Linda Dessau discusses content marketing

Linda Dessau, owner of Content Mastery Guide, is a wellness blogging expert, online writing consultant and the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online.

We recently asked her about how health and wellness organizations can use blogging to promote their brands and got her best practices for effective content marketing through blogging. Here’s what Linda shared:

Can you tell us about your professional background? How did you become interested in blogging and content marketing?

My first career was as a music therapist. From there I expanded my skillset with certification as a life coach, where I focused on wellness and self-care. Back in 2004, I started using article marketing and email newsletters to spread my ideas and attract new clients. When I started hearing from people all over the world about how much I’d helped them with my online articles, I realized that I enjoyed connecting with people more in writing than as a coach and that other coaches and wellness professionals could use my help to make those same powerful connections.

What role should blogging play in a wellness brand’s overall marketing strategy? What are the benefits of blogging for those in the wellness industry?

By blogging on your own website, wellness professionals can create a library of valuable content that prospective clients can access 24/7. These articles help people get to know you and witness your expertise as a credible wellness professional. When you help them achieve results in their real life – for free – they will remember you as someone they want to spend more time with, and who they begin to look to for help and guidance.

As a piece of marketing collateral that you own and control, a blog makes an excellent starting point for your other online marketing efforts. Your social media and email marketing can continually invite and guide people back to your blog, where prospective clients are just one click away from starting a relationship with you – or deepening that relationship through your programs or services.

What’s your approach to blogging? What best practices do you recommend to your clients?

My approach to blogging is to always put your ideal clients first. Write about the things they’re interested in, and be as helpful as you can. Stick with a definite set of topics, and find new ways to keep reinforcing those core ideas.

Keep it simple to start – aim for one new how-to article a month at about 500 words, and when you’re ready you can increase that by adding in other types of posts like interviews, personal posts or curated posts about someone else’s content.

What are some of the specific challenges facing wellness professionals when handling the marketing side of their business?

Wellness professionals often tell me that they don’t have time for marketing in general and blogging in particular. Between running their practice and managing their life outside of work, it seems like they have nothing left over for blogging.

Hint: if you always leave blogging for when you have time to do it, you’ll never have time to do it. But if you schedule it in as one of your key business activities, you can build a daily routine of taking one small step at a time and you’ll be able to publish regularly.

Something else that comes up is a loud inner critic. “I feel like a fraud because I don’t have this all figured out yet.” “Who would want to read what I write?” “I’m no good at writing; I can’t blog.”

The antidote for this kind of self-doubt is to find a blogging buddy, writing group or blog editor who can remind you that none of us are perfect, and who can look over your work to give you an outside perspective and catch any pesky typos or writing errors.

What are the most common mistakes you see your clients making with their online writing efforts? What should they be doing differently?

The biggest blogging mistake you can make is to start and then stop. Once people see a blog on your site, they’ll notice if it hasn’t been updated or you only seem to post haphazardly. They’ll wonder if that’s how you do everything in your business. Instead, set yourself a realistic blogging schedule like once a month, and then carve out a little time each day to work towards that.

Another mistake is to treat a blog post like an academic paper, using lots of big words and industry jargon that will impress your peers in your industry. Your clients are not industry experts. They may be brand new to this topic that you are completely immersed in. Write to them on your blog the same way you would speak to them if they were sitting across the desk from you.

What advice can you offer busy wellness professionals on finding time to write online content? What has helped you blog more efficiently?

The only way to find time for blogging is to make time for blogging. As I suggested above, carve out a little time each day and break down the blog writing process into small, manageable steps. I find the Pomodoro technique very helpful, which is to do a 25-minute work session followed by a five-minute break. Forcing myself to keep at it for the full 25 minutes helps me stay focused and disciplined.

What tools are essential for online marketing for wellness professionals today? What have you found to be especially useful?

I use Wunderlist for task management, to keep me organized and on track with which blog post I’m working on next. I use Google Drive to draft my posts, so I can access them from any device and share them with my team when it’s time to publish and promote them. WordPress is my favorite content management system.

I’ve used a variety of tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and MeetEdgar to schedule promotional messages about my blog posts, in order to share them with my social network and invite them to pass them along to others. I use MailChimp to email my subscribers about new blog posts and upcoming events, and Fotolia or Depositphotos for my blog post photos.

What trends or headlines are you following in the world of online writing? Why do they interest you?

I watch trends but I tend not to write about them on my own blog. That’s because I find that wellness professionals are already so overwhelmed that it’s enough to focus on the basics. If they can learn to write well, they’ll be able to transfer those skills to the platforms and techniques that seem like the best fit for them and their audience.

What’s one piece of advice you find yourself repeating to clients over and over?

Keep it simple and do what’s right for your blog. What works for someone else may not work for you, and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to follow other people’s rules. Take suggestions from someone you trust, and then make a plan that fits your business, your audience and your life.

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