resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
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.
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.
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:
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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