5 Common Writing Mistakes Therapists Make

Are you trying to do all your marketing yourself? Many therapists try to white-knuckle through writing. This is one of many common writing mistakes therapists make.

The thing is, you didn’t learn copywriting in grad school. I see a lot of copywriting mistakes when therapists try to do it themselves.

There’s nothing wrong with doing your own writing, but you don’t have to. If you outsource your copywriting to a mental health copywriter you can cut down on the headache of writing all the time and focus on your work and your personal life. You know, that thing that people talk about, it’s real!

Your background is most likely academic, which is a different kind of writing than copywriting and writing for marketing. No one expects you to know how to do it all yourself. That’s why you hire a copywriter who writes in your voice for all of your writing needs.

I’ve been around the block enough to know mistakes when I see them. Here are five common mistakes I see therapists make when doing their own writing.

1. Using Jargon

There’s a lot of words in your world that only you and your colleagues use. Your clients don’t use that language and they don’t know it. Since they’re your audience, they need to know what you’re talking about. You don’t want to make writing mistakes by using a lot of words that aren’t accessible to your audience.

Too much jargon can turn a reader off, especially in copywriting. Copywriting needs to be accessible to everyone.

There’s a tool called the Hemingway App that you copy and paste your words into and it will scan for passive voice, adverbs, if there’s a word that has a simpler phrase, and 2 levels of hard-to-read sentences. It’ll also tell you what grade reading level you’re at. You’re aiming for middle school level, usually 6-8. Anything above is not accessible.

That may seem counterintuitive. You want to show your training. You want to establish yourself as an authority in the field. How can you do that when you’re writing at a 6th-grade reading level?

Trust me, it’s possible. Just because the writing is simple doesn’t mean the thoughts are. You can get your point across in fewer words that are more accessible to your readers. You can write in shorter sentences with pedestrian words that convey what you’re trying to say. Yes, it can be done.

2. Using a Formal Tone 

Using a formal tone is a common mistake therapists make. Copywriters write like they talk. For instance, a tool I use for spell-checking and grammar-checking, Grammarly, is telling me that that sentence should read “write as they talk.” But that’s not what I would say.

It’s not that grammar isn’t important in copywriting, it is. The thing to keep in mind is that a formal, academic tone isn’t accessible to your audience. You want to make therapy that seems inaccessible to a lot of people accessible, and you need to do that through your tone and word choice.

3. Not Optimizing For SEO

This one’s tricky. You never learned Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in school, so no one expects you to know it now. Hire a mental health copywriter to do the heavy lifting for you.

You may have heard what SEO is, you may know that keywords are important, but you don’t know what those keywords should be. You don’t have the knowledge to write something SEO-optimized. You don’t have the time to learn everything there is to know about SEO (which is a lot!) so don’t try to do it yourself.

SEO is so important for your online presence. However, it’s not something you need to figure out on your own. This is why you hire a mental health copywriter who knows SEO and how to get you found in a Google search.

4. Not Speaking to Your Ideal Client 

I know a lot of you struggle to niche down your practice. You don’t want to miss opportunities to work with people who want your services, even if they’re not in your ideal niche. The problem is, if you’re speaking to everyone, you’re speaking to no one.

Identify who your ideal client is and get really specific. It’s ok to be specific. That doesn’t mean you can’t see clients who don’t match your ideal client avatar, which is the fictional person you make up who fits your ideal client’s demographics and characteristics. It just means you focus your energy and writing on one specific demographic.

Speaking to one specific client or group will focus your writing. It’ll also help you figure out what you’re writing about if you know who you’re writing to.

Just like you meet clients where they are in sessions, you want to do that in your writing. Always use “I” (unless your practice has multiple therapists). Remember, you want people who land on your website to come to you for therapy, a vulnerable thing for people to do. Often people seeking therapy are going through difficult times in their lives, and they want to feel seen and heard. You do that in session, but you need to do it in your copy as well. [1]

5. Writing About Topics That Aren’t Relevant

It’s not enough to write blogs consistently, you need to also write about things that are relevant.

This is probably a “duh” for you, because why waste your time and money on a copywriter to have them write things that aren’t relevant? But it happens.

Sometimes therapists lose sight of what matters to their clients and write about what matters to them. [2] It’s an easy trap to fall into, writing for yourself, and not thinking about your audience and what they want to read about.

Remember that you’re also always writing to Google. Google scans your page to make sure it’s relevant to searches. [3] 

Make Sure Not To Make The Common Writing Mistakes That Many Therapists Make

These mistakes are easy to make and easy to fix. Hire a mental health copywriter who understands your audience, knows how to write conversationally without jargon, knows your ideal client, and understands what topics are relevant to that audience.

No one expects you to be good at copywriting. It takes practice and skill, just like any occupation. You don’t need to be a copywriter and a therapist, you can outsource your copywriting. Easy!

If you’re ready to hire a mental health copywriter to take the burden of copywriting off your hands and give you time back in your day, contact me. You can book a free consultation call to discuss how I can help you avoid these common writing mistakes.





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