If you are new to writing blog posts, it is challenging to know how to start or what to even write about. Many therapists have a desire to get their message out there to a broader public. Blogging and “content marketing” are great ways to accomplish this goal. Here are some ideas to think about when you are writing your articles.

Structure

  • You need a title, opening paragraph, body, conclusion and possibly a “call to action” if indicated.
  • Your real title (for search engines) should be straightforward, such as “How Life Changes After Motherhood .”
  • You may have a more “clickable” social title, such as “Mom-Shock: How A Baby Turned Me Into A Lunatic.”

Popular posts are often lists (“5 Ways to Boost Your Sex Life”), questions (“Is My Anxiety Normal?”), problem/solution (“Uncommon Ways To Cope With Depression”), checklists (“10 Things You Need To Do While In Therapy”), research (“New Research Article Explains Why We Hate To Ask For Help”) or a personal essay/rant (“Why I Fired My Coach”).

These are just popular examples, but there are plenty of others.

Getting Started

The opening paragraph must be attention grabbing. It must draw the reader in. If it doesn’t, people will simply not read it.

If you are writing about a problem or issue, present it here. Do not think like a therapist –think like your clients! No one calls your office and says “I need help for my insecure attachment style.” They call saying “I need help for my marriage,” or “I keep choosing jerks, or “I need constant reassurance from my boyfriend.”

You must think about what your clients are Googling in the middle of the night. Use their language. You want the reader to say “that’s me!” when they read what you are writing.

The body must be related to the title and opening paragraph. Be sure to write about what you say you are going to write about according to the title. This section is a place for your list, tips, descriptive paragraphs or essay depending on the type of blog post you are doing.

If you are writing paragraphs, do not be too wordy. If something can be said simpler, then do so. Avoid psychobabble or acronyms that you do not explain. Paragraphs can also be as short as a few sentences. The use of sub-heading, numbers or bullet-points also works well.

The conclusion should summarize what you just said. It should also leave the reader feeling hopeful. They should also clearly see that you know what you are talking about and would be a valuable resource for their problem.

A Call to Action

Some sites allow a “call to action” at the end of your post. If they do, definitely take advantage of this option. This place is where you subtly add your plug.

For example, Jane is a licensed psychotherapist in St. Louis who has helped countless clients overcome anxiety. Visit her at www.JaneTheTherapist.com and download her free e-book “Overcoming Anxiety in 5 Easy Steps.”  However, this space is not for a resume or a time to list all your services!

Content

If you are new to writing blog posts, start by writing anything you want. Get practice at the process. Write at a minimum of one or two times per month. After about six months or so, start to funnel your topics toward your niche. At some point, you should be exclusively writing about your therapy focus area and brand. This approach will help you be seen as an “expert” in this field.

Your blog post articles should be around 600 – 1000 words. Use keywords but you do not need to go overboard. Do not purposely throw keywords in the article unnecessarily. After enough writing about your niche, you will start to come up in search engines organically.

Writing is not for everyone. Think back to your high school and college days. If you were graded poorly on writing projects or you just plain hated to write, then this is most likely not the best marketing avenue for you.

The toughest part is in the beginning when you stare at a blank page not knowing what the heck to write about. After writing consistently for a while, I assure you that this problem will vanish.

Also, your best ideas may come to you while trying to fall asleep (how convenient!) or when in the shower (even more convenient). Remember, the biggest thing that holds people back, more than ideas or skill, is confidence.

Therapist blogging photo available from Shutterstock