You’re gung-ho and want to set the world on fire after returning home from a marketing seminar. So you hire someone to build a new website and following the must-do advice you picked up over the weekend, you insist on having a blog. You imagine yourself crafting a beautiful essay, posting it on your website, and suddenly having thousands of readers.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve encountered this scenario: a client hires our design firm to create their brand identity and website and they are determined to have the quintessential blog.
But the reality, I tell my clients, is you’ll be posting into a black hole. Unless you’re already famous, it takes a lot of effort and strategic planning to attract and keep readers. There are many voices competing for attention online. You must provide valuable content, set yourself apart from the pack, and then invest time and money into promoting the blog. It will become a second job.
Even if you cultivate a few hundred followers by enlisting your family, friends, and associates — nothing will really happen. Sure, you may get a few high fives and kudos, but mostly you’ll hear crickets. Turning readers into clients/patients is a whole other story.
For most therapists, blogging may help you pick up a client or two, but it is not a sustainable plan for building your practice.
Reality check: Unless you’re a gifted writer that is committed to spending multiple hours a week researching and composing a blog post, you’ll run out of steam within the first few months. And unless you invest time and money in building a database of readers, you will be blogging to yourself.
Here’s a piece of advice: If you have posted a few articles and lost your enthusiasm, take the blog off of your site. It is a real turn off for a prospective client/patient to see that your most recent blog post is a year old.
And since I’m on the topic, for social media, post something at least once a week. If you’re really struggling then post at least a couple times a month – so your audience will see you’re still alive.
If you really want to attract a legion of readers, or cultivate a personality as a public speaker, writer, or celebrity therapist, invest in a multifaceted, strategic, online marketing strategy that includes social media, online marketing, and search engine optimization.
Invest in a monthly service with an online marketing expert who can talk you through the process. And, this is not a one-time deal. You will need to keep it going month after month, year after year, in order to sustain an ongoing benefit.
Be very clear about the return on investment (ROI) that you’re seeking. Without a clear objective and a measurable strategy, you’ll be throwing your money away.
While sporadic blogging probably won’t help you grow your practice, there are a few things you can do right now to bring in new clients and more revenue:
- Pay for a listing on Psychology Today and the Wellness Institute or other affiliate websites.
- Get your free business listing on Google My Business to start building visibility in Google Maps and Google Search in your local community.
- Build relationships with a circle of peers that will refer to you.
- Ask your existing clients to refer you, too.
So keep the fire burning but don’t believe every marketing ploy you hear.