Calling All Psych Majors! Start Blogging To Raise Your Profile Today
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Whether you’re a psychology student working on your degree or a licensed psychologist already working on your career, a psychology blog can be a great way to take your expertise to a new level.
If you’ve entertained the idea of a blog for a while but aren’t quite sure why or how it could be beneficial to you, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll show you the benefits of running a psychology blog, how to get started, and how to leverage and promote your blog to make the most of it.
Why Start a Psychology Blog?
Starting a psychology blog comes with several benefits that can help propel your career and provide content to people interested in becoming psychologists — in addition to helping non-psychologists understand themselves better.
Establish Your Authority
If you specialize in a certain branch of psychology, a blog lends itself well to establishing your authority on the subject. Discussing your field through blog posts, providing a variety of angles on it, and offering advice is a good way to be seen as an expert. Once you establish your expertise, you can use your blog to help clients online via counseling, coaching, workshops, courses, books, podcasts, and much more.
Expand Your Knowledge
It’s no secret that the more time you spend studying a certain subject, the better versed in the subject you’ll become. In addition to cementing your areas of expertise, blogging forces you to learn more about topics you haven’t yet mastered.
Network With Other Psychologists
You probably already have a network of your peers but blogging allows you to reach people outside your immediate community and develop relationships with them. By simply offering your expertise online, you can expand your professional network.
Help Those Who Can’t Afford Help
It’s also worth mentioning that your blog content could function as a lifeline for those who can’t afford professional help. Explaining the reasons behind various behaviors and offering advice for dealing with those issues may help people who otherwise couldn’t find assistance offline. It may also prompt those who need professional help to seek counseling.
How to Get Started With a Psychology Blog
Starting a blog is pretty easy nowadays, even if you’ve never created a website before. All you need to do is:
- Choose your domain name.
- Choose a hosting plan.
- Install WordPress.
WordPress is one the best choices for anyone who wants to start a blog. It’s incredibly easy to use and has a user-friendly interface that allows you to publish posts and pages through an editor that’s similar to most word processors. You can upload and add images to your posts with a click of a button as well as add YouTube videos or include audio posts.
Another benefit of WordPress is that it’s free to download and install by anyone. This means that you can use any theme you wish with your WordPress blog and add any third-party plugin that you need to achieve a certain functionality. You will also be in complete control of your site, from publishing the content on your terms to monetizing your website in the future.
How to Write Engaging Content
Once your blog is setup, you need to come up with engaging content and think about the type of audience you want to attract. A good place to start is to identify the overall purpose of your blog. As a professional psychologist, you may want to use your blog to establish your expertise on a particular topic, help people who can’t afford professional therapy, or to simply attract more potential clients for your practice.
Writing for Patients
If you want to write primarily for your patients, then posts offering practical advice on dealing with specific issues should be the meat of your blog. You can help them understand why they feel a particular way, share steps to help them overcome their problems, and offer advice on dealing with certain situations that can trigger their condition.
Writing For Colleagues and Peers
If you’re writing for colleagues, consider sharing scientific research or your opinion on psychology topics. You can keep your blog focused on the scientific side of psychology and share current research trends. That said, you can still interweave posts that offer advice on dealing with specific problems as they may provide a valuable insight for your colleagues and offer them a new way of approaching a particular problem. You can also provide useful content for those who are considering psychology as a field of study and help them prepare for life as a psychology student or learn how to begin their careers.
How to Find Psychology Blog Topics
The biggest fear of every blogger is that at some point they’ll run into writer’s block and won’t be able to come up with anymore interesting topics to cover. Luckily, there are some common methods you can use to keep your blog filled with great content.
- Keep a notebook handy — you never know when inspiration will strike, so keeping a notebook handy will allow you to jot down post ideas wherever you may be. You can also use a service like Evernote to keep your ideas stored digitally.
- Use BuzzSumo — this online tool will allow you to research the most shared topics in any niche and can be a great way to offer a unique spin on a trending topic.
