Courage and Taking New Paths

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Sometimes in order to move your life forward, you have to put yourself forward. You have to make decisions or choices that stretch you. It may be going for a new type of job, or promotion or creating a new business. Or it could be training in a new field, for which you have little experience in previously. It may even be moving to a new city to escape a place where you were stagnating. Or it could be writing that book or creating something to put out there for others to gain from.

It’s something, we have to go through

It is likely that in our lives, at some point, we would have had to done this already. For example, the young man or woman, embarking on a new career early on, would have required courage to do so. It may have been scary and challenging, with some difficulties early on. It also would have required meeting a whole load of new people from different backgrounds and getting on with them. However, if you passed through these challenges, you would develop confidence and sufficiency at this new work. As well as self-belief. It is at this point, you are actively learning and growing as a person. As we all need to do.

Once a person becomes comfortable after passing this stage, one of the pitfalls would be to stop growing and be content with where you are. In the past, some people would be able to stop and stick with this level of development for the rest of their lives. There is nothing wrong with that. But in this age, where jobs and work are less secure, it does not hurt to stay hungry.

Staying at the same place can also get boring. For example, my father has been a gardener for the last 40 years. A few years ago, he started to tell me how he was getting bored of his work and wanted to do something different. So he started to invent a new design of seeding tray. Perhaps, if he’d had the same thoughts 20 or even 10 years previously, he would have come up with a lot more different ideas and opened up a new type of life and work for himself. Still, better later than never.

The easiest option for everyone is to stick to what you know. But some people would like to do something different before they get too old to do anything new. And if you embark on something new, you may just find a re-emergence of those feelings of fear and anxiety. The same kind of feelings you may have had as a young person starting off in a new job. That is what it is like to be young again. Do you remember it? Youth is about exploration. Don’t get old too early. As I wrote here – youth is as much a mental state as a physical one.

A friend told me this:

My only advice to guarantee prosperity and contentment is to go where the risk lies. Unless you are extremely uncomfortable, nothing will change.

The path of courage

It is the path of courage. And it involves taking a leap of faith sometimes. To do something new, may require you to move away from the path you know well and to do something different. You may have done well for yourself the last 20 years. Perhaps in a job, where you know everything in-and-out. You know all your co-workers. They know you. Why would you want to start doing something new and scary again? The answer is – to grow of course. And maybe even to find something you are really good at.

Leap of faith

I think the best analogy comes from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. There is this scene where Jones enters an underground cavern. He comes to a ledge overlooking an abyss. He needs to get to the other side, but there is no way across. Not even his trusty whip could be used.  As he looks down, all he sees is darkness and a likely drop to his death.

But this abyss is one of several tests to reach the holy grail. For this particular test, it is required that the challenger must take a ‘leap of faith’. There is no other way to cross. He must take one step into the abyss and into certain death.

Jones closes his eyes and takes the step. He expects to fall to his death, but something happens. His foot finds a step. It was there all the time, hidden in plain sight by the darkness and by optical illusion. It first required an act of faith on his part to find it.

Another scene that fits, comes from the classic movie – The Matrix. Neo must leap from the building and jump to the other side. This test is different. In order to make the leap, Neo must believe in his own abilities. There can be no doubt in him, otherwise he will fall, which he does the first time.

These are analogies from popular movies. But I think the same applies to real life. Obviously I’m not talking about leaping from buildings, but I am talking about getting started on something new – something, that you really want to do, but have never gotten round to, because life got in your way. Here’s a hint – life will always get in your way. The challenge is to make time in your day to work on something else.

And I think that once you get started, you may find that the path was already there – just waiting for you, but hidden. When the flow in your life starts moving, you may find new doors open up for you that you never imagined were there.

And whilst the sensible and most comfortable thing to do in life, is to continue on our everyday path, doing what we already know; If you are one of those types of people agitated by feelings of – ‘I really want to do this before I die’, then now is the time to get into it. Those feelings, are your heart communicating to you. The heart operates within the realm of possibilities. It does not operate from the same calculated and logical decision-making processes that the brain operates by. Instead, the heart, knows what is good for your soul. So listen to it when it whispers to you.

Sticking to dead-end lives

Many years ago, I was stuck trying to survive, doing minimal wage jobs in hospitality and hotels, just to pay the bills and rent. I was putting my acupuncture business on hold because I thought it was more important to pay just to live.  I figured that paying bills was the priority in life and that I could build my business in my spare time. However, there was no spare time. There was never any spare time. Or energy. Or motivation. I wasn’t even at the level of the mouse in the mouse-wheel. It felt more like I was a rat in a sewer tunnel, running round and round in a circle, in muck.

Low income jobs are traps to suck your time and energy and keep you on the mouse-wheel. They never pay enough for you to do anything else, and you always get treated like a disposable object.

One night, I’d had an especially bad day at work, and something snapped in me. ‘That is enough!‘ I said to myself I will not do this kind of work anymore. Instead I will focus on my acupuncture business, even if it doesn’t work. Even if I go bust, I don’t care. As long as I do it.

And that is what I did. I quit those jobs and threw myself into my own business. I  found a place to work from. I made flyers and handed them out in person. I made a website and listed it on several different online directories. I met and trained with fellow acupuncturists and other therapists. I volunteered for an acupuncture organisation. I threw myself out there.

And things got harder financially. Even, when I was working my low-income jobs, I had often struggled with bills. Now I’d stopped doing that, there was even less money. It put a strain on my relationship and we needed to take a break for a while. I had to leave my apartment and move into a shared house.

No regrets

Looking back, do I regret it? No definitely not. It was hard at the time, but it eventually brought me to where I want to be in life.

This time of struggle provided an opportunity to redefine my objectives in life and what I really want. While I was no longer having all my time and energy sucked by a dead end job, I had the chance to consider my life purpose and self-exploration of other potential talents. This time gave me the mental and physical space to start writing. I have always been writing, but it really took off in this period, and has never reduced.

There are some things I wrote back then – such as my ‘How to Start a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget‘ which is still being read today. Some people even buy it as a kindle book, even though it is available as a free PDF.

Sometimes such choices are necessary for growth.


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Release the stagnant, invite fresh flow

By releasing this one thing that wasn’t working in my life, I invited fresh energy and a new experience into my life. Gradually, my practice started picking up. I was renting space at a local clinic on an adhoc basis and I was getting more and more inquiries. The business manager mentioned on a few occasions, how I was always calling them to book rooms several times a week. This was a good sign.

Also a new opportunity to work in a paid position as an acupuncturist in a hospice came up some time later. This came about, because I had more time to volunteer doing acupuncture for a healthcare charity. This was something I could never do, while I was spending all my time in a low income job.

After a while I was able to get a new place for myself – small but mine. As I became more satisfied with my acupuncture work and who I am, my relationship resumed and became much stronger than before. Now I have children. A break is not a bad thing in a relationship, particularly if things get a bit stagnant.

When I look back at this time, I am truly grateful to the universe for allowing me those opportunities and experiences, even though, sometimes, they were difficult things to go through. Yet, none of this would not have been possible, without a leap of faith on my part in the first place. By releasing things that are not working for you, it enables new energy and flow to come into your life. You must close one door to open another.

