There are two main reasons for a counselor to blog:
- To build authority and trust with clients.
- To rank higher in Google.
That’s it. It’s not to find yourself, become a great write, monetize your blog or get a bunch of passive income from affiliate links (although some of this can help).
The bottom line: Blogging helps you find the right kind of clients.
How People Feel About Blogging
When I ask people that have joined my free Five-Day Blogging Course, “What’s one word that describes how you feel about blogging?” the most frequent answers are:
Then I have another group that replies with something like this:
Blogging tends to create a fear that has to be overcome or a sense of excitement that has to be contained.
Let’s start with why you should blog. Then we’ll look at overcoming obstacles to blogging. Lastly, I’m going to give you five templates to use to make blogging easier.
Why You Should Blog
People decide to see a counselor for two main reasons:
- Someone they trust recommends the counselor
- They build their own trust, usually online.
Networking, referrals,and being known in the community is how most private practitioners get referrals in the first category. A doctor knows you, so they refer to you when appropriate. An insurance panel says, “Yup, they’re on our list.” Or a pastor says, “This is beyond what I do, you need to see this marriage counselor.” That’s how counseling refers often work.
But what about when someone knows they need help and they don’t have someone they trust to guide them? They turn to the web. How do websites rank higher in Google? Through something called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Most potential clients go through this process:
- They Google [their issue] + [counselor or therapist] then Google adds the town.
- They click on the #1 or #2 website
- They decide within 10 seconds if they are in the right place. They base this on website design, ease of navigation and whether the person looks like they will solve the problem.
- They take action. This might be clicking back to go to another website, emailing you or reading more. They will always take some action.
What does blogging do:
- It increases how high you rank in Google, especially if you have articles 600-1,500 words that are each focused on one keyword.
- It shows that you know what you are talking about.
- It helps you figure out your ideal client or clients.
Next, let’s look at some of the common reasons why people don’t want to blog.
Why Counselors Don’t Blog
A lack of blogging falls into one of four categories:
- I don’t want to self disclose
- Is it worth the time to blog? It’s too time consuming and I don’t know where to start
- I have too many ideas
- It’s all already been said
Self-disclosure in Blogging
In 2008, Dr. Ofer Zur wrote this for the APA Independent Practitioner: “There are five different types of self-disclosure: deliberate, unavoidable, accidental, inappropriate and client-initiated.”
All therapists evaluate their level of self-disclosure. Here are some reasons why counselors are apprehensive to blog regarding self-disclosure:
- They will reveal or impact therapy in a negative way if they blog.
- They may reveal something that they later realize is harmful.
- They are worried they may discuss something personal that their friends or family see
Here are a few quick tips to think through:
What stories would I be willing to tell from a public stage? (Example: That broken shoulder story from 6th grade)
What is off limits? (Example: Talking about my kid’s failures or client details)
How will this impact past, current and future clients?
Is it Worth My Time To Blog?
I’m a numbers guy who also likes art. Here is an example of when blogging is not worth it: If you are totally full, expect to remain full and have no reason to expand or reduce hours. Also, you plan to never make more money than you currently make.
If that’s not you, let’s talk about why it’s worth your time.
As you probably know, I advocate for a private pay private practices. It allows more flexibility and autonomy. It allows my client and I to discuss their therapeutic needs. Yes, it excludes some people, but overall it’s best for me, my mental health and my business.
I have a multi-clinician practice. So let’s look at how one hour of writing a blog might help my bottom line if I do that once per week.
If I write one blog post per week for six months, I will most likely start ranking high for the keywords I focus on.
- Over six months, that would be 26 weeks, so 26 hours. At $195 per hour that’s $5,070 in lost work (if I’m full).
- If your average client comes six times at the rate of $195 per session
- Your counseling client is worth $1,170 (obviously they have human worth too)
- That means that your blogs need to bring in 4.3 new clients
So, do you think that demonstrating your expertise will bring in 4.3 clients?
If your posts are “evergreen” meaning they aren’t about something that’s trendy now and not later, then you’ll continue to get benefits from those posts years into the future!
So yes, it’s worth your time.
But where should you start? All that it takes to blog is:
- Start a website
- Find keywords (optional)
- Write content and upload them to your blog
- Create an image (optional)
Here are a few videos and posts to help you get started with the technical side of things.