- Look through TED Talks on psychology — these talks offer insight from other psychologists in the field as well as journalists and patients.
- Find hot topics on Quora or the psychology subreddit – Quora can be an invaluable tool as it’s a question and answer site which allows you to see what questions people are asking related to psychology–be it a specific problem or a more general question. The psychology subreddit, on the other hand, claims to be a, “community for the sharing and scientifically-based discussion of psychological material.” Both sites can serve as a springboard for potential blog topics.
- Use current events — keep track of current events by making a daily habit to check some of the most popular psychology websites around the Internet: American Psychological Association, PsychCentral, and Association for Psychological Science. They publish engaging takes on the latest psychological research and cover a variety of psychology topics. This can help you stay current with industry development and may give insight into topics worth covering on your blog.
How to Promote Your Blog
Aside from publishing useful and engaging content on a regular basis, you need to promote it to gain more visitors.
Get Active on Social Media
The best way to drive traffic to your blog is by promoting it on social media. If you’re writing primarily for your peers, getting active on LinkedIn is a good place to connect with others in your field. You can also take advantage of LinkedIn’s article publishing features and Groups to share useful content with your audience. If you’re targeting patients, setting up a Facebook page and engaging in Facebook Groups will attract a following.
- How to get started posting articles on LinkedIn
- How to find and join LinkedIn Groups
- How to create a Facebook page and a Facebook Group
Write Guest Posts on Other Psychology Blogs
Many well-established psychology blogs will consider pitches for original articles from other bloggers with expertise in the pitched topic. Although most blogs don’t pay for pitched articles, getting published by a high profile blog will attract visitors to your own blog and help get your name out there among your peers.
Here are some websites that will consider guest posting pitches:
- Psychmatters — Topics include psychology, neuroscience, organizational psychology, behavioral change, and more.
- World of Psychology — Mental health topics for consumers as well as articles aimed at psychology professionals.
- Psychology Today — Nearly any psychology topic will be considered.
- gradPSYCH Blog — Articles relevant to the psychology field as well as psychology students.
- You can also do some targeted googling to find niche blogs in your specialty — like sports psychology or organizational psychology.
- You can find more blogs on this list of 50 psychology blogs.
Here’s some general advice about guest posting:
- Interact with the blog to create a connection before you pitch. Comment on blog posts, sign up for email newsletters, and interact on social media.
- After your post has been published, make sure to reply to all the comments you receive — even if it’s only saying, “Thank you for the feedback.” In this way, you can interact with your prospective blog visitors and make a great impression on the blogger who published your guest post.
- Use all of your social media skills to share your guest post and include it as a feature in your email newsletter.
Participate in Online Psychology Forums
Participating in psychology-related online forums is another great way to establish yourself as an expert and point people toward your blog. You can share helpful advice in your forum post which will build trust among potential patients or clients. The trust will then help you turn those folks into clients and provide them with the help they need.
Here are some popular psychology forums:
Leveraging Your Blog
Once your blog gains traction, you’ll want to consider leveraging its reach to help advance your career. For example, a loyal and active blog following is considered a “platform” in the eyes of book publishers so it can help sweeten a book deal.
Start a Newsletter
Once you get your blog up and running, you should start a newsletter to expand your audience reach. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds; there are plenty of sites that can help you send and design your newsletter.
Here’s how to get started on your newsletter:
- Start a mailing list. Mailing lists like MailChimp are free up to a certain subscriber count. Just create an account and Mailchimp’s wizard will help you through the basics of getting started.
- Get a newsletter signup form on your blog. Once your list is set up, you can create a page on your blog for people to sign up. Most mailing list sites also provide the option to create a signup form that links directly to your list.
- Determine what type of content you would like to put in your newsletter. Make sure that the content you offer in your newsletter is compatible with what you post on your blog. Some bloggers use their newsletter to send out a roundup of their recent posts, featuring tasty tidbits to entice subscribers into reading the blog. Other bloggers use newsletters for providing quality information that’s in more depth than what’s posted publicly. Keep in mind that your newsletter will only be as successful as the content you provide to your readers rather than simply being a mouthpiece for you.