Disclaimer

By the way, I do not advocate quitting your job to start a business! There are much easier and smoother ways to transition into something new. If you have obligations, bills, mortgage to pay, or dependents, then you have to be responsible, possibly even delaying your actions. The important thing though, is to get started, even in a very small way. For example, starting a new part-time course, or setting up something in your spare time. it may be applying for a new job, or aiming higher in your current work. I also strongly advise against taking on debt to finance it. However, if you don’t have anything to lose, then you can be more gung-ho about it.

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Building a Business: One Important Word of Advice

When starting a new project, type of work, or building a complementary therapy business, it helps to have someone to talk to, especially if that person is going through the same thing.

I have a close friend and colleague called Miro who I see maybe once or twice a year and have discussions with, usually with beer and sometimes vodka, as he is from Eastern Europe.

Years ago, when I had returned from Japan, I found myself in the UK in the aftermath of the financial crash. I had chosen this crazy time to return to set up my acupuncture practice after being away for 3 years. Basically I had to start from scratch again, looking for a new place to practice, building connections, finding new clients and dealing with reverse culture shock. Imagine going from one of the safest and cleanest countries in the world to London, one of the grubbiest cities in the world. I had limited funds and found myself in a city that had undergone some significant changes in the years I had been away.

For example, things were way more expensive. Rents, transport and general living costs, but especially rents. The rent inflation was something crazy.

My family advised me against coming back at this time, but I felt I had been away long enough, and was ready to get going again with my practice. However, it was a bad time to start up a business, or even to move back.

I often spoke to my friend Miro at this time. Such conversations help when it comes to discussing things like how much you charge, or where you advertise – e.g. do you do Google advertising, Or buy Facebook ads? Or should you offer things like cosmetic acupuncture, or discount coupons etc?

But most useful is the motivational aspects of discussing with like-minded people. The most useful piece of advice he gave to me was one word.

When I told him of the challenges I had. The lack of money and resources, and the high costs of living and working, he would tell me the most important thing in setting up a practice is “persistence”.

Persistence

Persistence – the drive to keep going and to continue in your endeavour regardless of whether you seem to be succeeding or not.

Persistence – the drive to keep going despite all the difficulties or even when it seems like you are not making any progress at all.

Persistence – the determination to keep taking steps, even small steps, as you work toward a goal or object. Even though the final goal seems far, far, over the horizon. Perhaps unreachable.

It is often quoted, that the journey to the top of a mountain is begun with a single step. And followed by thousands of equally small steps. But each step is fuelled by persistence.

Mountain walking

I walked up some mountains in Japan. It is one of the most enjoyable things you can do there, that is also good for your health. But it can be hard at first if you are not conditioned for it.

Your legs are tired, you breathe more deeply and you sweat like a pig. At least I did. But with each step, you keep the goal in mind – to reach that glorious top (and buy a souvenir or some dango (sweet Japanese dumpling) from the shops at the peak). All the time ignoring those elderly Japanese men and women as they pass you with ease like they they are strolling through the park on a pleasant summer’s day.

It is persistence that gets me to the top.

Motivational Guru

At the time, this advice seemed like general motivational speak, but Miro was right. Persistence does pay off. The thing is – you only recognise it years later. Those steps, and that perseverance can brings fruits and results. But you have to take those small invisible steps first, to get those juicy fruits years later.

When I look back, I am glad I took those steps and persevered. This is not to say things will always be up and up. Life, just as with business is full of ups and downs and some plateaus. When you climb the top of the mountain, you still need energy for the descent.  And really ultimately, it is the experience of doing it that counts when you look back on your life.

So, this message has a motivational theme to it. Starting a new endeavour or business requires motivation and drive, just as much as money, planning and luck. But it also requires persistence.

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Marketing or skills: which should you focus on for a complementary therapy business


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WIIFM? Marketing your Therapy Business – What’s in it for Me?

‘WIIFM?’ is an acronym for ‘What’s In It For Me?

“What’s in it for me?’ – is a question to keep reminding yourself as a complementary therapy business owner. Or in fact any business owner.

It is the question that is going through your potential patient’s (client’s) mind.

It is the motivation for them spending even 30 seconds minutes reading your advert, leaflet or website content. Instead of not crunching it up and tossing it away, or clicking away on that Facebook notification.

A potential patient is looking for an answer to a specific problem. It is a specific problem unique to them. And the questions running through their head is – can your particular therapy treat my particular disease? Do you know about my particular disease Have you treated it before?

And if they feel you have answered that question affirmatively, they will bridge the gap and contact you.

The disease or problem can be anything. You can’t answer every question or fix every problem. But you can selectively choose which question you can answer and which problem you can deal with.

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) adverts and text books, you often see long lists of conditions of what an acupuncture or herbal medicine can treat.

These lists are somewhat formulaic and generic and are not enough to convince a potential customer. But at least they’ve got the right idea. However, the potential customer wants something more convincing. They need to be sold a little more.

They want to know if you have treated that particular problem before. They would like to hear stories or even feedback. They will pay more attention if you specialise in that particular problem.  They would like to hear explanations of what causes this disease in the theoretical framework of your therapy.  Even if they don’t fully understand it, it will open up a new avenue of healing possibility for them to explore.

How do they know you are the person who has the potential solution to their problem? Easy – you tell them about it. You write about it. You give short, confidential examples of you treating that problem.

Of course, you are not allowed to say you can ‘cure’ any particular problem. Only the Scientific medical system is allowed to say that (even when they don’t). But you can share your experience or knowledge or specialisation for that particular problem.

Then a potential patient will pay attention, because you are answering that one question – WIIFM – What’s in it for me?


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It easy to get caught up in the poetics of your therapy. Whatever your therapy is. For acupuncturists you may get hung up on writing about qi, or ki, or the seasons,  and the right foods you should eat, or your experiences in a clinic with a particular teacher. But who cares? Other than other acupuncturists. And even then, they probably still don’t care.

What you need to think about is what does your potential customers want to hear? What are they looking for? – What is their – ‘What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)’ question?

Always think about who your customers are? Who’s your target audience? And what are they are looking for? It is the basis for every successful business.

Don’t write about how tai chi is good for the flow of ki energy in your body. (Ki – what?) Or how regular massage helps you feel relaxed. (So too can cigarettes and alcohol, and sex). It means nothing to most people.

Instead write about how your Tai chi lessons helps improve arthritis and can be carried out by over 60s. Or how about how your massage sessions can help release frozen shoulder and severe neck pain. Or how your therapy can help regulate the emotions, reduce depression, heck even help them deal with narcissist parents (if it’s true). And give some examples or case studies. Also dig up some research on the topic to give it credence.

By doing so, clients with arthritis or frozen shoulder or neck pain will pay attention. They will see you as the guy or gal with the answer to their question.

That is one example of answering the – ‘What’s in it for Me? (WIIFM)’ question.

So when designing a leaflet, or flyer, article or website content, always think about this question from the potential patient/client/customers point of view: WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?

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Chapter Nine and Conclusion: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Nine

Monetisation

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Time for that new dress

Making money from a blog

I’ve left this one to the end. Put aside any thoughts that you can make a lot of money from your blog. This is a popular selling point from blogging marketers to get you to buy their products.

The chances are you are not going to make any significant money from your blog, unless you have a huge amount of monthly traffic, at least in the tens of thousands. Nonetheless, you can still make a little money on the side.

If you are interested, here are some of the options for making money:

AdSense

If you sign up to the Adsense program,  Google will places ads in your text. If a person clicks on an add, you can get paid a few pennies If you have hundreds of thousands of clicks a month, this may add up to something.

