Why You Should Write Longform Guides on Your Blog

Part of the struggle of being a blogger is getting traffic to your site. Ideally, you want to drive traffic in the long term. Sharing a post on all your social media accounts might get you some traffic today and tomorrow, but it’s not going to send people to your blog a year from now.

One of the best strategies for generating traffic is longform content creation. Generally, the term longform refers to content that’s over 1,500 words, so we’re talking about really long, in-depth articles and guides.

Why You Should Write Longform Guides on Your Blog

For reference, this guide is the third result for the search term “how to take care of a frog.” It’s a bit over 1,500 words, which makes it longform content.

Why is longform content so good? Simply put, search engines prefer it. This graph displays the average length of the top 10 results on Google.

Average content length of top 10 results

Notice how all of the results are over 2,000 words. This means that on any given search, the results on the first page will likely be over 2,000 words.

Search engines prefer longer content because it provides more value and information to readers. Longer content can also answer several questions that readers may have, making it even more valuable. This is why search engines will almost always rank longer content higher than shorter content.

Longform content also typically keeps its search engine ranking. In other words, it doesn’t move too much in search engines. If your blog is on page one of Google as result five, it likely won’t move too far either way. This makes your blog visible over a long period of time, which will drive even more traffic.

As a pet blogger, you can benefit greatly from longform guides. By all means, you can make all of your blog posts over 1,500 words, but creating a few really long guides will give you a unique advantage because you’ll have longform evergreen content. It’s also an easier way to start if you’re intimidated by longform content. Read more: How to Make Your Blog More Evergreen.

These guides should answer your readers’ burning questions. Of course, they have to be extremely relevant. If your blog is all about dogs, your guides should cover some aspect of dog care or lifestyle.

There are a few things to keep in mind when writing longform guides.

First, length isn’t enough.

Your content also needs to be deep and comprehensive. Go into extreme detail about everything, and explore the nuances of your topic. If you write 3,000 words of filler, it’s not going to benefit you or your readers.

Second, make it readable.

No one wants to read huge blocks of text, so keep your paragraphs fairly short, about three to five lines or so. You should also use headings, subheadings, and images to break up the content. Read more: Formatting Your Blog Content for SEO.

Third, make sure your content has good on-page SEO.

You want it to be as search engine friendly as possible. Read more: SEO Should Not Make Your Fur Fall Out.

This is a great opportunity to drive tons of traffic to your blog, so if you’ve been struggling to get new readers, try this out. And, longform content is good for more than getting more traffic. It allows you to provide a ton of value to your readers and position yourself as an authority.

Your turn!

Have you published any longform content on your blog? If so, how was it received? And feel free to drop a link in the comments so we can all get inspired by your work! Conversely, if you haven’t, what’s holding you back? What questions do you still have? 

Ian Chandler is a freelance writer who’s been published on sites like The Penny Hoarder and SitePoint. You can view his portfolio here.

Image: ArthurStock/Shutterstock.com

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5 Productivity Hacks for Nomadic Pet Bloggers

One of the perks of being a nomadic pet blogger is that you can dictate where, how and when you write. However, therein lies the problem—coffee breaks can last for hours, tasks get put off until “tomorrow,” and nothing gets done.

So, before you bundle your cat/dog/fish into the car, hook up the trailer and take off, read over these five tried and tested productivity hacks for nomadic pet bloggers.

5 Productivity Hacks For Nomadic Pet Bloggers

Work with Your Concentration Span

There comes a point when your brain just won’t ‘play ball’ anymore. Pushing past this point will not only result in poor-quality work, but you will probably take twice as long to produce it.

Next time you sit down to write, instead of planning to be at the computer for four hours straight, try breaking your work up into smaller, bite-sized chunks. One way to do this, known as the Pomorodo technique, has been covered in one of our previous BlogPaws blogs. In a nutshell, it involves taking five minute breaks every 25 minutes.

Plan Out Your Tasks For the Week

At the end of your working week, take a few minutes to plan out the next. Take into consideration deadlines, meetings, and other tasks you need to accomplish in order to get your posts ready to publish.

Using some kind of organizational tool will also help. You could take a traditional approach such as a paper diary, or you could use an app, like Trello, to keep track of your work.

Find a Creative Space

If you’re on the road, your space may be limited, or constantly changing. So I’m not talking about commissioning a designer studio. But it definitely helps if you have a designated spot that is not only comfortable, but also ensures you have “gone to work” mentally. A local park, cafe or shared workspace may be the ideal spot for you.

