Content is a really small word but packs tremendous punch in the blogging world. In the BlogPaws offices, we’re always discussing content—and we aren’t the only ones. Brands are forever asking for the right content and the right pet bloggers to deliver that content. Knowing how to deliver that awesome blog content to readers is crucial to blog success.
“The audience of your blog is an important factor in creating your content and growing your reach,” Director of Programs and Events for BlogPaws, Chloe DiVita, says.
If increasing your influence and growing your blog is a part of your blogging plan (and you do have one, right), read on.Chloe DiVita of BlogPaws
WRITING SHAREABLE CONTENT
When writing content, what are some of the things pet bloggers should keep in mind so that it will be more likely to be shared and encourage comments?
Chloe DiVita: Presentation of content can make a big difference. Do you call out a few points with bullets? Offer easily found tips? Sub headings also help people engage with content because it’s easier to find the part that most affected you. Also, ask for comments. Ask your readers to join the conversation.
Robbi Hess, BlogPaws’ Blog Manager: While you don’t want to be controversial (or maybe you do) you want to write about what your audience wants to read about. I wish I could tell you what your audience wants, but you are the best judge of that. If they come to you for pet health pieces, write those; if they’re looking for pet travel tips, give them that; if they come to you for your humor and insight into living with pets (regardless of the species,) give the people what they want! Write a post that raises questions and is something that could garner discussion across your social media platforms.
STANDING OUT IN THE CROWD
There is a lot to be said for “audience” – as in, who is the audience you are trying to reach. How can bloggers stand out and be unique in the pet space by having their own voice when there are so many bloggers who want a piece of the pie, too?
Chloe: Be authentic; your audience should learn what to expect from you so they build trust with your blog and come back knowing the content will be what they are looking for. Engaging back with your audience is very important. In order to stand out people need to remember you. Let them know you appreciate them by replying to their comments, following them on their social sites, addressing the feedback and questions you get in the new content you create. Engage. Engage. Engage.
Robbi: Know your niche! You can’t be everything to everyone. Having a business plan (we’ve written about this recently) and knowing who your audience is and what your niche is will help you snag their attention. Whether you and three other bloggers are writing a post about social media or how to groom a cat, you will have your own, unique “voice” and that will be part of what makes you stand out. If you have a strong expertise in a particular area, use that to grab your readers and set you apart from the other pet bloggers that are out there.Carol Bryant, left, with Robbi Hess, right, at a team summit
ANALYTICS ARE IMPORANT
Are analytics an important part of following a blog’s audience? If so, what specifically should pet bloggers be looking for with regards to analytics?
Chloe: Yes! You can not have a full understanding of your audience if you don’t know how they found you. Make sure you have analytics installed; Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool, but it’s not the only tool. However, if you are looking to make your blog your business I would recommend installing Google Analytics. Use it to see what posts get the most traffic and where that traffic comes from. Is your biggest driver search? Pinterest? Twitter? Facebook? Something else? And how long do you people usually stay on your blog once they land there? That can help you know if your content is engaging. If it takes an average of 3 minutes to read a blog post and people are only staying on your site for 1.5 minutes, then they are probably not really engaging with your content. Reviewing all these stats can help you decide new things to try, and from those things you’ll find what works and what doesn’t.
Robbi: Aaahhh analytics. I love them and I hate them. In the beginning I would check analytics on my post almost hourly. I’d either jump for joy or cry in a corner (not that bad, but sometimes close) wondering why no one was reading!) Now, there are so many places to gather “analytics” whether on your blog or your Facebook insights or the shares and repins you have on Pinterest to the +1s on Google+ that you need to decide whether you want to add them all together to come up with a sum total of how well a post did or you can look at each individually and try to see (by perhaps comparing the same post across all of your platforms) and seeing which did the best. (hint, the ones that do the best on a particular platform could very well be because your audience is gathering there and not on another platform. What do I mean? Perhaps your audience is on LinkedIn rather than Google+. Maybe they prefer Twitter over Facebook. Knowing this will help you target where you spend your time and effort.)
CONTENT EVALUATION IS CRUCIAL
What is meant by “content evaluation” and how often should a blogger be considering this topic?
Chloe: There are many different types of content, and all of it can be repurposed in different ways. When you look at your content do you find some that did not do as well as you expected? Take the information from that content and re-purpose it. Maybe it needs better images. Maybe it needs sub-headings. Are certain types of content working better on your blog than others? How can you leverage that? Evaluating your content, along with your analytics, is a good monthly practice.
Robbi: Content evaluation is something that I think a blogger should perform at least annually — but even better — every six months. Why? If your audience has changed you may need to change with them. If your own writing and niche has shifted, you may need to refocus your keywords so that you’re still being found on Google searches. A content evaluation encompasses your entire website — from your home page to your about page, services you offer and your blog. It needs to be a cohesive representation of who you are. We had a Blog Spring Cleaning series in which we asked our bloggers to offer gentle critiques of each others’ blogs and see what an unbiased onlooker thought at first glance. It was eye opening for several of our bloggers and many of them took the suggestions to heart. Having a fresh set of eyes evaluate your blog will help keep you relevant and your content in keeping with your niche.Here we all are at a team summit: Planning and strategizing all things BlogPaws
50/50 RULE…OR NO?
Is it more important to write good content or market it well – if both, is it 50/50 or?
Chloe: Definitely both. Great content can only be commended for being great content IF it is read. If no one is reading it, then it’s similar to the tree falling in the woods when no one is around. Create great content and then share it on every social media channels in different ways several times. Don’t just share a link on your Facebook page once. Share it there three times in one day, and in different ways. Once with a little intro and the link. Once as a photo from the post with a question the post answers, and another time asking people to engage and share your content. Do the same with everywhere else you share it.
Robbi: As a content creator I always feel you need good content first. Good content will be what you use to feed your social media platforms aka where you market it. There are some pet community members who are amazing on social media and rarely blog and I applaud them! I prefer to create great content, whether for a blog post, an ezine or a press release, and then use that as my jumping off point to filter bits and pieces of that across my social media platforms. If I was forced to give a percentage… I’d say 70/30 (70% great content 30% marketing it)
WHAT DO BRANDS WANT?
What sort of things are brands looking for with regard to blogger content?
Chloe: This is a hard one because every brand is different. Some brands like the content to be educational and straight forward without humor or levity. Some prefer the levity. Most look for good writing skills and grammar. Good images, which does not mean professional. You do not need a fancy camera and a lot of photography experience, but you should be able to produce a clear image in good light. Would a brand be proud to share the content you create? If you were always creating your content for a brand or a new site to share, would you do something differently? The answer should be no because you should create your content shareworthy each time.
Each week we’ll be highlighting a hot topic that is important to our bloggers, no matter the skill set or level. Our goal is to help you become a better blogger and learn from what we know and experience every day.
If you missed it, we talked monetizing with BlogPaws last week. Catch up here.
What’s your biggest blog marketing obstacle? How can we help?