However if you only have a little traffic, these few pennies may not be worth it because all those ads can make your website look a bit spammy. Also some ads really are not mobile friendly.

Pop-ups

You may have had the moment, when you’re looking at someone’s website and suddenly a pop-up ad comes on the screen. Then for some reason, you can’t find that ‘X’ to remove it because it is hidden behind the edge of the screen, so you cannot proceed. You then have no choice but to leave that website and never return again.

You don’t want that to happen to your website.

Use Pop-ups strategically and un-obtrusively

Pop-ups can be a useful tool for getting people to sign up to your mailing list. You can also place them on specific pages, e.g. places where you are reviewing a product and then set them so they only pop-up when you scroll down a certain distance – e.g. 70% of a page.

Definitely don’t use them when someone comes to your website for the very first time. It’s kind of like attending a party, and the guy who opens the doors to let you in, suddenly starts trying to sell you a timeshare in Malaga.

“But, I just got here…” you say.

Too many pop-ups and ads can obstruct your message.  If you are getting lots of traffic, it may be worth it for the extra income, but if you install it and can only make a few pennies from it, then you have to ask if it is really worth it. Could you earn more money by advertising your own products in the space instead?

Affiliate marketing

This method is where top bloggers mostly make money. By promoting or advertising a specific product, they will get a percentage of the sale (typically 10-20%). In some cases, the blogger will tell you it is an affiliate link. Other times not.

If you practice a certain type of therapy that requires the use of a specific product and you have a good amount of traffic, you can always contact the advertising section of the company that sells the product and offer to place an affiliate link or promote their product in your website for a percentage.

Some companies have this process already set up and can issue you with a unique affiliate code so they can track your referrals.

Basically a code can be a simple URL (website address), which contains a number that refers to you. You then place that URL on your website and if anyone clicks on it and then proceeds to buy the product within a certain time-period (weeks or months), you will get a payment for it. If you have hundreds of thousands of clicks a month, that can add up.

There are various affiliate programs that you can sign up for. It all depends who you are happy to promote. For example, if you have used WordPress.org to build your website, than you could consider promoting a hosting company like Bluehost, which pays out around $60-70 dollars if you give them a direct referral.

If you have used WordPress.com, than you could become an affiliate seller for Automattic, the company behind it. They pay out approximately 20% of a sale if someone signs up for their Premium or Business Plan within a certain time period of clicking on your affiliate link.

If you are looking at increasing the potential for your website to generate some money, then affiliate marketing is an area worth looking into.

Selling your own products

This is by far the best way to make profit from your website and effectively turn it into a second business. There are certain restrictions on what you can sell, such as various EU regulations on selling your own home-made creams and lotions. Also as Amazon has a large part of the selling community, it does stifle small businesses from selling your own products.

On the other hand, if you have designed your own intellectual property – eBooks, or DVD’s (e.g. tai chi lessons), then you can use your blog and website as a platform to advertise and sell it.

You can also use your blog to promote online courses, which may be focused on treating specific problems. Remember that a blog is designed to bring visitors deeper into your website and target them with a call to action.

So if your call to action is also to sell your own tai chi DVD, then you will want to promote this objective by linking to your product page or advertising it in your side-menu or widgets.

eBooks

Creating your own eBook is a worthy and highly satisfying endeavour. However, it does require a lot of work and the reward is probably not the best value in terms of monetary gain for time spent. However, the sense of accomplishment is well worth it.

The process of creating your own eBook is quite lengthy. You not only have to plan, structure and write your book. Then you must turn it into an eBook and then promote it.

I do have experience of this as you are reading an example of it and I am considering releasing an in-depth guide sometime in the future. so check out my website or sign up to my mailing list for updates on:

www.johndixonacupuncture.co.uk.

Traffic first, then monetise

When you are starting your blog, it is very tempting to try to monetise it immediately and put AdSense on it. Hold off on this.

The returns are not worth it, and it can make your site look spammy. Instead focus on building fresh, original and useful content. Focus on building relationships with your visitors and on building up traffic.

The exception to this is with selling your own products. Selling your own stuff is original and also helps to promote your business and your own personal brand.

And if in the future, you get a large amount of traffic, then do consider installing the ads and the affiliate marketing to see how they perform.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • There are various methods to monetise your blog. For example, AdSense, Affiliate marketing and selling your own products or eBooks.
  • Be reasonable in your expectations. You shouldn’t expect huge amounts of money unless you have hundreds of thousands of visitors a month. At best, most people will earn a little pocket-money.
  • Be considerate in how you use pop-ups ads. They can be intrusive and annoying if used incorrectly.
  • Too many ads, especially early on before you have built up content or traffic, can make your website look spammy.
  • Consider building traffic up first, before monetising.
  • If you do monetise, then don’t hold back or go half-heartedly. Commit yourself fully to it.

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Conclusion

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Not a member of the New Year’s Resolution Club

In this eBook, we have looked at several different ways to write and promote a blog for a Complementary Therapy Business. I have not gone too deeply into any of these points, but I hope it is informative enough for you to get some useful pointers and get started.

Ultimately, the blog is a personal expression of you and your brand. It should also be something you enjoy doing and sharing with people. If it becomes like work, then you can lose the enthusiasm of doing it and give up too soon.

Likewise, just like embarking on an exercise practice or new habit change, it does require a certain amount of motivation to do it regularly. Creating a plan early on will really help you make it a success.

If you go into the process of creating a blog with expectations that it will become quickly popular, you will be disappointed. It can take months, even years for a blog to gain a following.

Whilst there are some shortcuts, by using ads, if you want it to succeed, you have to continue to work away at it without expectation of reward. You need some faith.

Eventually, you will attract some traffic and connect with people around the world. This in itself should be reward enough, because for as long as your message can reach one single person and give them value, then you have helped changed someone’s life.

And if you can do it to one person, than you can do it to another, and another, and another. So forget about the traffic and the money and just keep going for your own satisfaction.

Ultimately, the blog, is a form of expression and it can help you to learn about yourself, your attitudes and your business. Creativity always helps us realise new things. When I was writing this eBook, it helped clarify lots of things for me, such as the weaknesses of my previous websites as well as my expectations for my new website and blog.

There is always going to be more to learn on any topic, but I hope that this guide is a good starting point for learning How to Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business.  I hope it helps you on your journey.

Final Note

 I hope you have enjoyed this book.

This book is a companion to my other eBook: ‘How to Set up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget’. This is available as a free PDF if you sign up to my website or can be purchased as a Kindle version through Amazon US, UK and other countries (free to Kindle-unlimited subscribers).

If you have found any of my writing to be useful, then by all means, sign up to my mailing list and I will keep you informed of any new publications and resources I post.

Just to add, this eBook is a work in progress and compliments my own personal experience of blogging. As I learn more things, I may decide to update this eBook in the future. If I make any changes, I will announce it through my blog.

Feel free to say hello

Thank you for reading and feel free to contact me through my website. I would really appreciate an Amazon review for this book, if you have a moment.

All the Best

John Dixon


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Chapter Eight: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Eight

Promoting your blog articles

 

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Sorry guys, I’m leaving twitter for Instagram

Pressing ‘Publish’ is not the last step

You’ve written a great post and pressed publish. Now you can sit down and think of the next post you’re going to write. Well just hold on a second.

If you use any other kind of social media, this is a good time to promote your blog article. If you have a twitter account, then advertise your new post. Or use Pininterest or Instagram by designing a picture, with a quote or the title of the post in it and promote it there. Or of course there is Facebook.

