct a Keyword Analysis
This is time-consuming but will give you a near-limitless number of topic ideas for your private practice blog. A keyword analysis is ideal because you’ll get an idea of search volume, so you can choose topics that are more likely to generate higher traffic volumes.
If you don’t have the budget for expensive keyword tools, there are free options that should be more than enough to get you started.
Keep a List of Blog Post Ideas
Whether it’s a note on your phone or at the back of a notebook, keep a list of blog ideas handy so that you can update it when inspiration strikes.
- The questions that your clients ask most often and see whether they could be turned into articles.
- The services you offer and write posts explaining who they benefit and why they’re effective.
3) Block Out Time in Your Calendar
Even if you know what topic you want to write on, your blog posts aren’t going to write themselves (no matter how much you wish they would.) And that means you need to schedule a time to write. A blog post on a topic you understand well will probably only take an hour or two, so ensure that time is set aside.
4) Batch Your Blog Posts
The best way to stay on top of your blogging commitments (and maybe even get ahead) is to write posts in batches. When you’re in the writing zone, it’s much easier to keep going and write the next article. That way, if you’re planning to post two a month, you can quickly get a couple done in one morning. You may also need to rope in some of your team members to contribute if you find yourself falling behind.
5) Get to Know Your Content Management System (CMS)
One of the reasons you may be struggling to get your blog off the ground is a lack of confidence. But here’s the thing, your website is likely built on WordPress, Squarespace, Wix or something similar. If so, that’s great news because they’re super simple to use! You can watch a few tutorial videos on Youtube or get a run-through from your web dev (if you have one), and you’ll be A-for-Away in under an hour.
6) Use Royalty-Free Images
Right. So you’ve conquered the content, but what pictures should you use? It’s hard enough to keep the images on your website up-to-date without trying to get extra photos for your blog posts.
So often, this crucial step is overlooked by those who are new to social media and content marketing, but you can’t use just any image you find on the web; they need to be royalty-free (and bonus points if they’re cost-free too!)
What to Include in a Private Practice Blog Post
If you want to streamline your posting, it can help to have a simple template that you follow and a checklist for uploading to your site.
Your blog post template should include:
Catch the reader’s attention up front with a bold statement or a question, and remember to include the keyword or topic you’re covering.
Good Supporting Argument
The body of your article should have 5 or more main points covering the topic in detail. Use short sentences, short paragraphs, clear, simple language and break the text up with H2 and H3 headings.
A summary of the main points of the article.
Call to Action
When the reader gets to the bottom of the article, it should be clear where they need to go next. If your article covers common knee injuries for athletes, you could link to your knee injury services page, for example, and include an invitation to join your mailing list or book an appointment.
Use relevant royalty-free images that support the content of your article.
Always insert internal links to other posts and services on your website and, where relevant, link to high-quality sources that support your article’s points.
Blogging will impact how your referrers perceive your service offering and will attract a broader audience to your practice as clients and followers share your content.
And, luckily, private practice blog posting doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re writing on a topic you already know so much about, so you’re already halfway there.
The other half is knowing what to write on and how to make it part of your schedule so it actually gets done. And that’s where knowing your audience, planning your content and getting comfortable with your CMS will make all the difference.