Jeff Guenther on Oct 22, 2017
Creating a lively and relevant blog is an important part of building your therapy brand and establishing authority, trust and rapport with potential clients. A well curated blog will also boost your search engine optimization results. But I know it’s hard to find the time to write for your blog while also seeing clients and managing a small business. And once you find time, what type of blog should you focus on creating?
Well, I may not be able to organize your life so that you have more time to blog. But I can help you with developing a structure and intent for your therapy blog. Below are 10 different blog styles you can develop for your practice. These blog types will work for all mental health practitioners.
Once you establish what kind of blog you want, download this list of 147 topicsfor articles designed to get you blogging right away.
This type of blog is all about attracting attention and getting noticed. It’s about making bold statements and not worrying too much about possible negative reactions. It’s the type of blog that doesn’t mind creating controversy (and maybe even courts it). It’s important that if you make big claims, you back them up with lots of data. This type of blog requires that you are passionate, knowledgeable and have the experience or training to support your arguments.
You won’t find this style of blog on most therapy websites. Not a lot of practitioners have particularly extreme views and the ones that do may not want to blast them out on to the Internet. You run the risk of alienating yourself in your field and scaring off clients that may find your views extreme. However, a “Rogue” blog can attract your ideal clients and strengthen a practice that revolves around a niche population or presenting problem.
Some possible articles for a “Rogue” style blog include:
“This is Why It’s Your Fault that you’re Depressed”
“I’ll Cure your Number Biggest Fear in Three Sessions. Promise.”
“The Number One Coping Skill That Will Make your Anxiety Vanish.”
To create a “Guest Host” blog, you’ll be inviting colleagues in your mental health industry to write quality content for your website. The upside here is that you don’t have to do much of the actual writing in order to start developing a successful blog. You’ll also get to feature other experts in the healthcare community, which means that you don’t have to be the authority on all your blog topics. You can have others step in as experts when you can’t.
The downside is that it can be pretty hard to find quality writers to contribute on a regular basis. And typically, blogs need to have at least a minimal following to attract guest bloggers.
The appeal of submitting a blog to another website is that the person writing the content will reach a larger audience then they get on their own blog and that they will get a quality link that will improve their SEO. Which means having a higher ranked site in Google searches and an established audience is pretty necessary when developing a “Guest Host” blog.
One last tip! If you do have someone submit a post to your blog, make sure it’s not posted anywhere else on the Internet. Google could penalize you for having duplicate content.
This type of blog is written with the intent of testing a lot of different approaches, recording the results, and then teaching your readers what works and what doesn’t work.
For example, in our industry a good “Crash Test Dummy” post would focus on using five different techniques to relieve social anxiety, going out and using those techniques and then reporting back on which ones worked for you. Another example might be a new cutting edge technique you have used to help clients quit smoking, logging your client’s results and then reporting them in a blog post.
This type of blog can be successful because many people are pulled in and attracted to how-style articles. It will also push you to learn even more about the field and continue to grow as a therapist. However, these blogs take a lot of work and you’ll also need to feel comfortable showcasing your failures and challenges when they happen.
The “Niche” blog is exactly what it sounds like. It’s about being hyper focused on one topic and exploring all its minute details. As therapists, we are already in somewhat of a niche field. But what if you made your blog even more narrow in focus?
For example, you could create a blog around providing counseling for pregnant women. Or your blog could focus solely on topics related to non-monogamous couples.
The purpose of a niche blog is to take what you’re most passionate about and create content around it. Readers of your blog will respond to your authority, expertise and enthusiasm around the topic, which will convert more clients and also boost SEO for your website when other sites start linking to you for expert information.
As exciting as this can be for some therapists, it can also feel really limiting. The main challenge is coming up with unique content for your “Niche” blog on a regular basis.
The “Giver” blog focuses on giving away premium content with each blog post. A wonderful example of a “Giver” blog is the blog that you’re reading right now. Oh! That reminds me. Click here if you’d like to download a free list of 147 blog article topics that’ll get you writing in no time!
The “Giver” wants to provide an extra piece of value in every post. The main reason you’d do this is so that you can create an email subscriber list. Every time you write a new blog, you’d automatically email your subscribers and let them know about it.
As a therapist, you may not see the point in doing this. The most frequent reason you’d create an email list like this is so that you can sell something to the list in the future. Maybe a future product or online course. As of right now, while you’re building your private practice, you probably don’t have any future products in mind. However, once your practice is flourishing for a few years, you might want to create a digital course that people can pay for and learn from. If you already have a list of subscribers in the thousands, you’ll have an eager customer base that would be interested in purchasing your product.
One of the main challenges is simply coming up with valuable content each time you post a blog. It can feel like you’re doing double the work. In the short term it’s time consuming. But in the long term, it can really pay off.
