Are you a writer with a passion for communicating clinical topics to parents? If so, then there is a HUGE need for articles that private practice lactation consultants can use to amplify their care plans and lead their clients to self-efficacy.
In order to create articles that make other lactation consultants swoon and lead to improved health outcomes, consider these simple tips.
Choosing a topic
I’m sure you’ll agree that this is the hardest part—but it doesn’t have to be. You may be thinking that you have to come up with an idea that’s never been written about before. There are certainly many topics that haven’t been written about enough or at all, but there’s also plenty of room for articles that reinforce the basics of breastfeeding and postpartum wellness. You may be communicating the same information as everyone else, but you’ll put your own spin on it.
Case studies (with client permission) are always valuable, as are interviews with healthcare providers from other disciplines. If you’ve got another credential, consider writing an article that brings in knowledge from your discipline that can apply to lactation.
Personally, I’d love to see more articles and case studies on:
Perinatal mood disorders and mental illness
Exclusive pumping best practices
Surviving the first six weeks
Bottle refusal prevention and strategies
Constructing your article
Before you even start writing, do your homework! Make sure you’re grounding your piece in research and evidence-based practices, not just your own feelings and ideas.
Consider bringing in other voices, especially if you’re writing on a topic that’s outside your scope of practice. This is a great way to enrich your article as well as create connections with your local colleagues and other healthcare providers.
Remember what you learned in elementary school. A strong client-friendly lactation resource has these key components:
Introduce the problem that the client may be experiencing
Establishe your expertise on the topic and that of any experts you’re quoting in the article
Present and interpret the available clinical research
Provide clear steps the reader can take to take action on their problem
Conclusion that summarizes what you’ve taught in the article
Rachel O’Brien’s blog is an excellent example of how to write for parents (and other lactation professionals).
Consider offering to pay a more experienced writer to review your first posts to give you guidance and editing advice. Never ask to pick someone’s brain—remember that advice from someone who knows what they’re doing is worth paying for.
Check your ethics!
I cannot reinforce this point enough! Far too many IBCLCs find their content copied and repurposed without attribution, citation, or even a mention. This is plagiarism, and it’s against the IBLCE Code of Professional Conduct.
It’s okay to quote from other people’s writing, if you give them credit. Provide their name and either a citation or (better still) a direct link to their article. Internet publishing etiquette when quoting from a blog post or online article is to link directly to the post, because sending traffic to that blog post is a way of saying thanks.
It’s not okay to create a blog post that summarizes a blog post or article written by someone else without adding something significantly new and different, even if you give a link back. This is basically what spam websites do, and while it may not be outright theft of content, it’s really not cool or ethical.
So don’t steal content (duh) but also don’t borrow content. Don’t be that person who copies from someone else. Create work that you can stand behind and that adds something new to our world.
Formatting and publishing
Most people are skimming blog posts (yes, even mine!) so make sure you’re breaking up your text with headers that catch the reader’s eye. Big blocks of text, especially in a small font, frustrate readers and make them click away. Using bullet points helps when listing out facts and data, and make sure your website template is mobile-friendly so that nobody has to turn their phone sideways in order to read your post.
Use the tag feature in your blog publisher as a quick way to indicate what your article will be about, and make sure to give your blog post a URL that uses real words not random numbers and letters. Usually you can make this change in the settings for the blog post. Use all the SEO tools your blog publisher provides so your post gets visibility in Google and other search engines.
Tell the world about your post! Share it on your Facebook page and your Instagram account. If you’re in online parenting or professional groups that allow promotional posts, share it there. And be sure to post a link to your article in the comments. You may just end up in my Resource Collection!