I’ve had my blog for 3 Years now, and over the years I’ve had a lot of questions from occupational therapists and other healthcare professionals about tips for starting a blog. I’ll always help out in any way that I can. Yet, I’m still learning the ropes of blogging myself and I learn something new every time I write a blog, I’m constantly tweaking my website behind the scenes.
So, I thought who am I to give out blogging tips?
Plus there are plenty of blogs and books out there (that I am still reading) that can give much better advice than what I can. I highly recommend you look through these!
My Top Picks:
However, what I can give you tips on, is blogging in the healthcare world. Everything about my blog: my writing style, how I put it together, how I share my content on my platforms, has changed since I started to do more occupational therapy content on my blog. So, I thought I’d share some tips, on blogging in the world of healthcare, (although the examples used will of course be more tailored to occupational therapy).
First things first find your niche
The blogging world is getting bigger and bigger, and what used to be something a little bit different is now quite common.
I know, I obviously lean more towards occupational therapy blogs, but I think, blogging is becoming common in occupational therapy. This is because the profession is misunderstood and occupational therapists want to promote it. I understand this, but do we need 100 blogs all about the same thing? No, and this will not result in you getting seen.
Social media algorithms change every day and I get it, it’s tough and annoying, I still get it wrong. But, finding your niche will help you stand out, you’ll still have the algorithms working against you because that’s the way it is. You need to develop your unique identity. Whether this is the area of practice you work in or a blog similar to mine to promote justice in the profession. You must find it as that will help you develop your own identity.
I also think this helps you plan your content, highlighting awareness days and events specific to your niche, where your blog would fit perfectly. For example, I am planning my content for cerebral palsy awareness month in March. Obviously, you are not only limited to that content but it will certainly help you start. Once you start you will find you can’t stop. I now automatically put a disabled activist and occupational therapy spin on all my blogs without thinking.
However, if you read my blogs you’ll know that this has taken me a long time to master which leads me on to my next point…
Read social media guidelines from HCPC and your professional body
We have to challenge that status quo but there are certain ways to disrupt and create change, and we still have to remain professional at all times. Reading the professional guidelines helped me a lot. I know I engaged with the debate but I did lots of tweaking after reading them before publishing to make sure my site maintained its professionalism. This included a lot of updates on my contact page to ensure that people knew for example that they couldn’t email me to ask for professional advice.
It’s not just about your blog, you need to make sure that all platforms that are linked to you and your blogs are professional. I know, that you know this, yet your social media platforms are key to promoting your blog, and they need to be regularly evaluated.
Set specific times and days
Setting specific times and days for posts to go live is how your audience builds, this is because they know where to be and when to be there. If you’re in healthcare, you lead a busy life, and if your blog also attracts people in your field, who lead busy lives too, they need to know where and when the blog will be.
I always post fortnightly, Friday’s at 3 pm. This means that people know when a new blog is coming, and if you want your audience to build continuity is key.
Now, I know this is easier said than done, for example, I may no longer be posting on Fridays due to my new role (she says as this post goes live on a Sunday). I’m still figuring out what my new day is going to be… I can feel a Twitter poll coming on. But, whatever the day my post will always go live at 3 pm. As you can see, the idea is continuity, and the reason why I’m thinking about this so much with my blog right now is that I want to maintain that continuity.
Another example is, I always do a teaser of the title, the day before the blog goes live. I originally started this as I didn’t have many followers so, I possibly don’t need to do it now. It’s become part of my blogging routine. I’ve always done it and I know continuity works so I will continue, we all know how important roles and routines are as occupational therapists.
When your followers increase continuity still works, with the added layer of reading what’s happening all around you. So, your blogs need to be current.
Over the last two months, I have only published one post a month and I’ve got just as many views if not more. I don’t write blogs to get views but of course, you need to know which blogs do well and which don’t. The reason why my overall website performance has maintained its engagement despite fewer posts is that they have been highly relevant to recent events.
Let’s take a look a Rachel Booth-Gardiner’s insightful new post about the re-brand of the Royal College of Occupational Therapy, which got many views and shares because it was highly relevant. Hats off to Rachel for putting that together in the time that she did. Yet, being the fabulous blogger she is, she knew it had to be a quick turnaround to make the noise it made.
The main reason to blog is to highlight crucial issues and create discussions at just the right time.
I still believe in continuity. I’ve done some bland ‘filler’ posts in my time just to keep the continuity, as I had to build my audience. But, if something is current, a post outside of your normal pattern can work. I remember, the first time I didn’t post fortnightly, it was leading up to my virtual placement and I did not want to miss a post. However, it worked so much better as the post, a week later about my placement, was relevant and sparked new ideas in the occupational therapy community, having a greater impact.
Lastly, a cliche, but, passion is the key and this should be visible in all your blog posts. You have to be passionate about what you’re blogging about, and passionate in your delivery to your audience.
I still love blogging as much as I did when I started, if not more and this is how it should be, not a chore. As we know, working in healthcare is a demanding job and it can be hard to find the time and energy. If you need a break from blogging, take a break and make sure that when you do come back you have the time to commit. That passion should always be there, no matter what you’re blogging about, as even the ‘filler’ blogs, contribute to the unique bigger picture.
I hope this helps. I wrote this blog as a few people have requested I make a webinar on this. Currently, I don’t have time to make a webinar, but I hope these tips are useful to get you going!
I am looking forward to reading your blogs and thank you for reading mine.