Social Media

Pininterest and Instagram are search engines in their own right and will help push traffic to your website. So if you have skills with graphic design or photography, then this skill can be utilised to promote your blog. Twitter is a simple platform that may be able to bring potential traffic to your website. You may need to post 1 to 5 times a day to get anything out of it.

There are similarities between Instagram, Pininterest and Twitter in that you can pretty much repost the same content on these platforms. However, only choose one of these platforms. If you are very systematic, you could create a lot of material and then drip-release it every day.

You can also repost the same material after a few weeks or months as your original posts will have dropped down lower in the feed and not be so visible.

Facebook is a tool that has been used very successfully to promote website traffic. I personally disconnected from Facebook 10 years ago, so can’t give any information.

Choose one social media platform and go full-out on it. Don’t spread yourself among all three platforms.

Other possibilities

Quora is another growing website. It is basically a question and answer site – where you can choose to answer a question or pose a question to the community of Quorans (millions of people worldwide).

There is a vast number and variety of questions there, including many health-related ones. You can certainly open up an account there, fill out a profile with a link to your blog and set about answering questions. If you do choose this path, I’d advise not to get too carried away with it. Quora belongs to someone else. It is not your website. Though you may be able to bring some traffic to your own website, it may be limited. Some people spend hours writing on this website. But time is limited and I think it is far better spending the time working on your own website and building up content, which you own, then writing it for someone else’s website.

Email Lists

If you have an email list, you may want to create a newsletter and send it out periodically to draw people back to your website. Again mailchimp can help with this.

It can also be worth making a list of your new client’s emails and asking permission to send them information from time to time. In this way, you remain on their radar, even if they have finished with your treatments. There are a number of email listing providers that you can utilise on your website. Mailchimp, and Aweber are two common ones.

Word of Mouth

By all means, let family and friends know you are writing a blog, if you are comfortable with them reading it. In my case, I have no problem with complete strangers around the world reading my content, but I go all shy when I think about telling a friend that I have a blog. I suppose this is kind of strange.

Nonetheless, getting friends, family or colleagues to visit your blog or promote it on other social media platforms like Facebook, could really help you to get traffic early on.

Original content

This is important, because Google prefers original content. You can’t just copy information from elsewhere. Plagiarism is a big no no. You can quote someone else’s content, but you have to credit the source and provide a link to their website or wherever you got the quote from.

As mentioned before, the internet is saturated with content. Perhaps it doesn’t really need any more. Everywhere you go, you will find articles to lose fat, reduce wrinkles or make money.

A typical type of article is the ‘10 steps to achieve… X’. It’s been overdone because it is effective. People like to read simple articles and this format is pretty simple. If you do write this type of article, make it original by adding your own personal anecdotes, your experiences and your slant on it.

On a side note, you may perhaps have a really unique and powerful way to treat a specific problem. Well, don’t give it away too easily. It is your unique selling point and sets you above your competition. On the other hand you may want to promote it and let people know you have a special way of treating. You could even sell it as a course or consultation.

Guest Posting

This is a practiced method that new bloggers can utilise in order to build their traffic more quickly. You find a blogger who is already established and who writes in a similar field or has a similar vibe to you and your work. Then find out if they accept guest submissions and contact them to find out if you can do a guest post.

This can be done easily enough by reading through their blog. If they do accept guest posting, then read any criteria for posting they have and simply contact them by email outlining your post, or just submit an article.

If they agree to post it, what will happen if that their audience will read your post on their site, which should also contain a link to your website and maybe a short bio about you. If what you write resonates with their readers, they may well visit your blog and if they like the rest of your posts, they may even return or hopefully bookmark your site.

This should all be done for free. In some cases, a website may pay you a small amount. One website, actually pays using electronic currency. However, monetary gain is not the objective. You are doing this to potentially gain more traffic. Neither should you ever pay for posting or accepting a submission.

In this situation, you may have to adapt your writing to the audience of the blog you are posting on. So if it was a fitness blog, you may consider writing a post that relates to how to eat more healthier to optimise your performance or how your therapy can help recover from injuries quicker. For example, if you are a yoga or Tai Chi teacher who helped recover from a sports injury and avoided surgery by practicing your therapy.

Be aware that this kind of posting can be fickle. I have heard from one blogger that when he wrote a guest post that he thought was specifically targeted to the audience, only ten people ended up visiting his site from it.

The other alternative to posting on someone else’s blog, is to invite guest submissions to your own blog. In this case, it may be something you would consider once you have a relatively good amount of traffic – at least a few thousand a month and ideally tens of thousands.

The advantage of this is that it enables you to grow your blog with more articles and also increases your network of back-links and potential audience.

You can advertise on your posts that you are accepting guest submissions and write down your criteria. For example – the word range, the topics to write about and the topics not to write about. You may also want to specific the structure.

If you do receive some submissions, you may have to edit and proofread them. You will have to include a link to their website and a short bio, if you do publish the article

Interviews

In a similar way to guest posting, interviews are another way to furnish your blog with some interesting material, especially if it is an interview with someone who is well-known. This can then be turned into a podcast and the interview can be transcribed into a text for a blog article. This method is a lot of work, but can add some interesting variety to your website and blog.

Traffic

You’ve built a blog and published some posts. Perhaps, you’ve written some really insightful and helpful material. Then you check the stats of your visitor activity and only one visitor comes up. Well, that’s great, you think. At least, I’m reaching out to one person. Until you realise that the analytics is actually counting your visit as that one person.

This is common for any new website. There are millions of websites out there on the net so this is the reason why it helps to narrow your concept and focus on a niche area. If you want your traffic to increase, you will need to be a little pro-active and  focus on the above points in order to build an audience.

It may take 2 years or more to build up traffic

It can be disheartening to have no one visit your blog. And to be realistic, it can take years before you start to see lots of traffic. Also it is necessary to post consistently. So, the desire for traffic should not be your main motivation. You must write because you want to share or you want to express. Even if only one person reads your content.

From my research, two years of regular posting seems to be a common timeline for blogs  and new websites to pick up a regular following with unique visitors and page views in the double or treble figures.

As I said at the beginning. A blog is a marathon, not a sprint. If it helps, many bloggers had to go through this. It also requires a bit of faith, but just keep working away at it without too much expectation.

Jim Morrison’s Ghost

It is like in the movie Wayne’s World 2, when Wayne is trying to set up a rock concert, but he hasn’t sold any tickets and not one single band has signed up. In a moment of despair, Jim Morrison’s ghost turns up in his dream and tells Wayne:

“If you book them, they will come”

So when it comes to your website and blog, you must have faith and tell yourself:

‘If you keep working at it, they will come’.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • Consider using other social media platforms to promote your website and bring traffic to your blog – e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, PinInterest.
  • Only pick one of the above platforms and go-all-out-on-it.
  • Add a sign-up form and mailing list
  • Keep your posts original and useful for the readers. Do not plagiarise.
  • Do guest posting on other more successful blogs to promote your own. Or if your website is becoming popular, invite guest submissions from other writers.
  • Interview other people in your field and write up the interviews as posts. Or make a podcast.
  • Be patient, and work consistently. Organic (natural) traffic takes time to build up.

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Chapter Seven: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Seven

KeyWords

Girl-with-dictionary-Libellule789-via-Pixabay-com.jpg

‘Callipygian’… What a great keyword for my new blog title: ‘How to squat to get a callipygian butt’.

