Have you heard about content marketing and does it send shivers down your spine? Do you have a blog but not sure how to share that message across all your social platforms? Do you shy away from email marketing because you are not sure how it will help you connect with your audience?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Lacy Boggs about creating content that speaks to your ideal audience and how you can connect with your audience through email marketing.
Meet Lacy Boggs
Lacy Boggs is a content marketing strategist, author of the bestselling ebook, “Make a Killing With Content,” and director of The Content Direction Agency. She teaches small businesses and solopreneurs to drive their own content marketing with strategies and frameworks that close the gap between content and sales.
Lacy’s website: https://lacyboggs.com/
Find out more about Lacy here:
Lacy Bogg’s Story
After several years of searching for a way into the film business, while keeping herself afloat with temporary jobs, Lacy made the decision to leave the film industry and instead made her way with her new husband to Colorado. She applied for work with a temporary agency known for providing labor in creative fields. Lacy applied for the position of a copywriter, despite having no such experience listed on her resume. The recruiter agreed to let her take the copy editing proficiency test, on which she scored 100%.
Lacy was placed in a copy editing position with a company known for producing the official travel guide magazines for locations across the country. Before long, she was promoted to editor, and oversaw the production of eight magazines. Three years into the position, the company began to have financial difficulties, and Lacy was laid off.
Lacy then landed a job for a hyper-local magazine in Boulder County, with 70,000 copies per month reaching local audiences. She fell pregnant and decided to quit her job and started doing content marketing for other small businesses.
In This Podcast
In this episode Alison Pidegon speaks with Lacy Boggs about how to use content creation and marketing to your advantage so that you connect with your audience.
Any kind of marketing that involves a conversation with your audience that eventually leads to a sale.
Using Different Content On Different Platforms
You don’t need a different message across every platform, you just need to keep those messages consistent across those platforms. Your audience is not following you on every platform so you don’t have to worry about re purposing the material.
How Lacy Reuses Content To Display Across Different Platforms
Think about what the goal is for the content you create.
- Writes 1 blog post and an email newsletter
- Creates 3 version of the same image to go on the different platforms (according to the specific dimensions)
- She gets her assistant to write a little teaser blurb which links back to the blog post
If you want people to sign up for your email list, you need to engage in a call to action which will prompt your audience to sign up for your email list. Talk about the benefits of then engaging in that call to action.
To save time Lacy makes use of automatic publishing tools:
Write for humans first and Google second.
- Focus on local SEO – make sure that you are pointing out where you are situated
- There is a preference to longer form articles which is 2000 words or more
- Google your competition and see what they are doing
- Get authoritative websites to link back to your site
- Write content for other sites that already have the audience you want to speak to
Ideas Of Things To Write
Think about what your business goal is, what do you want to get out of your blog
Different goals will produce different content. Think about what your ideal clients need right before they pick up the phone.
Lacy uses recommends using Mailchimp and ConvertKit as email marketing software. There are also different pop up windows:
- Polite popups
- Time delay
Mistakes Small Business Owners Make With Content Marketing
- Write what you know – this doesn’t attract clients, it attracts other people in your field
- Don’t talk about the process, focus on pain points and the outcome a client wants
- You are not telling stories – you can use case studies by creating a fictional character so that people can see themselves in this situation
- Being very general – take stories and put your own spin on it
- Not tracking data – focus on metrics that impact your business.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be scary, it’s all about starting a conversation.
Click here for a little gift Lacy has put together for our listeners!
- Tara McMullin Creates Economic Powerhouses | PoP 323
- Content Marketing
- How To Optimise Your Website
- Types Of Marketing In Private Practice
- ‘At’ Versus ‘With’ Marketing’
Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison Pidgeon, MA, LPC is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling LLC. What started out as a solo private practice in early 2015 quickly grew into a group practice and has been expanding ever since.
Alison Pidgeon is now working with Joe Sanok to provide business consulting, with her niche being adding insurance to a practice and growing from a solo to a group practice. View her consulting page for more information.
Thanks For Listening!
Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!
LACY BOGGS KNOWS A LOT ABOUT CONTENT CREATION
[Having anxiety with your website should never happen. Creating a website is a milestone for your private practice and should be celebrated like one. My friends and colleagues over at Brighter Vision know this situation all too well and have come up with a process to make your website experience as easy, fluid, and enjoyable as possible. Trusted by thousands of therapists around the world, Brighter Vision is the website solution that your private practice needs. As a gift to my listeners, Brighter Vision is offering a month off of their services. Go to brightervision.com/joe to get one month free of your Brighter Vision subscription. Again, that’s brightervision.com/joe.]
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Alison Pidgeon Session Number 324.
I’m Joe Sanok and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. If you are new here, welcome. We have been growing by leaps and bounds especially over the last six months or so. Averaging well over a hundred thousand downloads every single month, thank you so much to the tens of thousands of you that are listening and that get involved and are part of Next Level Practice and all the things that we do. You are offering better services in your community because you’re a part of this community. And we’re just excited to have you here.
If you’re new, we take a little different approach to private practice. We’re trying to kind of disrupt the industry. And that’s why we enjoy working with people like Brighter Vision and having other sponsors that have disrupted the industry for the better. And you know, this podcast takeover that has happened with Alison over the last couple sessions here has been awesome. She did a great job interviewing. And today, we have another awesome guest who’s going to be talking about content and finding your story, and your voice, and branding, and all these different things. And so, we have Lacy Boggs, she’s with us and without further ado, I give you Lacey getting interviewed by Alison.
Welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m your host, Alison Pidgeon. For this marketing series, we decided to ask folks who aren’t in the counseling field and who are experts in the world of marketing for some advice for our audience. And so, I am very happy to announce that today we have Lacy Boggs with us today. And Lacey Boggs is a content marketing strategist. She’s the author of the best-selling e-book Make a Killing with Content and Director of the Content Direction Agency.
She teaches small businesses and solopreneurs to drive their own content marketing with strategies and frameworks that close the gap between content and sales. So, please, help me welcome Lacy Boggs to the Practice of the Practice podcasts! Hi Lacey, how are you?
Good. Thank you. How are you. I feel like there should be like an audience cheering for me right now. Yeah. Good sound effects.
