Thinking of adding a blog to your therapy or wellbeing business website?
Or perhaps you’re concerned that your existing blogs aren’t quite hitting the mark? We know writing engaging blog posts isn’t always easy, particularly in the therapy, mental health and wellbeing industry.
But it gets easier, we promise. Especially if you follow a few simple guidelines to help you reach your blog-writing goals.
We’ve got those guidelines right here, and you can put them into practice straight away if you want to. By following these 8 simple steps, you can create blog posts that really speak to your audience and inspire them to engage with you, your services and your business.
Let’s kick off with the first tip. Headlines.
1. Write headlines that draw readers in
Stick with us here, we’re not talking about clickbait. We’re simply talking about writing a headline that actually speaks to the needs and wants of your audience. It needs to matter to them, draw them in and inform them of what’s coming all at the same time.
It’s not as scary or as hard as it sounds, especially not for people in our industry. Working in the therapy, mental health and wellbeing arena automatically gives us a leg-up when it comes to thinking about others, what they need and why they need it. So you simply want to channel this empathetic and practical approach into your headline.
Ask yourself these things and craft your headline around the answers you come up with:
- What service or information are you providing with this blog post?
- Who are you providing it for
- What is their goal?
Take the title of this blog post as an example.
- We want to educate our readers on how to write an engaging blog post
- We are providing it for people specifically working in the therapy, mental health and wellbeing industry
- Their goal is to be able to improve the quality of their blog posts to engage their readers.
So, armed with this information, we wrote a headline that:
- Informed the reader exactly what the article will give them (help on how to write an engaging blog post)
- Identified the fact that it is specifically aimed at people working in the therapy and wellbeing space
- Addressed the user need and goal. Which, in this case, is to specifically write a post that is engaging for readers, something we know from our own research is an important goal for professionals trying to make a positive impact in our industry.
Stick to this format and you’ll set up your readers with clear expectations and a healthy appetite for the content you’re providing. This, in turn, makes your readers far more likely to engage with your content as they read it.
They know what they’re getting and why it’s relevant to them, so they can make an informed decision to stick with it and read on.
2. Whet appetites with a clear introduction
A strong introduction is the next step to keeping readers engaged beyond the headline. And, as we’ve already touched upon, the great news for us as mental health professionals is that we naturally possess one of the most effective tools for writing a good introduction:
By stepping into the reader’s shoes and showing that we understand and empathise with their needs in the current moment, we can write an introduction that connects with, reassures and invites the reader further in.
In the case of this blog post, for example, we know how tricky blog writing can be in our industry, so we led with that.
The next most important thing to writing a good introduction is to set expectations and offer something useful. In this case, it’s the promise of sharing our tools and knowledge for writing an engaging blog post.
We promised you actionable tips that you can use straight away, not wishy washy concepts.
So that’s tip number 2. Decide on what you’re going to offer your readers and make that clear in your introduction. Make a promise that’s going to make sticking with your blog post truly worthwhile for them. It could be tips to achieve something, insightful help with an issue or the answer to a common question you know your readers ask a lot.
Extra tip: Keep your introduction as short as you can. If you write your introduction and it’s 200 words or longer, try slashing some of it and see if you can get it down to 100-150 words. Hitting your readers with a huge block of text right at the start can exhaust them before they even begin, meaning you may lose engagement.
3. Demonstrate your expertise
Therapy and mental health is quite a competitive field when it comes to blogging, so demonstrating your expertise is key. This will help in three ways:
- Building trust and confidence with your readership
- Helping Google rank your blogs highly as an authoritative source
- Keeping your readers coming back for more
Points 1 and 3 are highly interlinked. The more expertise you can demonstrate, the more trust and confidence you can build, and the more your readers will engage and return.
Here are three ways to showcase your knowledge, expertise and authority within your blogs:
- Craft an informative author bio that sits on your main website and at the top or bottom of every blog post. Here you can summarise any qualifications, specialisms and other relevant experience that can reassure your readers.
- Get input, quotes and interviews from other professionals in your field. This acts almost like a two-way endorsement and adds genuine value for your readers.
- Link out to genuine research, data and other high-authority information sources. If it’s relevant to your topic, it’ll reassure your readers that you know what you’re talking about and that you only share valid information.
4. Keep it readable
An all-too-easy way to lose engagement in your blog posts is by using long, complex sentences.
We’ve just talked about how demonstrating expertise and building trust is important in our industry, but go steady. It can become all too easy to overdo it with the professional context in a bid to sound professional, and lose your readers as a result.
Try to keep sentences to around 20 words or shorter wherever you can. It doesn’t have to apply to every single sentence (or you could end up with a very jarring, robotic post) – but using shorter sentences overall does help with readability, pace and flow, as well as engagement.
