Being a credible blogger people trust and rely on for information is no easy task, but it can be done. Knowing how to find sources for blog posts is a huge factor in adding credibility to a blogger’s reputation. Bloggers who work hard and put forth the effort can become influencers, the trendy, buzzy word that’s being tossed around these days. Trust is so important as an influencer, and in order to become an influencer, you need to build credibility.
An influential pet blogger will be held to a different set of standards, but the importance is there. Are you recommending a dog food? Does your blog ever dispense advice on behavior, training, places to visit, treats to feed, or how to keep a pet healthy? For most bloggers, credibility is a combination of experience, delivering the message properly, and being able to substantiate the information in the blog post with sourcing. Knowing how to grow a pet blog includes knowing where to find sources.
Case in Point
If Blogger A writes a post about cat treats and says, “My cat, Kiki, loves the new Fabulous Brand cat treats and they make her really happy. The ingredients look safe and she can’t eat them fast enough. I believe your cat would like them, too.”
But Blogger B writes the same post about cat treats and says, “Fabulous Brand cat treats are new to the pet industry. Dr. John Adams is a veterinarian from the University College who specializes in nutrition. Dr. Adams says, “The amount of taurine in the treats is a perfect level for adult cats, and I like the smaller portion size.”
Which one holds more credibility to you? While offering your opinion as a blogger is great, and for your readers, something you should do….. having an unbiased expert resource to weigh in on topic lends itself well to establishing your blog as a go-to resource for cat parents.
How to Find Sources for Blog Posts
As an adult, I returned to college and one of my majors was in English. During this process, I learned to drop any inhibitions and fears of rejection at the door. If you want to be a solid blogger, having the ability to take on challenges will take you far. You don’t have to like the process of finding sources, but with time you will get used to it.
Scour Google and use Google Alerts: This is one of the most tried and true methods I use. I have a database of resources that I update frequently. I keep it in an Excel file, and when someone’s email changes or a position changes, I update the spreadsheet.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO): This is a free online service where you can post a query and receive responses from people who suit your criteria. As a bonus, you can establish yourself as an expert by responding to queries. HARO helps journalists and bloggers by providing a robust database of sources for upcoming stories and daily opportunities for sources to secure valuable media coverage or blog sourcing. Be clear and concise in your requests for sources.
Facebook Groups: Are you a member of any Facebook groups? There are literally hundreds of thousands of groups on Facebook. Find them by scrolling through the list of results to view in the keyword category of Facebook groups. Simply click on the group’s name, access its homepage, and then click LIKE to join the group. Some groups require permission and some are secret/private, the latter of which are blocked from generic searching.
Attend Events and Network: As a dog lover of the highest order, it has been with great joy that I’ve covered the crème de la crème of the dog-show world for the past four years: the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I was there yesterday. Pursuant to some blog content ideas I generated prior to the trip, I packed some note cards and asked the various breeders and handlers questions my readers have. I ascertained these questions by polling my readers on Facebook and via newsletter and asked what they want to know from the Westminster handlers and breeders. Just take the quick approach of introducing yourself to someone at an event and asking if they have a few minutes to answer some questions for a story you are writing. In most cases, folks are happy to talk about themselves and help you out.
(networking with veterinarian, Patrick Mahaney at Westminster)
Facebook Search Engine: You can search for people, posts, photos, places, Pages, Groups, apps and events on Facebook. Start searching with keywords (ex: Brandy’s birthday party) and you’ll see a list of results that you can filter. You can also combine phrases together, or add things like locations, times, likes and interests to get more specific (ex: friends who live in Phoenix).
BlogPaws Conferences: Networking is one of the most important professional skills to bloggers. There are places both on and offline that will help you network so that your blog grows and your relationships continue to grow and expand. Learn more about how to make the most of networking. There are layers of energy, enthusiasm, networking, idea exchange and layers of relationships that are formed at BlogPaws Conferences.
Myself included, I know several people who landed a gig, started a brand relationship, and/or even found a new job by going to conferences like BlogPaws. By going face-to-face and exchanging hugs, handshakes, and business cards, the electronic walls we build around ourselves come down. There is a level of humanity that comes with networking in person that is valuable beyond words.
Twitter: This is perhaps one of the most overlooked resources of expert finding. Looking for a source for a blog post? Shout it out on Twitter with the appropriate hashtags. Not sure who you want to connect with? Use the Twellow directory and its accompanying Twellowhood feature where you can find other users in your city state / province, or country. WeFollow is a directory that organizes people by hashtags.
Need more Twitter assistance? Here are 15 ways to grow a Twitter following.
Networking Online and Ask Around: I ask people when I am not sure of an answer. There is no rocket science in this and it is reaching out to form relationships at its finest. Maybe someone in the BlogPaws News and Boost Group on Facebook knows someone that can help you with a story source. Perhaps someone in your Pinterest followers might help. I even connect with folks on Instagram. Your source need not be a renowned scholar, but rather someone who has had an issue with something or a stance to share.
Public Relations: PR folk get a bad name sometimes, but many are there to help you as much as they need your help. PR folk are around circles of people both online and in person. Reach out and ask if they have a client who……
In Person Expos and Shows: From trade shows to pet-related expos, people are there for the meeting. The story sources are boundless at events like this, so find the ones in your area that make sense and go to one. Or two.
Chamber of Commerce Locally: Educational, networking, informative and skill building events are held at Chamber of Commerce events year round. You need not be a member to call and ask if someone within the organization might be a valuable source for your story.
Groups and Clubs Online: Message boards are not dead. Some of them have been replaced or enhanced by Facebook groups, but there are communities living large in e-form. Have you been to the BlogPaws Community lately? The Blog Talk group, Pet Blogger Influencer Group, and others are full of folks who have a background in pet. Reach out and say hello, introduce yourself, and get to know them.
Want to learn more? Check out these useful blog posts:
Tell us: Where are you finding sources for your blog posts?
About the Author: Carol Bryant is the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BlogPaws and runs her own blog, Fidose of Reality and its fundraising arm, Wigglebutt Warriors®. When not busy playing with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, she stays far away from cooking. Her trademark is her mantra and is tattooed on her arm: My Heart Beats Dog.®