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Rock Star Therapy Bloggers vs Regular Therapy Bloggers

Written By: Elizabeth Doherty Thomas - Jan• 25•11

I’m way excited for today’s post and it’s taken a week to get it organized as I wanted the blessing of the three people I am going to call out as Rock Star Therapy Bloggers.  I have a lot of opinions from my wide lens at this world of blogging, marketing, therapy, social media,  corporate life, being an active member of message boards and just generally still being a “normal person”, not yet a graduate student or licensed therapist with all the bias and baggage that comes with that path.

The big reasons I’m excited to share Regular Therapy Blogging vs Rock Star Blogging?

1 – it defies some of the marketers advice out there (I love being a contrarian!)

2 – it defies the sense that you have to look like a gross marketer/self promoter to be successful (a struggle new therapy bloggers have)

3 – it fits my strong belief that if you do good and have a bigger vision than self-promotion, good things will happen

4 – with all my experience, this is the path I plan on taking.  I recently talked to my therapist husband a few weeks ago on My Big Idea and he’s tentatively in agreement which means we may be launching our first mental health blog…I’m naturally psyched and he’s  exhausted already at my energy towards writing and marketing. hah!)

5 – the rock star bloggers are super inspiring, very real, and successful.  Who doesn’t love that?

Warning: Nobody can tell you that you suck or are doing things wrong even if they’re telling you that you’re doing things wrong. Success comes in many forms and we all have unique talents, abilities, goals, and missions.  Never take any marketer advice as gold (including mine) without seriously consulting your own emotional reaction, researching, and figuring out what you can do within all your abilities and limitations.  We are all biased and the following information has a bias towards a certain way of being in the world that may not fit for you.  Not every therapist has the temperament, drive, time, or interest in being a rock star blogger and I say good for you for knowing who you are!  There are countless ways to reach people with your message.

Warning in plain English: Please don’t feel awful if you think your blog sucks and please don’t redo everything you’re doing just because it’s the opposite of what I’m saying here.

Biggest Roadblock to Therapy Blogging?

The real challenge to start and maintain a therapy blog is about MINDSET and long term goals for a blog.  The goal will dramatically impact your success and how you go about blogging.  While there is no “right way” to blog, in my view there is a gap in thinking and action between a normal therapy blogger and a rock star blogger.

In no particular order…

Where the blog exists

A regular therapy blogger has a blog under their counseling website.  Like therapistjane.com/blog

A Rock Star blogger has a separate URL for a blog and very likely maintains a separate website for counseling and clients to keep the two worlds separate.  They are hyper aware of the sacred nature of therapy-client relationships and their blogging audience is not really likely to be their clients. (Rock Star Bloggers give a lot of thought to this issue and work within their comfort zone on the blog vs therapy side of their business.)

Blog Look

A regular therapy blogger has a simple blog, probably a free template

A Rock Star blogger pays good money for a well designed, customized, well functioning blog. And even more? Every year or two they pay MORE money to complely revamp. Why? A web design reflects who you are and what you’re doing. Rock Star bloggers have momentum which requires constantly growing and changing their look and functionality.

Why the blog exists

Regular therapy bloggers are told to blog because that’s what you do, darnit!  It’s the smart, savvy way to get clients, say the therapy marketers.

Rock star therapy bloggers have a passion they can barely contain!  They want to help people who may never seek therapy and they want to express their passion as widely and loudly as they can!  They have big dreams and know if they can create a mini-universe online, good things will happen (including the side effect of, yes…getting clients.)  They treat their blog really as its own business whose revenue is simply helping and media attention.  (See a future blog hopefully this week on a book review that ties closely into this topic of “free.”)

Note the huge difference in motivation!

What the Blog Does or Says

Regular therapy bloggers have a general sense of the blog topic, maybe.  It may be all over the board however, discussing anything mental health related.  Every blog post may be a big of a struggle.