- Create a schedule for mailings that you (and your readers) can live with. How often you send a newsletter is entirely your decision, but don’t go overboard too quickly, especially in the beginning when your audience is fairly small. Most bloggers opt for a monthly newsletter at first.
- Publish your newsletter regularly. Once you decide on your schedule, stick to it. You’ll find opt-outs skyrocket if you’ve waited too long between mailings.
Become a Conference Speaker
Using your blog as a platform, you can apply to speak at conferences that value your specific expertise. Some conferences pay their speakers but others consider the extra exposure a blogger gets as sufficient payment. Whether paid or not, a conference is a superb way of advancing your psychology career. So, get over your stage fright and get out there!
Here are some popular conferences you can consider applying to:
- American Psychological Association
- Psychometric Society
- American Evaluation Association
- Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions
- Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
- Boston University Conference on Language
- General conferences can also feature psychology speakers. For example, TED talks often feature psychology topics.
Case Studies of Successful Psychology Bloggers
Many psychologists have used their blogs as a turning point in their careers which allowed them to get book deals, offer exclusive consultation services, appear in various media publications, or set up public speaking gigs. Here are three examples of psychologists whose blogs helped them take their careers to the next level:
Susan Weinschenk — The Team W, IncSusan Weinschenk has a
Susan Weinschenk has a PhD in Psychology, is the Chief Behavioral Scientist and CEO at The Team W, Inc, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin. Her blog helped her to get more visibility for her published books, start a podcast, as well as launch a series of online courses and work with Fortune 500 companies. The topics on her blog deal with various aspects of behavioral science, user experience, productivity, and more. Some of her popular posts include:
- Humans and Smartphones — discusses people and their phones, why smartphones can hurt our relationships, and what the future holds.
- The Science of Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (And What To Do About It) — this post shares the actual science of how to change your behavior.
- Increase Your Work Efficiency In 5 Seconds Or Less — practical tips on increasing the efficiency and the outcome of any project.
Weinschenk is also active on several social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram where she promotes her blog and podcast.
Andrew D Wilson and Sandra Golenko — Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists
Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists is, not surprisingly, a blog run by two psychologists, Andrew D Wilson and Sandra Golenko who used their blog posts to publish several papers and appear in various interviews on well-established sites and podcasts like Mind Hacks and The Psych Files. They blog about dynamical systems and embodied cognition with popular posts like:
- Are we Information-Processers? — explains why information is processed and why it doesn’t have to be transformed into a behavior.
- On Why fMRI Is Bullshit – this post explains why Wilson thinks that fMRI is a waste of time.
- Some Ground Rules for a Theory of Psychology — explains the authors’ perspective on cognitive psychology and embodied condition.
Ellen Jackson — Potential Psychology
Ellen Jackson uses her blog to gain more visibility for her consultation services and coaching programs. She helps individuals work on personal goals, career planning, and self improvement and provides quality workplace psychology consulting to businesses of all sizes. The topics on her blog deal with personal self-improvement and some of the popular posts include:
- How to Have Difficult Conversations, in Which No One Gets Hurt — looks at why some topics are hard to talk about and how to handle the conversation
- Shock and Awe: How to Shrink Your Problems — how taking a few moments to admire the world around you can help calm your mind
- Habits: How to Make Them, Break Them and the Big Myth — attempts to disprove that it takes 21 days to build a habit and what to do instead
Jackson is also active on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram which helps her get more visibility for her blog.
Launch Your Psychology Blog
Starting a psychology blog can be a valuable asset to your career. Not only can it lead to more clients, but it can also help you get noticed in your field and get featured on other websites. This, in turn, can lead to speaking engagements and more. Use the advice above to launch your psychology blog and make the most of it. Good luck!