Chapter Three

Deciding on Blog Topics: What to write about

 

16053314 - tired and stressed young asian woman
Ideas not coming… Coffee need more

Use your skills and knowledge to create intellectual value

For a complementary therapy practitioner, this is where we have the chance to produce something very unique, which is relevant and informative to our potential readers. We will have knowledge of our therapy, but more than that – the path which took us onto this therapy, will probably hold some useful nuggets for possible topics.

For example, a lot of people embark on learning a complementary therapy because it helped them deal with a specific health complaint. Well, straightaway, you have a topic – not just for one blog article but a whole series as well as a detailed guide you could write.

There is no better experience than personal familiarity with a disease. You will know just what a person is going through with a disease. You will know the feelings and the searches for a solution to the problem. You may even have fallen in some potholes on the way to finding a way to deal with your problem.

Whether that problem is acne, fertility, headaches, or stress, it is guaranteed that there will be other people with those same problems, who are also looking for a solution. And you may just be able to point them in the right direction.

Ideas for topics

This is where you can let your creative forces be unleashed. Some people struggle to think of ideas, especially every week. This is because creativity is in many ways, like a muscle. If you are stuck in an office typing spreadsheets for 8 hours a day, your creativity muscle will look like a squashed worm on the pavement on a wet day.

You must use your creativity muscle to keep it strong and supple. If you don’t, it loses it strength and function. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage it.

Firstly, journaling. Get in the habit of writing a little bit each day. If you have a PC, use Microsoft One-Note. This is a journaling software that is easy to use. Reflect and write whatever you feel like. This is your own space, which no one else will be reading, so go for it and write whatever comes. it may even reveal some interesting insights to you. All of this will exercise your creativity muscle.

The second idea comes from the blogger James Altucher. He recommends that you carry a small waiter’s pad with you at all time and get in the habit of writing down ten ideas every day. These ideas could be crazy. They could be ideas for inventions or ice cream flavours. It doesn’t matter. Just get in the habit of thinking and writing them down. You will find one or two gems in there.

Perhaps if ten a day is too much, then ten a week is doable especially if you use One-Note. At some point, look back and check what you have written. You will be able to see if there are any ideas for blog articles among these ideas.

I have tried this exercise, and my computer is full of blog article ideas that haven’t been written up yet. I know that if I want to write an article, but cannot think of an idea, then I need only look at this electronic notepad to get something.

Popular themes that people search for online:

People want to learn how to make money or how to get the job they want. We want to look good and find someone to love or to love us. People want to be more powerful than they are.

Some want to criticise the governing party and fix the world. Others want information or inside knowledge that sets us apart from the rest. Lastly, almost everyone will want to have better health. We will search out all sorts of different things on the internet.

These are some basic human desires. It is these desires that will drive people to search the internet. On a general level, people are driven by:

  • Sex
  • Money
  • Power
  • Health

Let’s elaborate on these sections…

Sex

Sex sells. This is a typical marketing term and it still holds true. By ‘sex’, I don’t mean the physical act – (not unless you are running an X-rated site). By sex, I’m talking about the idea of attractiveness and looking good – whether that is based on physical, material or social status.

People want to look good and to appear more attractive. The whole world of social media like Facebook and Instagram is about looking good and being admired to the world. This is driven by the sex instinct. Perhaps on a deeper level, it is also about seeking love and validation, but that is a different matter. This instinct also drives people to want to make more money and be more successful at work.

This is a great selling point. Adverts will use attractive people to sell products. Sex works as a theme also for complementary therapy practitioners. How so? You are selling health, you are selling wellbeing. Look at the Millennial generation and to a lesser extent, Generation X. These are generations fully immersed in social media and the idea of putting your life and your appearance on display.

Appearance is closely tied with health and wellbeing. You only need to see just how popular Yoga Instagramers and YouTubers are, to get an understanding of how valued outer appearance is. And one of the biggest aspects of this is sex. Sex sells.

People want to feel better, but more so, they want to look better. A complementary therapist can work in this area and blog on the topic accordingly.

