As a health writer, I come across health writing myths all the time. So I’m here to set the record straight on these myths, and what you can do about them.
Health Writing Myths – Busted!
You have to be a naturally gifted writer to blog
It can help if you love writing. But there are plenty of people that work at their writing, and that’s fine too! None of us start off as experts in any area, and that includes writing.
This can simply be due to a lack of confidence, especially as a new practitioner. But just think about sites like MindBodyGreen. The most popular articles are on simple topics that I bet even you could write about!
So have a little faith, and get on board with writing for your biz. After all, there are oodles of benefits!
Health writing has to be hard
People stress over writing for their health business. It can be hard at first to get vulnerable and visible out there. But the actual act of writing does not have to be difficult.
In fact, once you have the right formula to follow, it can be easy to write about topics. The trick is to pick topics you’re truly passionate about.
Health writing takes hours for one piece of content
Unfortunately, of the health writing myths, this is the one that my industry perpetuates. And it’s true that a professional writer can take hours on a piece – but that doesn’t mean that you have to. When you are DIYing your content, good enough is the aim, not perfect.
If you are writing for yourself, you are not getting paid. So you need to make sure it’s not encroaching on the work that does pay you, like seeing clients.
Set yourself a Pomodoro or timer session. I suggest you allow yourself 45 minutes max for the article (around 500-600 word length), then take a break. Then time another 15 minutes for editing, and as soon as the time is up, hit publish. This will get the pressure on, and show you that it doesn’t have to take forever! Many of my clients work down to 30-45 min total per article.
Articles can’t give away ‘too much’ free info
Of all the health writing myths, this one frustrates me the most! Practitioners can come onto the content scene, and get scared of sharing too much value. After all, if you share the knowledge, then people won’t come and see you, right?
Wrong. This is 100% false, and for a very simple reason. People don’t pay for information that’s already available online. If you haven’t published an article about that topic, it doesn’t mean that others haven’t!
In fact, giving value via articles is a great way to weed out those who don’t want to pay for your service. They can implement the info themselves, and that means you’re not wasting time and energy on them. That leaves those who DO want to pay – your target audience.
Stop undervaluing yourself as a practitioner. People pay you for the ability to personalise that information to their circumstances, and provide coaching and support in implementing that information. Now go give some valuable info out on your blog!
Articles have to have in-depth, sciency information
When someone wants to give value, it can go overboard. Of all the health writing myths, this is the most common amongst perfectionists and practitioners who work with complex health conditions.
Yes, you can absolutely discuss the science. But remember, you’re not writing for an academic journal. And even if your information is highly valuable, it’s useless if the audience can’t read or understand it.
There’s nothing wrong with starting out simple.
Read your writing out loud. Is it how you would talk directly to a client? Would they understand you, or would their eyes glaze over? Adjust until it hits the right combo of information and readability.
Writing is a waste of time
This often comes from those who either have never been consistent in content creation, or have outsourced to the wrong person. They’ve never seen the payoff, so they think it’s not there. Instead, they throw themselves into other forms of marketing, or just working with the clients they have.
Writing is like any other tool – it has to be used correctly. It does take time to pay off. But if you have any interest in building your client base via social media, or want to become an authority in your area, it can make a huge difference.
Decide what you want from your writing, and make a plan around that. If you want to be considered an expert in a field, that means sharing content about that field. If you want to gain clients via social media, make a content plan designed to engage your ideal client.
Everything has to be referenced
This is a bit of a throwback to the years we spent studying our modality. We had to reference every little sentence, and now we feel like articles are the same.
But this one is definitely one of the biggest health writing myths out there. We’re not writing for academic purposes. We are writing to educate and engage potential clients. And honestly, 95% of clients don’t give a crap about references.
Now, there is one time when I will reference something, and encourage you to do the same. If you quote an exact outcome or statistic from a research paper, then hyperlink it directly to your source.
Write articles that mostly involve information you don’t need a research article to confirm*. If you’re concerned about future challenges, keep a version saved on your computer that has references. That way, if someone does challenge it, or wants to read the article, you have the information ready to share.
*please note – if you are registered with AHPRA or similar, you might have some rules about referencing. In this case, definitely follow their rules!
SEO optimisation has to be perfect
When practitioners start out in the blogging world, SEO can terrify them. It’s a whole new concept to add into the mix of what to write and how to write it, and sometimes feels like a foreign language.
Now, of course SEO has its place. But I don’t believe it has to be optimised 100%. Some of my articles even have orange lights on my Yoast plugin (shock!)
That’s because for me, making it reader-friendly is more important than making it SEO-friendly. So I don’t have keywords in every heading, and I don’t always have internal or external links if there’s nothing relevant to link to.
Take a look at what is important and what isn’t over at my SEO for health professionals article. It will help you to stop sweating the small stuff!
SEO optimisation has no benefits
On the flip side, some people think that there are no benefits. After all, you’re never going to be the top of the pack for your profession worldwide – right?
But you need to know that SEO in articles can help boost overall SEO and keyword ranking for your site. The more quality content it contains, the more authority your site gains. This can help bump you up to the top for your service and suburb, as an example.
Ditto to the above suggestion – learn about what’s important and what’s not.
You have to write and edit it all yourself
Let me be clear – you can if you want to! But I often hear business coaches tell health practitioners to create their own content while juggling clients and other obligations. In many cases, it’s just not practical.
If you HATE writing, then I highly suggest outsourcing it as soon as you can afford to. All it’s doing is taking you out of your zone of genius and stressing you out. If finances are tight, consider other lower-cost options to reduce the stress.