Case Study Overview
I interviewed speech pathologist Monique Speakman about how she used Writally to create a blog post that not only went viral but created revenue for her speech pathology business. And, it was her third ever blog post.
Below are the Highlights
- Monique started business about 3.5 years ago just on Facebook
- She started a blog to show up in Google search and have a permanent home for her content
- She wanted to provide educational material to potential clients
- Monique’s third post went viral and then she advertised it on Facebook to capitalize on its popularity even more.
- Monique found her blog post recipe helpful. It gave her a structure to work to.
- She also felt it oriented her to the reader’s needs.
- Monique made a return on investment within a week of publishing her third blog post and it continues to drive inquiries to her business. At least 10 people have booked in to her clinic because of that one website.
Cas: Hi. Welcome to our first Writally case study, and I’m here talking to Monique Speakman. Your name is so awesome.
Monique: [laughs] Yeah.
Cas: Yeah, it is. I don’t know how you swung that. Monique is a speech pathologist, which I just think is amazing that you have that name, and it was just such a coincidence.
Monique: Yeah, worked out well when I met my husband.
Cas: You didn’t, like, deliberately change your name or anything?
Monique: Maybe. [laughs]
Monique: No. I just met the right guy, so.
Cas: Aw, that’s really nice. Okay, so how long have you been a speech pathologist?
Monique: About 10 years now.
Cas: How long have you had your own speech pathology practice?
Monique: So I started Kids Chatter Speech Pathology about three and a bit years ago now.
Cas: Yeah? How’s it been going for you?
Monique: Really well. Growing steadily, so started with just on my own as a mobile service initially, and now three years down the track I’ve got a team of five people with a receptionist and four speech pathologists in a clinic working six days a week and yeah, getting really busy all the time.
Cas: Wow. That’s amazing. Tell me a bit about how you’ve grown. Like, what have you used to grow the business?
Monique: Well, in the early days, because I didn’t, sort of, have the funds for it, I started a Facebook page because it was free and I’d always been on Facebook from a personal perspective. I thought, well, might as well use something that’s available to me and started sort of sharing information and content and just making people aware that I even existed, basically. Then it wasn’t until about 11 months ago now that I actually had a website go up.
Monique: Everything else before that for the first two years was all through Facebook.
Monique: Yeah, so just sharing content through Facebook and then eventually, which I’m still doing, but now using the website as actually having something on there permanently.
Cas: Yeah. That’s fantastic. Tell me about your blogging, because I know that you’ve started a blog.
Cas: What made you want to start a blog?
Monique: One, because it was sort of recommended by yourself. [laughs]
Monique: In that blogging is a way to get known on the internet and to come up in Google searches and things like that.
Monique: Plus I know that a lot of other people within my field don’t really have an awful lot of content on their website, even if they have a website for starters, and I just needed somewhere to actually put the information, because so few people actually know what a speech pathologist does.
Monique: I want to be able to try and educate the people about exactly what we do, how we can help or give them ideas on what they can do at home, that sort of thing. Although Facebook can be really great for sharing that, it eventually sort of disappears because it’s, you know, it just goes back in the history.
Monique: It’s really hard to search for it and things like that, so I needed another way to have that sort of information available to access at any time at any stage.
Cas: Yeah, and you’ve really just started your blog, hey?
Cas: You’ve only got a few posts up.
Cas: How’s that gone for you so far, though?
Monique: Yeah, pretty good. So I think I’d wrote one or two blogs before getting on to Writally.
Monique: One of them was just a basic introduction about myself, so nothing in terms of content about what we do, but just a “Hey, hi, I exist” type thing, and the other one was an actual piece of content that would be useful for parents. It has had some readers of it, but nothing that massive or anything. Then I have done, or I did my first real blog using the Writally recipe, “All about lisps,” and that had just a major impact on just people reading it and accessing it, finding it really valuable, sharing it, and so, yeah. Essentially wrote two blogs without the recipe and then one since using that, and then I’ve got another two at the moment I’m working on.
Cas: Yeah, awesome.
Monique: I haven’t posted yet.
Cas: Yeah. Get to it. [laughs] You know me. I’m always cracking the whip.
Cas: Okay, well that’s amazing. Why do you think that one did so much better than the other two?
Monique: I, at least from a writing perspective, I found it much easier.