Using overly long, complex sentences and technical terms can confuse readers and make them give up on your blog. Keeping it simple, human and easy to read can do the exact opposite.
A quick subheading about subheadings
Subheadings are a key structural tool for keeping blogs easy to read. This post, for example, is split into eight main sections and also broken down by subheadings and bulleted lists. This means you, as the reader, can scan through and digest the information more easily.
Each subheading is like a pitstop, allowing the eye to rest a moment and take stock. It also means you can identify and quickly find the information you want to read the most, and ignore any parts you don’t need.
Extra tip: If you’re not sure, try pasting your work into the Hemingway Editor. It’s free and helps you identify any overly long sentences and large chunks of text. (It also gives you great tips on how to simplify things if you get stuck).
5. Talk about relevant topics and pick a niche
We know the worlds of therapy, counselling, mental health and wellbeing are vast. This means choosing a topic to talk about, even within just one field, can be tricky. If you try to go too broad with a blog post, however, it can take its toll on your engagement levels.
Covering too broad a topic means you can’t go into enough detail to provide any real value. As someone working in the mental health field it’s likely you already have a certain specialism or ‘niche’, and that niche will probably have a world of potential subtopics you could explore.
But which ones will engage your readers the most?
That will depend very much on who your target audience is and what questions they are asking. Uncovering those is the key to identifying your blog topics. You can find them by:
- Using your own experience as a resource
If you’re already a therapist, counsellor or mental health professional, you’ll know the sorts of things your clients often ask about or need help with. Have a think about these, and look out for any recurring topics or questions that you could write about. If they come up a lot, you know that the blog post will be both relevant and useful.
- Running surveys or questionnaires
A survey can help you pinpoint any key topic areas that you can cover. The trick here is finding an audience to send them to. Social media is a great place to start if you have a professional account (think Twitter or Facebook polls in relevant groups or carrying relevant hashtags). You could even survey your own client base if you have one, or ask a professional contact if you could run a survey with their client base.
Ask what their biggest concerns are, what their goals are or what matters most to them in relation to your chosen topic area. Keeping it anonymous can help people open up about sensitive topics.
- Desk research
Again, social media can be a huge help here. Try mining your professional social media feeds for recurring themes. Search some relevant hashtags to see what people are talking about in your niche. Look at comments and replies people are leaving on other people’s posts and content – what are they asking about? This will all help identify the topics that people care about.
6. Share real stories about real people
People tend to react, engage and relate best with content that tells real-life, true stories. This holds especially true for the mental health and wellness arena, as everything naturally centres around people and experiences.
With this in mind, try to include this sort of content in your blog roster, alongside (or as part of) the other relevant topics you uncovered in step 5.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a qualified mental health professional or simply somebody looking to help others with your insights, it’s your own personal experiences that matter. Those are the valuable experiences that others can relate to, learn from and use as a resource.
You can post content like:
- Interviews with other professionals
- Interviews with clients (if they are happy to talk openly)
- Inspirational stories & recovery journeys (your own, or about others)
All of the above can work especially well if supported by video content or even podcasts, especially for sharing your blogs on social media. Check out our last post on engaging social media content ideas for more information about multimedia content.
7. Give actionable tips that feel achievable
Hopefully you’ve noticed in this post that we’ve aimed to give tips you can put into practice straight away and with relative ease. Some of the best engagement levels come from posts that do this, as it gives the reader something they can act on.
That’s not to say that other types of content without these tips won’t generate engagement, it’s simply a technique that works for topics that lend themselves to this sort of content.
For example, maybe you want to share your own brain training tips for overcoming a certain anxiety problem.
If you can break that down into actions people can take, techniques they can try or point them in the direction of more information, then you’ve given actionable tips. Number them or subhead them, be as explanatory as you can, and link out to external resources where it’s relevant.
The simpler and more achievable the better.
8. Leave them motivated
Last but not least, the ending of your post is just as important as the beginning. A motivational, useful and uplifting ending is the perfect reward for the readers who stuck with your post until the end. These are the people who trust you the most and the ones most likely to return.
Use your closing lines to give them a pep talk, reminding them that they can achieve whatever it is you’ve spent the rest of the post talking to them about. This is the time to slip back into their shoes (if you ever left them). Help them visualise what it could be like if they accomplish the goal you’re trying to help them achieve with your advice, tips and stories.
Tell them what to do next, send them off feeling better than they did when they arrived.
And while we’re here …
For those of you who made it this far in our post, you’re ready! You’re now primed with the advice you need to write the most engaging posts for what is an incredibly sensitive, demanding but incredibly rewarding field.
Follow these 8 tips when you sit down to write your next (or first) blog. You’ll find that writing to engage your readers is actually not the daunting experience it may once have promised to be.
After all, it’s empathy that drives most of the tips we’ve given you. And, as you’re in this industry, you’ve already got that in abundance.