So, tell us a little bit about how you got started with you know, being an expert in content marketing. I was looking at your website and I really liked the way you had your About Me page structured and it’s kind of told the story in a very entertaining way of how you keep to doing what you’re doing. And I was hoping you could kind of share some of that story with our audience if they’re not familiar with your story.
HOW LACY GOT STARTED
Sure. Sure. Yeah. If anybody wants to look at how that About Page is structured. I wanted to show that I could write in different voices. So, I took my story of how I got here and divided it into three parts and wrote it in three different voices. So, I could demonstrate that I could do that. But, yeah, so, I actually have a degree in Film from a teeny tiny Liberal Arts College in Santa Fe. And I went to California. I tried to get a prestigious internship with the Directors Guild of America and at the last minute, I think like 3,000 people apply for 30 spots and I got to the top 100 or the last 100. And then, I got cut.
I didn’t really have a plan B. So, I had moved to California with my boyfriend who is now my husband and I tried to break into Hollywood. And Hollywood and I just didn’t get along very well. And I eventually went back to my first love which was writing. And I joined a PR firm in the fine jewelry industry for a while out there. And I loved it. I loved doing the marketing. I loved writing press releases and marketing materials for the jewelry industry. And when we decided to leave California, we came to Colorado and I didn’t have a job and I went to a temp agency for creatives like designers and writers. And I walked in and I told the guy I’m a copywriter. And he’s like “Well there’s nothing on your resume that says you’re a copywriter.” And I was like, “Test me.”
I can do this. And so, he gave me a copy-editing test and I scored a hundred percent. He said I was the first person ever he’d seen to score 100% on that test. And so, they got me a job with a company here in Colorado that writes travel guides. So, if you’ve ever gone to an airport and picked up like the free travel magazine for a city, I probably wrote one of those. I mean not really. But, I was writing first for Chicago and Dallas and Las Vegas and the state of Colorado, and so on and so forth. So, I worked there for a while.
I got laid off and I got another job as an editor of a hyper, hyper local magazine here in Boulder County, Colorado. And I got to be their food editor for a while which was awesome. That’s like nice work if you can get it, right. And then, I got pregnant. And I was really happy to be pregnant, but I kept thinking like I’m working 60 plus hours a week and not getting paid very much. And more than half of my salary would have gone to putting my baby in daycare. And so, my husband and I decided that I would quit my job. And so, I quit when she was born or right before she was born and decided I’m going to be a food blogger because obviously, I was a food writer. So, clearly, that’s what I needed to do right.
I started a food blog and I did really well on the blogging side of things like I was able to build an audience. I had over a thousand subscribers and under a year, I got some guest posting gigs with one of Martha Stewart’s magazine websites. I was doing really well and making $0 because what I didn’t understand about the blogging business model is that it’s like a Walmart model, right. You have to get a lot of people in the door to make any money at all. So, at that point, we were starting to struggle. And I said, “I wonder if other people would have me write their blogs for them.” And oh, they did.
That turned out to be a very lucrative thing. There were a lot of small business owners out there who would love to have somebody blog for them. And as I got started doing that, my clients started asking me over and over. “Well, what do you think I should post? How do you think I should do this?” So, I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to educate myself about marketing and content marketing in particular. And here we are today.
Wow, that’s quite the story.
Yeah, long and winding road!
Yeah. I think what’s so great is like you know, probably in that moment, when you didn’t get that job in Hollywood, you know, probably were like, “How am I ever going to come back from this?” But, now, looking back on it, you can see like how that ended up probably being a good thing for you.
Yeah, that was my quarter life crisis.
I would say so. So, tell us about– So, obviously now, you have your own business. And so, what are your clients coming to you for? Like what’s the bulk of what you help them with?
Sure. So, what we specialize in is what’s called content marketing. And for anybody who’s not familiar with that term, it’s any kind of marketing that involves a conversation with your audience. That eventually leads to a sale. So, that could include blogging, podcasting, emails, I mean tweets, Instagram, anything really that involves having that conversation. So, we help people write and strategize how they’re going to create that content. So, what I do personally is more of the strategy nowadays.
I’m doing less of the writing and more of the strategy and I help small business owners figure out that big picture. How are all those channels and all those pieces, and all those different conversations going to work together to make more sales. And then, I have a team of amazing writers who can actually help implement that plan once we get it going.
Okay, wow. That’s great. Yeah. I think what I see small business owners, especially private practice owners make the mistake of is they’re trying to use all of these channels like you said to market. But then, they’re not thinking, “Oh, this needs to be like a cohesive sort of brand.” You know, presentation to a potential client and a lot of the times, it just feels like it’s like piecemeal kind of scattered and like how do these things work together?
MISTAKE OF USING ALL CHANNELS TO MARKET
You see people make that mistake a lot?
All the time. And another mistake I’m seeing right now that kind of goes with that is that people think that all these different channels that we have access to now, need different content. So, they’re putting something different on their blog, in their email newsletter, on their Facebook page, on their Instagram page, and so on, they-re they’re really making way more work for themselves and their team than they need to because for me, I’m kind of– my soapbox is that it should all be sort of the hub-and-spoke model. So, if you imagine a wheel, the hub of the wheel is whatever your main piece of content is. So, probably that’s your blog post or maybe it’s your newsletter, maybe it’s a podcast. But, wherever your main chunk of content is, and then all those other channels, your Facebook page, your email, your Instagram feed, whatever it is should be leading back to that hub or informed by that hub. So, you don’t need a different message for every single channel. You need to broadcast the same message across all of these channels.
I think that is such good advice because I hear that a lot too that people feel overwhelmed by having to create all this content when really all you need to do is take some really good pieces of content and just keep kind of recycling them, and applying them to different, you know, platforms, I guess is the right word.
Yeah, just different distribution channels. So, I think of like all your social media accounts as distribution channels. And so, really, it’s not somewhere most of the time where people are going to find you. It’s where they’re going to follow you after they already know about you, right. So, that’s where you’re going to distribute your content and continue that conversation. And I know there’s probably people listening right now who are like– But, if somebody reads my blog and then goes to my Facebook page and goes to my Instagram, they see all the same thing.
