It’s no surprise that I am comparing ‘good blog content’ to training a dog. Or a cat, for that matter. The reality is, intelligent beings of all manner can learn to sit and stay, if taught properly.
Our content at BlogPaws often gets folks to sit and stay. We attract new eyeballs and folks who like to comment on a consistent basis. It’s not because people like us so much (although we like to think that they do!). It’s because we pay attention. What do we pay attention to? Good content that gets readers to sit and stay!
One of the basic tenants of good content is to understand your readers. For bloggers, that often means, what valuable information do I sell and what do I give away for free? We’re talking sharing your insight and expertise on your blog…for pay or for free. This is an on-going concern with all bloggers, but especially with pet bloggers. Why? Well, because our work is unique to a niche that is often misunderstood by those not deeply involved in serving pets the way all of us in the BlogPaws community do. A big part of our hearts revolves around supporting shelters and rescues, which need our help desperately. Is helping them with free advice and content the right thing to do? Maybe.
Conversely, what about small businesses? Start-ups that contact you? Bigger brands that have a budget?
Each one of these groups belongs in its own channel and must be treated separately. However, your content should attract and appeal to all of them. Readers visit your blog to digest your advice or your brand, and as long as it’s true to the niche you’re in and true to you as a person, they will continue to visit on a regular basis. Be true to yourself, as the song goes. Then, look at your audience and understand what’s important to them, no matter who they are.
Let’s look at what that means. If you can answer these 6 questions honestly, you’re on track to creating good content that gets readers to sit and stay!
- Do you have an analytics program on your blog? This is a must in order to identify repeat traffic and content that is working.
- We are all ‘niche’ bloggers of a sort. What exactly is your niche? Be exact.
- Are you serving the people in that niche, or are you trying to be all things to all people?
- Are you refreshing content on a regular basis? This means revisiting older content that needs an update.
- Who are you biggest competitors?
- Are you following and tracking those competitors?
Yes, we could create 10 questions, or 15 questions, or even 22 questions. It isn’t the number that is important, it’s the concept. As a blogger working to be heard in a marketplace bursting with fireworks, your only solid recourse is to be a voice above all others. We’ve talked about the need to study, to learn, to improve, daily and weekly, and we will be building out the Social Learning Community in 2017, but even before then, before we hit January 1, 2017, each blogger reading this needs to answer the six questions above and take those answers to their yearly strategy session.
One last bit of advice…the word “good” can be relative. What you think of as good may be totally different from what I think of as good. For our purposes, as writers–yes, first and foremost bloggers are writers–BlogPaws offers specific guidelines. While we recognize that each blogger brings his or her own voice to the work they create, and each blogger sets his or her own standards, we maintain that within the creative process there are certain rules and standards which apply across the board. Therein lies the concept of “good.” When we, as writers and journalists, remember to stay within the accepted standards while still applying creative innovation to our work, we will be taken seriously as writers and journalists. Nothing we do works if the content we create challenges our expertise because we failed to accept current journalistic standards.
Readers sit and stay, and engage, when you offer them reasons to do so. This happens over time, with focus and training. OK, some folks achieve it right out of the block–good for them! The rest of us need to keep our eye on the prize: an audience that loves our work and shares it with others. It will happen, if we take the time to answer the six questions above, on a regular basis. Not just once, or twice. But quarterly.
Are you confident that your content is good enough to get readers to sit and stay?
What can BlogPaws do to support you as you work to grow and expand your readership? Tell us!
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com.