Content marketing is a great - free - way to reach prospective therapy clients and express yourself to them in writing.
If done right it can have a tremendous upside, leading to a healthy, continuous stream of clients.
Nonetheless, it's also one of the toughest channels to master.
Success requires careful planning, as well as commitment and consistency over a long-time period. It also depends on some unintuitive knowledge and an understanding of a few principes, without which your efforts will likely result in nothing.
This guide will teach you some advanced material to thrive as a content marketer.
Find the right keywords
Finding the right keywords for your blog is ultimately an art, not a science. The first part is to think about what you want to write. This is easy given that you know what your service is about and where you passions lie.
We will assume that we are interested in writing content and ranking for “Female Sexuality".
Next up is getting traffic. Here is where you do your keyword research. Keywords are essentially the words people use when making Google search.
To understand what people search for you can run some searches yourself and look out for 'related searches'. Or you use a tool.
The ultimate tool for this job is the Google keyword planner. Whilst it has gotten overcomplicated and is tailored to google Ads users, it is still very useful.
Your other option is to type “keyword search tool” on Google and go through the results. There are many great tools out there but not many that are free. One that is free and easy to use is this.. And to get started, it probably is the best option.
Start by typing a keyword. It looks something like this:
Make sure to select the country you’re interested in to see the relevant results to the location.
Now hit search and this is what you get.
Great, now these are the things you are interested in:
Now you need to be smart. You might want female sexuality to be what you rank for but there might be other opportunities. So how do you go about selecting which ones to pursue?
There is an answer to that: Semantic coherence.
Google is pretty good at inferring what articles are talking about, so you should looking to target broad topic areas rather than a series of rigid sentences.
The old days of stuffing keywords in pages are done. Google measures engagement and relevance of the site posting the content to the content. In other words, it’s looking for semantic coherence.
For example, timewith.co.uk is a platform for people finding a therapist and because of that a lot of keywords that revolve around that (e.g. how does therapy work, how much does therapy cost etc) are considered very close to the site and we rank in the first places (1-5) in Google.
In contrast, despite our strong domain rank, if we write single piece about anxiety in children we are likely to not rank. This is because the piece would be seen as “stray” and not congruent with the rest of the site.
So how do you go about targeting the right keywords and making sure your content is coherent?
You have found a bunch of keywords that you want to rank for. Some of them are easier than others. Eventually, you want to rank for those that have significant search traffic but for now the competition is high.
So what do you do? You treat this content as a pillar and you create a cluster around it.
How does this work?
First you create the structure in your head. Think of a tree of content where the root (or the top for that matter) is your pillar. For instance, consider “Female sexuality: The ultimate guide”.
Then you start writing cluster pieces, very similarly to how you’d write a short book.
A book has chapters which build on top of one another and create a coherent read. This is essentially what you are doing, only you can start publishing each chapter separately and showly link them all together.
This is an easy to follow, tested and effective playbook.
Steps to follow:
1) Do a lot of research to understand what users want
Read all the top ranking content pieces and deconstruct their structure. Deeply understand how the information shared is valuable to the user. This is critically important because part of the way you rank is engagement. Time spent reading your content is a big part of this, whilst a user opening your page only to exit a few seconds later tells Google you’re not making sense i.e. you’re spamming and penalizes you.
2) Write a better piece
Easier said than done but this is what is required. Better does not always mean … well, better. It can mean different. It can mean funnier or easier to digest. This is where you apply critical thinking and you try to tell the world what you have to say in the best possible way. If you are writing a pillar piece though, longer pieces do better. Your goal is to keep the user as long as possible. Show engagement. It does not mean that they will be riveted by your every word. They might bounce around from paragraph to paragraph BUT staying 2 mins versus 20 is significantly better for you.
3) Decide what keyword you want to aim for
You have written your pillar piece. Now start linking to it from all the cluster pieces. Each cluster piece should consistently link to the pillar with a particular keyword. For instance, I would be going for “female sexuality” and not create variations like “women and sex” or anything like that.
4) Write pillar pieces that complement to core article and link to them
Similarly you want each part of the pillar to link to a specific piece with a specific keyword to the cluster pieces. The cluster pieces can be smaller and you have more room to manoeuvre here. You can have headlines which might not be an obvious SEO homerun but your social audience will appreciate such as “10 tips to boost your sexuality”. Hint: header names do matter. Be smart about it.
The Topic-Cluster model
Why does it work?
The idea here is this: search engines doing a great job but their task of understanding our content like humans is not easy. If you were to write a bunch of content and spread it on your site it’s not necessarily true that this will work in your favour.
In fact in absence of proper linking between content pieces that are relevant (clusters) the search engines are seeing your site as a random forest, difficult to navigate. Instead, by creating clusters search engines understand what each part of your site (cluster) is aiming for and classifying it differently.
The second part of why this works is that if you are writing a piece on its own, your chance of getting picked up is small, especially if there is high competition. But you if you are writing in clusters, you have more chances of ranking for a niche content piece which links and eventually leads the search engines to pay attention to your core piece.
Social media is tough and it’s very different to search engines BUT when you do have high quality content, social media does not have to be a volatile channel that you don’t know what to expect from.
Instead you can have a playbook for it. What do I mean by that?
In the absence of a dedicated social media strategy, you should use social media to boost your existing content on your blog - that is to share and link to the blog.
How to share your blog content on social media
Do this once: decide on a format that is consistent for each social medium that you want to use. For instance if you’re sharing on Instagram, a nice ambient background with a quote can perform well VS on Twitter, where you need to say something headline-ish to catch the attention of the audience and/or be quirky. Think up a structure and stick with it (unless you’re sure it does not work, in which case, adapt my friend!).
Secondly, take your blog post and share across the media you want to use. Do this at the same time, or shortly after you publish your blog.
You will get immediate traffic from there pointing to your blog, telling Google “people are looking at this now”.
You might get people signing up to your newsletter or any other action you have to convert your clients.
Now you know what it takes to rank on Google. It’s not a piece of cake but hey, you got a playbook. Now go write amazing content, help people improve their wellbeing, and grow your practice!
Have a suggestion or a topic you want answers to? Join our group, send us an email with a topic you'd like us to write about or [book a private practice audit](https://calendly.com/mark-tsirekas/1-on-1-practice-consultation to discuss your own challenges with a member of our team about your practice.
For full details on what we offer to support therapists to grow their private practices, head here.