Monique: In terms of, I knew sort of the overall goal of what I wanted to say with this blog, but I didn’t really know how to structure it.
Monique: I’m very much a planner, in that I had to structure it out before I would actually put pen to paper.
Cas: Good idea.
Monique: Things like that. I didn’t really know, like, what order should I do this, or what sort of information should I actually include, because I know the topic very well myself-
Monique: But ultimately I need to write it for the reader, in that it makes sense to them and it’s going to appeal to them.
Monique: So sort of having a structure, not just in terms of having an introduction, and then body and a conclusion, but actually knowing how to structure certain parts, what to include, the sort of questions to either include or answer within the blog, just made it so much easier to know how to actually put it together. Then once I actually wrote it, it probably took me about two days to write it, because it ended up being about 2,000 words. [laughs] It was quite big.
Cas: It was an epic post.
Monique: It was.
Cas: It was an epic post.
Monique: It was my first one and I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I always go back and edit it and things like that.
Monique: First I sort of went through it with the structure of, “Okay, this is the bits I want to actually put in.” Then by the second day I was actually actively writing it and had it posted.
Cas: Yeah, but that wasn’t like two full days.
Monique: No, no.
Cas: In between appointments.
Monique: It was in between appointments, in between my own kids, and things like that, so.
Cas: Yeah, yeah.
Cas: Aw, that’s really cool. Do you think it saved you time in the end?
Monique: I think that although it took me two days initially, I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me without it.
Monique: Because just knowing how to put it together, the sorts of information you want to put in, from that sort of reader’s perspective.
Monique: Because I’m not a marketer, so I know my stuff as a speech pathologist really well, but I don’t know how to convey that to my audience. Having something to guide me really helped, not just literally putting it together, but just really seeing it from that reader’s perspective, because at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to matter. You know, are there readers who are actually going to look at it? Are they going to read it? Are they going to understand it, and are they actually going to benefit from it?
Cas: Yeah, I think you raise a really good point there, too, because I think one of the things that I wanted to do is not just speed up that process, which is important, particularly if you’re a marketer and you’re writing a lot of content for clients, but if you’re an expert in your field like you are, as a speech pathologist, you just want to find a way to get those thoughts out on paper in a coherent way so that the reader understands and benefits from that information. Sometimes I think when we’re an expert in something, and I know I’ve done this myself, we, you understand your own meta-language so well, that you kind of forget about the reader.
Cas: It’s a really, really common mistake that people make.
Monique: Exactly. It’s like, it’s second nature to me to talk about this thing, and even with my team, the other speech pathologists who have not been a speech pathologist for quite as long, but they’re also using the same sort of, the jargon that we use as a professional, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that parents actually understand it, and I’m constantly having to tell them that when you’re explaining something to a parent, whether it’s verbal or in writing, you need to do it in such a way that to the average person it’s going to make sense.
Monique: Because we don’t know what their background is, but we need to basically assume that they don’t know anything about what we do. When you are trying to explain something to a parent, it needs to be in their language.
Cas: That’s right. Yeah, so that was one of my goals with the Writally recipes, was to provide a structure that gets the writer thinking about the reader and how they will perceive your post. I think that we’ve done that, hopefully, well enough.
Monique: It certainly worked for me.
Cas: You know, we’re still working on the recipes and how we do it, but I’m really pleased that you had such great results. Did you actually make a return on your investment?
Cas: You did?
Monique: Yes. Once I obviously wrote it and posted it on the website.
Cas: Yay. [claps]
Monique: I then got really excited even though I’ve gone back and edited it a couple of times when you notice things, but I then shared it myself.
Cas: I do that, too. I do that, too.
Monique: I then obviously shared it to my Facebook page, on my personal profile as well, and I did a little bit of advertising as well to obviously make it reach a bit further, because organic reach is so much harder.
Cas: That’s a great idea though, because if it’s already popular-
Cas: If you advertise something that’s already popular-
Cas: It just makes it go nuts.
Monique: Yeah, and I think before I put money behind advertising on Facebook, I think it had about 56 shares already just on its own, of which only two of them were mine, so the rest was sort of everybody else.
