Remember the good ol' days, when you could stick a profile up on Psychology Today, get listed with insurance companies, and the clients started pouring in?
Sadly for marketing-averse therapists everywhere, those days are long gone. Suddenly, therapists and other mental health practitioners are not only expected to be expert listeners, keep up with emerging mental health research, and be trained in multiple evidence-based practices - because, you know, that would be too easy - but you're expected to be content marketing gurus, too.
Okay — maybe you don't need to be a guru, but there's no way around it: maintaining an active blog is one of the bare-minimum things you should be doing as a private psychotherapist in today's world.
Do Therapists Really Need a Blog?
First things first: do you really need to do this? Isn't having a website enough?
The short answer is: yes, you really do need a blog as a therapist (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!). Having a website is a good start, but a stagnant website isn't going to stand out to potential clients on its own. To break it down, it's important for therapists (and other mental health professionals) to have a regularly updated blog for three reasons:
SEO Is for Therapists, Too
...and SEO loves blogs. The more separate pages you have linked to your main therapist website, the higher your site will rank in search engine results. That means the more blogs you publish on your website, the better your website will fare.
Not to mention, if you know SEO basics and put the right keywords within those blogs, that's fantastic for search engines, too.
Fresh mental health content is loved by both clients and Google. When potential clients visit your site, having an up-to-date blog lets them know that you're still around, and that this isn't just a dusty, forgotten website. It gives them more of a window into who you are, and helps to start building trust right away.
On top of that, new content also lets search engines know that you're still around. The numbers tell us that businesses who publish blogs around once a week rank higher in search results.
This is arguably the most important reason for keeping up a blog: providing value for both your existing and potential clients. After all, that's why you wanted to become a therapist in the first place: to help people. All of us use the internet for basically everything these days, and there's a lot of misguided information out there — especially about mental health.
The more licensed mental health practitioners we have putting accurate, informational, and empathetic information out there, the better off we all are.
How Do I Write a Mental Health Blog as a Therapist?
So I've convinced you that consistently keeping up with your blog really is worth it, but now you're finding yourself staring at the blinking cursor on a blank screen. You're finding it hard to put your thoughts into words. Luckily, getting started is often the hardest part.
Once you know what you want to write about, then the words will start flowing a lot easier — take it from a full-time writer. Although I won't be going over topic ideas in this post (stay tuned for a complete post on content ideas for therapists!), I have three tips for you that'll help you choose a topic out of the seemingly endless options swimming around in your head.
Rule 1: Who Are You Talking To?
Almost all therapists are going to be speaking to their current and potential clients through their blog. Let me say that again: you are speaking to your current and potential clients through your blog. In other words, you're not speaking to the entire world.
Could every human being in the world technically be a potential client? Sure. But you won't be shocked when I tell you that it's not likely that every human being in the world is going to become a client. The fear of driving away other potential clients that aren't in your niche target is understandable. However, generic blog posts that try to reach everyone actually end up reaching no one.
Don't make that mistake. Who are you talking to, specifically? One game you can play with yourself is to imagine your ideal client. Try to picture them in detail. What's their name? How old are they? What's their personality like? Why did they come in to see you? Are they part of any populations or groups (BIPOC women, or people in the LGBTQ+ community, for example)?
Rule 2: What Does Your Ideal Client Want to Know?
After you've identified who your ideal client is, blog for them. As therapists, a lot of us are psychology nerds. There is so much cool emerging mental health research out there, and it's tempting to blog about the nitty-gritty of the next best treatment model.
That might be fine if your ideal client is the type of person who's into that sort of thing. In my experience, most consumers don't want to know about the effect size of every double-blind study that's ever been conducted. They want information that they can use to start improving their mental wellbeing, now. They want to know that you understand them, and can help with whatever they're going through.
So what problem does your ideal client need help to solve? Are they having relationship issues with their spouse? Do they want parenting tips? Are they looking to gain some self-confidence? Blog about those things; those articles are the ones that are going to capture your audience, provide value, and - ideally - get you some new clients.
Rule 3: Write approachable mental health content.
I've worked with so many therapists who are inclined to write their blogs the way they wrote their graduate school theses: academic, proper, and - let's face it - a little bit cold. Believe me, I get it. When I first transitioned into content writing a few years ago, I was tempted to use terms like "nevertheless" and "a variety of presenting concerns," too.
I learned quickly, thanks to my wonderful editors early on, that that isn't the kind of content that most people scrolling their phones are looking to read. This isn't graduate school — and thank goodness for that!
Write like your authentic therapist self. One trick I've learned is to read my content out loud to myself before submitting or publishing it. If I can't see myself reading it to a client, then it's probably a little bit too cold or academic.
If You Don't Have the Time to Blog, That's Okay (Just Work with a Mental Health Copywriter!)
Listen; I completely understand. During the 10+ years that I worked as a mental health practitioner, there was no way that I could have found the time to blog on most weeks. And on my days off, it was important to me to spend time doing the things that rejuvenated me: spending time with my family, taking long walks, and playing my ukulele. I was reluctant to spend any of that precious time off working on content marketing tasks like blogging.
And you know what? I think that was an incredibly healthy attitude to have. It's okay if you can't or simply don't want to spend the spare time you have trying to crank out blogs. Forcing yourself to blog when you don't feel like it is a sure-fire path to quick burnout. And we can't have that; your clients need you.
That's exactly who I designed my business for: mental health practitioners, like you, who either don't want to or can't carve out the time to maintain a blog, or who get stuck trying to find the words to express themselves. I keep my rates as low as possible so that people like you can afford my services.
Why should you have to take blogging onto your already full plate? This is what I do for a living as a mental health content writer. My blogs are written in your voice, and you retain all rights to them. I haven't failed yet in striking the exact tone that my clients are looking for, and every blog I write for you will have the right SEO keywords in the right places.
Contact me to schedule a free call; I'd love to know more about what you need and how I might be able to help. Blogging is important, but it isn't worth burning out over!