Branding, Blogging, and Being Awesome | PoP 401

Branding, Blogging, and Being Awesome | PoP 401

Where do you want to be in 6 months? How do you brand a private practice? Why should you blog?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks branding, blogging and being awesome for those starting out in private practice.

Podcast Sponsor

Green Oak Accounting

Do you ever wish for a financial therapist who could relieve you from the last few months’ bookkeeping, talk you off the edge when you’re setting up Quickbooks, or help you work through a profit plan for growth? GreenOak Accounting does just that! GreenOak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with therapists and counselors in private practice. Their value goes WAY beyond bookkeeping; they can help you get on track for financial success. Schedule a free consultation by going to

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks branding, blogging and being awesome for those starting out in private practice. The three might seem like they don’t go hand in hand but they really do.


How do you brand a private practice? First things first, you need a quality logo. You also want people to understand who you are and what you do on your website. It needs to be as clear as possible with one color.

Branding is what people say about you behind your back.

Use a similar font on all your marketing activities. Use pure capital letters.

Post on your social media that goes beyond just your services, show your life and tell a story that relates to your brand.


This is where you can share what you care about, but also where you can share what other people care about.

Use the ‘Keywords Everywhere’ tool to discover what people are searching for. You can look at what people are searching for in your area, to increase potential clients. And don’t forget your internal linking!

Being awesome

When can you call yourself a specialist at something? The answer is, straight away. If you have a master’s degree, you are part of 9% of the country that has it! Own it.

Yes, there are still things for you to do, but you are already awesome and you are a professional.

Ask yourself: Where do you want to be in 6 months?

Ask questions around your community and find gaps within it. Find ways to take your awesomeness to the next level. Network, network, network within your community to help grow your business.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