Monique: Even though I posted that blog probably about six months ago now-
Monique: We are still getting people calling up and saying, “Oh, I read your blog about lisps and I’ve recognised that my child has this,” and you know, “They’re not growing out of it,” and things like that. I can at least remember at least 10 people just off the top of my head who have booked in an appointment with us purely because of that one blog about one particular speech error.
Cas: Yeah. Well, let’s talk about that for a minute, because I think that’s something that a lot of people forget. When you advertise, when you actually advertise, you get the value of that advertising so long as you’re still paying for it, and then as soon as you stop paying for it, it stops.
Cas: Whereas when you write content on your website, like a blog post, or do a video like this one, and you put that up there, that value increases over time. You’re not just getting that return on investment in the short term, and often times, you don’t. I mean, that you got a return on your investment with a third blog post is nothing short of incredible.
Cas: Like, most people, it takes quite awhile for them to build that kind of traction. People down the line, they don’t realise the down-the-line benefits of blogging
Cas: A lot of people make fun of blogging these days, or they say, “Oh, there’s too much content on the internet.” But if you are the only speech pathologist putting that content out there, well, guess what’s going to happen?
Cas: People are going to go looking regardless, and if they are finding help from you, guess where they’re going to go?
Monique: Yeah. Even though it’s been a few months since I originally put it up, people are still finding it, or people are sharing it. Occasionally I’ll re-share it myself just to sort of get it back out there. I’ve just recorded a video that we posted on Facebook yesterday and put a link to that exact blog in relation to that video, so that should get some traffic for that again, because it’s on the website, it’s there permanently. Versus on Facebook, where it’ll go down in history eventually, but you can’t really access it easily, so it’s good for sharing, but it’s sort of a here-and-now. But once it’s on the website, it’s there.
Cas: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and the other good thing is, too, you put it on your blog, but you can take it apart and put bits of it on Facebook or bits of it on Instagram-
Monique: Like I made an infographic about a portion of that and shared it on Facebook and linked the blog as well, and things like that.
Cas: Yeah. Which is exactly what you should do. Why reinvent the wheel when you’ve already got all that content already sitting there that you can repurpose and reuse? I think you’re doing amazingly. Give me a high-five. I love it. What I really love about it is that you, I mean, you’re a good writer, you know, I’ve seen you write before, but you’re not a writer-writer, you’re not a professional writer.
Cas: If you had paid someone to do it, now forget about what you would pay me because I’m, like, way up there with my fees, but if you were to pay, like, a regular sort of writer, maybe with a few year’s experience behind their belt, so they’d be around probably the $80 to $100 mark, you know, how much do you reckon you would have spent on someone actually writing that blog post?
Monique: Oh, that’s a tough question, because even though it took me sort of two workdays to write it, and that was my first attempt as well, so probably for a professional writer they probably could get it done in a day, my worry would be is that can they really convey the information from that, actually having the knowledge of the content. Not just putting it together in a way that makes sense, but actually putting the right information in.
Monique: I remember when I had somebody doing some of the writing for my website, I ended up going back and editing so much of it. I was thinking I should have written half of this myself anyway.
Monique: It’s sort of like, yeah, you can pay somebody else to write it, but you’re still going to go back and edit it yourself to make it suit your actual needs, so I think having the recipe means that you get the structure and the questions and the way to actually write it, but then you can put your own content to that. Yeah, it saves time and money in the end, and you’re not having to sort of re-write what somebody else wrote who knows nothing about your field.
Cas: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. You’re not the only one who’s raised that point, actually. Another woman who came along to one of our events said she was paying a writer $550 a month to write content for her.
Cas: And then she ended up having to rewrite it all because it just wasn’t what she needed, and she is the expert. It makes it really difficult if you know what’s inside your head and you can’t, you know, convey that to somebody else, and they have to get caught up. If they’re a subject matter expert, that works okay, but then you’ve got to find that right person and they’re often really expensive, so yeah, I’m really pleased that it’s worked for you. I’m really happy for you.
Cas: I wish you all the best.
Cas: I look forward to seeing your next recipe request.
Monique: Hopefully next week. [laughs]
Cas: [laughs] And your next blog post, too.
Cas: Awesome work. Thanks Monique.
Monique: No worries. Thanks.
Cas: Okay. Well, we’re going to sign off now, and thank you very much for joining us. I hope you’ve learned something. I definitely have. It’s been great talking with you and talking with Monique. Bye for now.
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