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What is a Blog?
Blogs are a type of website often defined as an on line journal or diary. Although there are many blogs where the blog author keeps a log of their own thoughts, experiences and ideas, bloggers also frequently share and discuss information from other sources.
Blogs typically focus on a certain topic and have frequent (sometimes daily) posts (or entries). Posts often link to other blogs or websites that discuss a similar topic. Many blogs are set up so that readers can add comments below each post.
Blogs have been around for about 8 years or so. Business blogs have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, and especially in the last year.
Why Use Blogging To Market Your Practice
Counselors, therapists and other healing professionals often shy away from using technology when marketing their practices. While there are many effective ways to market your practice that don't involve technology and the web, the Internet increasingly becomes an essential method to utilize when starting and marketing a practice.
Furthermore, if you market your practice on the Internet in addition to using offline techniques, you are creating a lot more exposure for your services. Blogs are just one more method of marketing your practice.
Fortunately, much of the technology involved in setting up and managing a blog is very simple. This makes it easy for you to manage and update content on a blog by yourself. You can get a blog up and running in a few minutes without having any technical skills whatsoever.
Blogs also are way to connect with your target market more personally. Because blogs are updated frequently, they allow "your voice" to come through more easily than a static website.
Finally, search engines love blogs because of their numerous and frequent posts as well as the common linking that occurs amongst those in the blogosphere (the blogging community).
How to Use Blogs To Market Your Practice
There are several ways you can utilize a blog to market your practice. You can start by posting interesting information on your blog that is valuable to your clients and potential clients. There is nothing like quality, fresh content to keep your visitors coming back to your site. Building relationships with your target audience is key to having a successful private practice.
You can also market your practice through your blog by linking to other websites or blogs that provide information that your target market wants or needs. You can be the filter for your clients and potential clients, posting up-to-date information on your area of specialization so they can keep up-to-date with their areas of interest.
Posting comments on other blogs related to your topic can increase back-links to your website which is important for your ranking in the search engines.
If you have a newsletter, you can have a sign-up box on your blog and/or you can put up a sign-up form so visitors can subscribe to receive notification when your blog has been updated.
Just like a website, you can also sell your services and products through your blog.
Blogging as a method of marketing your practice can be an effective method for building your reputation, gaining credibility, attracting more clients, and gaining more exposure. It can be a great compliment to a traditional website-- or if you don't yet have a website, a blog can be a first step towards getting one.
If you decide to blog as a marketing strategy for your private practice, you might want to peruse the blogosphere (the community of blogs on the web) so you can get a better feel for blogging and the types of blogs that exist.
© Juliet Austin, 2005
Bio of Author
Juliet Austin is a Marketing Coach, Consultant and Copywriter who assists counselors, therapists, alternative health professionals, and socially responsible businesses in marketing their businesses. She helps her clients overcome resistances to marketing, learn no or low-cost marketing strategies, create compelling promotional materials, and write effective website copy.
Juliet can be reached at: http://www.julietaustin.com or through one of her marketing blogs: http://www.marketingaprivatepractice.com or http://www.websitedesignandpromotion.com
The author grants permission to reprint this article so long as the copyright and by-line remain intact. Informing her of where the article will be published would also be appreciated.
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