Today, we continue with our series "The Power of Online Presence." Amy Morin is an LSCW specializing in adolescent depression, anxiety, and behavior disorders. Her now famous article "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do" has been viewed millions of times and recently was made into a book. Learn more about what Amy does to build her online presence.
1) When and how did you first start putting time and effort into maintaining a strong online presence?
I started blogging a couple of years ago. Initially, I set out to create a simple blog that would attract people to my website. Then over time, I began getting paid to write articles for other websites and media outlets. I started to realize how important social media was to getting noticed online.
2) Please describe what social platforms you currently use.
I use Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I use them all to share articles, quotes, and other newsworthy information.
3) About how much time do you devote to your online presence? How do you balance it with your other work responsibilities?
My online activities have essentially become another job for me. I write articles for other therapists or provide content for college websites, etc. The two biggest sites I write for are About.com and Forbes. As a freelance writer, I can decide which jobs I want to accept and which ones I want to turn down. I spend maybe 30 minutes each day sharing those articles and other information on social media. Fortunately, having a smartphone makes it easy to use social media wherever I am, so I find that it really doesn't take up too much of my spare time. If I have an extra couple of minutes here or there, I can easily connect on social media.
4) What kinds of things do you use to inspire your content creation; what do you write about?
I mainly write about parenting teens and child discipline on About.com. I write about psychological aspects of business on Forbes. I never know when an article idea will come to me, so I keep a notebook handy and am always jotting down my ideas. Sometimes I interview other people, and that often spurs new ideas for me to write about in the future.
5) How do you best balance personal and professional in your online activities? Please give examples.
I mostly keep my personal and professional social media activities separate. I use Twitter and my professional Facebook page to promote my articles, and I have a personal Facebook page that I reserve for close friends and family.
6) What is some tangible evidence that your online presence has grown your business?
I live in a rural area, so my online activities don’t necessarily attract new clients for me. Instead, my online presence provides new income streams for me altogether. I generate enough revenue through writing and speaking that I’ve drastically cut back on my therapy practice, and now I only see clients two days per week.
7) What other ways has your strong online presence helped you?
I have been able to land interviews with major print media outlets like NBC.com, Time, Parenting, and Success. I’ve also done national radio shows and have appeared on news programs like Fox News and Glenn Beck. People discover me through online searches, and I’m often invited for speaking engagements.
Last year, I wrote an article on mental strength that went viral and received millions of page views. A writer at Forbes picked it up, and the article attracted almost 10 million more views. Not long after, I was contacted by a literary agent who suggested I write a book. I was offered a book deal with William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins), and my book is scheduled to hit the shelves in January of 2015.
8) What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered creating and maintaining your online presence?
The internet is constantly changing. What is considered good practice one year is outdated and can even lead to search engine penalties the next year. It’s been a challenge to try and keep up with the latest changes to ensure that the content I write gets discovered and shared on social media.
How have you overcome those challenges?
I spend time each week educating myself about the recent online changes. That means reading about the latest social media trends and actively engaging in conversations with other people about strategies to maintain a strong online presence.
9) What tips or resources can you recommend to help therapists who are new to the online world of blogging, social media, SEO, etc.?
I recommend taking it one step at a time. Initially, the online world can seem quite confusing and overwhelming. But compared to the DSM and the insurance world, blogging and social media are relatively easy to navigate. There are lots of basic tutorials for people looking to get started. Focus on one strategy at a time, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Amy Morin, LCSW
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