For example, if you focus on facial acupuncture, some clients may come to you to remove wrinkles. You may also have your own skin care products or do facials. You can also focus on acne as one of your main treatments, which is tied in with appearance and beauty.

People are coming to you because they want to look better, which in turn makes them feel better because we all want to be more attractive. It is curious, but people are more prepared to spend money on looking good then on feeling good.

For example, some people will think nothing of spending £40 on a skin cream product, but may hesitate when it comes to paying the same for a massage or acupuncture session, even though they have knots the size of satsuma’s in their back.  Appearance seems to occupy a greater priority than internal health.

So focusing on beauty, appearance, skin care, attractiveness or even style and fashion can be a unique selling point for your business and your blog. It can help to attract a certain type of audience to you, especially if you can sell the idea that external beauty is closely tied to internal health and mind, which it is anyway.

I mentioned two other areas: Money and Power as driving forces for people to search the internet for answers. These two areas are not so relevant to a complementary therapy business and blog. Health is obviously far more relevant. Nonetheless, before I discuss Health, I’ll just briefly touch on Money and Power.

Money

Making money has always been an attractive topic for people. Money opens lots of opportunities for us. Websites, blogs and books about making money have always been very popular. Money means freedom to experience more in life and to be able to avoid certain stresses that comes with not having enough money.

As a complementary therapist, money is probably not going to be a topic you are going to blog about unless you decide to talk about the business aspect of it. On the other hand, there is no reason why you can’t blog about it anyway. I do.

Power

The big car, the career and the exotic holidays are all status signs of power. They allow us to portray an image of success and power to the world.

People chase power and success. It’s a huge motivating force. The problem is that a lot of people study and work hard and then land these high powered jobs, but sometimes, they have had to sacrifice their health and mental wellbeing in order to achieve it. There are plenty of stressed and tired city workers in London or any major city.

With this kind of work, a common consequence is stress, anxiety, depression, back pain and stiff shoulders. In a worst case scenario, some of these people are running themselves down too much and are at risk of a serious illness unless they change course. All of these people are potential clients if you can learn how to target and reach them and make it easy for them to find you.

Health

For a complementary therapy practitioner, your main arena is going to be heath. Obviously this is the main theme that you will focus on writing in your blog because we have the power to help relieve or alleviate someone’s health problem. The challenge is to get that message heard, so people know to come to you.

All of the above points  – sex, money and power are important in their own right, but let’s look it at this way. Having no money, power or sex is annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. You can survive.

But when you lack health and wellbeing in any area of your life, that lack will overshadow everything else. You may be the richest person on the planet, but if you are in great pain, you would happily sacrifice half of all that for the alleviation of your suffering.

The irony is that. Most people don’t think about health until they lose it. People mostly focus on sex, money and power. They may spend their whole life chasing the above, even at the cost of their health. Yet health is arguably the most important of all.

And it is your job to remind people that health is important. You living depends on it.

So blogging about topics of health – especially common issues that affect many people will help you draw potential clients. Some common health problems these days are depression, stress, and infertility problems.

And if you do some writing on a particular topic, don’t just write one article. Write a whole series. Make it a theme. People do not get tired of reading the same topic in a blog especially if it relates to them. In fact, they will see your blog as a place to go for that specific problem and will look for your unique insight.

Your target audience

Teenager in the shower obsessed with the smart phone
 – And I really thought the Passion of the Christ would have more naughtier bits in it –

What is the target demographic that resonates with you, and they with you?

You need to give some general thought to who you are writing for. Even better is to write a profile down. This may be decided based on a few different demographic factors:

  • Target location
  • Age bracket
  • Sex – male or female
  • Professional and socio-economic background
  • Your audience’s interests

I will elaborate a little on these factors:

Target demographic

In my previous eBook on ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget, I discussed about target demographics and how to identify the make-up of specific areas. See that book for more information on this topic.

Target location

This depends on what the purpose of your site it. If you simply want to attract more clients from your local area, then you may consider writing some blog articles about health care events or other activities in your local area. A lot of articles will contain keywords for your locality.

For example, the blogger WalesOnCraic has built up a huge audience by creating a blog based on South Wales.