Aren’t they going to be bored and unfollow me? Let me just tell you that’s our ego talking. Like, we all have that fear. And that’s just ego talking because 9 times out of 10, they’re not following you in all of these places and so they’re going to follow you where they want to hang out and they’re only going to get that message once.
Mostly. Except your super uber fans, right? I think they don’t care.
Right because they just love what you put out. So, they don’t care it they’ve seen it twice already.
Yeah. So, for people who may be struggling with like how do you take back one or two pieces of content and then fan it out like you aid the hub-and-spoke model into these different platforms like– what do you think is the easiest way of doing that like using some kind of you know, system that sort of automatically schedules it for you? Or like, what do you tend to use.
Sure. Sure. So, my system tends to be that I write the blog post for myself, for my own businesses and then, I usually write the email newsletter as well. And then, I hand it off to my team. So, I have a graphic designer on my team who will create an image. And what she does is she creates three versions of that image. So, she’ll create one for the blog post itself which can also be used on Facebook because they’re roughly the same dimensions.
She creates a version for Instagram because it’s a different size, right. It’s a square instead of a rectangle. And she creates one Pinterest for me because it’s a vertical rectangle. You got– you know, counselors may not be on Pinterest but that’s what I get. I get three versions of the same image and then I hand it off to my assistant and she writes the little blurb that goes on Facebook. And the little blurb that goes with my Instagram and things like that. And she uses the content that I already have to create that blurb and it’s just like little teasers, little snippet, quotes, one fact out of the article, something like that, to get people to click the link and come back to the blog post.
Because when I think when you’re thinking about how to recycle and how to use your spokes, you really want to think about what the goal of your content in the first place is. If you’re just blogging because somebody told you that you needed to have a blog, or if you’re just on Facebook because somebody told you that you should eb on Facebook, that is not a good business strategy. I hate to say. You need to ask yourself what the business goal of me is creating this content because otherwise it’s kind of a waste of time. So, business goal is to get somebody to like to sign up for your email list or come in for a free consultation or give you a call to schedule an appointment.
You need to make sure everything, everything is on that path to get them to take that action. Right. So, for me, I want people to sign up for my email list. So, I want all my Facebook posts on my Instagram, all that to go back to the blog post where there’s a big box that’ll say sign up for my email list. For a counselor, it might be called the– call the office for an appointment or you know, get a free consultation, or how–, or whatever your intake process is. But, you want to make sure all your content is pointing back to that thing.
Yeah, I’m really glad that you brought that up because I feel like that’s something also counselors tend to miss is that they don’t realize how much they need to be repeating over and over like this is how you– a call to action. Like you have to, you know, click on seven different pages on their website before you finally see like where the phone number is. And so, really, on your website, you should be having that contact information in a very easy to see place on every single page.
Absolutely. And, you know, talk about the benefits. What are the benefits of them calling? What are the benefits of them again coming in for that first appointment? What is the benefit, you know? Are they afraid of something? How can you overcome that fear just in that call to action like they– are they afraid it’s going to be expensive? Can you do a free 15-minteu phone conversation that gets them over that fear? Are they afraid– I don’t even know. But, you know, think about that.
You know your clients better than I do. What are they afraid of? What’s that pain point that they’re feeling right at that moment and how can you help them take action to solve it?
Yeah. That’s really good advice.
Yet, you’re totally right. You have to tell people over and over and over and over and over and over again. Act like they’re idiots. Okay. And he likes literally to spell it out click here to do this or you know, click here on your iPhone to make the phone call right now, something like that. They need very specific instructions.
Yeah. And I just wanted to circle back to what you have the assistant who creates like the teaser kind of content for you and then like the graphics and that kind of thing. So, is she then, posting all that stuff manually like you’re not using some kind of automated software?
Right. We do use an automated posting for a lot of things. So, Instagram doesn’t let you. You have to do it manually. But, for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, pretty much any– like if you’re on LinkedIn, if you’re on Google+, I don’t know if anybody’s on Google+ anymore. But, I use a program called CoSchedule because it lives right inside my WordPress website. And so, she can go into my blog post and create those snippets. Literally copy and paste from my blog post into the social media scheduler.
Another one that’s super popular is HootSuite and the other one I use sometimes it’s called Buffer. But, any of those are good for scheduling those out.
Okay, great. Yeah. And I think that’s really good to know that there’s different options and are those paid or are they free?
I believe HootSuite and Buffer both have free options. And then, you pay a little for the more advanced stuff. CoSchedule, I believe you have to pay even for the most basic. But, it has more features. And not super expensive, they started around $10 a month. And so, it’s not going to be a huge line item for most people.
Okay, great. So, I wanted to talk a little bit about blogging because that’s a question that we get a lot from our consulting clients is like you know, what should I be blogging about? How often? Like, I know there’s different, you know, it seems like the rules change all the time about like what Google likes. Does Google like a longer blog post, a shorter blog post, like do you have just some general tips, you know, specifically for counselors in our fields when it comes to blogging?
GENERAL TIPS FOR BLOGGING
Absolutely. So, for most counselors, I’m going to assume that most of your audience is seeing clients and customers in person. And that they have a local business. So, the thing you need to focus on with your blog for a local business is local SEO. And that sounds scary because SEO is a big scary term. But, what that means is that you want to organically use like the name of your city, or neighborhood, or whatever people would put into Google when they’re looking for you as often as possible. So, if I were looking for local SEO for me, I would put like Denver, Colorado blog writer or something like that, whatever I think people are actually googling. So, you might put Denver, Colorado counselor or family counselor, or children’s counselor, or whatever your specialty is. But, the point is you want to show Google that you are the correct answer for those phrases and then move on. So, I’ll give you an example, my brother-in-law is a doctor.
He is a facial plastic surgeon in Frisco, Texas, which is a little suburb north of Dallas. So, when I was helping him get started, I wanted to make sure that when we’re writing about injectable fillers and Botox and stuff like anybody on the web can write about Botox. Right. There’re probably 3 bazillion blog posts about Botox. But, we need to work in there Plano, Texas, Frisco, Texas, you know, Frisco, Texas, Botox, as naturally as possible, which is tricky. But, it can be done, right.
