I would like to start by thanking Jarod for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts on what blogging has done for my physical therapy practice. I would also encourage you to check out the guest post by Samuel Awosolu PT, DPT that appeared on Jarod’s website prior to reading this piece as it will reinforce many of the ideas and principles put forth below.
Before delving into blogging, I want to first provide you with a context since some of you may not know me. I run a boutique cash-based physical therapy practice in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. My practice is largely focused on managing injured endurance athletes and post-surgical patients. All of my sessions are one on one, and I invest an inordinate amount of time and energy in my patients.
Outside of practicing physical therapy, I also race long course triathlon at the amateur elite level. This affords my wife and I a chance to travel around the country visiting friends while I tack an Ironman or Half Ironman race on to the trip. When I’m not treating or racing, I am writing about physical therapy and performance as a monthly contributor to Lava Magazine. I am also well published in medical literature and I am currently developing continuing education courses related to managing injured runners and triathletes. Lastly, I also run my own blog, which makes ALL of this possible.
I will never forget the moment that I decided to start my own blog. I was on a plane en route to Seattle for the holidays while reading the book, Crush It, a New York Times Bestseller written by my friend Gary Vaynerchuk. Long story short, the book is about pursuing your passion(s) in life and why there is no better time than NOW. I could barely sit still on the flight after having a couple glasses of wine as I tore through each page of the book. Gary’s energy in helping people build up the courage to pursue their dreams is unmatched and beyond contagious. I couldn’t help but think about the next 50 blog posts that I wanted to write and how I would carve out the time to do so. I must have appeared incredibly distracted when we got off the plane to meet my future in-laws.
Initially, my blog served as a platform for me to articulate my clinical thoughts into writing. In time, however, I soon realized that it could double as an invaluable resource for patients while allowing me to share my clinical perspective and experiences with students and other medical and fitness professionals. As I continued to incessantly blog, I started noticing that I had developed a small following on Tumblr, which is the platform I originally used for my blog. Not only were friends and acquaintances reaching out to me, but I also started generating referrals through blogging. I will never forget the first time that I took a phone call from a prospective patient, who informed me that they had come across my name and contact information through my blog. It was at this point that it became readily apparent what my blog could do for my practice. The rules of marketing and increasing patient referrals had undoubtedly changed.
After blogging on Tumblr for several months, I had the good fortune of connecting with a fellow by the name of Gary Cohen, who proved to be a game-changer in my online efforts. Despite Tumblr having served me well, Gary convinced me to convert my blog into a WordPress site. In addition to helping me with the design and layout, Gary also schooled me on how to write for the Internet while teaching me about the user experience. Gary used to always preach the importance of coming across as being “interested and interesting.” Furthermore, he emphasized the importance of doing frequent, quality blog posts so people had a reason to return to my site. Gary essentially taught me how to fish!
Fast forward to now. After dedicating a portion of the past three years of my professional life to my blog, I can say with absolute certainty that it has accounted for the vast majority of my success and joy in pursuing physical therapy. Not only has my blog functioned to virtually eliminate marketing expenses while increasing patient referrals, but it has also positioned me as an online authority in my field when it comes to managing injured endurance athletes. I never cease to be amazed when I open my inbox to find messages coming from people all over the globe with questions or simply to express their appreciation for providing them with information that has improved their quality of life. While I could easily ask for money or set up my site as a monthly subscription service, I have elected not to do so. Rather, I view my blog as a way of giving back to all of the people who have helped or given me support over the course of my life. The bottom line is that I am in this field to help people, and my blog is just one more tool that allows me to give back to the online community.
In closing, I would like to say that my blog has not only given me an online voice but has also improved my life. Thanks to my blog, I spent roughly two months of the past year traveling to visit friends and family while competitively racing long course triathlon and earning All American Status by USAT. It has also given me the opportunity to connect with people like Jarod, who feels like a close friend and colleague despite the fact that we’ve yet to meet in person. Through our online efforts, blogs, and guest posts, however, Jarod and I have fostered a friendship and support network. It’s tough to fathom that all of this was made possible by one day having the seemingly crazy notion that perhaps it would be a good idea to start a blog.
Yours In Health,
YouTube: Chris Johnson PT
Jarod’s ending notes:
I personally send a number of my own patients (especially runners and triathletes) to Chris’ blog because of the incredible amount of useful content and video. I don’t know how he has time for it all!
As a follow-up to this and Samuel’s post on blogging, my next post will cover a few other “how-to” components of blogging for those interested in starting or increasing their online presence via this free and incredibly effective form of media and marketing.