Keywords: Magic Words that Search Engines looks for

If you have a website, you will likely have heard of ‘keywords’ at some point. Keywords are at the heart of SEO (search engine optimisation).

What it means is that if someone enters a certain keyword into a search engine like yahoo or google – for example, “acupuncture”, then the search engine will bring out a long list of the most relevant websites that are related to that keyword.

For example the main sites that come up on page one of Google, will likely be Wikipedia, the NHS, and the British Acupuncture Council. These are large websites that have a lot of weight on Google.

Alternatively, on page one, there may also be websites that have paid-for-sponsored ad placements for a specific keyword. And there will be sites that have made a good use of keyword optimisation in their websites and are placed higher above the competition. This latter example, is what you will be hoping to achieve.

As the word “acupuncture” is a general word used by thousands of other websites, it is unlikely you will ever rank highly for it. In this case, you will want to add some more words that may be searched for, which relate to the location you practice in, your therapy or to particular problems you treat. This would be a keyword phrase.

Location based Keywords

For example, if you practice acupuncture in South London in Brixton, then you will definitely want to add the keyword phrases: “Acupuncture in Brixton” or “Brixton Acupuncture” along with other keyword phrases like “Acupuncture in South London, “Acupuncture in Lambeth”, “Lambeth Acupuncture”.

People living in Brixton or Lambeth looking for acupuncture close to where they live, will tend to use these words in search engines to narrow down their search for a practitioner. These will be your keyword phrases and you will want to use them several times in your homepage.

Condition based Keywords

You can also include problems you treat as keyword phrases. For example, “Acupuncture for back pain” or “back pain acupuncture”. You may want to include these keywords along with keywords related to your location.

Frequency of keywords

1-2% of your words in a text should be made up of keywords or keyword phrases. Use up to five keyword phrases and try to use them naturally in the text. If they are used in a spammy unnatural way, google can recognise that you are trying to manipulate keywords and may penalise your website.

How many Keywords for a blog article?

For your blog, decide on 1-3 different keyword or keyword phrases for each article.

Try to use at least one of the keyword phrases in your title, the first paragraph and as one of your subheadings. If you write a 1,000 word article, you want to aim to use that keyword approximately 10 times. You may have to avoid using the same keyword for every single blog post you write as otherwise your articles will be competing with each other.

Use a variety of different keywords or combinations of keyword phrases for different blog articles. You don’t have to do keywords for every single blog post you publish, but some of your main cornerstone articles should include them as they will be the biggest enticers-in of traffic.

If you specialise with treating a certain condition, then keywords or variations related to that problem should be the basis of the page or blog article you write about it. For example, the keyword phrases – “acupuncture for IVF” or “infertility acupuncture” would be useful keyword examples.

If you are unsure what keyword or keyword phrase to you, there are certain services you can use or WordPress plug-ins to help you choose and apply keywords. Either that, or just brainstorm. Think about what word you would type into a search engine if you were looking for a  specific type of therapist to help with a specific type of problem.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Brainstorm types of keywords to use, that relate to your blog posts
  • Include keywords or keyword-phrases in your blog articles.
  • Keywords should make up 1% – 2% of the number of words in your article.
  • Include your keyword in the blog title and in at least one sub-heading.
  • Make your keyword use sound natural. Also don’t over-use them.

Click here for next post: Chapter Eight (coming soon)

 


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Chapter Six: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Six

Structure

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A blog post requires a certain type of structure

Planning and Structuring your Blog:

Pick a good title

Deciding on a good blog title is kind of like adding the icing on the cake after writing an article. You may start off with a working title but by the time you have completed the article, you may decide to change it to something that fits better.

Put some thought into the title. Make it catchy and include at least one keyword in it. If a title is catchy, it is more likely to attract people if they come across it. For example, a title like ‘7 exercises to get a Kim Kardashian Butt’ sounds more catchy than ‘7 exercises to tone your leg muscles.

Try not to change your title once you have published it, unless you really have to. If you do so, you may have to set up a redirect to avoid any broken link 404 error messages from visitors linking to the old url address of your post.

Paragraphs

Don’t underestimate what a blog article is. Writing blog articles requires a special type of format, the same way that a university thesis or an academic essay requires a special type of structure, referencing and language. Blogs are no different. Many people  don’t realise this and don’t write in the best way that is suited to a blog.

For example, not using enough paragraphs seems a simple rule and harkens back to high school days when a teacher would tell you to break up your prose more. This rule doubly applies when it comes to blog articles.

You’ve got to bear in mind, that people may read your articles on their smartphones. With less space on the screen, a paragraph (even of 300 words) can seem a very long thing indeed. It can be a little tiring to be met with a long line of text and no breaks – kind of like a long waterfall of words flowing in front of your eyes. Therefore it helps to break up text with paragraphs.

Headings and subheadings

For the same reason as paragraphs, you need to break up your prose with subheadings. It makes a blog article more readable. I have read many articles by people, where there is one long flow of text.

In some cases, it may be well written, but the reading experience can be a little tiresome, especially on a smartphone.

By adding subheadings it’s like inserting friendly signposts every so often, just to give the reader a mini break and breather from reading the text. It also helps the reader to keep going, especially when it is a particularly long article.

The main point

Get to the main point of your article quickly – ideally in the first paragraph. If you are writing about an article for how to sleep better, then tell the reader early on that that is what the article is going to talk about. Don’t leave the reader with any doubt as to what they are reading. Once you get to the main point, then you can start to elaborate and discuss it more.

I should add, that I do not always follow this rule with my blog.

Anecdotes

Again, the point of the blog, is for a reader to build a connection with you. You do this by showing your personality, your knowledge and sharing life experiences. It may help to give an anecdote.

Perhaps you helped treat your mother-in-law’s snoring problem (sorry, I grew up with 1970s TV comedy – lots of mother-in-law jokes back then). You may also want to include your opinions, observations, lessons or anything thing else you have learned personally about this particular problem.

Bear in mind, confidentially is doubly important when writing about your patient experiences. You may have to change names or even specific details so that even if the person you were writing about was to read the article, they would not be able to tell, that it was about them.

Alternatively, if you have a good relationship with the patient, you could ask their permission to write about it, but again, leave out any identifying information. You have to be sensitive and not reveal anything potentially embarrassing about anyone. And that includes your mother-in-law, who snores like a pig. Only joking.

A narrow topic or niche

As mentioned before, it is better to focus on a narrow topic, rather than talk generally about lots of different areas. Also it can be beneficial to write different variations of articles based on the same topic.

For example, you may be writing about the Alexander Technique as being beneficial for posture. Well, the Alexander Technique has plenty of other benefits, but rather than write about all of them in one article, you could write a separate article about its usefulness for speech and elocution.

Another alternative, would be to discuss some new research, which talks about the benefits of Alexander Technique for back pain. Or perhaps you could discuss an article in a newspaper about a famous actor that has used the Alexander Technique to help them project their voice better whilst performing.

By writing many different articles on the same theme, you start to gain a level of authority and expertise in that particular area. And yet again, the niche should be relevant and something of genuine interest to the reader.

Grammar and Typos

The more you write, the more mistakes you are likely to make. Finding typos is a tiring and almost torturous process. Well that’s my experience of it.

For a reader, even small spelling mistakes can be a little irksome to read, and if you allow any comments on your website, there will usually be someone who points them out.