Have a WiFi Contingency Plan

Dodgy internet will affect the speed at which you can work, and will jeopardize your ability to submit or publish on time. If WiFi is sketchy where you happen to be, save yourself a huge headache, and devise a plan B.

If you are based in a city, you may be able to find a shared workspace. Alternatively, find a nearby cafe that offers free WiFi (and great coffee), or have an emergency stash of mobile data on your phone, just in case there is a drop out right when you need to submit.

Schedule In Down Time

Don’t forget the reason you embarked on your pet blogging journey! If you don’t pencil in some time out to relax with your friends, human or animal, your writing will become a drag, and you will be less productive.

The beauty of blogging is that you can create a schedule that is just right for you. You might like to work shorter days and take afternoons off. Or you might prefer to schedule in a day or two each week when you promise not to touch your laptop. Others prefer to plan for a longer break each year.

Your Turn

Do you have any productivity tips you would like to share? Be sure to comment below. And if you found this article helpful, please share!

Penny writes with the aim of educating and empowering pet parents to make decisions that benefit both their own health, and that of their four legged family members. Penny has a career background in mental health and aged care. Throughout her career she has seen first hand that a healthy relationship between humans and animals can hold great benefits for both parties. She hopes she can foster such healthy bonds through her writing. You can check out more of Penny’s work, or contact her by visiting her at www.healthfulcontent.blogspot.com.

Image: welcomia/Shutterstock.com

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Newsletter Services Comparison Blog Hop

So you want to start sending a newsletter to subscribers or you are considering switching to a new service. This week’s blog hop is dedicated to newsletter services comparison.

Bloggers and newsletter services

As bloggers and influencers, we consider ourselves to be small businesses, and for many of us, we have that legal entity on paper (LLC, S Corp, etc.). Over at WPBeginner, they’ve outlined the  Seven Best Email Marketing Services for Small Businesses, 2018 edition.  In their post, they turn the spotlight on:

  1. Constant Contact
  2. Drip
  3. ConvertKit
  4. AWeber
  5. GetResponse
  6. MailChimp
  7. Active Campaign

There are other email newsletter services, but the ones mentioned above are geared toward lead magnets and growing an email list with such online marketing techniques. When asked recently in the BlogPaws Facebook News and Boost Group about email newsletter services, here are some of the comments we received:

Laurren Darr says, “I switched last year from InfusionSoft to ActiveCampaign. It’s been less than half the cost and it’s worked great. One thing I like is that I can make ‘blocks’ that can be used in different newsletters – think an ad for a vendor, etc. that I can just move over in the graphical newsletter generator. I have forms on the websites that automatically add people to the list like most mail programs offer, etc.”

“I use MailChimp free version – I am honestly not very good at it so I just send out my RSS feed. It’s something I hope to focus on more in the future and improve,” says Joely Smith.

Read the entire conversation in the  BlogPaws Facebook News and Boost Group.


The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:




Image Credit: PEPPERSMINT/Shutterstock

 

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How to Use Lead Magnets to Grow an Email List

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These are examples of lead magnets: You promise the reader something in exchange for a piece of information (their email address, for example). High-converting lead magnets are those that you can incorporate into blog posts and social media content, and that provide a valuable, tangible ROI (return on investment) for both you and your subscriber.

Last week we talked about how to clean up an email list, and this week we will dive into the do’s and don’ts on how to use lead magnets in order to grow an email list.

How to grow an email list

Getting Started on Lead Magnets

You need an email list service in order to entice subscribers with your lead magnet so that your email list will grow. When I decided to go from blogger to entrepreneur, email strategy was and remains one of the key components to do so. With the recent changes in Facebook’s news feed targeting businesses, growing an email list is more important than ever.

Over at WP Beginner, they’ve outlined the 2018 edition of the best email services for professional bloggers. Which one is best for you depends on your goals, budget, plans, and needs. I’ve been a Mailchimp girl for a long time, but my 2018 blog plans include switching to something more in tune with my goals, so a change is coming for me.

Why Do I Need Lead Magnets

A solid email list is a must have in every professional blogger’s toolbox. Even if you are a hobby blogger or someone who plans to monetize a blog, an email list is comprised of your loyalists. In offering a valuable product via download and delivering on that promise with quality, your email subscribers are the ones who will promote you, return to visit, and spread the word about your awesomeness.