Rock star bloggers have a big umbrella, or a tight niche, but either way they know what container they’ve got with their topic and they’re busy plugging away, filling the “holes” not yet discussed in the broad or narrow topic they have chosen.  Often blog inspiration comes from seeing themes in the therapy sessions with clients.  They want to “give away” what people are paying them to hear so they can help others.

Readership

Regular therapy blogs don’t have a ton of readers, not a big audience.  They’re quiet little blogs.

Rock star therapy blogs have big audiences that mushroom even bigger every time the blog is mentioned in a new publication, radio, TV, website.  You can just “feel” the audience even if you can’t “see” them, when you land on their blog.  The blog takes on a life of its own.  Perhaps in part because it doesn’t feel like a “therapy blog” with all the stigma of therapy?

Writers Block and Frustration, Oh My….!

Regular therapy bloggers get frustrated, writers block, not sure “why” they are blogging or what they’re getting out of it.

Rock star therapy bloggers get exhausted for sure, but built the blog for a passion to help the broader culture.  Since they’re really “out there” they have a beat of what people want to know and are rarely at a loss for what they could write about.  Their natural momentum plus their networking and media attention keep the blog hot, hot, hot.

Attraction

Regular therapy bloggers work for a labor of love, trusting their marketing coaches that readers will come.  Afterall, blogs are magical, right?  The search engines loves them!

Rock star therapy bloggers use their blogs as a huge marketing tool.  They’re weapon of mass attraction is a lively, energetic, snappy blog they proudly share with the world, and because their passion and website are so great, people take notice and have them be guest blog writers, quote them, link to them, give them cool opportunities.  May find ways to build e-products to make money from the blog, but it’s more like a bookstore on the blog rather than empire building by collecting emails to sell a bunch of stuff.  They may get paid in creative ways but it’s very clear to the average reader that you can absorb a ton from the website without hitting a “wall” requiring payment to learn anything more.

The Start of the Blog

Regular therapy bloggers are eager to collect email addresses as they’re told the point is to be able to sell them stuff, let people know about e-books, workshops, etc.  There can be a hunger and obsession with collecting email addresses and a sense of failure if that isn’t happening, or as fast as you would want.

Rock star bloggers are not in this game for emails.  These therapists build a blog without trying to be a sales website, without having lots of signups for things and may even have NO sign up except “get emails for this blog.”  Their primary goal is to have free, open information which naturally keeps people coming back.

So who ARE these rock star therapy bloggers?  I don’t doubt there are quite a few out there, but three I am specifically wanting to call out today and who confirmed this blog is not just blowing smoke….

Soapbox Therapy Twitter @SoapBoxTherapy

Relationships in the Raw @Estes_Therapy

The Toolbox at Lisa Kift Therapy @LisaKiftTherapy

Each are busy, each have their own stories, and each are proof that you don’t have to be a 30 year veteran therapist to get great media attention and grow a passion-inspired practice.

Please, if you’ve had success, tell us what you’ve found so others reading this can learn from you!

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20 Comments

  1. Krysta Dancy says:

    Love the list, and I completely agree. Although my readership is still in the *quiet* phase, it’s growing and I attribute that to a lot of the reasons you list.

    I would add- the voice is “real”. When I first started blogging, I felt a responsibility to be “professional” and write about serious things. As time goes on, I relax and just write more from my heart. And, not surprisingly- this has been much better received.

    I might have a small subscriber list- but my blog is my #1 source for converted referrals to my website. So it’s working for my business- which is funny, since it started working better when I cared less about “business!”

  2. Jeanie says:

    Working on being a rstb :) had to process my own stuff first. :)

    Jeanie

  3. Linda says:

    Wow-I never thought I’d see the terms ‘rock star’ and ‘therapy blogger’ in the same sentence!

    Thanks for the inspiring goal to hit the high notes and fill the stadiums with the wonderful world of psychotherapy.

    After all, we all have issues, right?