Make sure to read through everything you write to check if it makes sense and capture any typos. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to miss misspelled words. It is worth reading the post in different formats – e.g. on your laptop, your smartphone, as a PDF, or on paper in order to see them with different eyes. Another useful strategy is to take a break of a day or two from the draft and then re-read it with fresh eyes to capture the spelling mistakes. Also periodically re-visit your writing in the future. There is a good chance, you will find some more typos that escaped the first time.

You can pay people who do proofreading. They usually charge by the word. Or you can ask a family member and friend. Another tactic is to read the text backwards. Yes, it is pretty tortuous stuff. I apologise in advance, if you find any typos in this text. Feel free to email me to let me know if you feel inclined, and I will correct them.

Physician Heal Thyself first

I am very guilt of leaving lots of spelling mistakes in my posts. The reason is that I have written lots of content in a short period of time. In the first four months of 2018, I managed to write approximately 100,000 words in blog posts, articles and eBooks. Typos are inevitable.

I am aware that there are likely a few spelling mistakes on my blog posts that I still need to capture.

My free eBook ‘How to Set Up a Complementary Therapy Business on a Budget’ still had typos in it 4 years after I had written it, which doesn’t really give a good impression to readers. It helps if you have someone who can proofread through your work and highlight any spelling mistakes.

Other considerations

Keep sentences short. Don’t start a sentence with the same word too many times in a paragraph.

Keep language easy to understand. Not everyone is going to be reading or speaking English as a first language, so if you use too many complicated words, slang, or jargon, they may not understand your meaning. In London, many of your potential clients may be from other countries.

The same principle applies to any specialist language that is unique to your therapy. For example, in Traditional Oriental medicine, there is a whole subset of language.

For example, it talks of Qi/Ki energy, yin and yang, channels, pathogenic factors and organs. Most people don’t really understand it or will try to fit it in with their own understanding. Confusion can entail.

Avoid jargon if possible or if you do use it, then explain it in a simplified or ‘dummies’ way, so people can understand what you are talking about.

It’s the same way that medical doctors will use Latin to describe medical problems because they know that most people will not know what they are talking about. The problem with this is that it creates a barrier between practitioner and patient. It also adds an aura of self-importance to doctors who understand the code.

It is kind of like how the priests in the middle-ages, would be the only people to understand the Bible and so they could control the local people by setting themselves up as the only authority that could interpret God’s teachings.

Essentially it is another way of manifesting power and control over someone else. Or in other words – acting from the ego.

Pictures

For some reason, it is recommended to include some pictures for your blog articles. Apparently, Google likes pictures on blog articles, but it is not a fixed rule. Some of the most popular blogs I have come across have absolutely no pictures.

Nonetheless, these days it is recommended to include at least one picture in your article. There is a possibility that if you use too many pictures in one page, it can slow down the loading of the page on some computers and smartphones, so it may be advisable to limit the number of pictures on a page.

On a picture, it is worth adding an ‘alt’ description on it and include any keywords you may be focusing on for that article. If you use WordPress.com, you can enter this relatively easily. Pictures should be relevant to what your blog article is about, but it should also be eye-catching.

You also need to consider the copyright of an image. I strongly recommend you do not just take any image off the internet from a google image search. You do not have the rights to them and furthermore, these images will be used multiple times by other websites. They lack originality.

The best is if you use your own. Some people are very good photographers. Or perhaps you have a friend, who is happy to donate images for your use. Otherwise, it is possible to take really great shots with an iPhone these days.

Stock Photo Websites

If you are after a specific image, check out stock photos. These are various companies that sell images on the internet. Some like 123rf are relatively inexpensive.  Some sites are free such as Pixabay.com and Pexels.com. For this eBook, I used free stock photos from these websites.

Whenever you think of downloading or buying an image from a stock photo site, you need to check the usage rights of the picture.

Most stock photo companies will let you purchase and use images for websites and blogs, but if you want to use an image to place on a product to sell (e.g. A mug or t-shirt) you will need to purchase an extended license, which can be up to a hundred pounds for one image. In this case, it is better to get your own image taken. Don’t forget to accredit the source of the image, especially if you use one from a free stock photo website.

If you include an image on your blog, make sure the image itself has a hyper-link in it, to take the reader to the body of the article, when they hover over it and click on the image.

Decide if you need pictures or not

If you are planning to make an eBook like this one, I would advise against using any pictures as it can make the process a little more complicated with getting the layout on the page running smoothly, especially when you convert to a Kindle format. It is much easier to make a book with text only and probably looks more professional.

On the other hand, using a few images does afford the opportunity to break up the text and insert a little humour.

Bullet Points

So, to recap:

  • Use paragraphs to make text more readable on smartphones. Keep sentences short.
  • Use subheadings to break up long bits of text.
  • Get to the main point of the blog article quickly. Don’t leave the reader unsure what the post is about.
  • Include an anecdote or story from personal experience to create a connection with your reader.
  • Narrow down the topic of your post to a specific niche relevant to your reader.
  • Go through and capture grammar and spelling mistakes thoroughly.
  • Avoid too much jargon.
  • Include photos, but make sure you have copyright to any images you use and credit the source. Take your own photos or buy stock photos. Do not take from the internet.

Click here for next post: Chapter Seven (Coming Soon)

 


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Chapter Five: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Five

Strategies to Keep Readers

Linking to other articles

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 Make your website an interconnected whole

We’re on the Highway to Hale

Think of your website as a road network. You want each page and article to connect to another page. It is kind of like having lots of interconnecting roads to other pages and articles on your website and blog.

Why? Because when a person comes to your website, attracted by one blog article, you don’t want them to read it and then quickly disappear. You want… nay, need them to hang around a little longer and get to know you.

First impressions are not always accurate. People may come to your website looking for a therapist, browse through your home page and then quickly disappear to the next website and then they may decide to contact that person instead.

When a person comes to your website, you want them to hold on a little longer. You do this by creating links to other pages.

For example, you may write a blog article on 7 ways to heal migraine attacks. In it, you give lots of great examples of what to do, eat, and provide other general advice. The reader takes the information, thinks to himself that was really useful and then buggers off. In this case,  it means you haven’t maximised the full potential of your site.

Wait, Don’t Go

If instead at the end of that blog article or throughout it, you adding in-links to other pages, you may be able to keep them longer. Perhaps one of your 7 suggestions to relieve migraine attacks is done with the use of an essential oil. At that point, you may want to add a link to another page of your website where you talk about essential oils.

You may even specifically name an oil that could really help. In fact create a mini-sense of urgency around it and definitely create a link to a different page or even a sales page where you sell the product yourself.

Or perhaps you may want to discuss the role of stress in triggering migraines and so you want to have a page link to another article, where you have written about ways to relieve stress.

Perhaps at the end of the article, you may want to add a few sentences on how you treated this problem personally and if the reader wants to contact you, or ask a question, then you can direct them to visit your contact page and link to it.

All these links are the equivalent of creating lots of different roads and side roads to other parts of your website. By doing this, you may be able to prevent readers from departing from your site too early and at best may be able to convert a potential sale or a client booking from them.

You can certainly link externally to other websites, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want to lose people going to other websites and getting lost there.

For example, you could link to an Amazon page where you recommend a specific product. If you enrol in the Amazon affiliate programme, you will receive a special code and if someone clicks on that link through your website and then buys the product, you can get a few pennies.