Sponsored posts, ad revenue, and affiliate-related posts rely heavily on pageviews and click throughs. Give your loyalists what they want and it returns to you tenfold. This statement is hard to apply in a day and age of less and less pageviews on Facebook and pay to play on most social media networks.

Asking someone to subscribe to your email list works for friends and family, but this is not a viable long-term sustainability plan for your blog’s success. Lead magnets ensure someone gets a quality product or service in exchange for giving up the holy grail of online marketing: their trusted email address.

Lead Magnets That Deliver

In order to get that highly coveted click through with email address freely given, the lead magnet you offer (“incentive”) needs to deliver. Gone are the days of “get 5 free tips”–100 words later, the person unsubscribes, potentially never to return.

It’s a new generation and everyone is vying for email addresses. Deliver quality that solves a problem or one of these other lead magnets that deliver:

  1. Checklists: 25 Conversations to Have With Your Cat’s Veterinarian or Checklist of Emergency Numbers for Pet Parents.
  2. Cheat Sheets: Everyone loves a hack, so consider delivering a ‘cheat sheet’ to make life easier. For example, Discover Insider Tips to Nail Your Next Job Interview or How to Find a Work From Home Job You Love.
  3. Free Ebooks: I’ve seen authors offer a small chapter from a book and offer it out for free as a lead magnet. You can embed a link into your freebie to entice the reader to purchase your entire book.
  4. Coupon: This is perfect for any professional blogger who sells products or services. “Get 10 percent off your next purchase” – and the means to obtain the code or discount is a name and email address.
  5. Printables: Everyone loves a freebie to hang on their bulletin board or refrigerator. Printables can be an effective tool especially if you offer a series of them. Be certain the printables are in line with your blog mission.

Promoting Lead Magnets

Once you’ve landed on an newsletter/email service and build out your lead magnet(s), the next step is to promote it.

  1. Place the lead magnet as a non-intrusive pop-up on your blog’s homepage. Most lead magnet programs include the option for the pop up not to appear if the visitor is already a subscriber. In doing so, the subscriber is not annoyed every time they visit your blog.
  2. Include the lead magnet in your email signature line. I use the professional version of Wisestamp, which allows me to customize my email signature’s content.
  3. Squeeze it in with a squeeze page.  Wordstream.com defines a squeeze page as, “A landing page designed to capture opt-in email addresses from potential subscribers. The goal of a squeeze page is to convince, cajole, or otherwise ”squeeze” a visitor into providing one of their most sought-after and coveted pieces of personal data: the email address.”
  4. Call to Action in Blog Post: Use your Calls to Action wisely by including a relevant one at the bottom of a blog post that beckons to your link magnet.
  5. Use the sign up button on Facebook and direct readers to your lead magnet in the cover photo.
  6. Make LinkedIn work for you: Add a lead magnet link to your personal profile in the summary area.
  7. Tweet with a purpose using your lead magnet. Experiment with text and images to see which one(s) work best and receive the most engagement and click throughs to actual sign ups.
  8. Business cards with a URL or a QR code on the back are great ways to include lead magnets at networking events and conferences, such as the BlogPaws Conference.

Advanced Lead Magnets

Here are a few more ideas if you’ve been working with lead magnets for a while or want some unique ideas to collect emails without annoying your visitors:

  1. Hold a Contest: Yes, there are folks who unsubscribe afterwards, but you can monitor this with a high quality email service.
  2. Create a Facebook Group and share quality content via lead magnets in the group weekly or monthly.
  3. High Quality Infographics make for a tempting printable. Provide one in exchange for an email address.
  4. Conduct a Free Webinar: Host a 20 minute webinar and collect emails to sign up. You can upsell in the webinar by referring folks to another piece of saleable content that you promote at the end of your webinar. You can also give something away during your free webinar to anyone who signs up for your email list.
  5. Atomize Your Awesomeness: Jay Baer shared that quip at last year’s BlogPaws Conference and it stuck. Develop a video and/or audio version of your content, perhaps with a podcast. Some people like to listen, as evidenced by the present popularity of podcasts. Provide this content as a lead magnet.

How to grow an email list

Lead Magnet Mega Important Tip

Once you acquire a fan, you want to keep them. It might sound like common sense, but keeping a fan is probably harder than acquiring them. If you promise a standout piece of content as a lead magnet, overdeliver. Be certain you do not abuse the emails you are collecting, and most importantly, that you deliver amazingly awesome future content with a plan and purpose.

