A blog is still often a potential patient’s first opportunity to engage with you and your wellness business, as well as a way for you to establish yourself as an expert and build trust. Whether you are creating a blog, videos, or a podcast, the same principles will apply.
Read on if:
• You don’t have a website, or don’t have a great website just yet
• You haven’t updated your “online brochure” website since 2012 or before
• You are not familiar with SEO or the concept of content marketing, or why you may want to have a blog (Hint: Not because “everyone else has one”)
• You hired an “SEO guy” (or gal) in the past who used “tricks and hacks” to get you quick rankings, but either got no results or their “black hat” techniques ended up tanking your rankings due to Google updates and penalties
• You are only beginning to understand the concept of digital marketing because you had to “go virtual” with at least a portion of your practice in 2020
• You don’t know where to start, and frankly, are kind of afraid to ask
• You are genuinely passionate about what you do and are willing to do further research, documentation, exploration, and writing about your chosen area of expertise to share with the world
Go grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and let’s get you started!
You’ve probably heard about SEO, and have a basic understanding about Google searches. You may also be aware that a large majority of your patients are probably doing some kind of research online before they book an appointment with you. (80 percent, according to a recent study!)
You may also be vaguely familiar with terms like keywords, backlinks, and meta descriptions, but don’t really want to dive into that rabbit hole right now.
I actually DO recommend taking it slow when it comes to learning the basics of SEO, because it CAN be a rabbit hole!
Maybe you even thought about paying someone to magically “fix” your SEO or “make” your page skyrocket to the top of Google rankings.
Today, the approach of “quick fixes” and “gaming the system” don’t work. That’s the bad news.
I don’t recommend hiring anyone that makes promises about quick gains when it comes to Google rankings and traffic, as this will backfire.
Today, what makes a wellness practice successful has a lot to do something called content marketing.
There are some SEO experts that sadly, may know every trick for getting your local keywords to rank #1 in Google and will tell you that “you don’t need to write content.”
But what they don’t understand is that if this is ALL you do, you are positioning you and your services as a commodity.
How can you stand out without content, or as I prefer to call it, your own intellectual property? For sure, you’ll be hustling and burnt out from trying to work with anyone and everyone, continuing to sell your time at a “competitive” rate, just because of geographic convenience and a few SEO tricks.
Now for the GOOD news.. Most of SEO and content marketing really boils down to just creating high-quality content that is useful to your potential patients and clients. This content will establish you as an expert, not just a pin on a map, and will decrease your dependence on reviews.
Your content can also be repurposed, reused, and recycled.
The days of the non-functional, “glorified brochure” websites are over.
This means that you can no longer put up a website with just a brief description of what you do with a few specific keywords, put your phone number at the top, link to a booking or consultation, and call it a day.
This is still done certain industries, like plumbing and construction. Since these businesses are generally more or less commodities, playing the keyword ranking game and getting backlinks was enough for Joe’s plumbing service in Anytown, NE, to be seen in the first page of Google listings for a particular search.
This is basically using Google as nothing more than glorified Yellow pages, which is fine if you are say, a cab company.
As a matter of fact, this IS how it was done in almost every industry about 10 years ago, (and apparently this mindset still exists!) but even for commodities, it’s harder to compete in the online space without adopting to modern marketing.
This means that your message, your content, your brand, how you tell your story, and how you solve a specific problem for a specific type of patient or client is crucial.
Hoping that people visit our websites that have a handful of blogs and rely on old-school “tricks and hacks” SEO (or no SEO) no longer works well for highly personalized experiences like acupuncture, chiropractic, or coaching.
“Old School” SEO doesn’t work anymore
A blog that sounds like it’s written more for a Google bot than a regular person is not only annoying, but is now being penalized by Google. (and has been for a while now)
I’m still shocked by how many chiropractic sites I see that are written like this. Don’t write for a machine. Write for real people.
People want to interact with real people, find helpful information, and feel as if they found a person, place, or service that really “resonates” with them. They are seeking a a good vibe, and a site with a lot of good, relevant information, which is organized in a clean, uncluttered way.
What’s one of the bests way to do this? Blogging.