 [JOE SANOK]: Do you ever wish for a financial therapist who could relieve you from the last few months bookkeeping, talk you off the edge when you’re setting up QuickBooks or help you work through a profit plan for growth? Green Oak Accounting does just that. Green Oak Accounting is an accounting firm that specializes in working with therapists and counselors in private practice. Their value goes way beyond bookkeeping. They can help you get on track for financial success. Schedule a free consultation by going to Again, that’s
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session number 401.
I’m Joe Sanok, your host and welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. I’m here at Practice of the Practice world headquarters at the base of the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City, Michigan. I hope that you are doing awesome. Boy, we cover a lot of different things here and we have one of our new cohorts of Next Level Practice that, they’re about a month in or so since they joined. So, we just did our welcome meeting and I had an awesome launch yet again.
One of the questions that we get all the time is about finances and about accounting and Green Oak who I just mentioned at the top of the show, I just wanted to say kind of more from my conversational side that they’re awesome. They specialize in private practice accounting. So, check them out, schedule that free consultation. I know for me having an account and having someone who understands what I do that works with me is such an important part of my team, especially as you’re looking at taking things off your plate. So, make sure you do that.
So today I have a recording (it’s from our Next Level Practice community) that I did. It was an hour long and so I kind of edited it down just a bit to get some of the key points for you, but it’s all about branding, blogging and being awesome and just some quick hit ideas around that. To give you a little bit of behind the scenes on what that community’s like and kind of the depth that we go into, we did a whole bunch of Q&A and I cut some of that out just because some people had some questions that were more specific to their practice. But with all of these, we video them, we put them into our library. We have over 30 e-courses in Next Level Practice. So, if you are starting and growing your practice, so if you’re under say $60,000 a year, this is the perfect starting place for you to get that support, get that community, get the ongoing help that you need to start and grow your practice.
You can get an invite over at You can read more there. We’ve tons of testimonials. People are leveling up so fast within that community; we’ve got over 300 members, and it’s just a dynamic community that really supports one another. In fact, a bunch of members have volunteered to be leaders and they are leading groups now. So, book studies and a focus groups on where they’re at to just create the community that they want to see. I often say that I don’t have the marker on knowledge and we’re stronger together and so, I want to enable them to be able to co-create with me inside of Next Level Practice. So, it’s a better product than what I ever could have created on my own. So, here we go. Without any further ado, here’s me talking about branding, blogging and being awesome.
So, why don’t we just, I’m going to start with, I going to mute all and then from there we can always unmute you later on just so we don’t get too much background noise. So, I’m going to start by walking through kind of these three different areas, sharing just some tips. I’m going to do some screen shares, uh, just in regards to a couple of different things I want to show you and then we’re going to probably have at least half the time to really dive into these three areas. So, if you aren’t sure what you signed up for, we’re talking about branding, blogging and being awesome today. So, let’s start with those three things. They may seem like they don’t necessarily connect, but why do I have those three kind of going together?
Well, branding to me is what people say about you behind your back. It’s the impression people get when they first come to your website. It’s hopefully the outward manifestation of what’s already going on in your practice. I just talked to a lady today and she recognizes how ugly her website is, which is great that she realizes that and she’s in the middle of upgrading it. She is still full. She is crazy full and her website is crazy ugly, but her branding goes beyond just her website. Her branding is who people say she is. They may say her website’s really ugly, but you got to work with this lady. She’s amazing. And so, when that happens, branding goes beyond just what we see on the surface but for a lot of new people, branding is that first thing we see.
Now, I started there because that is the first kind of level, that’s the outside of the book, that’s the book cover. The blogging, that’s really where you are going to be sharing your content, the things that you really care about, connecting with your ideal client’s, going to do what Google sees and helps you rank higher in Google for the most part. There’s a lot of other things around that, but I’m going to talk about the best practices there and then I’m going to talk about being awesome and how that kind of brings it all together. So branding, I’m going to kind of go through some quick hit bullet points, and if there’s questions you have as I’m talking, feel free to drop those in the chat. I’ll make sure I get to those, either by the end of it or I may pause after each section depending on how it’s flowing.
So, first and foremost, we want to talk about a quality logo. A quality logo is really important and you guys all get a free one through Sam. So, you’re going to have a quality logo if you don’t have one yet. But that’s something that’s really important. We want a logo to really represent kind of something beyond just your name. I was reading, I believe it was guerrilla marketing when I first started out. That would’ve been like 2012 that I started doing more of this consulting stuff. No, real marketing. I read 2009 and they took, I think it was Nationwide, is on your side or you know, they have this logo that’s just basically a box and it says Nationwide. And they said, is this a logo that would be better for someone else? And then they showed how they changed the font and just said Polaroid, how their logo would look way better for Polaroid than for themselves.