If you have an eBook on helping a specific health complaint like arthritis, than you don’t just need to think locally. You may want to target all English speaking countries.

On the other hand, if your business is focused on treating people directly, who suffer from arthritis, then it would be beneficial to focus on your local demographic.

Lateral thinking

In this example, be aware that people who suffer with arthritis tend to be more in the 60-80 age group. People over the age of 70 are less likely to use the internet or be able to find your blog. It may be better to focus on other methods of promotions such as classified ads.

Either you forgo the blog, or perhaps if several of your patients have elderly parents, you could let them be aware that you also treat conditions like arthritis. For example, you could blog primarily about gynaecological problems and then include a few articles about arthritis.

Male or female

Some therapies, will tend to attract woman more than men and vice versa. For example, men may be more driven to see an osteopath or chiropractor than to visit a therapist who practices Bach Flower Remedies.

You may feel more comfortable treating women, or perhaps you practice a therapy that tends to be more popular with female clients than male. In these cases, you may be better off focusing your blog on issues that affect women rather than men. For example, gynaecological problems, or things like shopping… only joking.

Or perhaps you have personally dealt with male issues in the past, such as prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction or baldness (hopefully, not all at the same time) and you want to share your knowledge with other men to help them as well as make a business out of it. In which case, your blog will be focused on men.

Age brackets

These are some standard age brackets used in advertising for targeting certain age groups:

  • 12-17
  • 18-24
  • 25-34
  • 35-44
  • 45-54
  • 55-64
  • 65+

These age brackets are subject to change. They range through the different generational groups, such as the Silent generation, Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, and within these generational groups, they can be further broken down.

On this chart above, everyone over 65+ is lumped together and I assume from a marketing perspective, they are not seem as a target group, perhaps supposedly because of perceived lower disposable income. Yet, that would be a mistake, because this group can make up a significant percentage of a complementary therapist’s client list.

In Japan, I observed one acupuncturist, who had several clients in their 60’s and 70s’. They made-up a significant proportion of his clients during the early afternoon and morning hours, which are sometimes ‘dead hours’ for complementary therapists.

From a business perspective It is well worth considering the age brackets of your potential and preferred clients. For example:

  • What is the general age range of people in your local area?
  • What is the general age range of people you would prefer to target?
  • What is the age range you feel most comfortable with?
  • What is the age range that is more likely to contact you or can be helped by your specific treatment
  • What do you understand about the different needs and habits of these specific age ranges? For example, the health needs of a baby boomer approaching retirement will be different to a member of Generation X in middle age.

As a complementary therapy practitioner, you may be open to treating patients from all age ranges from baby to the elderly. Many acupuncturists operate this way.

For example, I visited the clinic of an established acupuncturist in Yokohama in Japan. I observed a mother bring a baby in for a baby acupuncture session. Then after that, an elderly lady came in for her weekly session.

In his case he was able to appeal quite broadly across a wide range. On the other hand, he worked in a small residential area and was unlikely to attract city workers or younger people from the Millennial generation.

You may feel that your therapy can benefit all age ranges. This may be true, but from a marketing point of view, it may be better to focus on a specific group rather than all groups.

Consider what is the age range of the clients that tends to come to you. Or if you are not practicing yet, or you are building up your practice – what is the age range of the kind of client that you would feel more comfortable seeing or you feel you can target?

In my case, I am open to treating all age ranges. However, I tend to attract the age range of 28-45 and predominantly female. With this kind of information, you can then start to narrow down your target group.

If I then started researching the kinds of issues that affect women in this age group, and then wrote a lot of articles about it in my blog, then I may be able to increase my target audience and attract more clients.

In my own case, I have chosen not to focus exclusively on this target group It would be better from a business perspective to do so, but I am more interested in developing a broader experience of treatment and exposure to different conditions at this point in my life.

Professional and socio-economic background

This can differ depending on your location. For example, if you were a sports massage therapist and you live close to a major city, you may target relatively well-paid city workers or professionals. These people usually have some kind of muscular pain problem from work stress and need relaxation. Your blog may be focused on articles about mindfulness and stress release.

