If you are a therapist who is blogging for your business, you are likely ahead of your peers who are not. There’s really nothing else that equals the speed and breadth of blogging when it comes to building your reputation as a mental health professional. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t polish up the blogging that you are already doing . . . .
I’m gearing up to teach another 4-week series of BlogStart for Therapists next month and thought I might share some of the common mistakes all bloggers make when first starting out.
- Calling the articles on your blog “blogs.” (My personal pet peeve.) They aren’t “blogs.” They are “posts.”
- Not adding images to your posts. Research shows that adding appropriate images to each post increases the number of folks who stop by to read your blog, increases the length of time they hang out there, and increases how often your posts get shared online.
- Only linking to your own posts. Internal linking is a really smart thing to do but so is external linking i.e. linking to sites other than your own.
- Failing to tag and categorize your posts. Tags and categories make your site more user-friendly by allowing readers (and search engines) to search more easily for the precise information they are looking for.
- Not inviting other bloggers in to guest post on your blog. By hosting other bloggers on your website, you are give the appearance of being generous, confident, and collaborative as well as being able to share a greater depth of information and perspectives with your readers.
- Preventing readers from commenting. No one want you to simply push information out there to them. They want to engage, be seen, and be heard.
- Ignoring the comments you receive. Blogging for business is about building relationships. If your readers are talking to you, it’s rude to not talk back.
- Not commenting on other bloggers’ blogs. This is the equivalent of hanging out your tiny shingle on a busy road (without any other effort on your part) and expecting the masses of clients to find and choose you. It’s not going to happen. Commenting on other blogs is how you build your visibility, how you build your online community, and how you get seen.
- Waiting for the perfect . . . [You fill in the blank.] I’ve mentioned before that perfect is the enemy of good enough. Waiting for the perfect time to blog, the perfect title, the perfect content, etc. is just fear in disguise. Just do it. If it’s not good enough, it will get better (and quicker) as you do it more often.
- Publishing too often. There’s no need to publish a new post every day. You’ll just overwhelm your audience. If you are brand new to blogging, aim initially for once / month. Then, as you are able, increase the frequency to twice / month. For an optimum balance (between being remembered and being forgotten), aim for once or twice weekly.
- Copying content, images, video, or podcasts onto your blog. The same copy right laws apply online as they do in print. If you didn’t create it, you don’t own it and you do not have permission to use it . . . Unless you obtain (written) permission to do so. Bottom line is, if you don’t own it, you need to ask permission to use it.
- Being too general in your focus. No one will follow your blog if you are writing a great generalist’s psychotherapy blog. Not one of your colleagues has ever asked for a recommendation for a generalist’s blog. Instead, they are asking for a great blog on suicide or psychodrama or surrogacy.
- Making it difficult (or nearly impossible!) for your readers to share your posts elsewhere. There are a lot of plugins for blogs that allow your readers to Tweet your posts, share them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +, and pin them on Pinterest. Do your homework. Find a plugin for sharing and encourage your readers to use it.
- Using too many words (and not enough white space). We read differently online than we read in print. If your posts are too long and the breaks in your text are too infrequent, your readers will drop by briefly and move on rather than think of your site as a destination to hang out in.
- Outsourcing your content. Yes, I know I’ve talked with you about my fabulous Virtual Assistant, Mindy, but this is different. Outsourcing your blog content is like outsourcing your relationship with your family. Having someone else take care of their physical and emotional needs is certainly dangerous to your blog (and your business) and might well be fatal. You are responsible for your relationships . . . with your family, with your clients, and with your readers. If you aren’t interested in (or up for) the job, then don’t do it.
Care to share the mistakes you’ve made as a new blogger? Or whatever advice you might have for those who are interested in learning to blog?
Do you want to improve the quality of the blogs you are already reading? Share this post now so that other therapists can learn how to do it better.
(And, if you are interested in learning how to blog effectively to get seen, get known, and get clients while hanging out in your pajamas, you can sign up for BlogStart for Therapists right now! We start our next round on Wednesday, October 15, 2014. Would love to have you join me!)