This type of blog can be a really good fit for therapists, coaches, personal development leaders and gurus. The “Guide” blog focuses on posts that help people with their personal lives. The articles can be about relationships, spirituality, meditation, finding a purpose, etc.
The “Guide” blog deals with vulnerable subject matter and isn’t scared to give direct advice and words of wisdom. This type of blog can get away with shorter posts that focus more on inspiration and opening people’s minds.
Some article titles on a “Guide” style blog would include:
“Finding Inspiration when you’re Having a Bad Day”
“Tapping into Gratitude on a Daily Basis”
“Finding the Meaning in Parenthood”
A major difficulty when creating a “Guide” blog is how to stand out from the crowd. This type of blog is so oversaturated with fake gurus that you can sometimes be automatically lumped in with websites that comes off as extremely hacky. So beware.
The “Homer” blog focuses on creating epic blog posts of 2,500 words or more. Typically, there will be more time in between posts in order to create a longer article. The post takes the reader on a journey that is filled with ups and downs and can often time come with really intriguing data or case studies.
You might be asking why someone would create a blog like this and put in hours and hours of writing time. The simple answer is that long form articles are shared more than short from articles. Clients want to see their therapist as an authority in their field. Developing a “Homer” blog will go a long way in doing that.
These types of blogs are not filled with fluff just to reach a high word count. Often times the word count is 5,000 and then trimmed down to 3,000 words to make the article more concise and pack a punch.
The “Homer” blog is a tough one for therapists to pull off because we are already managing a private practice as our full time job. But if you’ve got some time, it’s not a bad way to attract clients and move up in search engine results.
If you’re creating a “Tell All” blog, you’ll have to be okay with divulging a lot of personal information. This blog revolves around revealing details of your life in order to teach valuable lessons applicable to many. These types of blogs are often very compelling and form really interesting narratives. If you want readers and clients to connect with your true personality, this is the blog type for you.
In the mental health industry this creates an obvious conflict. Sometimes our clients don’t really want to know about our personal life. And even more often, as thearpists, we don’t feel okay giving a lot of personal information. Sometimes it can even be unethical to fully unload to our clients or to random people on the Internet.
However, if you’d like to create a service that revolves around your authentic personality and showcases all your wins, along with all your flaws, then writing a “Tell All” blog might be the right direction to go.
Every blog type on this list is going help you try to define and improve on your personal brand. However, the “Personal Brand” blog type puts that goal front and center.
This blog type could be a good fit for therapists and counselors. The intent of the “Personal Brand” blog is to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. Did you come up with a cutting edge technique to treat a specific mental health issue? Are you leading the charge to create social change in your community? Then the “Personal Brand” blog could be a good fit.
A blog with this style often features a lot of video posts or has its own youtube channel. Putting a face to the blog is an important part of creating a real connection with visitors. One of the main agendas on a “Personal Brand” blog is often to empower people to reach their potential or learn new skills that will improve their lives. And the obvious product that you are selling is yourself. If they read your blog or schedule an appointment with you, then you’ll help them achieve their health and wellness goals.
Some possible articles for a “Personal Brand” style blog include:
“This was my Number One Struggle when I Started to Become Healthy”
“Here are 5 Essential Tools I created that Every New Parent Should Have”
“This is my Stance on the ObamaCare”
The “Enterprise” blog should probably be renamed as the “Counseling Center” blog for us. The point of this blog is to focus on the collective group or company and not an individual.
If you run a counseling center, you can assign blogs to each of the therapists that work there. This works well to spread the workload around instead of being saddled with all the responsibility. One advantage to this blog is that is has many different voices that all have a unifying goal or health topic.
The blog topic can be broad since different writers bring different skills and information to the table. An “Enterprise” blog will do a good job of introducing your colleagues and giving visitors a chance to get to know and connect with all the therapists at your counseling center. Each blog that a practitioner writes should display on the blog page and also link back to their profile page on the website.
Choosing a blog type can be a very valuable activity because it provides you with a structure of what your blog page will look and feel like. Creating an over-arching goal for your blog can really bring things into focus and make writing articles for your blog an easier experience.
A strong blog will employ multiple formats, but will also have a unifying theme so that visitors to your blog can easily understand its identity and not feel lost in the randomness of the posts. As mental health practitioners, it’s important that we create a stable structure in our web presence so that clients don’t feel confused when they first interact with us on their digital journey to find a therapist. Remember, your blog is often the first place that you start to develop a relationship with your clients. You should not neglect it.
Jeff Guenther, LPC, is a therapist in Portland, OR. He has been in private practice since 2005. Jeff is the creator and owner of Portland Therapy Center, a highly ranked therapist directory. Jeff, and his team, have launched a new progressive therapist directory, TherapyDen.