Perhaps if you have escaped the ‘rat race’ and are looking at making a new holistic and healthy lifestyle, then that story could be really inspirational to an audience, who secretly wish they could quit their jobs and follow their dreams.

If you live in a small rural town, than you may be focused on the retired or elderly.  In which case you probably don’t really need a blog. A blog can be a major time-sap, and if you don’t think there is any benefit to be gained from it, than you probably don’t need one.

If you only wanted to pick up local clients then you would be better to advertise in local newspapers, health clinics or fitness centres. If however you wanted to sell products or courses for a condition that did affect the elderly, than by all means a blog would be useful.

The current generation of web savvy and net-surfing people may be looking for solutions to help their parents or grandparents. And at any rate, they will get old too and at some point be looking for answers online.

Your audience’s interests

This can be therapy specific. People may be finding you online to help them treat a certain problem. But how do they know that you have the solution? Say for example, you are a Bowen Technique therapist. You know full well the benefits of your therapy. But many people will not, especially compared to a therapist like a Chiropractor, who people will immediately associate with fixing back problems.

Looking at the Chiropractor example, if you have a website, people will search you out generally for back problems. However, it may be that you don’t just want to fix people’s subluxations.

In fact, a larger part of your treatment is incorporating major lifestyle changes like regular exercise and diet. However, people are more likely to come to you first for help with their back pain.

For a chiropractor writing a blog and trying to build up an audience, he may well have to consider writing a percentage of articles on healing back pain. And not just one article is enough – write lots of different articles on the same topic but perhaps with a different slant. In this way, your audience will find you.

But then at the same time, you can include those blog articles on lifestyle changes and diet. I have read one chiropractor’s blog where he goes even deeper, talking critically about pharmaceuticals and the standard medical approach to cancer as well as vaccinations. In this way, you satisfy your audience’s interest, but you also widen and draw your audience in deeper, as well as educating and improving their lives at the same time.

Think about what drew you to your therapy

So again, with the example of the Bowen Technique practitioner. Ask yourself what drew you into Bowen technique? What drew your colleagues into it? Is there a common factor?

That factor may be something like an article in a major magazine talking about the benefits of Bowen for a specific condition. Or it could be that you were all drawn to it based on the work of the person who founded the therapy. And if you were drawn to it in a particular way, then other people may be too. So you just need to figure out how to use that interest to bring clients to your blog.

Sometimes, articles in mainstream media magazines can be very helpful. Acupuncture is a good example of this. Acupuncture is actually useful for a lot of different conditions, but some journalists wrote about using it for fertility issues and then an association was created of acupuncture with helping fertility problems. Because of this, many people will search you out for infertility or IVF support.

Other examples of associations and interests are: hypnotherapy for stopping smoking, homeopathy for childhood illnesses or as an alternative to vaccination, Mindfulness for stress. Possibly cupping for sports injuries (e.g. Michael Phelps had pictures of his cupping marks on his back during the Olympics).

These are some associations that may draw traffic and potential clients to your website. You may be able to think of many more associations. If you can, write  some posts about these particular topics and make sure to include lots of relevant keywords in your text.

To conclude, these are some simple ways in how thinking about your target group could help you write relevant blog articles that will reach a particular audience.

Of course, there is a balance. You may prefer to write about things of interest to you rather than what can attract viewers. That may be writing about the more technical aspects of your therapy or about a seminar you attended. By all means do this, as it is a great way to show your knowledge and experience. But also, think about your demographic and put things out there that will be of value to them.

You also have to balance between narrowing down to a certain target group but also being broad enough to have something to offer to a wider range of people. These are just general concepts, because in reality people are far more varied and complex even though they may belong to the same demographic.

Bullet Points

 To recap:

  • Always keep brainstorming ideas for blog articles and write them on a notepad or your laptop. For example, try the 10 ideas a day/week exercise.
  • Consider what are motivating and driving forces for people?
  • Consider who is your intended target audience – look at age bracket, sex, location and socio-economic background
  • Consider what drew you to try out your particular therapy in the first place. The chances are other people will be following the same path and you can intercept them.
  • Narrow down to a niche that is in demand, and write articles on it to attract readership.

Next Chapter (Coming Soon)

 


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