Because what people are going to be searching for on Google is not Botox in general. Right. They’re looking for somebody to do it in there are. So, they’re going to Google “Botox Frisco Texas” or something along those lines. And so, we want to signal to Google through organic content on our website that we are the answer to that question, right.
Yeah. What does that– like, what’s an example because you’re right. It can get like– it can seem award pretty when you’re like every other subject is like at our office in Frisco, Texas, we do blah blah blah. Do you make that sound kind of natural?
Well, and also, I would never do it every other sentence. So, something that’s kind of an old-school. So, old-school SEO means like five years ago because SEO changes so fast. But, an old-school SEO technique is what they called stuffing, which was to use the keyword as much as humanly as possible. That is not working anymore. Google’s gotten smarter. So, you really have to work it in very organically, right. So, I mean I would probably start some sentence like I’m just going to do this off the top of my head. But, like, when our– when our clients come in for Botox, at our Frisco, Texas office, they often say blah blah blah. Or, you know, but, it’s also about just trying to get it in there as naturally as possible because Google can tell.
Google’s getting smarter and smarter. And they can tell when you’re being awkward. So, I always tell people right for humans first and Google second. Okay. Because otherwise, your humans are going to be like, “Oh, this isn’t even useful. This is this keyword stuffing, right.” We’ve all landed webpages like that and you don’t want to do that.
And then, they just seem spammy.
Exactly. So, you know, just, I mean, try to mention it once or twice if possible. If not possible, you know, move on. But, make sure it’s on your website lots of places. So, it should, you know, just on your regular static pages that don’t change. Make sure that city is on there on different places because that’s what people are going to be searching for.
Okay, so, even like maybe there’s like a footer at the bottom of every page, you have your address on the footer of every page.
That’s super great way to do it. I would put it on your About Page. I would put it on your homepage. If there’s like a contact me, make sure you put it there, you know, just any place that it seems logical that you would have that information, make sure it’s there.
Yeah, that’s good advice. So, what about the length of blog post? Like, what are you hearing now is the most advantageous for SEO?
LENGTH OF BLOG POST
Yeah, so, Google is giving preference to longer form articles for SEO purposes. So, what that means, longer form means 2,000 words or more. And most people fall out of their chairs when I say that. But, what you need to understand is that that’s for super competitive keywords. For example, if my brother-in-aw were trying to get the number one spot for Botox just in general, not just Botox for Frisco, Texas, but, just Botox, he would have to write a hell of an article.
Okay. He would have to write like the ultimate guide to Botox. And it would still probably wouldn’t rank. Okay. There’s a lot of different factors that go into SEO. And I’m just, you know, caveat here. I’m not actually an SEO expert. I just play one on TV. So, you know, this is what I know. But, you know, if this is something that’s interesting too, you should definitely, contact a local SEO expert. But, back to the point, so, Google gives preference to long-form content in general. But, you have to consider who are you competing against. So, what I would do is I would take one of those keywords that you want to rank for and go see what your competition is doing. So, if you type in “Counselor Denver Colorado” or whatever you are, what comes up?
What is your competition doing? Now, if they’re writing really long blog posts for certain keywords and gets more specific than counselor like go with your niche like if it’s family counselor, if it’s teenagers with anxiety, whatever it might be, relationship problems, whatever your very specific niche is, Google that. See what comes up. If there’s nothing, you’re in a really good place because you can rank for that. If there’s people already doing like really great meaty, juicy blog posts, you’re going to have to up your game, right, because you’re going to have to do better than the competition. So, see what the competition is doing and then, try to do a little better than that.
Okay, so like, if I’m Googling the competition and they just have like maybe 500-word blog post, maybe then, I know, “Okay, if I wrote an 800-word blog post, it would be better.” I mean…
It’s not exactly– it’s not an exact science. So, like, let’s say that’s what you did and then you go search and you’re like wait why doesn’t– why isn’t my post here now? It’s not an exact science. So, another factor for SEO is links. So, if you can get other authoritative websites to link back to you, that tells Google that you’re important, so they’ll move you up. So, there’s a bunch of different tricks and again, like this is not an exact science by any means. But, like for example, if someone– if a counselor were to get a guest posting gig with like Psychology Today or some one of those places that has more authority than your personal practice website will have, and you can link back to yourself, will show Google that your important. Does that make sense?
Yes. It makes perfect sense. So, for somebody who obviously, you’re running a small local practice is that would it be enough to maybe link to maybe bigger mental health agencies or something in your town or do you want to like shoot for Psychology Today or something that has more of like a national presence?
MENTAL HEALTH AGENCIES VS PSYCHOLOGY TODAY
It all depends. I think if you’re just looking for that local SEO and there’s like a hospital website that could link back to you, it’s all about getting them to link back to you, though. It’s not about you linking to them.
So, they’re called backlinks. And so, it’s like, you need to get the hospital to link back to you somehow. So, maybe, that means your guest posting on their blog because let me just tell you, if you are desperate for blog content, everybody is desperate for blog content. So, don’t feel weird if you want to go pitch. Like, if you see that I don’t know Kaiser here, like a Kaiser does a lot with content. Maybe they need something for their newsletter. Maybe they need something for their website, you know. And you can pitch them, “I’d like to write a post about anxiety and teenagers.” They will probably be like, “Heck, yes. Please come help us.”
Yeah, that’s a really good marketing strategy I think because I think that’s something that I don’t often think about like other people are looking for content. Of course, they are because we’re always trying to think of content. So…
I think this is an important concept that I’d like to just highlight here for you guys because a lot of times we get so bogged down and like, “Oh, I have to write a blog post. I have to post to my Facebook page. I have to…” When you do that, you are mostly preaching to the choir. So, you are mostly talking to people who already know about you, who are already in your inner circle, especially with email, Facebook, Instagram. It’s people that have already followed you. Right.
Blogging gets out a little bit because if people are Googling for something they’re going to– they might come across it. Right. But, for the most part, people who are like actually reading your blog every week, already know about you. So, if you’re trying to get new customers, you have to get in front of new eyeballs. One of the easiest and cheapest to do that is to guest post somewhere else. Right. For somebody else who already reaches the audience you want to speak to.