And so, we want to say, is this a better logo for someone else? Now, there are times that you don’t necessarily take that advice. So, Practice of the Practice, I have that fancy little kind of mid-century modern chair, now for a chair company or a mid-century modern chair company that would be a better logo for them, but I feel like it helps me stand out a little bit. So, you want to find something that’s simple, you want to find something that is going to transfer, whether it’s white scale, gray scale or color? You don’t want too much detail in it so that people are squinting to try to figure it out. Now on your website, some branding tips is you want people to really be able to understand kind of who you are and what you do. And one of the best ways to do that is to have one accent color on your website or your brochures.
And so, for Practice of the Practice, we have our Practice of the Practice blue. In fact, I went so far. If you haven’t been following me on Instagram, I’ll just show you guys. I went so far as to get soundproofing blue around my desk. So, I know how that anyone’s going to even see that, but it just makes me feel good. Having an accent color where you know you’ve got mostly whites, grays and blacks, or if you go more kind of on the creams, kind of more subtle colors. The websites that have lots of bright colors just don’t stand out to people or too many parts stand out to them that just don’t matter. So, you want to have one accent color that you can use throughout your website, throughout your branding that your call to action is really clear in regards to that one color.
Another kind of branding thing that you want to do is use a similar font in all of your social media, your website, all sorts of different areas. The amount of times that I’ve been on someone’s website or will look at a brochure and they use one font in this section and another font here and another font there, it just makes it look unprofessional, like it’s hodgepodge together. And if you don’t really have the eyes to see that, it’s because you maybe haven’t ever thought through it, but now you’re going to start to notice the everywhere. Even when my wife and I go out to eat sometimes we’ll look at a menu and I’m like, “They used different fonts for this. It’s driving me bonkers.” But it just shows a lack of consistency.
Another rule of thumb that’s really important to remember is that almost always you want to use pure capital letters. You won’t notice this really until you start noticing it, but almost every business sign or anything uses all capital letters. So, even like my RODE mic, it’s just right here. It’s all capitals. Well, let me just see if, I can’t measure, well, that’s not a good example of Stanley part. There is, but the power lock, which isn’t the main thing, that’s in all capitals. So, you want to use all capitals oftentimes when you’re doing like social media posts, unless you’re using a quote. In a quote, then you want to use it like a regular sentence. and you want to use those, those fonts kind of throughout everything that you do. And so, if you’re using Canva, we have a mini course that’s in the Next Level Practice community, that’s all-around kind of how to use Canva.
Pick the font that you use. Always use that font. You can use kind of thicker versions, bold versions, thin versions of it. But that makes it kind of a little more dynamic to have that. Oh, and kind of overall with your branding, you want to be thinking about what is the outcome of living the life that I preach. And so, if I think about Practice of the Practice, you know, yes, I’m helping counselors and private practice, massage therapists, coaches, and counselors. All of us kind of grow private practices. Now, that’s part of my mission. But my bigger mission is I want people to be able to live the life that they want to live. I want them to have time with their family, time with their friends, be able to go after big things. I want them to be able to get rid of money, guilt, like, “Oh, I shouldn’t be making money.”
I want them to be able to impact the communities and impact the people through their work and feel really good about their work instead of feeling burned out and like they just want to throw in the towel. And so, I have this broader mission of why I do Practice of the Practice. So, in what I do, yes, I can talk about private practice, I can talk about growing a private practice, I can talk about the marketing, but I also need to balance out just the life type things that I’m doing. And so, if I look at my Instagram, let me just pull that up right now. Practice of the Practice Instagram. I don’t even remember what the most recent things were that I posted on there. So, one of the first, so I just posted this yesterday. It’s my wife. We were out and it says, ‘Whiskey is my spirit animal.’.
So, Christina, my wife, she likes whiskey and I just thought it’d be funny. We were out and we were having a fun family day together, and so I’m posting things on there that also represent beyond just business about this life that I’m preaching. So, what would that look like with say Krista or David or Carla? Well, they might say I help people that are dealing with anxiety. Okay. When someone is effectively dealing with their anxiety, like what does that life look like and how do we make sure that through your branding, through your blogging, through social media that you’re showing what a life that is working on overcoming anxiety, what does that look like? It may not be perfect, it maybe that you’re going to the spa, maybe that you’re going for a walk. You might be socializing with friends. Those are the kinds of things that are just as important as the blogging that we’re going to talk about. It is way more the practical side of it.