    I love your passion Elizabeth. And your enthusiasm is infectious:)

  4. Miriam says:

    Looks like I’m a rock star except in the first two points. Where it exists and the look of it. I’ve been thinking along these lines lately so good (albeit painful) to have my thoughts confirmed. Looks like it’s time to do some creative money management!

  5. So enjoyed this, Elizabeth. It kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering where I fall … this was timely as I am just looking into revamping my website and blog. Great tips and guidelines, thanks!

  6. Wow Elizabeth, so excited about this topic. I definitely have passion and big dreams. I plan to set up another web site for internet business and create a new blog. (Keep old website for practice) I am working on the e book to sell, and when it’s ready – here I go! First of all I want to give to the whole world. That feels so good. I am aware that it is not therapy but coaching. Yes, I get frustrated on a weekly basis, but learning and I do not intend to give up! Thank you for a very inspiring article. PS. I already subscribe to Lisa’s Toolbox and love her style and she has a beautiful blog theme. Perhaps I should bye one of her books and learn from her.
    Truly Irene

    • You remind me of a really cool movement of people who wanted to write a novel. They are now really big. At some point in the near everyone signs up and has 30 days I believe, to write a novel! There is no checking in on you or anything, but it’s a way to feel like you are with thousands of other people at that exact moment, cheering each other on!

      Maybe we need something like this for therapists? Get your writing groove on movement of mutual support. :)

  7. Hi! Loved this blog post! I am in the middle of upgrading my website and blog…it seems to be a growth process. I just started bloggin in Sept 2010 and I felt a need to be professional, serious, etc…
    not I am loosening up and enjoyign it more…
    well, more to come and I ASPIRE to be a rock star, but **sigh** I have a long way to to go!
    thanks, love!

  8. Yowza! What a nice compliment Elizabeth! You are doing a great job at lighting a torch for therapists along this new path. Your readers might be interested in a series of articles I wrote for PsychCentral.com on this topic – about the changing landscape of how therapists are “supposed” to present themselves. I still remember when my psychiatrist father scoffed at me having my picture on my website about five years ago. Clearly times have changed.

    I appreciate your enthusiasm, insights and encouragement of other therapists trying to figure it all out.

    Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
    The Toolbox at LisaKiftTherapy.com

    P.S. Irene, glad to hear you’ve been enjoying my newsletter. Keep up the good work, you can do it too!

    • Isn’t it amazing. My psychologist father keeps saying back in the 1970′s it was ILLEGAL to say anything but your name, office address, and phone number. Oh how far we’ve come! The frustrating part from where I sit is when inexperienced but marketing savvy therapists can “appear” more than they are to prospective clients. Wish there were a button that had to go on websites that said something like, “This therapist is good peeps regardless of his or her ability to market!” :)

    • Thanks Lisa, I believe I can too!

  9. Elizabeth, you are an inspiration. I am soooooooooo honored to be a rock star! Thank you so much!!!

    And as you can tell by your blog….You ARE THE ROCK STAR!

    Jennine Estes, MFT
    Relationships In The Raw

  10. Great, motivating article Elizabeth. I just gotta say: You… My Friend Are a Natural Rock Star!

  11. Elizabeth,
    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I am constantly impressed at the opportunities that abound in our internet world for people to get their brands out there. I love the “rock star” metaphor. Rock on!
    Barbara Cunningham

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  14. This is a great article on therapist blogging. For my Dallas Therapist blog, I write articles to reach out to the clients that I most enjoy working with and with whom I think can best benefit from my expertise. I don’t have tons of readers, but a fair amount of readers who likely benefit from what they are reading, which is more important than masses of readers who don’t benefit at all.

  15. Koaki says:

    Very nice article and I will keep this in mind when writing my own blog. The internet is a great source for both clients to learn about what we do and perhaps get some help from our postings. But it is also a way for our profession to spread our name our there and learn from each other. Thank you again for posting this.