Yeah. That’s really good advice because I think that especially when you’re first starting out, yeah, you don’t have a lot of money in your marketing budget, all it’s going to take is time to write a blog post. And typically, in the beginning, you have lots of time because you don’t have that many clients yet. So, I think that’s really good idea.
Just an example. I’m going to use my brother-in-law again. But, I thought this was really smart. He reached out to a local blogger who talks about men’s grooming like men’s style and men’s grooming. And he did a post for them about like Botox for men and stuff. And I was like that’s so smart because the guy was local to the Dallas area and it’s a very niche blog but that already has an audience if people that may brother-in-law would like to attract right. So, I thought that was very smart.
He was really thinking sideways about what he could do. So, like my weird example that I keep coming back to about teenagers with anxiety, those people might look at parenting groups or schools. Maybe, the superintendent– I get an email every month from the superintendent of our local school district. But, they’d be happy to publish something about how to hep your teenagers with anxiety. You see. I’m saying, so, you just got to think sideways. Who else is reaching my ideal customers?
Right. Yeah and where in the community are your ideal clients hanging out or you know, frequenting other businesses, and then, yeah, how can you get in front of those folks in those other ways. Yeah. That’s great advice. So, I think the other thing when it comes to blogging that we hear a lot is people get stuck with thinking of ideas for what to write and so, I don’t know if you have any ideas about– is it better to write like a, you know, five things you should do if you feel anxious article or is it better to write kind of just like an overview of like, “Well, this is anxiety and this is how we help treat anxiety, or you know, do you think that there’s specific types of formats that work better than others?”
IDEAS TO WRITE ABOUT
So, this is all going to be another one of those it-depends-answers. So, what I really– I have a little soapbox that I like to get on where– when you go to those marketing blogs, and they’re like write a list article, write this thing that’s like BuzzFeed, get attention with this, that’s great. Those are all probably solid advice. But, to what end? What is your goal? So, when I work with clients. I always want to know what is your business goal? What are we trying to do with this content? So, I want everybody listening to ask yourselves what do you really want to get out of your blog? So, if it’s SEO like if that’s the thing, if you want to rank with Google, that’s one kind of writing that’s where you probably should write your articles about, you know, Five Ways to Deal with Anxiety in Denver, Colorado, or something along those lines.
And– But, if you’re really wanting to do something different, maybe you want to form more of a community, maybe you want to be more of a thought leader, maybe you’re actually working towards writing a book and you have certain thoughts about different things. So, all of those different goals are going to produce different kinds of content.
Yeah, and I think that’s a really good point. And I think probably the majority of our audience.
Maybe you want to be more of a thought leader. Maybe you’re actually working towards writing a book and you have certain thoughts about different things. So, all those different goals are going to produce different kinds of content.
Yeah. And I think that’s a really good point. And I think probably the majority of our audience is just looking at SEO. And also, sort of another way to familiarize potential clients with their voice or their style so that they may see like, “Oh, if I really like how this person wrote this blog post, I think they might be a good fit for me as a therapist.”
I’m so glad you brought that up because, in any business, people hire us because they like us, right? There’s a bazillion content strategists and marketers that other people could hire. People hire me because they like me. They come to my blog. They like my voice. They like what I have to say, right? The same is true for everyone listening right now. So, writing those, you know, five ways to deal with anxiety, well, unless you really infuse that with a personality that’s not going to tell me much about you if it’s the same five ways I can get on any other block, right?
So, I want to free you guys up a little bit to be yourselves. Have a conversation. And the other tip I would have is to think about what your ideal clients need right before they pick up the phone. What do they need to know right before they make their first appointment? Is it like, maybe it’s not five ways to deal with anxiety? Maybe it’s five ways to know if you have anxiety. Maybe it’s questions to ask before you hire your first counselor. How do I know if you’re the right person?
Maybe it’s ten things people are scared of when they go to a counselor that they shouldn’t be scared of. Maybe it’s what is my first visit going to look like, right? Really try to get into your ideal person’s shoes and ask yourself, what do they need to know right before they make that commitment? I always talk about content marketing as a series of yeses.
So, for example, let’s say somebody finds you on Facebook and you’ve shared a blog post. The first yes is clicking that link, right? Because they’re making a teeny tiny yes to say, “Yes, I want to learn more about this.” And then reading the article is a yes. And then whatever your call-to-action is at the bottom of the article, that’s kind of the big yes, right? They have to get over that hump to take action whether that’s giving you an email address or getting on the phone with you. Like, I don’t know about you but in this day and age, it takes a lot to get me to get on the phone.
That’s kind of a big hump for me, right? So, how can I ease that transition? How can I make each yes in the series a no-brainer? And that’s kind of where you can get into, like, we’re generating those ideas.
Yeah, because I think for our clients, what happens is they end up thinking about going to counseling for a long time before they actually get to the point where they pick up the phone. And so, it may be months or even years. And so, I think that’s something that we don’t often think about is that they need to have several interactions with you before they decide to make an appointment. And, you know, like you’re saying, you know, maybe you need to craft your content so that it’s making it easier for them to say, “Yes.”
That’s a wonderful point. Yeah, and how can you make that yes even a little smaller. So, we know that the ultimate goal is for them to get on the phone and make an appointment, right? That’s the “sale” that we’re trying to make. But maybe we can break that down into smaller pieces. So, what if they, instead of making a call right away, what if you ask them to get on your email list? That’s a much smaller commitment, right? And you can say things like, “I would love to send you these kinds of tips every week. Please get on my email list. You might have a little freebie if you want to get real fancy with it.”
Just as an example of a freebie you might give, I know when I was in counseling, my counselor like to use meditations as part of her practice. And so she could have made a recording of a meditation that you can get for free just in exchange for your email address. But the point is if it takes people months to make the commitment to make that appointment, you want to stay top of mind with them, right? So, if you can get them to let you into their email box, you can continue to talk to them.
Right, for you to continue nurturing that relationship.
Exactly. So, it’s that going back to my definition of content marketing, it’s the conversation that eventually leads to a sale. So, you can continue the conversation if they give you permission to come into their email books.
Great. Great. So, for people that maybe aren’t familiar with that whole process and I think it’s technically called like a funnel, right? Like, you know, having them commit to getting their email in exchange for some kind of, you know, good content that they’re interested in. And then hopefully you’re nurturing that relationship by continuing to send them things and then one day they’re going to pick up the phone.