1. You don’t want to clutter up your homepage with too much information. This is confusing to a reader. Readers want to know briefly what your business is about, and what makes YOU or your place unique. This is why clean, elegant sites are so popular. (I create websites based on the Story Brand concept, which is all about a clear, concise narrative flow on the HOME and ABOUT pages)
Your potential patient or client will use the blog to dive a little deeper on something more specific. Almost everyone knows what a blog is and what it’s used for nowadays, and if they are intrigued, they will go there to find more info.
Note: Having a blog page with a search function or “latest or relevant posts” on your website will greatly increase the odds that those that navigate to your home page first, will check out your blog.
It also helps to “see at a glance” that your site is a wealth of information, or even “binge-worthy.”
2. If your business is online with a global audience, you obviously can’t rely on Joe the plumber’s technique. People simply don’t type “How I can live my best life” or “Business coach” into a Google search. They have specific questions that begin with “Why, How, What, When, Who, and Where, or Can..such as:
“How can I get rid of my acne?”
“Why is my dog so anxious lately?”
“What are some good recipes for a Paleo breakfast?
“When should I use ice to treat an injury?”
“Can acupuncture help me with my sugar addiction?”
The right keywords may also lead potential clients to read blogs about how they can improve their lives:
“Why motivation won’t work for long-term success”
“How to make sure you are heard when nobody seems to be listening”
You get the idea.
What questions and what problems is YOUR ideal client looking to solve with a Google search? How can you write blogs based on the intent of the searcher? Are they researching? (how can chiropractic help with headaches) or are they looking to buy NOW? (Chiropractor near me who can help me with headaches)
I advise mixing it up a little so that you address buyers in ALL stages: awareness, interest/research, consideration, and ready to buy.
Your blog will help guide your ideal clients to you by using keywords that strike a chord with them.. and have them coming back for more.
For example, if your focus is on working with gifted and creative people…(which is still a pretty broad focus) you can really niche this down further via blogging and sharing info about the unique challenges your ideal client has, and how to solve THEIR specific problems, which you will define in your blogs.
Blogging also integrates beautifully with social media, which could be your primary method of attracting an audience and generating leads. (Others may prefer podcasting, which in some ways, serves a similar function as a blog, especially if you are optimizing your show notes for search)
3. You will be a resource they will come back to again and again by providing honestly helpful information on a regular basis. For example, you could blog about how you treat shoulder pain or how to have glowing skin after 50.
You can then optimize each blog with keywords that people will be searching for.
What’s cool is that next time when they are looking for information about how you treat back pain or natural treatments for reducing the appearance of cellulite, they are likely to come back to your site because now they perceive you as an expert in your niche.
If you impressed them this first time, why would they go elsewhere, or to a “flimsy” site that only has a phone number and says basically the same thing as everyone else’s?
4. Here’s the reason why you actually have an ADVANTAGE: Because you are not a cab company, an airline, a breakfast cereal, or just another plumber.
What you have, even in a saturated or competitive market, is something nobody else has or will ever have. You are not a commodity.
You get to express yourself.
I don’t know about you, but I think it kind of sucks to have to compete as a commodity. When you are a commodity, you are forced to focus on discount pricing or feel pressure to do what everyone else is doing.
Blogging is like someone handing you a mike and giving you a stage to tell your audience what you are really all about, without having to sound like a cheesy commercial.
Content marketing will do that for you. Really! I got my favorite patients that were a joy to work with, because of my blog and all the info I offered.
5. It will help you attract the right people for you, and yes, repel those you don’t want to work with. In other words, it will SAVE you time and energy in the long run.
But I was told that “nobody wants to read anything anymore, it’s too much work, so why should I write?”
This simply isn’t true. If you want to attract patients who can’t be bothered to do a little research and be genuinely interested in being proactive about their health.. it’s not beneficial for anyone.. you, the client or patient, and your industry as a whole. I think that this is particularly true for healthcare sites. The more you can answer the questions that your ideal patient (or client) is typing into a search, the BETTER the user experience.
This means that if you are thorough and comprehensive in your blog, the searcher doesn’t have to bounce off your site to Google again in order to get the answers they need. (THIS is what can be frustrating!)
Don’t worry about length. Whether or not you can answer the question the person who came to your blog for in 300 words or 3,000 isn’t the point. It all depends on what you do, your style, and what makes the most sense.
