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Massage Today
May, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 05

Blogging 101 for Massage Therapists

By Michael Reynolds, CMT

If you ask any massage therapist what his or her most challenging aspect of running a massage practice is, chances are "marketing" would be at the top of the list. Marketing can be a daunting realm and it is sometimes difficult to understand how to effectively market a massage practice in the age of online communications and social media.

Social media includes networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. It also includes content marketing tools like blogging. Of all the tools that can help market your massage business, blogging is one of the most powerful.

So what is a blog? In simple terms, a blog is sort of like a column in a newspaper. It is a space online that is reserved for articles that you ideally post on a consistent schedule. There is more than one type of blog. Some people maintain personal blogs that discuss things like daily activities, cooking, and other hobbies. Another type of blog is the business blog, which is used to market and promote a business.

Massage therapists are uniquely positioned to use business blogging to promote their practices. The idea behind a business blog is that it contains valuable educational content that is relevant and helpful to the target audience of the business. While a personal blog might talk about general daily updates in a person's life, a business blog tends to provide useful tips and expert guidance.

Content Marketing

So how does this help you market your massage practice? The concept of content marketing is explained by three ideas: relevance, visibility, and authority.

Relevance refers to how well-aligned your blog is with respect to your target market. Let's say you practice sports massage and your target market consists of runners. If you consistently post blogs that help runners perform better, then your content will be highly relevant to them. Stretching techniques, recovery tips, and even reviews on running products can also be relevant information that would interest runners.

Once you have the attention of some runners, what comes next? Visibility occurs when your blog is shared with other people. This sharing occurs when your content is valuable enough that people want to tell other people about it. Sometimes they will share it on Facebook, Twitter, or other networks, or they might simply email it to friends. For this reason, you'll want to make sure that your blog has sharing buttons on it that make it easy for people to post it to social networks. If they really like your content, they may even subscribe to it and get your blogs delivered via email. Blogging can also help you get discovered more easily on search engines, like Google. Though the specifics of this are beyond the scope of this article, many massage therapists enjoy a boost in Google rankings as a result of dedicated and consistent blogging.

Authority is the final piece of the equation and it is a powerful component of content marketing. When your target market perceives you as having authority, they are likely to buy from you and recommend you to others. Who do runners want to get a massage from? Most likely it is from the massage therapist who clearly understands the needs of a runner.

As you can see, blogging for relevance, visibility, and authority can position you as an expert which leads to referrals and repeat business.

Blogging Essentials

There are many ways to set up a blog, but one of the easiest is to use a service called WordPress. Located at www.wordpress.com, this service allows you to create a free blog and start publishing right away. If you have a website for your massage practice, talk to your website services company and ask them about installing a professional blog on your website. If possible, it's much better to have your blog fully integrated into your website from both a branding and a search perspective.

In general, publishing a new blog once a week is a reasonable schedule to follow. If that level of frequency is a challenge, try every two weeks instead. Both Google and your readers will reward you with increased attention and trust if you are consistent and frequent with your publishing.

If writing is difficult for you, one thing that may help is to keep a notepad in your massage room and start writing down all the questions that your clients ask you. Each question has the potential to become a blog topic. For example:

  • "How much water should I drink after a massage?"
  • "How can I increase my flexibility?"
  • "Is there any way to decrease my recovery time after a run?"

These are all common questions that you might be asked in a massage session and would make great titles for blogs. Take advantage of your position as a trusted health and wellness practitioner and expand on those questions by writing blogs about these topics.

One of the most important things to remember when writing blogs is not to promote your business. This may seem counter-intuitive but it's an important idea in content marketing. Content that looks like a sales pitch will not get shared and will not gain subscribers. Content that teaches and educates will quickly gain a following.

Blogging is not easy and it can be time-consuming. Additionally, building a following does not happen overnight. It can take months of steady, consistent blogging to really gain momentum; but once you do, it can start to generate more leads for your massage practice than you may have thought possible.

Naturally, your blog should make it easy for your readers to contact you or book a massage, so be sure to include your phone number, email, and a link to your online scheduling system.

As a final piece of advice, I recommend blocking out time in your schedule at the same time every week to write your weekly blog. This will ensure that it becomes part of your routine.

In an hour a week, you can start building a powerful database of articles that can increase your authority as a health and wellness provider, help you reach new prospective clients, and improve your search engine visibility. If this sounds appealing to you, blogging may be worth a look as part of your marketing strategy.


Michael Reynolds is president/CEO of SpinWeb, a professional website design, development and online marketing firm. He has worked in marketing and technology since 1996 and serves on a number of non-profit and networking organization boards. Michael regularly publishes articles, blogs, and e-books that teach his readers how to do business and communicate using digital tools. He also speaks at industry events around the country, including the Web 2.0 Expo, CMS Expo and Blog Indiana. Michael is a certified massage therapist in Indiana and has worked professionally in spas and clinics, as well as served on state and national AMTA committees and boards. He may be contacted via his speaking site at www.michaelreynolds.com or via SpinWeb's website at www.spinweb.net.

 

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