SOFTWARE FOR EMAIL MARKETING
So, like just from a logistical standpoint, like how do you manage that? Are there certain kinds of software that you use? Or what is the process, kind of the different steps that they go through?
Yeah, there’s a lot of different email marketing software programs you can use. MailChimp is one of the easiest and I believe it’s still free up to having 12,000 people on your list or something like that. So, it’s a good place to get started if you just want to try it out. And what all of them do is they provide you with a little snip. Once you set it all up in MailChimp or wherever you are, there’s a little snippet of code that you grab, HTML code. You copy from their website and you put it into the code on your website and then a cute little box will pop up that says input your email address here, right? And you can make it look cute and however, you know, depends how far your skills extend.
POP-UPS IN EMAIL MARKETING
I want to just ask you about that because I know like, you know, there are some websites where like there’s a box. You’re reading an article and there’s a box that like pops up in your face. That could be really annoying. So, like it does you recommend something that’s maybe more like, I’ve seen the other boxes that sort of slide in on the side towards the bottom that are sort of less intrusive? Like, is there a certain kind of pop-up window you recommend?
Yeah, so, what you’re talking about is called polite pop-ups. And the ones that pop up the second you land on a page, Google is actually penalizing that now. So, you do not want the ones that just automatically pop up the second you land. There are different ones that you can use. There are ones that are called time delay. So, like once a person has been on your site for whatever you can set it for anything but 10 seconds 30 seconds 3 minutes whatever, it’ll pop up. My favorite is called an exit intent and it actually knows; it is a little creepy, but it can follow your mouse. And so, when you go up to the top to like hit the back button or hit the close button on the window, that’s when the little window pops up that says, “Wait before you go, wouldn’t you mind signing in with your email address?”
Yeah, that’s something I’ve noticed lately. More websites are doing that. And I’m like, “Ooh, creepy. How did they know I’m about to ‘x’ out?”
But it’s actually very effective from a marketing standpoint. A lot of them are also static so they just stay at the bottom. They’re just embedded in the blog post or wherever. And they just stay there. It’s not a pop-up. It’s just always there but whatever you use, you just want to have it there as often as possible to entice people to sign up.
OTHER MARKETING SOFTWARE: CONVERTKIT
So, just to give people another option, the other email software I recommend for newbies is called ConvertKit. And that one is a little more advanced than MailChimp. But what’s awesome about it is that it will tag people based on their behaviors. So you can create different tags within your email list based on different behaviors. And then you can send specific emails to specific people based on what they’ve done, right?
So, what I mean by that is you can set up a specific sequence that says, “Okay, they signed up on day zero.” Day one, I want to send them an email that says, “Hey, thank you so much for signing up. Let me tell you a little bit about me and my background and why I might be a good fit for you.” On day three, I want to send them another email that says, “Hey, I saw that you signed up on the blog post about anxiety. So, here’s four more posts about anxiety.”
See how complicated this gets now? It overwhelms people, but this is how exciting marketing is. Okay, maybe it’s only exciting for me because I geeked out about this stuff. But then, you could send them. If you know that somebody signed up on a post about anxiety, you know that they’re interested in that, right?
You can see more information about anxiety and then much more specific marketing than just general, whatever, if you deal with lots of different things, you know, it’s much more effective to speak to their specific problem. I would not recommend that you jump into that with both feet without a guide. Okay? So, I mean whether you hire or talk to me or somebody else or a ConvertKit expert, like don’t try to figure that stuff out by yourself unless your geek out about it as much as I do because it gets overwhelming.
Yeah, because it sounds like you can really target people’s specific issue that they would be coming to learn more about.
I would normally say if you want to just get started with email marketing, just do a general welcome sequence. So, it doesn’t matter where they’ve gotten on your list. You’re just going to send them a general welcome sequence of about three emails. The first email is to welcome them and help them get to know you a little better. So, you tell them about yourself but from a perspective of why they care.
Why do I– that you a PhD in whatever. You know what I’m saying. You got to gauge in their perspective. Second email is like email. So, this is a to help people get to like you as a person. And the thing– this is my trick, my little copywriting trick. I always like to tell a slightly embarrassing story, or if you don’t have an embarrassing story that fits with your brand or you don’t want to come across as like a weirdo, you can tell a story of a time that you overcame something similar to what they’re overcoming. But, the idea is you want to tell– give them a story that makes them like you as a person and when you’re a little bit self-deprecating, people automatically like you better. And finally, the third email is a trust email. And what I usually recommend for a trust email is to offer more free resources because if they feel like you’re giving them something for free, they automatically trust you more. And that’s just really general way to help get people sort of on your side and excited to see your emails every day every week.
Not every day, you don’t have to send emails every day. And then, they just drop them into your regular email list which would probably be just emailing out your blog post topic every week.
Yeah, that’s really good advice because I think that especially if you’re just starting, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed with all of this stuff and…
As I was saying all that tagging stuff that I was like, “Oh, my god. People are going to glaze over and be like I’m horrified at this.”
No. But, what you just explained makes it much more sim
ple in my mind in terms of the know-like-trust, and just probably, you know, pointing them to more resources could be as simple as pointing them to be like back to your blog like here’s more articles I wrote about XYZ.
Exactly. Again, to remember, call to action put on like when you need some more help, obviously, you say something along the lines of obviously there’s only so much I can do in a general blog post. But, if you’d like to speak about your particular issues, here’s how to contact me.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great idea as well. So, I wanted to switch gears a little bitt and ask about kind of mistakes that you see small business owners make when it comes to the kinds of things that you help them with. So, you know, the content marketing like you said sort of in all form, so, what are some common mistakes that you see and are there, you know, easy ways to sort of avoid making those mistakes?
Yes. Yes. So, the probably– the biggest mistake I see for beginning marketers is that somewhere along the lines, somebody told you, you should write what you know and what people have taken this to mean is that they should write about their expertise. And so, what they do is they start writing about their expertise and they’re attracting other people in their expertise, not the people that they wanted, not clients. So, my favorite example of this is like a photographer.