It’s not a lot, but it can get you easily started with learning about monetisation. I will discuss this a bit more later on.

Call to action

apple-cute-food-woman Public Domain pictures Pixabay

Stop and ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of your website?
  • Secondly, how do you gauge if you’ve achieved the purpose of your website?

You really need to think about this.

Whether you have consciously thought about it or not, your website does have a purpose. It very easy to lose sight of your purpose or perhaps not even be aware of it.

Do you want to advertise your services? Do you want people to find you and contact you to book a session with you? Do you want to sell products?

Write down your objectives and refer to them often as you build your website. You need to remind yourself, because it is so easy to forget your initial purpose as you get sucked into all the other intricacies of website building and daily life.

Also how do you gauge if you are achieving your purpose? If you are explicitly advertising your services as a complementary therapy practitioner, then your gauge is whether people are actually booking you after finding you through your website.

You should routinely ask your clients how they found you. If this is not happening, then your website is not fulfilling its purpose and you should rethink changing it.

If the purpose of your website is to attract bookings – what this means, is that of all the traffic that comes to your website, you want at least a percentage of them to ring, text or email you for a booking or at least for further information.

The blog’s purpose

Ask yourself the same question in relation to your blog: What is the purpose of your blog? Is it to attract patient bookings? Is it to aim to sell your own products or attract general traffic so you can monetise with ads. Is it to build a community?

By constantly reminding yourself, it will encourage you to focus on creating content that is relevant to your target audience and will attract them.

For example, if your blog’s purpose is to promote your expertise in the field of gynaecology and to attract clients with problems like endometriosis or polycystic ovary disease, your blog should have articles on these topics.

In this instance, you may write a post like ‘5 ways to help endometriosis with aromatherapy’. In that article you may also include links to other related articles, such as on stress or on natural ways to relieve pain.

You may even include a ‘how to guide’ for making your own sniffy sticks so a person can make their own aromatherapy health-care kit. Even better is to make a YouTube video of this and post it on your website to accompany this article.

By doing this, you will be building up a mini-rapport with the reader, even without physically meeting or speaking to them. At the end of that article, you can then put a little bio about yourself – how you treat and create tailored solutions to the problem.

Then you can put a link to your contact form and encourage them to contact you if they want more information or to book with you.

And you don’t just need to think locally. Some people take clients worldwide by doing Skype consultations. Of course this depends on what kind of service you offer. Counselling or nutritional advice can be done this way. With massage and acupuncture, it is not so straightforward.

Perhaps you want to sell a product. Well it’s the same thing, You write a blog about how a particular product is really helpful for a specific condition. Then at the end of that article, you make a link or a free PDF.  For  example if you are a reflexologist specialising in fertility, you may want to write a series of articles in this area – including self-care tips, diet and other book recommendations. You might have your own downloadable diet sheets or self-acupressure help-guides.

Remind yourself of this question: What is the Purpose of your Website?

So whatever you do or write, this has to be in the back of your mind.

Now it may be that you can’t achieve your purpose immediately, when someone comes to your website. You may need to build their trust a little more.

Ideally you want at least 5-10% of the people coming to your website (i.e. your traffic) to result in a contact, booking or sale.  Realistically, expect about 1-2% of your traffic to result in a contact. If you are getting zero contacts, then re-evaluate your website. Most website platforms will give you an indication of how many clicks a month you are getting.

Or if you are able to install google analytics, you may get more detailed information about your traffic.

Alternatively, find an honest, yet sensitive friend who can look at your website and give their impressions of it. Does it attract them? Does it make them want to hang around? Does it make them want to contact you for a booking? It may be that you have to rethink your content or even your website provider if you feel your return is not good enough and you are not achieving your purpose.

Traffic objectives

You want your real visitors to hang around a little longer, perhaps even to bookmark your site. You will probably get lots of visitors from sales companies. These don’t count so much. You want real visitors.

Writing interesting blog content is one way to keep people coming back. So write blog articles and provide an incentive for readers to follow you or sign up to your mailing list. There are several ways to do this. A common method is by providing a free eBook or PDF help-sheet.

Mailing lists can be set up by using the free Mailchimp plug-in (if it is compatible with your website) or other providers like Aweber. Having a mailing list, means that you can potentially keep in contact with perspective clients and further build a relationship with them. However, I won’t go into this in this guide.

adult-business-computer-Public Domain Pictures Pixabay
Ah, go on then, here you go…

It’s not personal, its business

I know this sounds horribly manipulative. After all you are going into complementary therapies, because you want a break from all that marketing and selling and consume, consume, consume mentality.

But think of it this way: A complementary therapy business is another form of business like any other business. There is a lot of competition out there, so it helps to have some kind of strategy, particularly if you are starting out and trying to find your own niche in a world, where frankly it is harder to make a living.

For example, there are hundreds of acupuncturists in London. Many are better than me and more established. I have to also make a place for myself to practice among them in any way I can. One of the ways I can do this is by considering areas where they do not focus on. For example such as blogging and using a website.

Sure people can pay for a decent website to be made, but they cannot pay for a decent blog unless they want to hire some dodgy company in India to write them a load of articles.

So if you have a talent with writing or telling stories, then utilise it and work on a blog.

Bullet Points

To recap:

  • Think of your blog and website like a connecting road network.
  • Add links to other articles, pages and resources to keep viewers on your site.
  • Think of the purpose of your website and apply it.
  • Give away free content, like a free guide to encourage people to sign up to a mailing list so you can stay in contact and build an audience.
  • Every page must serve a purpose – whether that is to promote your service, sell a product, build a mailing list or simply to keep your readers on your site.

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Chapter Four: How to Write a Blog for a Complementary Therapy Business

Chapter Four

Personality and Disclosures

bear-paw.jpg
Can a bear get a little privacy?

 Don’t pull a Paris Hilton

Everyone knows Paris Hilton, the famous socialite and heir to the Hilton Hotel empire. She is an attractive, tall blonde lady, who pretty much has everything going for her.

However her fame and notoriety came from the release of sex tapes onto the internet by an ex-boyfriend. On the plus side, it has made her a kind of celebrity, which she seems to relish. On the other hand, it has given her a certain type of reputation.

As a complementary therapist, you would do well to avoid having any of your own sex tapes released onto the internet. It will likely harm your reputation and you might find yourself only able to attract a certain type of customer.

If you do want to create a connection with your readers. There are other less-extreme ways to do this as well as things to avoid.

Personality

One way to attract readers is by injecting your personality into your blog. If you write like Data in Star Trek or Mr Spock, a blog will encourage you to lighten up and show some life. Readers are attracted to bloggers who show some depth, warmth and personality in their writing. Positivity is also important.

There is a lot of pain and suffering in the outside world and people have all sorts of problems. People are searching online for two things. Either they are looking for relief and an answer to their suffering. Or they are looking for like-minded sufferers and websites so they can share their suffering together with other people. There is some satisfaction in talking about how bad things are with other like-minded people (even strangers on the internet).

As a complementary  therapist, you will want to focus on the first point. You want to project warmth, empathy and a peaceful place for the weary to come. In terms of providing value, your blog and website should offer possible solutions to people’s problems along with  other forms of value, support and encouragement.

Fundamentally, positivity and personality is a too oft’ unused trait in many complementary therapy blogs. A lot of blogs I have read, focus on treatment history or some practical advice, but it can be a little sterile at times. It is not enough to make people come back for more.

