By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA), BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, CLE
Many birth and postpartum doulas have a business website that they have spent time, energy and money on so that potential clients can effectively find them and learn more about their offerings. New and fresh website content ranks very high on Google for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The easiest way to keep your content fresh in Google’s eyes is to blog regularly.
Many doulas are hesitant to blog due to lack of confidence in their writing skills and/or concern about not having anything interesting to write about. I want to share ten easy tips that should help you get over these hesitations so that you can be on the way to blogging for your business today!
1. Schedule time to write
If you try and sit down to write and prepare your blog in your “off” hours in between doing other tasks associated with your doula business, you will never get it done. Schedule an hour on your work calendar dedicated to writing a blog post. Focus and focus hard on this task for that amount of time and you will find that it will be quickly completed. If you wait for free time, it will never get done. Aim to publish two-four times a month if possible, but don’t worry if that is not how it goes. Even one post helps the cause.
2. Use a proofreader
You may be the best editor around, but I have found that it really helps the final product if someone else has eyes on my work before I hit publish. Inevitably, I have made a spelling mistake or written something that sounds perfectly clear in my head but makes no sense to others. Ask a trusted and capable friend or colleague to give it the once-over and your blog posts will really shine.
3. Grab readers with an eye-catching title
Choose a title that people cannot resist! Draw them in from those very first words. Remember, people like to know what is in it for them. Let people know how reading this blog post will leave them with valuable “need to know” information. Examples might be “Top Three Baby Carriers Your Baby Will Love!” or “Three Pushing Positions that Make a Difference!” You get the idea, right? Think WOW and BIG!
4. A picture is worth a thousand words
While your words are valuable, some good images to go along with your post make it really stand out. Pick images that grab the reader’s attention and complement the topic you are covering. Make sure you are using images that you have full legal permission to use and properly credit the photographer or source. I like jazzing up my images with some text, using the free and easy canva.com graphic design website.
5. Keep it bite-sized
You may have a lot to say, but try and keep your blog post around 800 words. People are busy and rushed in the year 2017 and want to take in information in manageable amounts. Be concise, succinct and to the point. If necessary, make the post a two-parter, if the topic necessitates a longer post. Keep readers coming back for more.
6. Topic ideas to get you started
Not sure if you have anything to say? I believe you do, but if you need a nudge in the “write” direction, try these five topic suggestions on for size:
- a recent birth story shared with permission of your clients
- a book or website review that your clients may find useful
- the most useful item in your birth or postpartum bag
- an interview with a local provider who provides services to people in the childbearing year
- A blog round-up of other folks’ blogs with a few comments from you. Doula Andrea Lythgoe does a “Wednesday Wrap Up” that I have long admired and look forward to.
7. Trade blog posts with a colleague for a different voice
Invite a colleague to write a guest post for your blog and you do the same for them. Choose someone who offers services that complement rather than compete with what you do and expand your readership by exposing a new group of people to you and your special skill set.
8. Share your favorite blog
While you may have nothing to say, you may come across a favorite or very relevant blog post as you travel the interwebs. Consider writing just an introductory paragraph, including a key sentence or two from the other blog (and indicating it as a quote) and then link to that blog for your readers to continue reading. Never copy and paste an entire blog post from another source, but do use a relevant sentence or two with your own introduction and then share the original post link for more information.
9. Push your post out on social media
Once your blog post is published, share it on the social media platforms of your choice. Make sure the share includes a link back to your blog post. Remember, having an attractive image and a catchy title makes it more appealing and folks will be more likely to want to learn more by following the link.
10. Engage with readers
Make sure to close with an ask for reader thoughts and opinions. Ask them to comment on your blog about what their own experience has been or what they recommend. Everyone likes to be seen as the expert and share their advice. Encourage this engagement by closing your blog with thought-provoking questions that pull in readers to respond. When they do leave a comment, acknowledge this with a reply of your own.
What is stopping you?
Blogging is an excellent way to keep your website content fresh and attractive to the Google search engine machine. With some focused attention on a regular basis, you can create content that is useful and fun, position yourself as the birth or postpartum expert in your community and quite possibly generate new business for yourself.
Do you currently blog? What tips would you share with other doulas? What has been stopping you from taking the blogging leap? I encourage you to just give it a try and you will be hooked. Use these guidelines to help you get started. If you already blog or you are blogging for the first time after reading this article, post a link to your blog post in our comments section below so we all can enjoy. I cannot wait to read what you have written. I promise to visit your blog and leave a comment if you share the link below.