Comic-Con International is a yearly convention that has taken place in San Diego since 1970 and has more than 130,000 attendees each year. This convention is a focal point for individuals in the entertainment industry. It has amazing programs, including: educational sessions, workshops, film screenings, and exhibitions.
You might wonder, given all this, what a private practitioner can learn from attending? I am a clinical psychologist, and I initially started attending Comic-Con in order to learn more about my ideal clients. I specialise in the field of eating disorders and addictions, and I work with highly artistic individuals and people within the entertainment industry. Comic-Con affords me the opportunity to learn more about my ideal clients’ struggles and aspirations.
After attending for a few years, I discovered the main benefit of attending Comic-Con: its amazing workshops, led by some of the best-known writers, marketing gurus, psychologists, and artists. During the sessions, these thought leaders share their stories of their pathways to success and their struggles along the way. It is interesting to hear the similarities between their stories and the stories of many private practitioners that I speak to in private practice.
Here are a few of the helpful tips I learned at this year’s convention:
You Have to Play the Game
In order to score, you have to play the game. Many therapists that I know complain about their struggles to build a successful private practice. When I ask them about their marketing efforts, I scarcely hear of any consistent organized action plans. What I heard over and over during the conference, however, was that, in order to win, you need to fully invest in the process.
It appears that many writers also struggle with the same issue. Comic-Con is filled with writers that have unfinished projects. As one of the presenters put it, “No one ever said, ‘this is a beautiful sentence, let me hire you because of it!’ People get successful because they finish their books and projects.” If your attempt to market your practice has been limited to a few unfinished blog posts, it’s time to get your act together, create a solid marketing campaign, and be consistent with it.
Master The Art of Storytelling
After I graduated from school, I gave regular presentations on the topic of the treatment of addictions and eating disorders. I thought being a scholar and giving professional talks meant reciting scientific facts. I soon realized, however, that I lose people quickly if I don’t incorporate stories into my presentations. As soon I started telling stories, I was able to recapture my audience’s attention.
Moreover, through my professional presentations and blogging journey, I learned about the importance of telling a good story to keep your audience’s interest.
For years, I had assumed that storytelling is a talent and, unless you are born with it, you are out of luck! Several presenters repeatedly pointed out, however, that storytelling is a skill that you develop by becoming familiar with the elements of a good story and practicing implementing them. It is a skill that requires practice but anyone can learn it given enough time and consistent application.
Having a Consistent Internet Presence
Many successful writers at Comic-Con shared with us that they started getting recognition by having a consistent Internet presence. They spoke about the concept of the marketing funnel and the steps that each client takes prior to purchasing your services. Having a consistent Internet presence, such as having a Facebook business page, a Twitter account, and a professional blog, will increase client awareness of your services, which will facilitate your sales.
Your conversion rate will be much smaller if you focus on off-line marketing alone. Putting your content on the Internet can multiply your exposure, allowing you to reach populations that you would not have otherwise had access to. You need to be aware, however, that building an audience will take time. In order to successfully navigate this, you should be patient and invest time.
Dr. Nazanin Moali is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and addictions. Dr. Moali provides treatment to adolescents and adults in her private practice in Torrance (South Bay Area of Los Angeles County) and also online, depending on her clients’ needs and locations. She lives in Rancho Palos Verdes with her family.