I do NOT recommend writing a half-assed listicle with generic advice that anyone can find anywhere. (Drink more water, get more sleep) just so that you have a blog with some of your local keywords stuffed into it. This is the kind of thing Google is trying to discourage. As a user, would YOU want to sift through this much junk in order to find what you really need?
If you are good at what you do (and I know you are) I would bet that you will never run out of things to talk about. As long as you are doing your due diligence in finding out who your ideal patient or client is, what their specific problems are, and taking time to answer them in THEIR language, you’ll be fine!
Note: If you are MUCH better at video than with blogging.. go for it! Statistics show that more people watch videos than read blogs.. especially on mobile devices. But many are still a bit shy about videos, and blogging isnt’ going away any time soon. Good news: You can now easily turn your videos into blogs, if you like, with AI tools like Otter.ai, which does a good job of transcribing audio files or live recordings into words.
For now, we’ll focus on blogging.
You will be in a better position to serve
What about those who are not ready for your 1:1 services? The temptation is to lower your prices, which I think is a big mistake. Your time and the strategic solutions you offer should be priced appropriately.
Blogs are a great way to provide more people with access to your expertise. It’s the gateway to entry point to offering solutions for those who are just beginning to learn about how they can benefit from your services but aren’t ready for the next step.
From there you can continue to offer solutions that help them at the next level, if they choose, such as group programs, courses, or webinars.
How to start blogging
1. If you don’t already have a WordPress website, I highly recommend it. Another reason I love WordPress so much is that blogging is built right in to the site from the start. Other platforms like Kartra, which I also love, are a good choice for online businesses with more advanced needs, but they are not great platforms for building a blog. I won’t get into that right now.
WordPress manages all your content easily.. including images, blog posts, and pages. All you need to do is add a post, a title, a description, and a featured image and you are basically set.
As you go, you will find optimal ways of formatting, using images, and refining SEO. Just start, and feel that sense of satisfaction when your library starts to build.
You are now on your way to becoming the go-to person in your industry!
Note: Finding a niche and defining your target audience is also key. If you are writing to the wrong audience, you will be writing for your own entertainment only.
Do NOT try to “make sure that anyone and everyone” is going to be interested. When you do this, NOBODY will be interested, (meh) and you are now basically a commodity.
Those with online coaching businesses need to be even MORE specific about their audience.
I can help you define and refine if you are stuck. This is not uncommon when it comes to “putting yourself out there” and wanting to attract everyone, which is a mistake.
2. Don’t worry if you only have 2 blogs (or NO blogs!) right now, or allow it to overwhelm you. This is about consistent and inspired action. What’s the perfect number? To get some momentum going, I recommend at least a few times per month. After a while, you can update and refresh your old posts, which is what I do to keep getting more traffic to my website.
You will find a rhythm that works for you and keeps you competitive in the SEO game. This will take some observation and tweaking.
When you think of a blog idea, write it down. These ideas often come up in conversations, or at random moments.
You can also ask your patients or guests what their burning questions are and answer them.
3. Don’t just blog. Pair your efforts with metrics. You want to get into the habit of measuring how well the blog is performing via driving more traffic to your site or some other goal or metric, such as online bookings, opt-ins, viewings of your pricing page, how long visitors stick around on your site, how “trustworthy” your site is, insights about links.. and more.
Start by setting up a Google Analytics and Google Console account. It’s easier than ever to get started. (Granted, it will take you some time to master Google Analytics) These are the 2 standard tools SEO’s use to measure the performance of a website. (And your blog will play a HUGE role in its performance)
With these tools, you will find a gold mine of info that will help direct you on what to blog about, how to optimize your blogs for SEO, or how to best integrate them with social media.
4. Have someone do it for you. If you TRULY don’t have time because you are busy with your business.. congratulations! Your business is growing, and it may be time to outsource.
For some, it may make MUCH more sense to hire someone who knows their business to do their blogging, posting, and analysis.
Remember, the GOOD NEWS is that blogging isn’t dead. Not even close. It’s just a statement that circulates from time to time that makes for good clickbait.
High quality information is being rewarded by Google.. because clearly, this is what people WANT.
So think of it as fun, not a chore. Let it be a way to inspire you and your business, and get others jazzed about what your unique offering is. For more advanced info about blogging and SEO in 2021 and beyond, this is a must read.
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Need some guidance? You can get started right away by applying to work with me.