Let’s say a photographer starts a blog and she’d been told she should write what she knows. So, she starts talking about, “Well, this is the lens I used in this situation and here’s how I got this lighting effect on this.” And she starts to get some traction and people are coming, and they’re commenting on her blog. But, they’re all other photographers, not the families she actually wants to buy her photography packages. You know what I’m saying because the family– I as a mom, booking a photo shoot, I don’t care what kind of lens you use as long as it looks good.
I only know how a sausage is made. So, the same would be true for counselor. So, if you get really in-depth into treatment protocols, or I’m just trying to come up with things off the top– showing off your expertise in a way that your colleagues would understand, it may not actually resonate with me as a client.
Yeah, and I think that’s where we end up telling people a lot that they really need to stay away from the jargon. You know, like, there are certain terms that we use as therapists that like of course, I understand what you’re talking about when you say cognitive behavioral therapy. But, if you’re saying that to the everyday person, they’re like what do you mean? Like, those are big words. I don’t understand what that means. So, we really encourage people to try to like thing about how you can explain these things in a way that anybody reading it could understand.
Absolutely. And another good thing I think about is what is the pain that they have or what is the outcome that they want and talk about that instead of the process. So, to talk about basically the before or the after rather than the in-between. Because honestly, when you think about it like a Tide commercial is not selling us on how the Tide works necessarily. It’s selling us on the white shirt at the end, right? We don’t care how the Tide works. I don’t anyway.
I don’t care what the chemistry is behind that. I just want my shirts to be white. So, we don’t really care how we get there for the most part as long as we get there.
Yeah, and I think that’s a really interesting point. And I wonder too, I know I’ve heard other people say like maybe to focus more on the pain points to show that you would be a good fit as opposed to the outcome because people assume what the outcome is going to be like hopefully, at the end of counseling, you’re going to feel better. You know, or you’re going to…
I had counseling sessions where I walked out– No, but, I know what you’re saying. Yeah. And another thing is I know that there are ton of regulations around privacy and things like that especially in the counseling business. But, the more you can tell stories and anonymize them, the more people will really resonate with that. So, if you can tell a story and maybe it’s a conglomeration of two or three people rather than one specific person, but, say, like, you know, Jim, name made-up, started here and had these problems. And we worked through this process. And then, now, he’s a functioning member of society, getting back actually, very, very helpful because people like to see themselves in those stories.
When most industries, I would call it case study. But, you know, for you guys, you can’t use names, you can’t use real people. But, you can still write quote-unquote case studies because you see the same problems. I’m sure crop up and multiple people over and over again.
Yeah. And I’m really glad that you brought that up because that’s actually something that we have done in my practice when it came to blog because like you said, telling that story kind of from beginning to end, this is the issue they came with. This is how we worked through it. This is the end result. Obviously, it’s really impactful for people. And so, what I’ve done is just because I’ve been doing this so long. I’ll take like bits and pieces of four to five clients and make up a fictionalized client and do exactly what you said. So, I think that’s a nice way to sort of get around that whole confidentiality issue because you’re not– you know, you wouldn’t want to take like a client and just change the name and then, like, write about them on the blog because if that person read it and they recognized it, they might…
Yeah, that would be terrible. So, don’t do that. But, yeah, like, maybe take three or four people and sort of make up a person. I think that could be really effective.
And what’s important to remember about that is that story is still true, right? Because there’s still truth in that story and people will feel it because you’re taking elements that are even though you’re combining them and making up a pretend person. The elements are still true. So, people will recognize that truth in your story. So, don’t be afraid of that.
Yeah. Good point. So, what other mistakes do you see people making?
I see that people get really general. And they will talk about like Five Ways to Overcome Anxiety. If I Google how to overcome anxiety, again, there’s seven zillion articles about that. I’m sure. So, what you want to do is make sure you’re giving your own voice and your own stories. Stories are the way to personalize things a lot of time because there are probably five pretty standard ways to overcome anxiety. You know what I mean. Like, it’s not you have to reinvent the wheel, instead you have to give us a different experience. So, by giving us stories or your own personal stories, your own, like, “I overcome anxiety by doing XYZ. This worked really well for me.”
That makes it more personal and that nobody else can tough, right. So, you were the only person that can tell your story. So, that’s how to turn those very general topics that have seven million results on Google into something that’s specific to you. Because a lot of times, I see new bloggers will be like, “Oh well, I need to tell them, like you said, what cognitive behavior therapy is or what da da da is.” If they can find that really easily googling, you don’t need to replicate that content. Instead, you need to take it and put your own spin on it somehow.
And I think that gets a little bit tricky for us counselors because we don’t want to self-disclose too much about ourselves because then, that, you know, sort of blurs the boundaries. And as counselors, we have to make sure we maintain really good boundaries with our clients. And so, yeah, so, I think that’s another thing that we often hear people struggle with. Like, well, I don’t want to I don’t know. I know I need to come across as a real person. I don’t want to come across as a robot. But, at the same time, you don’t want to share too much because that’s not appropriate. So, I think one rule of thumb that I’ve used is like if I feel comfortable telling like a stranger at a cocktail party this piece of information about me, it’s probably something that would be okay to disclose like, you know, my website, like I let people know like I’m a mom because I think they resonate with that.
You know, because one of our big kind of branding for our practices is that we deal with women’s issues and so, I feel like it is important for our clients to know like yeah, I’m a mom too. Like, I understand, you know, what it’s like to have two little kids at home and trying to juggle everything. So, I think, you know, from that standpoint, you know, people appreciate that. But, yeah, that’s always something that you know, comes up and then you sort of have to stop and think, like, “Okay, is this something I should be self-disclosing or not.” But, yeah, as long as you’re aware of it and you’re thinking through it, then, you know, it’s good to think before you write.
I think your cocktail party analogy is a great rule of thumb for that kind of thing. And I think finally, you’re like– the biggest mistake that I see is that people don’t– they’re afraid of their data. They’re afraid of their metrics and they don’t track anything. And so, I would encourage you is once you figure out what your big goal is for your content marketing, for your blogging, to track it, figure out what’s the metric that’s going to tell me if I’m reaching that goal or not. So, if it’s email signups, you want to look at which blog posts get the most email signups.