The worst feeling a professional blogger experiences is that of an unsubscribe pang in the pit of their stomach. I know, I’ve been there. Watch your open rates, unsubscribe rates, and never spam or overshare content to the point that you annoy subscribers. People will always remember how you make them feel, so spread the good vibes.

Don’t Stop Now

Keep the knowledge flowing and make email magic with these blog posts:

How to Clean Up an Email List

How to Grow an Email List

Go Face to Face with the Pros

Learn more! BlogPaws has always been and will always be about and for the bloggers and influencers: Those who want to learn, grow, network, and take their blog to the “next level.” BlogPaws connects brands to bloggers and influencers and those who want to monetize, form relationships, and turn a passion for pets into a way to make money.Get your tickets to BlogPaws’ 10th Conference before they sell out.

Your Turn

Are you using lead magnets? If not, how can we help? If yes, are you successful with them?  Let us know in the comments below. We respond to all comments.

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.®

Images:  Floral Deco  / Jacob Lund  /Shutterstock.com

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Facebook’s News Feed Overhaul and What It Means for Pet Bloggers

Late last week, major news outlets reported that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg announced a major overhaul to the platform’s news feed.

Facebook's News Feed Overhaul and What It Means for Pet Bloggers

The New York Times reported, “Over the next few weeks, users will begin seeing fewer viral videos and news articles shared by media companies. Instead, Facebook will highlight posts that friends have interacted with — for example, a photo of your dog or a status update that many of them have commented on or liked.”

It’s an effort, Zuckerberg said, to reduce the negative feelings Facebook users experience and to replace them with positive ones. The intention of the shift is to make Facebook good for people, according to the Times article.

But does that mean bad for businesses–and blogs–that use Facebook to market?

Maybe.

Business Insider reported on an email sent to publishers, “People may see less content that comes directly from publishers, brands, and celebrities in their News Feed, Brown wrote. While that is likely to be disruptive, Brown suggested publishers could weather the change by prioritizing content that ‘encourages community connection.'” The piece continued, “Brown added: ‘Content from pages that drives interactions between friends will perform better than page content that drives only passive consumption without any person-to-person engagement.'”

In other words, be authentic and be engaging. Encourage conversation among your community. Those are best practices anyway.

BlogPaws’ own social media guru, Carol Bryant, shared her thoughts on the New Feed shift: “This does not make me panic. I do not believe Facebook pages are now a waste of time. Zuckerberg and company want to make money. To make it all about love and unicorns and let’s sing in the sunshine is not a sustainable business model. Paid content to be seen will still play a part. They would tank otherwise. That said, be sure to diversify and not put all your eggs in one social media basket. Grow that email list!”

Be sure to read Zuckerberg’s personal take and inspiration for this shift on his on page here. Or, read additional reporting from Bloomberg and CNET. We’ll be monitoring the changes closely and will share what we learn as soon as we can.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts surrounding the changes? Any gut reactions? Questions we can try to answer? Please share in the comments!

Image: adtapon duangnim / Shutterstock.com

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5 Goal-Getting Posts You Need for Blogging Success

Did you attend the first #BlogPawsChat of 2018?

We talked about setting goals and declarations for the new year. Everyone had tons of awesome, big, audacious goals. We’re now a few weeks into the new year: How’s your progress coming along on those big goals?

5 Goal-Getting Posts You Need for Blogging Success

Many bloggers and solopreneurs set lofty goals at the start of each year–as they should–but oftentimes the motivation and focus peter out as the days go by. The minutia of the everyday starts to pile on, and those big goals get pushed aside.

If, two weeks into the year, you feel yourself starting down that path, tackling emergent tasks all day long instead of chipping away at your big goals, this post is for you! Check out these five posts that tackle the biggest roadblocks to goal-getting:

If you’re losing motivation…

Go back to basics. Ask yourself: Is my content, is my time, are my goals aligned with my purpose? Be sure to read How to Align Your Why with Your Blogging Strategy for serious inspiration.

If you’re struggling with time management…

Check out Write Faster, Earn More: The Power of the Pomodoro Technique. From the post, “If you’ve ever felt like multi-tasking may lead to your early demise, you’ll appreciate this time-management strategy, which is based off the belief that juggling a million tasks without taking a break simply doesn’t work.” It’s a time-tested, effective method; in fact, my writing group swears by it for our weekly sessions!

