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.)
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.
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.
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!
Elizabeth Doherty Thomas
Latest posts by Elizabeth Doherty Thomas (see all)
- Therapy Marketing: Part 2: What It Is - February 9, 2011
- Therapy Marketing Part 1: Why It’s Not What You Think - February 8, 2011
- Anatomy of a therapy blog post - February 5, 2011