Show your personality, your humour, your opinions, even share silly little experiences or trips on holiday if necessary as filler articles. It will help the reader connect with you.

Disclosures

Whilst you don’t have to go as far as Paris Hilton in the earlier example, sharing a little bit of yourself can help to build a connection. The question is how much do you share. This is something for you to decide on.

Some people will disclose facts or personal stories about their own life. For example one very popular blogger shared on his blog the reasons for his divorce with his wife as well as other personal details. Some bloggers openly share personal history. On the other hand, some bloggers don’t.

As a complementary therapist, you have to put your business first. You have to think about boundary issues as well as whether disclosures may harm your business or even cause intrusion into your personal life. For those examples above, making disclosures about family problems probably helped them, but for a healthcare worker, it may be inadvisable as it breaks your professional boundaries.

To give a personal example, I may share stories of personal experiences with a specific illness if I feel it relates to my treatment approach or practice. That kind of disclosure may help a patient relate more closer to me and seek me out for support.

For example, on one occasion I saw a patient who suffered from the same disease that I did. On our second session, I mentioned that I also had suffered the same problem and she was really interested in hearing about my experiences and the natural approach I took. I believe it probably helped her to hear someone else’s perspective and experience with the disease

I have treated a lot of people with cancer as I worked for a few years in a hospice. If I was to discuss my personal experience of treating people with a particular illness like cancer, I would have to be very careful not to share any identifying facts about that person. Or I may alter some details for anonymity.

Diseases like cancer are becoming so common these days and standard medical treatments is not enough to support sufferers. So hearing about a complementary therapy perspective can be useful to patients and their families affected by this illness.

On the other hand, if I was going through a divorce, I would almost certainly not talk about that as it has no relevance and I think it breaches my own professional boundaries. It could cause unforeseen problems later on. The same applies to releasing sex tapes.

The Reality TV World

We live in a different age these days where sharing stories and opening up is part of the online world. You do not need to share personal things about yourself and you certainly must be very careful about sharing stories about clients.

For example, It may be very tempting to say that you treated a certain celebrity. It can give a practitioner instant credibility and fame. However that kind of disclosure will damage your business in the long term. Clients will feel that they cannot trust you to keep a secret and avoid you. If a celebrity client talks about you publicly, for example on twitter, that’s a different matter. But then again, you still have to be careful.

I know of one therapist who worked with a celebrity client. That client invited her to appear on a TV show with her. After that appearance, she was approached by TV companies to appear for small interviews or segments.

Some people would have jumped at this chance, but she refused as she did not want to take her career in this direction. She also did not want to draw on her association with her celebrity client to make her famous. Just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to take it. You must do what feels comfortable for you.

As regards making disclosures about your own life, this has to be something for you to decide. If you don’t feel comfortable about it, then don’t ever feel obliged to do so. We all have some things we are not comfortable sharing. I do feel that people seem to disclose too much in the online world. A suppose it is a kind of catharsis, and perhaps in that person’s life, there isn’t someone they can open up to.

In my case, I have always been reluctant to share the reason I first went into acupuncture; I suffered from an inflammatory bowel condition in my early twenties which was not resolved with conventional Western medicine. For many years I have always kept this private. However, I felt that this lack of disclosing came from a position of the fear of being judged.

For example, years ago I went for a job interview, where the interviewee team was a group of three people. In the middle, was the company President, a lean, old, grizzly-grey looking man, in his late 60’s. who had a facial expression like he’d spent his whole life sucking on grapefruit and that it had made him morbidly constipated. On either side of him, were two young employees who still had a youthful idealistic look in their face, which I could sense was overshadowed by their boss’s grapefruit-face sucking energy.

At one point, I was asked why I studied my particular degree in Acupuncture and I honestly told the three interviewers that I’d had health problems, which pushed me into this path. As soon as I said this the grapefruit-sucking President’s face grimaced even more than it had been already, and I could see clearly that he didn’t like the idea of accepting someone who had been sick into his organisation.

I suppose getting sick is a sign of weakness for some people. I didn’t get the job then, and I decided not to be too open about it in future. However, now I feel I have to change this, as I feel I am not being honest to myself and so for this reason, I decided to open up about it more in some of my writings, especially my blog.

On the other hand, there are things I won’t disclose. I won’t talk about my family in any deep detail and I won’t post pictures of my family. Other people will though, especially through Facebook. Again it is your choice and what you are happy with.

The advantage of disclosure is that it does seem to resonate more with readers. If you talk openly about yourself, it sometimes invites other people to open up to you.

It may also help your business in some ways. For example, if your unique selling point is in treating conditions like endometriosis and you used to suffer from it for years, than that would be a helpful thing to disclose as a patient will feel you understand the condition better.

In some cases, it may also be ok to disclose a past situation where a family member had cancer, particularly if you are talking about strategies to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Where you might want to draw the line, is writing about a messy divorce you’re going through or that time you came home to find your husband sleeping with the au pair. No need to wash your dirty linen in public. And again, no sex tapes.

Self-censorship

There are some areas where you should tread carefully. The challenge with a blog is that it is a platform where your business side meets halfway with your personal side.

For some, there may be a temptation to express their political or personal beliefs, which may potentially upset your readers. It may even upset your current clients. This is where you must remind yourself of the original purpose of your blog.

For example, you may feel very strongly about the Trump presidency either being pro or anti Trump. You may have strong opinions on the refugee crisis in Europe or against certain religious and ethnic groups. You may be for or against abortion. You may be anti-Christian or anti-gay. And you may be a member of the Nazi party.

These may be your strong personal opinions and you can be sure if you express them, you will upset some people and attract others.

If you prioritise your freedom to express these opinions over your desire to carry out your work to help people, then your business will suffer and rightly so. You do of course have a right to your opinions and who you see.

One other factor to consider is that Google is in the process of eradicating websites off the internet that it feels contain offensive material – especially what it perceives to be of a racist nature. Who knows to what extent this will go in the future? And this trend is likely to continue.

My point is that you should primary stay focused on the business of running a complementary therapy business and your personal message. And keep politics out of it. Keep your opinions to your dinner table. Or just blog or comment about it anonymously on other sites and keep it separate from your business and identity.

Witches versus the Warlocks

There will be one area of conflict that may be an issue for you – the idea of natural and alternative medicine versus the conventional pharmaceutical-based model of health.

In some therapies, there is no meeting place or you may feel very strongly against it. You may be vehemently against chemotherapy or generally all pharmaceuticals.

I have met and heard about a couple of senior acupuncture teachers in Japan who were completely against all Western drugs, even advising patients to avoid them including drugs such as chemotherapy and vaccinations.

In the UK, it is becoming harder to hold this stance. In some cases, it may be inadvisable, particularly if you work (or want to work) in a NHS setting or for a healthcare charity. In these environments,  you may be working alongside other conventional medical professionals and will have to learn to communicate in an un-antagonistic way. It is your decision whether you include these views in your blog. There are some bloggers who do, whereas others like myself, choose a middle ground.

Bullet Points

 To recap:

  • Insert your personality into your writing so readers can better engage with you.
  • Disclosing stories about yourself can make your audience relate to you better.
  • On the other hand, don’t over-expose. This is not the Jeremy Kyle show.
  • If you disclose, consider your boundaries. How much are you prepared to share?
  • Keep politics out of it and avoid contentious issues.
  • And no sex tapes.

 

Click here for next post – Chapter Five

 


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