[STEPHANIE]: So, you mentioned specializing. I’m just wondering at what point, like in our career, we can say that we specialize in something?

[JOE]: Right now.

[STEPHANIE]: Because —

[JOE]: If you have graduated with your master’s degree, you are in the top 9%, I think now of the nation’s. And 9% of U.S. citizens have a master’s degree. I think it was 8% a couple of years ago. So, in any given room, you are the specialist in mental health statistically. So, then we also say, well, what extra credentials do you have? Well, if you’ve worked with people in your specific, area, then you can specialize in that area. And the more that you do that, the more you’re going to start going to conferences about that., the more you’re going to read books around that, listen to podcasts about that. Stephanie, what’s the specialty area that you would want to kind of promote yourself as being a specialist in?

[STEPHANIE]: Well, I’m trained in EMDR, so I’m still trying to figure out exactly my niche, like work a lot with trauma, anxiety, depression.

[JOE]: Yes. I mean, to me, EMDR is such a helpful service, and really focusing on people that are working with folks that have dealt with trauma. So, who are the people that have an audience that you could kind of ride their coattails that they would naturally refer to you? I mean, it would be police, fire, pastors. Pretty much everyone knows someone that’s been through trauma, and so, being able to really talk about trauma and being informed and how to talk about trauma and give talks about trauma, and we’ll talk a little bit about blogging and being awesome kind of in there too. But think about it through the lens of EMDR and trauma. The average person isn’t going to know what EMDR is. So, we don’t want to, I mean, you can put EMDR out there so that if someone searches it, they find you.
But really, they’re going to say, you know, “I went through a really terrible thing and I don’t know what to do. I want to feel normal again. So, we want to use those words in our branding, that people would use about themselves rather than kind of our clinical terms we typically use. Yes. Keywords everywhere is the name of that tool. It’s free, but what’s awesome is that it tells you depression, you know, 1.5 million searches per month and people are paying around 84 cents per click for that. Depression tests, depression quotes, depressed, depression symptoms, depression medication, depression glass, depression definition, depression memes, depression ICD 10. So, it doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily going to do all of those things, but at least it gives you an idea.
So, like if I go here and maybe you do EMDR, like we’re just talking about EMDR. So, if I type in EMDR, it’s going to say EMDR (because it knows where I am, Traverse City, where I live) training, training Michigan, EMDR therapy Traverse City, EMDR lightbars. So, this is giving all sorts of, just ideas of blog posts that you could do. So, say you help couples. Type in ‘couples’. First things that pop up are couples retreat, couples’ costumes, couple tattoos. So maybe you do want when someone types ‘couple tattoos’ for years to be the second one on there. It depends on kind of what you want to do. ‘Couples counseling, so only 49,000 searches per month. So, you know, those are the kinds of things that we want to look at.
The other thing that’s great to install for your website is called Google search console. So, the search console, this tells you how many searches you’ve had in the last month, what pages, whether it’s mobility, mobile usage or other things here. You can look at your performance. This is similar to Google analytics, except it’s a little more focused on just key words. You can see how many impressions happened in what period of time. I looked at this, and this is interesting. I don’t even know why this would be, but for some reason, when people type in porno sexx, with two Xs, that’s showing up as Practice of the Practice. I got 129 clicks onto my website when they searched that. I’m going to have to be careful to figure out why, but I got to like make sure I didn’t get hacked to make sure that, because also down here that’s showing up too. So, I have to, this is, I was preparing for this like five minutes before I went out and I’m like, “Why is that showing up?”
Well like I now need to like look into that. Like why are we ranking for that because we should not be ranking for that. If you look at pages, this just shows which pages we’re ranking on here. So, like ‘how to start a practice for less than $200’, ‘naming a practice’. I’m your ideal caseload. This allows me to then start to see how many clicks in that period of time I’ve been getting. And so, you start to see opportunities here where, you can see like what, what countries are people coming from for your website, devices, search appearance, and there’s a whole lot more that you can do within that. But it really allows you to then start to look through things and have a better idea of what’s working and what’s not working.
All right. I’m going to just share a couple more things then we’ll do some questions. You want to make sure that you’re doing internal linking. So internal linking is just where, you know, if you want to rank for couples counseling, Traverse City, if you have a blog post about couples counseling, you want to link back to your homepage using couples counseling Traverse City, not mental wellness counseling because it’s people searching for couples counseling Traverse City that you want to rank for. If you type in mental wellness counseling and they already know your practice, you want those people that don’t know your practice to be ranking and kind of finding that homepage as well. So, you do that internal linking. And then also, if you aren’t using Yoast, that’s Yoast, that’s an add-on that you can have within your WordPress website to just see how well your page is likely to rank for key.