If you’re in a slump…

OK, I’m sneaking two posts in here because slumps can happen for a couple reasons: either you’re just in a rut (which happens to everyone!) or you’re feeling stuck. If you’re in a rut–tired of the same old content–check out these 17 Ways to Get Out of a Rut. If you’re in a creative slump and feeling stuck, here are 15 hacks to get past feeling creatively fried.

If you’re looking to grow your technical skills…

Chief among the goals mentioned during that Twitter chat was developing technical abilities. Many bloggers launch because they’re passionate about writing or photography, not necessarily the nitty-gritty of what a blog technically requires. If you fall into that camp (I know I do!), one skill to develop this year is learning Google Analytics. This Advanced Google Analytics post is a great place to dive in!

If you’re being too hard on yourself…

Goal-getters are constantly too hard on themselves. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes; learn from them. Blogging is an ever-changing medium, and if you’re a goal-oriented person, it’s important to stop moving the bar on yourself. Take time to celebrate your wins! (Or, if you’re struggling with gremlins like imposter syndrome, read How to Be a Confident Influencer.)

Want even more goal-setting, goal-getting inspo? Check out this ultimate roundup of goal-digging blog posts to keep your eye on the prize!

Your turn!

What goals have you set for yourself and your blog for the year ahead? How are you progressing toward achieving them?

Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com

Image: 101010image/Shutterstock.com

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10 Tips to Keep Your Blog’s Content Fresh

Fresh content keeps loyal readers coming back, and it brings new readers to your site.

There are two ways to keep your blog’s content fresh: create new, helpful, shareable content or update and improve upon your blog’s archives. Doing both in tandem virtually guarantees that your blog will stay relevant to your existing and ideal audiences. Here’s how:

10 Tips to Keep Your Blog’s Content Fresh

10 Tips to Keep Your Blog’s Content Fresh

  1. Create a solid bank of evergreen content. Once you have timeliness, quality content created, you can use those posts to attract a new audience (see point 3 below) and to grow your cross-channel presence (see point 5 below). But you can’t take those steps toward growth until you’ve created helpful, shareable, engaging evergreen content. Read more: How and When to Create Evergreen or Cornerstone Content
  2. Check for broken links regularly. Broken links irritate readers. It’s as simple as that! I use a Broken Link Checker plugin to scan my site regularly and make updates as needed. Bonus: Replace old or outdated references with fresh, new links. Then, be sure to tag the folks you’re linking to when you re-share across social! Read more: What is a 404 Error and How Do I Fix It?
  3. Integrate new CTAs to old posts. If your goal in 2015 was to drive Facebook likes, most of your posts probably end with that CTA. If your 2018 goal is to drive newsletter signups, take some time to freshen up those old posts with the new CTAs and re-share to promote the new action. Read more: How to Create a Call to Action That Gets Readers Clicking Through
  4. Swap out the featured photo. Piece-of-cake update: Add new pinnables to old posts. Then, of course, don’t forget to re-pin on all your relevant boards!
  5. Use a scheduling tool to share and re-share with new, unique copy. “New, unique copy” is key. Most scheduling tools make it easy to post and repost the same messages over and over. That’s OK to a degree, but craft several different—though equally compelling—social messages so that your audience isn’t getting hit with the same text over and over.
  6. Eliminate the ROT: redundant, outdated (or obsolete), and trivial. If a post isn’t getting traffic or if you cringe when you see it in your archives, first try to update it. Can you tighten up the copy? Add a new pinnable? Replace some of the resources with new? If not, let the post go!
  7. Clean up static pages, like your About and PR pages. Nothing shouts “stale” quite as loudly as outdated contact info or an About page that no longer reflects you or your blog’s mission. (Or showcases a headshot that’s a decade old!) Read more: Must Haves to Include on Your About Me Page
  8. Build resource pages. Roundup your most useful information by topic to create a resource page that helps your audience navigate your helpful content. Infuse SEO terms, and create images that your audience can’t wait to share! BTW, this is a great way to decrease that bounce rate IF the posts you compile compel your readers to click through.
  9. Develop new skills. One constant in the blogging world: change! Keep your content fresh by always learning new skills, picking up fresh tips, and developing some of your own best practices. The Social Learning Community is a great place to start. Never be “finished” with your blogging education!
  10. Publish your best work. It’s easy to fall into the trap: “Argh, it’s Thursday. I always post on Thursdays. I have nothing to write. My audience expects a Thursday post. I better go pull something outta thin air.” Those outta-thin-air posts quickly add up and decrease the quality and relevancy of your blog. Before you click publish, ask yourself: If a brand-new, ideal reader were to land on THIS post before any other on my site, would I be proud? Would this post reflect my authenticity and be THE post to turn an ideal reader into a loyal reader?

