More is less … when it comes to blogs. If you want to successfully use blogging to help attract clients you need to write less and say more. People are impatient and you must capture their interest quickly. Here are six tips from writing coach Mary Yerkes (www.maryyerkescoaching.com) that can make the difference in the success of your blogs.
- The headline is most important for “grabbing” the interest of readers. The headline will be read by 8 out of 10 people.
- Use fewer words. Blogs should include 50% fewer words than an article written for print.
- Give the reader the bottom-line first and then unpack it in the remainder of the article. Don’t build up to your main point or you may never have a chance to make it. Write using an inverted pyramid.
- Make the text easy to scan. For instance, use bullet points. This improves readability by more than 100%.
- Include a picture. Human faces are especially helpful.
- End your post with a call to action.
To be successful in utilizing the web in helping build your business, you must learn the craft of content marketing and writing compelling blog-posts. When we first started blogging we did not follow these principles and rarely attracted much interest. Make it a priority to learn how to communicate effectively on the web and you will grow your practice.
Headlines are the way you make a first impression with your readers. If you don’t have a catchy headline most likely you won’t have many people reading your blog. Studies have shown the following ways help you “grab” readers:
- “How-to” headlines that state a benefit are the most linked to headlines on the web.
- Headlines that use numbers also get more attention and encourage people to keep reading.
Once you caught their attention, it is important to provide content that is focused on the needs of your readers (your current or perspective clients). The information needs to be valuable and relevant to them and their world. If you try to reach everyone, you reach no one. Marketing research suggests people are tired of being sold to and they long for relationship. As therapists and/or coaches we specialize in relationship.
Mary Yerkes gives the following guidance for how to write effective blogs that will effectively engage and benefit your readers:
- Tap into the emotions of your readers. Assure your care and love for them. Boldly design your message to allow them to hear this. Assume your readers are asking: “Do you see me and do you care and love me?”
- Write with heart and connect with the hearts of readers.
- Learn to build relationships with words.
- Technique does matter, but focusing on technique alone will not build a thriving business.
When people are looking for a counselor or a coach, they are looking for a relationship with a person. They are not seeking a relationship with an idea or a company. You must convert your blogging into relationships to build your practice. Blogging should help you building existing relationships and start new ones. Through the “voice” of your blog people hopefully come to know you, like you and trust you. Establishing this foundation can often make the difference in which counselor a client chooses or which practice a referral source to refer to.
Effective blogging can be a helpful tool to strengthen these relationships. This may be especially helpful for counselors, who need to prioritize their face-to-face time for actual therapy work. Your referral sources value their time as well, so building relationships on-line (one blog to many readers) can be a win-win approach. This provides a way to stay in contact with valuable community partners while developing your network with potential new partners and referral sources.
Remember that writing for the web is markedly different than writing for print. When people come to a website, they want to “grab and go.” Make sure your site includes specific information that answers a question or helps the reader solve a problem. Mary tells us to keep the following in mind when writing content for your website:
- Web users typically do not read – they skim.
- People spend an average of 27 seconds on your webpage – you have to make sure you resonate with them.
- People look at a website in an “F” pattern.
- The most critical parts are the first two paragraphs. Be sure to give the reader what he or she needs, or provide hope for what they need.
- Scan the left side of the page and break it up with sub-headings, paragraphs and/or bullet points.
- Think about your readers: what keeps them up at night? Leverage this empathy in what you write about.
- Tell people how you are going to meet their needs. Tell them who you serve, how you serve them, and instill hope. Tell them the benefits they will get from working with you.
- The most important word is “You”: when people hear their name or feel the message is personal, neurotransmitters light up. This allows the reader to hear your message from a personal and emotional viewpoint.
Apply these tips and draw more people to your practice and website through effective blog writing. For more information on building a successful Christian counseling practice, visit us at www.genesisassist.com.