Before I first started massage school, I went hunting.
I wanted to know what massage school was all about. Not admissions office glossy photos, but the real stuff. What was difficult? What was frustrating? What would help? How could I get a head start?
I found … pretty much nothing. A few dull checklists and articles from people who’d been out of school for years. A few people who claimed their e-book was the One And Only Thing To Ensure Your Success In Massage School No Matter What Your Particular Concerns Might Be! A handful of vague articles about how great it is to go into massage therapy.
But not what I was looking for.
So I stuck to reading the experiences of massage therapists. Because if I couldn’t know exactly what I was getting into in the short-term, I still wanted to know where I was heading.
Some of the blogs were crappy writing. Some were boring. Some were plastered in ads. Some rarely updated. But I found one amazing massage therapy blog, which led to another massage therapy blog, which led to another …
And since I also had experiences and opinions for people in the massage therapy field (although mostly useful for newbies like myself), I started my own massage student blog. I had no idea how hugely that decision would impact my life.
I really believe now that every massage student should blog. Here’s why:
Sure, every single massage therapist is a part of the conversation surrounding our profession. But it’s bloggers and writers who are at the forefront of what form that conversation takes. Sure, the big organizations have a huge impact on this, but organizations can only move so quickly. (This isn’t a criticism, it’s just the nature of individuals vs. groups. Anyone who’s ever served on a committee knows it.) Sometimes, these big associations even end up commenting on blog posts themselves.
Students have almost exactly zero influence as association officers, policymakers, curriculum designers, business stakeholders, or industry experts. But on the internet, it’s the quality of your thoughts and words that can set you apart. If you want to shape the conversation, you’re going to need a blog.
You’ve been fawning over your favorite industry bloggers from a distance, commenting enthusiastically, and living for updates, but you still don’t really feel like you fit into this community of folks who drive the conversation about massage. You think it might be because you’re so new, but there are some newbies in this group, too. Why not you?
Well, you might not have that much in common. Your favorite massage blogger might be crazy busy, keeping up with a practice and a blog, and a social life. Or maybe you haven’t tried actually making friends, and have just assumed everyone would see how fabulous you were and would flood your inbox with messages with declarations of their undying affection.
But here’s something I didn’t know two years ago. Many (most?) of the bloggers in the massage world talk among themselves. A lot. Even the ones who don’t get along follow each other on Facebook (weird, but true!). Friendship is something that happens between equals, and on the internet, the only way to be seen as the equal of someone who creates great content is … to be someone who creates great content.
Note: this means you DON’T have to be a super-experienced massage therapist to be a great massage blogger.
When you get out in the world, you’re going to need a blog. Whether you blog for other massage therapists or for the general public or for potential clients, there is no more useful tool available to you on the internet. But blogging takes time to get used to. There’s this weird thing people are going to tell you about “finding your voice.” And unless your name is Dale Favier, you’re going to hear that and go, “Huh? Is it hiding? Do you think I could pick one up secondhand at the Salvation Army for cheap?” It takes a while to get a feel for your writing style. So you might as well make your early efforts before you’re trying to convince people to give you money.
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe you’d like to know that your Google rank will improve over time as more people link to your blog. So a year’s head start before you graduate wouldn’t be a bad idea on that level, either.
Massage school experiences are different from year to year, state to state, and school to school. There is somebody out there on Google right now, wanting to know what it’s like to go to massage school at a community college in a small town, or a big name chain of schools in a major city, or a whatever-you’re-doing. And nobody else can help them.
Experienced massage therapists who’ve been out of school for years can’t help them.
Massage students and recent grads with different experiences can’t help them.
Lord knows the major websites with generic “here’s a checklist for your second semester” student articles can’t help them.
But you can. If you love massage therapy, blog for it. If it’s helped you, help it flourish in return.
You didn’t really think I’d leave you hanging on this one, did you?
Allissa, brilliant blue-haired blogmentor of mine that she is, has just released a workbook on blogging for your massage business. She wrote it, and I added stupid references to Home Improvement and fixed the spelling and yelled at her to finish it, already. But it’s on sale now for $15.
[Disclosure: Yes, Allissa is giving me a small share of the profits because I edited the thing. But I'd tell you to buy it anyway. Your $2 or whatever is not going to make or break my career.]
$15 is less than you’d spend on a fancy WordPress theme.
It’s how much you might spend on fajitas and a Dr. Pepper at your local Mexican restaurant. (And it won’t give you gas.)
It’s how much you might spend on a 15 minute chair massage. (I guarantee it’ll hold your interest for longer than 15 minutes.)
It’s how much you might spend on one pack of Vistaprint business cards, not including shipping. (And your blog will be at LEAST as useful as a bunch of cards.)
So if you’re unsure about this whole blogging thing, babysit for a couple of hours, skip the delivery pizza this week, weed your neighbor’s garden, do whatever it takes to find an extra fifteen bucks, grab the workbook now. There’s no excuse not to get started with your blog today!