Creating captivating content when writing your blog or posting something on social media can be challenging.
As mental health professionals, therapists or psychologists who write blog content, we want to ensure that we develop material that is educational, informative and interesting to the reader.
However, do we really know what that involves?
Is it as straightforward as writing on a topic that you been researching on, or discussing a recent study or paper for example?
The answer is a combination of yes and no.
The focus on your blog content should stay within the parameters of sound empirical findings (if you are discussing a piece of research of course), but it also needs to intrigue and captivate the reader who doesn’t have your level of expertise.
So, how do we do this?
How do we develop content that strikes the all-important balance of valuable content that is both educational and captivating when writing on mental health, therapeutic or psychological blogging?
Well, through years of video blogging and writing blog content in mental health, psychology and therapy, I have developed an understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.
So, what are the key things that work when it comes to writing captivating content in this field?
My first key point here is honesty.
What I mean by this is that we need transparency when it comes to our blog work.
This will be something I cover at later points, but in the mental health and psychological professions, we are encouraged at times to limit our self-disclosure.
We are instructed to keep a level of confidentiality about ourselves from our clients.
However, when it comes to captivating blog content, we need to be willing to be honest and express our true feelings.
For example, if I write a blog piece on the psychology of worry and how to reduce our sense of worry, it’s great to involve what research says and include empirical findings.
It’s also good practice to include key steps to reduce worry that is backed by research.
However, what makes the content captivating is your own personal experience, your honesty about the topic you are discussing.
This leads me on nicely to my next key point when it comes to writing captivating blog content, subjectivity.
In psychology, mental health and therapy for that matter, professionals are encouraged to base their writing and work on backed empirical principles.
Often, this leaves limited room for subjectivity.
However, in writing captivating content for your blog, you need to be thinking differently.
In actuality, it is hugely valuable to share your own subjective understanding or experience on a topic you are looking at.
Perhaps your lived experience is contrary to the established research in a field you are looking at.
That is absolutely fine and could make your content even more interesting.
One of the real key features of writing captivating content in this field of work is to understand the difference between the empirical and research-backed nature of the work we are used to, and the nature of a member of the general public seeking to learn more about a topic via a blog.
We need to be aware of this, and inputting some subjective experience into your content can really help.
My first few key points have been focussed on giving your own personal opinion to your content to make it more captivating.
This has been for good reason, as it can be one of the more challenging aspects to writing content in our profession.
However, my next key point is perhaps one that we are more familiar and comfortable with.
BE IN DEPTH:
In order to make your content captivating, you need to ensure your work is in depth.
People come to read your content because it sounds interesting. They stay when they realise that you know what you are talking about.
One of the only real ways to achieve this is to ensure that your content is in-depth enough.
The first two key points still apply, but they need to be met with evidence that you have done your research and know the topic you are discussing.
As a result, people will realise aspects of the topic you are looking at that they had never been aware of before.
In addition to this, they are more likely to consistently come back to you to read more of your work because it’s clear you have expertise.
Like I said, the first two key points of honesty and subjectivity are vital, but they need to be coupled with a sound and in-depth understand of your topic.
COMPATIBLE CONTENT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE:
The next key point is that you need to ensure you meet your audience where they are.
What I mean by this is that you need to know who your audience is.
It’s likely that some professionals will access your work yes.
However, for the most part, your content is going to be consumed by people just generally interested in the field you work in, or the topic you are discussing.
As a result, the way you write and communicate your content has to change.
It’s no good using jargon terms or referencing loads of psychological articles.
The audience that is taking up the most of your reader base will not be interested in this.
They want content that is entertaining, informative, easy to read and straight to the point.
One of the key tips I use when writing blog content is that I try and write like I would speak.
When I speak, I speak in short sentences or paragraphs (much like how this blog post is constructed).
I speak in a more conversational way (obviously), and I try to reflect this as much as I can in my written blog work, as well as on social media.
I also ensure my posts are between 800-1,500 words to maintain reader concentration.
All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when pitching your content at the right level for your audience.
Another key point that needs attention when writing captivating content is the development of new ideas.
Don’t be afraid to not only summarise the established literature on the topic you are writing on.
Why not also hypothesise some new and revolutionary ideas to get your audience thinking.
If you can get them to think about the points you have raised then it’s more likely they will engage with your content and come back to read more.
For example, are you going to read a general piece on social anxiety, or are you more likely to read an article about social anxiety that looks at the topic in a new way, that tries to establish some new thinking patterns behind the topic of social anxiety?
Don’t be afraid to formulate your own ideas and express them.
So, there are some of my key tips on what works when writing captivating content.
- Be honest
- Be transparent in your own lived experience of what you are writing about.
- Be subjective
- Your audience wants to know more than just what you read.
- They want to know what your own experience is of the topic.
- Be in-depth
- Both of the above key points need to be met with a sound understanding.
- You still need to express your expertise in your field.
- Write compatible content for your audience
- Know that there is a difference between the content you write for professionals and the people that will access your blog work.
- Write things that meet them where they are.
- Develop new ideas
- Don’t be scared to formulate new ideas even on established topics.
Utilise these key principles and you’ll be well on your way to creating captivating content in your field for a new audience that wants to engage more with your work.
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About the Author: “Fraser Smith is a counselling psychology doctoral trainee in Glasgow Scotland. Also the creator of GetPsyched, an online psychology platform that creates YouTube videos, blog content and social media content in the field of psychology. Fraser works as a psychological counsellor for a number of organisations and also works as a seminar tutor for undergraduate psychology students in Glasgow. Fraser has a passion for mental health, primarily men’s mental health, psychology, therapy and networking with others in the field.” Check out his website at http://www.getpsyched.org.uk/