Originally published 2015, Revised 2018
Not a week goes by that I'm not asked this question. And in reality, there are probably many different ways to start blogging. Here's a look at one productive process.
As with anything else related to marketing a couple preliminary things are useful before even starting to think about the writing:
Decide how often you want to blog
Collect and store topic ideas for when you need a stimulus
Schedule time into your calendar to hold yourself accountable
How Often Should You Blog?
For best search engine optimization purposes, once a day would be best. Few psychotherapists, coaches, lawyers, and other solopreneurs will adopt that kind of publication commitment, however.
Blogging once a week, especially for a new website, will help your site get noticed by Google and other search engines, which rank sites according to volume and frequency of new content. And new frequent content will be THE best way to attract not only the search engines but new clients as well in 2019.
Once a month, or every two weeks is probably a more reasonable expectation for most clinicians and others who are self-employed. It's frequent enough to still help your SEO, and not so often that it is a time burden.
If you blog frequently enough -- and then take the finishing step of posting a promo link to the blog post on your social media pages -- you can save yourself a lot of dollars by not having to advertise. The blog and social media will do that for you for only the cost of your time.
What Should You Blog About?
Let me start with listing what you shouldn't blog about:
If you are blogging on your professional website in hopes of gaining new clients, the purpose of blogging is to connect with the interests and concerns on the minds of your niche audience. The goal is to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and approachable resource who has solutions to the problems your client niche is experiencing.
So what you should be blogging about is a problem that you ideal client is likely to have, your insights about it, and your generic first step solutions to it. Leave something unsaid, though, so that readers will want to learn more from you personally.
* An exception to the rule of not blogging about credentials is when you acquire a new one. then it's fine to do a post about what it is, what the training was like, where you got it, and what it enables you to do for your clients -- that last part being the most important. If possible, give an anecdote or two about a situation encountered in training that you successfully handled to show how your training will apply to other clients.
Get Into the Blogging Habit
A lot of coaches, psychologists, counselors, and other solopreneurs start a blog, and then get writer's block, or let it languish along with other marketing tasks. If that happens to you, it would be wise to look more deeply into what is sabotaging your impulse to be a business owner.
Or maybe you thought you had to blog, and never really wanted to, because it just doesn't fit your personality. Not all marketing methods are best for everyone. I'm not suited to networking and referral building. You might not be suited for blogging.
But if you do want to blog, then it is very helpful to make it a routine part of your work calendar. Set aside the time as if blogging were time spent with a very important client, and don't let yourself be distracted with other tasks like billing, call backs, and Facebooking.
So here's my own blogging process for you to adapt to your own energy and mental engagement style.
I start with observing / listening for what people in general are asking about in various places -- social gatherings, in line at Starbucks, on social media -- and hone in on the topics that keep coming up for my ideal client type(s).
Then I write a hopefully interest-catching headline, pose a question, or make what I hope is a startling statement designed to create cognitive dissonance and the impulse to read more to relieve that dissonance.
In the process, the writing defines a problem and provides self-help tips for beginning a resolution to the problem. Blogging ends with some kind of call to action -- read one of my older blogs, check for details on this marketing message page, call for an appointment.... strong, direct command suggestions like that are good calls to action.
Sprinkled in may be stats and authorities other than myself, but I don't find it client-attracting to over-burden the reader with too much of that. When a blog sounds too academic, people stop reading and the marketing value is lost.
In short, blogging that is done for the purpose of gaining clients is a type of marketing tool, so you want to make it about what potential clients want to know, rather than being framed too much about you.
Get More Tips
I have a free handout available that has tips on blogging, including 46 blog topics / title possibilities written for clinicians to use. Email a request for this handout to Deah at DeWriteSites.com if you'd like a copy. Headlines can't be copyrighted so feel free to ones I've suggested stimulate your writing.
And here are some links to previous blog posts on blogging:
Get Unstuck! Five Blog Topic Titles for Therapists and Coaches
Everything You Need to Know about Blogging to Attract Clients
How to Write a Juicy Blog Post