That’s a pretty easy one. Any email software like MailChimp or ConvertKit will tell you that. If it’s SEO then you need to get a tool like Google Analytics or something that will tell you is it working, am I ranking for that keyword that I want to rank for. It doesn’t have to get super complicated. It can. But, pick one or two actual numbers that means something. And when I– the thing that I talk about people to people about called vanity metrics. Vanity metrics would be things like comments on a blog post, likes on a Facebook post, things like that because those don’t translate into sales, or in this case, maybe appointments, or people, you know.
We want metrics that actually translate into numbers that impact our business. So, comments on your blog post, well, it feels awesome to get lots of comments. Those don’t actually indicate anything except that you’re having a conversation. If those– none of those people then make an appointment, it’s kind of useless. You see what I’m saying. So, you want to make sure you’re focusing on metrics that actually impact your business.
Yeah. I think that’s a good point because I think that people either don’t pay any attention to that at all, or else they’re like chasing the wrong statistics. Like, I know, I see people on, you know, Therapist Facebook groups like, “Oh, I’m running an ad to try to get likes for my Facebook page.” And I’m thinking like, “Well, what is that really getting you?” Right. Like…
That’s such a good point. I call that first click content. So, anybody can get the first click. If you got money to throw at it, you can get the first click all day long. It’s the second click, the click that takes them from Facebook to your website, or that from your website to your email list, or from your email, or from whatever to a phone call. Right. That’s what we actually want. I mean if you’ve got enough money to throw at, you can get 10,000 likes on your Facebook page tomorrow. Whether that translates into any business depends totally on what they do next.
What do you think is like the tipping point for– because I know that was one of the things you said you really help with your clients to convert like that content marketing and actually turn those folks into clients? So, what do you think that the tipping point is, just in general?
TURNING INTO CLIENTS
You know, it’s going to depend again on how your– I hate the word “funnel.” But, how your funnel is– how you’re walking people through that conversation. So, the stepping stones in the river are different depending on how you’re– how you want to get people across. Right. So, if you’re– if email marketing is a part of it, I can do a lot with email. I can do a lot with encouraging people to get on the phone with you that way. If it’s Facebook Ads like you have to think really hard.
Like, if somebody actually going to make an appointment with a counselor from a Facebook ad, probably not, like that would be a real outlier. I think. That’s what my gut tells me. But, they might click on a really great article and then make an appointment. You see them saying, so, we’d have to kind of figure out what is that path we want to lay out for people? And then, how do we optimize each little stepping stone to make it as easy as possible?
Yeah. And I’m sure that’s probably, like you said, it depends on the type of business.
Yeah and your goals, you know, what are your goals? How do we get them into your business? You know, my brother-in-law offers a free consultation from people so it’s a little easier to get that “yes” because they don’t have to pay for that first appointment. But, that’s not right for every business, right? So, what is that? How do we get them to that first yes or that bigger yes?
Yeah. That’s a really good point. So, Lacy, the question we always ask at the end of the podcast is if every counselor in the world were listening, what would you want them to know?
That’s such a good question. I would want you to know first of all that content marketing doesn’t have to be scary. Internet marketing doesn’t have to be scary. It’s all about having a conversation. And when you approach it, from that standpoint, you can’t go wrong. You know, I think a lot of people hear marketing and they think sleazy used-car salesman, or terrible ads in their local newspaper, or pushy Facebook ads that we’ve all seen. It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can have a conversation with your potential clients that’s rewarding for both of you. That still ends up in a sale. And that’s really what I like to push with my clients is how do we make this rewarding on both sides.
Yeah. That’s good advice.
Don’t be scared of it is what I’m saying.
Okay. Thank you. I think probably a lot of us needed to hear that. So, can you let our audience know if they want to learn more about you how they can get in touch with you?
STAYING IN TOUCH
Absolutely, So, Alison said that I could give you guys a present. So, if you go to lacyboggs.com/practice, I will have a way for you to download my free editorial calendar template. And what that is it’s basically a Google spreadsheet that helps you plan out what your content is going to look like. And there’s also a video that I’ll send you that walks you through how to use it. And I think it’s a really great way to get started getting organized around what you’re messaging is going to be. And once you’ve kind of listened to this podcast and thought about your goals, you can start planning out how you’re going to get there using this spreadsheet. So, lacyboggs.com/practice. But, if you just want to see what I’m up to lacyboggs.com is a great place to do it.
Thank you so much. That’s awesome. And I’m so glad that’s you’re giving away because I think a lot of the consulting clients that we help, they have trouble sort of figuring out like how to schedule out content, that kind of thing. So, it’s so great that have, you know, a tool to use to make that easier. So, thank you.
Absolutely. And, you know, if you get overwhelmed looking at it. I offer free consultation calls. So, you can sign up with me and we can get on the phone and talk about your goals on how to get there and that’s pretty much what I do with my clients is helped them plan out that strategy, what does that look like, all the way down to I can fill out that calendar for you if you get overwhelmed.
Oh, great. That’s awesome. So, Lacy Boggs, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It was so informative. There were so many nuggets of information in there. I feel like could be applicable to so many counselors listening and I actually learned some new things. So, I’m excited to try them. I think I’ll apply some about what you said about the blog post to our own blog. So, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Oh, awesome. It was my pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.
Yeah. Thank you. Have a great day.
Well, if you want more tips on marketing your practice, we would love for you to head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/resources. We have over 30 checklists and e-books, and free downloads for you over there totally free at practiceofthepractice.com/resources. And we also know that you need an awesome website. It’s amazing how many people have ugly websites that have like clipart and they just don’t look good. And there’s no reason to not have an awesome website. So, head on over to brightervision.com/joe even if you have a website.
I’m sure that their customer service and their design is just going to blow you away and for the price of $59 a month, you really can’t beat it and I’m giving you free months because you know me. So, head on over to practiceofthepractice.com. Not practiceofthepractice.com, brightervision.com/joe, brightervision.com/joe. I’m leaving that in there because I screw up all the time and if you keep doing stuff and creating good content, I just need to be done for the day.
I’m done. Alright. Thanks for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a good one.
[This podcast is designed to provide accurate and intuitive information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given to the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinic, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one. And, thanks to the band Silence is Sexy. We love your intro music!]