For Physical Therapists and Health Care Professionals
There’s always an excuse not to write. You’re too busy, you’re not sure what to write about, or you don’t feel confident about what you’re saying. Maybe you feel like your writing isn’t that great. But writing is one of the best things a fresh PT can do for his/her career.
1. Writing helps build your brand. In today’s gig economy, more than ever, professionals need to be aware of their unique value. Whether you’re a peds guy, an acute gal, or a super hard core ortho sports fiend, you need to hone your skills and establish that you’re the expert in your niche. Not only will this enable you to work on your own if you choose, it will give you negotiation power if you choose to work for someone else. By writing articles and publishing them, you’re showing that you know your stuff, and that you’re an expert in your domain.
2. Writing thickens your skin. Every time you post an article, people will find flaws with it. It’s the nature of the game. By putting your name out there, you’re demonstrating confidence and professionalism. How you field the responses to your article is another reflection of your integrity.
3. Writing improves your communication. I see it all the time. People start out as mediocre writers, and as they write more frequently, they become verbal DaVincis! When you get used to writing, it improves all of your communication. When your emails are well-composed and properly punctuated, people notice. And they take you more seriously.
4. Writing connects you with a whole new cohort in the PT world.
If you spend any time on social media, you’ll notice that the PT world is quite closely knit. PTs are supportive and we enjoy promoting each other. If you write good content, it will get shared. It gets you noticed.
5. Writing is cathartic. Expressing yourself through writing feels incredible. If you think that your writing is no good, it could be because you have never just let yourself relax into the process. The best advice I have ever received is to “write what you know.” If you feel weak on clinical matters, write about time management. Weak on marketing? Write about connecting with your patients. No matter where you are in your career, you have strengths. Acknowledge those strengths, and write what you know.
6. Writing allows you to give back. When I started NewGradPhysicalTherapy.com (NGPT) with Brett Kestenbaum, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it. I just knew that I wanted to give back to the physical therapy community. Many people had taken time to work with me over the years, mentoring me and helping me to prepare for the real world. Sometimes, I will donate $20 to someone’s fundraiser and wonder if I really made a difference. When you write about a topic you truly know, you are always helping someone.
OK, you’ve convinced me. How do I get started?
Take stock of your writing. Have you ever been told that you’re a good writer? Or maybe you've heard that your messages are good, but your grammar and syntax need help? If you fall in the latter camp, never fear. There are plenty of resources online that will help you improve your writing. Start by reading CopyBlogger.com. It has TONS of articles to help you improve and reach a conversational tone. Read the book “Woe is I”. It’s an excellent primer for proper grammar and syntax. and it's actually pretty entertaining to read.
Once you have the basics down, write. Show your work to your friends and family whom you'd consider to be good writers. Once you have some feedback from them, start reaching out to your favorite smaller websites and see if you can write a guest post. MyPTCorner and NGPT frequently accept guest posts, as do many other therapy publications. As you build your body of work, you might even find that some sites are willing to pay for your contributions!
If you want to really stand out, consider starting a blog. You can use many avenues to get started, but popular ones include:
Lastly, even if you don’t want to start a blog, post on someone else’s site, or commit to your own website, consider publishing articles on your LinkedIn page. The beauty of writing on LinkedIn is that people can like and share your articles for you, increasing your visibility. Then, you can share those articles on Facebook, which helps even more!
Remember, like anything else, writing is a skill. The more you practice, the better you become. There are so many reasons for physical therapists to write content. From building your brand, to networking with other professionals, a moment spent writing is never a moment wasted. Quit making excuses and start writing!
About the Author
Meredith Victor Castin, PT, DPT, CSCS
Meredith attended UPenn for undergrad, then graduated from University of St. Augustine (San Diego) in 2010 with her DPT. Since then, she has worked in outpatient orthopedics, inpatient rehab, acute care, and home health settings. She is currently Head of Content at CovalentCareers, a healthcare career development platform. She also writes for Demand Media Studios as a health/medical writer. She is passionate about helping new grads feel welcomed into the PT community, no matter how they choose to use their degrees. In her spare time, Meredith enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, creating art and music, and spending time with her husband and three cats.