By Madi Ecker, The Practice Activator
Many years ago, my amazing boss Alex proclaimed we (by which she meant me) were going to start regularly publishing blogs for our group psychology practice. Now, as someone who has always loved writing, I was ready and willing. At the time I was regularly writing for university, so a simple blog seemed like a slam dunk.
That is until I sat down to write my first blog and was hit with the full force of a blank Word document, wishing for the first time ever that Clippy the Microsoft assistant would pop up and ask if I needed help. I wonder if you can relate?
I began to push blog writing back again and again. Because something “more important” would pop up. Weeks passed and I was still blog-less. Finally, I pushed my pride aside and asked Alex for help. I was waiting for her to ask me WHY I hadn’t written my blog yet, but in true coaching fashion, she asked me what I thought my barriers were.
Trust me when I say I had ALL the excuses ready – “I’m just so busy with XYZ”, “I’ll start it after this other project is finished so I can focus on it fully”, “I need more time to research the topic” – pretty much everything except for “the dog ate it”. The thing is, it’s not that these were made up excuses, at the time I truly believed these were my barriers. That is until I said them out loud and the real barrier finally clicked into place – I was scared.
Looking back, it makes sense. For so long I had been writing third-person, APA formatted academic essays. Not exactly the stuff of engaging blogs, but definitely my comfort zone. I struggled to get my head around the idea that I could be credible while still injecting a bit more personality, and let’s be honest a little less snore factor, into my writing.
Unlike my academic essays, my private practice blogs would be shared online, opening my writing up to potential criticism from perfect strangers. As someone with perfectionist tendencies, this was a nightmare for me, and I can’t tell you how many times I started that first blog, deleted it, and started again. Finally, I pushed every ‘what if’ aside, sat down, and wrote the dang blog. And guess what? I survived!
Nobody picked apart my writing (or me, which let’s face it was my true fear). Now, admittedly this blog only reached a handful of people, but I will never forget the feeling of relief when someone not only liked my content but shared it. My writing resonated with someone, and that meant something, regardless of how small an impact it was.
“Too often, feeling intimidated becomes our excuse not to be awesome.”
– Scott Stratten
Every day I hear from amazing wellness professionals who are facing similar barriers with their blogging. Their main complaint is often that they “struggle to find the time to blog”, but when I help them dig deeper, that little bit of fear comes to the surface. So how do we push through the first-time blogging fear
Write for yourself first
The very first thing I ask wellness professionals is “why do you want to blog?”. Many people think they “should” be blogging for SEO purposes, and they’re right, but that isn’t the primary goal in blogging (and there’s a lot more to it, for your efforts to be successful in SEO).
Blogging is a way for you to truly connect with your ideal audience AKA your ideal clients. It’s a way to build rapport, trust, and credibility, with the added benefit of an SEO boost (when done right). The best way to make sure you are writing quality and engaging blogs is to write for yourself first. If you’re passionate and enjoy writing about something, then there’s a high chance your audience will enjoy reading it too. That’s a great place to start.
Accountability is a great motivator
As wellness professionals, we know the power of accountability in motivation and goal acquisition. So why don’t we do it ourselves? There’s nothing more motivating than telling someone you’ll do something to make you actually follow through on it. Tell a friend, colleague, or partner that you’re wanting to blog, but more importantly, set a concrete date for when you are going to have it published by. A bonus is that it’ll force you to actually set aside time to do it, and who knows, they may even offer to proofread it for you.
Not blogging = not helping anyone
I bet that got your attention. It definitely got mine the first time I heard it. I had asked the wonderful Caroline, CEO of Writally, for tips on actually hitting the publish button instead of obsessing over making my blogs perfect. Her response was simple yet effective –“If you aren’t putting it out there, you can’t help anyone.” When I heard this, it was a huge light bulb moment, and to this day it is the single best piece of advice around blogging I’ve received.
Most of us entered the helping professions to do exactly that – help people. So, if you won’t make time to blog for yourself (or your business), then blog for the people that need your help. It makes no sense that we would do our potential clients, and ourselves, a disservice simply because we are scared to put ourselves out there, or our writing isn’t “perfect”. Blogging isn’t about perfection, it’s about connection. It’s time to start connecting.