Out of town friends can bring a lot of things with them when they visit:
If you’ve ever had an out-of-town guest, whether family or friend, who visits you, how many of the above did they bring along? Kim Kiernan is a Cocker mom and friend from California who recently visited our humble abode. Jokingly, we mused that our Cockers are cute enough to have a platform of their own.
“Perhaps President and First Lady of Wigglebutts,” Kim joked as we toured the battlefields of Gettysburg while sightseeing.
In this moment, the lightbulb flipped on: All bloggers, whether pet, lifestyle, hobbyist, rescue or otherwise. I sat down with Kim for a one-on-one for her newbie ideas in the pet rescue world as a newcomer to the scene. Tossing in a few experiences of my own, here are 7 ways to building a tighter focused blog:
(1) On Getting Started and Focus
As the newly appointed PR and Social Media Manager for Welcome Home Dog Rescue, Kim says a solid platform with a tight focus is crucial.
“We are not done defining our message and we are still discovering what our platform and message needs to be,” she says.
What the group has decided is where they will get the dogs in need, who will help rehabilitate and foster them, and the geographic area of potential adopters.
Take away: Define your platform and know your niche. The tighter the focus, the more your target audience will know your blog and what your area of expertise is.
(2) On Keeping Your Cool
How many times have you found yourself wanting to scream at something a reader says in response to your blog? Or perhaps you write what is a masterpiece and there are crickets in the air: Silence, the blogger’s least favorite “sound.”
Similarly, when rescues quarrel or bicker from within and it spills over online, it helps no one and ultimately hurts the pets in need.
Take away: Re-read your words. If they bite or cut, don’t share them. If you are in pet rescue and are in fighting, stop. People talk on social media. If you want to be known as the “troubled blogger” or the one who tells everyone off/has an “edge,” chances are slim to none for longevity.
(3) On Knowing Your Resources
“Half our dogs are from Korea and half are from USA local shelters,” Kim says. “The money from fundraisers in the United States goes to rescue local dogs. Money from Korea goes to dogs brought in from Korea to the United States.”
As a pet rescuer microblogger, and soon-to-be blogger, Kim has the right idea. The rescue group has a clear definition, is aware of where their financial aid will come from to get the dogs to the states, and they are working on building fundraisers and awareness.
Take away: All businesses have some type of fees involved, and blogging is no different. You invest in things like a computer, but so much more, including (well for me, this is a basic list):
- Backup program
- PicMonkey service
- Tech person to help on the back end – if needed
- Server fees
- Hosting fees
- Advertising costs (Facebook, etc)
- Contest fees
- Postage for contest and shipping to winners of prizes
- Graphics, templates
- Business cards
- Membership associations
- Fees to conferences like BlogPaws
- Trademarks, logos, artwork – if needed
- PayPal fees
(4) On Working with Others
When is the last time you peeked into the BlogPaws online community? Resplendent with resources and with bloggers of every level, this community serves its members well 24/7/365. Posting on someone else’s blog, sharing a tweet, commenting on a Facebook post, and getting to know fellow bloggers are all essential parts of growing a blog.
Take away: Give as much as you want to get and never neglect the face-to-face networking that comes with meeting brands and bloggers face to face.
(5) On Losing the Clutter.
When it comes to showcasing their dogs in need, Kim says a clutter-free, tightly focused and “all dog” focus with their photographs is key. Take that same concept and apply it to your blog’s overall appearance. Is it clean and organized or full of clutter? Are you stuffed to the hilt with bells and whistles that are needed?
Take away: If you don’t use it, lose it. If it’s not helping your blog, nix it. In other words, important stuff up front. First impressions are crucial.
(6) On Long-Term Goals
I have a long-term goal section in my blog’s business plan and for next year and the one after. Do you have a blog business plan? Even rescues should have one. What do you want from your blog a year from now? Define it before you can pursue it. As I told a blogger a few months ago, you can’t get in a car and expect to arrive at your destination without a clear sense of the route to get there. GPS helps in the car and a blog business plan helps keep you on course.
Take away: Make your journey.
(7) On Being Prepared
One of my favorite nuggets from the conversation from my west coast friend came from her insights on having the answers before the question is asked. Welcome Home Dog Rescue primarily deals with dogs from Korea who are brought to the United States. They are often saved from abuse, neglect, and where the horrific dog meat trade takes place.
“Folks are bound to ask why we help dogs from other countries and not the ones here in the United States,” she shares. “If people ask, I tell them the story and why we do what we do. All dogs, no matter where they are located need forever homes. That isn’t exclusive to the United States.”
Take away: If you anticipate reader needs and what they want to know, based on your expertise and niche, the answers will more easily (and readily) flow.
It’s amazing how a visit from our west coast friend inspired so many ideas, such a refreshing perspective on blogging, and how, no matter level of blogging stage applies to you, a tighter focus always brings things into perspective.
What’s your biggest challenge and where could you use the most help in achieving blog focus?