So around being awesome, I would just start with that. You already have skills. So even one of those first questions of, you know, when can I call myself an expert or a specialist, you already have the skills and you already are awesome. A lot of times we think, “When my practice is making this much money or when I have this many clients, then I’ll feel like a competent professional.” Yes, there are still things for you to do, but if you start from the place that, “I’m grounded, I know my stuff. I’m growing as a professional even if there’s areas that maybe I don’t know my stuff,” I would start with, “You are already awesome.” So now let’s take that kind of to the next level and say, well, how do you give back that awesomeness more? That’s really where I see people start to thrive in their communities.
So, it might be, finding local partners that want what you have or want to learn what you have, especially your phase when you’re kind of newer in practice, giving some of your time away is going to reap you such rewards. And so, it could be that you speak at a luncheon for a bank about crisis management. And so, you know, maybe you worked at crisis line or you worked at child and family services with kids that were just off the hook. Those are skills that the rest of the world needs. And those bankers or those real estate people, they know other people that have money that may want to come to counseling. I would also partner with nonprofits, you know, maybe sit on a board, or work with other local influencers, you know, really find how you can take your skills and help their audiences because especially as you’re growing your business, even when you’re full, like that’s the time that you want to keep it going.
I didn’t even answer. I just realized I didn’t answer Krista’s question about should I keep blogging when I’m busy. And I would say yes. The amount of people that I talk to, that they were full and then they just stopped doing these things that got them full. And then, some people graduate or summer time hits, it’s like you want to kind of keep that going. Now you may not have to blog weekly, but I would say you want to still be creating regular content because Google is going to ding you if you’re not blogging at least once or twice a month. So, you want to kind of keep that going because that’s going to keep those clients coming in and especially if you have other clinicians you can hand them off to.
I would say, really asking questions of your community too. So where are there gaps? Where are other businesses and other leaders? Where are they stuck? A lot of chambers of commerces will have like a young professional’s program or a new businesses program or business after hours. The more that you’re out with kind of the general public, you’re going to realize just how much you know, you’re going to be talking to someone at a business after hours or at a young professionals and they’re going to say, “Oh man, my kid is driving me crazy.” And you’re going to say, “Oh, tell me more.” And then you ask a couple of questions and you say, “Hey, have you ever heard of positive behavior reinforcement? Have you ever heard of this?” Or, “Here’s a couple of quick tips that might help,” and then they’re going to be like, “What? This is amazing. I can’t believe this.” Those are the things that as you give back, it’s going to help you feel more like a professional, but also, it’s going to help you grow your business.
The last thing that I would really recommend, just thinking about where do you want to be in six months? So, what is it that for you would be a total game changer for you? Is it, if people from all over the state were driving to work with you, is it to be known nationally for something, whether it’s a podcast or an e-course, and to kind of take your skills and package them to the world in a way that obviously licensure wise, you’re not going to just do online counseling to other States. But if you took your skillset and you put it in an e-course, if you put it in a podcast, if you put it into some sort of email program, like what would that look like for you? Because oftentimes we play too small and I did that for so long working in, and nothing against nonprofits or working for community and mental health, but I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.
And now can I be on the other side of it and seeing how podcasting and e-courses and selling my practice in June. Who would have thought five years ago when I left my full-time job that I would sell my counseling practice, my bread and butter of why I left? You know that I’d sell that and now I’ll be doing this full time. So really I would love to hear kind of what kind of things you’re dreaming about, even if you know what six months or a year off, even if it’s just a little seed that’s starting to grow, where do you feel like you want to be more awesome or where you already feel grounded in your awesomeness or you’re stuck in your awesomeness. How can I help you?
So that was just about a third of what one of those kind of live sessions is like for Next Level Practice. We, you know, in any month we’ll do three to five of those. So, we’ll do what’s working, we’ll do ones that are topic-specific. We did one recently about how to leave your full-time job. We do them based on what people want to talk about but then also have some that are a little more open-ended and we also always bring in experts in at least once a month to talk about a particular area. So, growing a group practice, websites, online counseling, things like that. And then those all get archived in to our library as well so you get access to all of those.
So, as you can see, Next Level Practice is awesome, huge support from people. Most of these meetings only have 10-15 people, so you get a lot of individual help as well. So, if you are interested in Next Level Practice, you can get into our next cohort. If you are on that wait list Well, we’ve got now nine other episodes this month coming out, so tons of episodes.
Head on over to if you want an account that specializes in private practice. That is where you need to go.
And thanks, so much for letting me into your ears and into your brains. I’ll talk to you soon.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one. And thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music. We love it.



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