This week and next I wanted to tackle a question I receive often from clients. People want to know what they should be doing online in order to promote their businesses. Should they be blogging? Should they be on Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Snapchat? Something else?
Blogging is a pretty big topic. I'm sure you read some blogs yourself and that's probably what got you thinking about having one in the first place.
When you think about whether or not you should do something, you have to come back to the question of why. Why do you want to do it?
Is it because you find blogging interesting and think you might have some useful things to share with your clients and anyone else who might read your blog? (Hi mom!)
Is it because you like writing and think that might be a good way for you to reach out to potential clients?
Or is it really just because you want to make more money?
See here’s the thing: if you google ‘should I start a blog’ you’ll get thousands of hits all telling you the myriad of reasons why you should be blogging. It will help you build and reach your audience! It will build your brand! It will help your SEO! It will make you money! And so on.
But if you’re blogging purely because you want more clients, more SEO, and more money, you’re probably going to fail before you ever really get started.
The vast majority of people who write successful blogs didn’t start them with dollar signs in their eyes and the expectation that it will be a big income generator for their business. They started them because they had a topic they were passionate about and wanted to share that with the world. They hoped that the information they were sharing would help others. It’s something that comes from their core purpose, the reason they started out in their career in the first place.
So if you’re going to start blogging, don’t do it for metrics and the Google robots that crawl your website, do it because you want to share things with your clients. Do it because it resonates with you and the whole reason you went into health care in the first place. If it helps build your brand, brings you new clients, or improves your SEO? Those are great, but they shouldn’t be your primary goal. Realistically, blogging is something that takes time. It takes time for you to find your flow writing posts. It takes time for people to find your blog and read it. It takes time for Google to find your posts and index them. So this is not a 'quick fix' marketing method. You can’t expect to start blogging and then the following week have a fully booked schedule at the clinic.
So ok, we've covered lots about what blogging can't do. But can it actually be a useful tool for your business? Abso-frickin-lutely! There are many different reasons why blogging can be fantastic for a business, metrics and SEO aside. Here are just five of them.
Credibility & Understanding: A blog is a great way to show your credibility and educate people on everything you have to offer as a health care provider. It helps people understand what you do and what you can help them with. What kind of training have you done? What conditions do you treat? What are treatments with you like?
Often people don't understand what exactly it is that you do and why they might want to book an appointment with you. This is true whether you're a massage therapist, chiropractor, physiotherapist, or any other 'alternative' health practitioner. A well written blog can help clear up some of those questions for people.
Uniqueness: It helps show what makes your practice different from other clinics who do similar things to what you do. If someone is researching local massage therapists, they're going to be looking for reasons why one clinic might be a better match for what they need over another. Why should someone choose yours? Your blog can be an outlet to answer that question.
Increased client comfort: It helps people feel comfortable with you and get to know you. If they’re a bit shy or nervous about getting treatments, reading your blog can help them feel more comfortable with the idea of booking an appointment with you. That's a win for you both!
Teaching and giving: It gives an outlet for teaching things to clients, like stretches they can do at home or other self care. Of course, given your blog is public, people who aren't your clients may find the content and start using your advice. People really appreciate useful, free advice! Chances are good that if they later need treatments, they'll think of booking with you first.
Better communication: It helps you improve your writing skills which, believe it or not, often helps with your communication skills. We often forget our clients are not in health care themselves so don’t have all the same ‘lingo’ that we do. No one wants to explain something to a client and have that client pretend they understand, only to go home confused or searching for words in a medical dictionary. Ugh. The ability to explain things in terms almost anyone can understand is a great skill to have, and something blogging can help with.
So let's come back to the initial question: should you start a blog? If you’re doing it because you like the idea of writing and sharing with your clients, then yes! But if you’re just focused on metrics and SEO and the numbers game, don’t bother. It just won't give you the quick results you're hoping for.