Your turn!

How do you keep your blog’s content fresh and relevant? Which of these 10 are you going to try first? Any tips to add to this list? We’d love to hear ’em in the comments below!

Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.

Image: Rorygez Fresh/Shutterstock.com

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Blog Hop: Social Media Hot Tips for 2018

It’s the year to own your destiny. Heck, if you need even another reason, how about this: YOLO! You only live once, so why not make the next 365 days the best ones to come?  If you are on social media, then here are a bevvy of hot tips for 2018. Buckle up because some of these may surprise you and others, of course, you’ve seen them coming.

SOCIAL MEDIA 2018 TIPS

Video, Video and More Video

Fact: Forbes says, “Nearly half of businesses are already implementing social videos, with another 26 percent planning to implement in 2018.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: Know how and why you are producing videos for social media, if they make sense for you, and invest in the right equipment to make them happen. (Note: the investment need not be large scale).  Are you making these social media video mistakes?


Robots Are Taking Over – AI Style

Fact: Artificial intelligence will tell you which media ads in which variation perform the best. Forbes says that users can automate campaigns so that your best-performing posts boost to the biggest audience.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: You will still need to spend on much of social media in order to seek the desired results. Automation is here. Here’s why you should consider Facebook advertising.


The Rise of Instagram Stories

Fact: Instagram Stories will continue its upward ascent across the social media landscape. Consider that an account with 10,000 followers or more can also add links to their stories.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: If you follow this blog or do a search of this blog for “Instagram” or “Instagram Stories,” you will note we were ahead of this trend as it becomes a permanent part of social media domination. Here are some Advanced Tips To Drive Blog Traffic Using Instagram Stories.


Virtual and Augmented Reality Comes to Social Media

Fact: The folks at ImpactBND share, “While augmented reality’s initial impact will be on mobile gaming, it is likely that social media platforms will find more ways to incorporate the new technology as well.”  They share that Facebook, has been working on a project called Spaces that is designed to allow friends to connect in virtual reality.

BlogPaws Hot Tip: This truly gives new meaning to “face to face” and that’s a cue to snag your BlogPaws 2018 Conference ticket now.


Influencer Marketing Plants Its Flag

Fact: According to Entrepreneur.com, “Companies like North Face, Hubspot and Rolex use social media–based influencer marketing strategies to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences.”

BlogPaws Hot Tip: BlogPaws has long been ahead of this trends and envisions influencer marketing to finally gain the respect it so rightfully deserves.


The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:



Image:  garetsworkshop / Shutterstock

 

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How to Write a Knockout Blog Post

Having an idea for a killer blog post is the easy part. Writing a knockout blog post that touches on all the key elements from content to photography, promotion and inbound/outbound links is the more involved process. It sounds like a no brainer, the process for writing a knockout blog post, right? Even long-time blogging veterans may be surprised to find some tips and pointers to apply to future blog posts or updating older blog content.

How to write a knockout blog post

Pre-Requisite: Know Your Blog Audience

Something that we see time and again in the BlogPaws offices is a well-done post, but it is written to an audience that may not be the one best served by said content. Define your why and know your purpose.

No matter how long you have been blogging, each blog post should be geared to your target audience. If you are a cat blogger who writes about health and wellness, then articles about kitten training, cat litterbox issues, and senior cats and kidney disease are the types of content your audience wants. You know they want this content because you did your research prior to creating the blog.

Sometimes a blog post is geared for a specific portion of your blog’s audience. One of my consistently popular blog posts deals with torn anterior cruciate ligagments in dogs. That post is geared to a dog parent who either thinks their dog ruptured the ligament, indeed the dog is injured, or they want more information and options. Write to THAT audience for THAT post.

LEARN MORE: How to Serve Your Blog Audience

Develop the Content Idea

Our Director of Community Education, Aimee Beltran, suggests this system when developing content for a blog post:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What do I want them to do with the content? (Subscribe, share, etc)
  • How will the content be delivered? Blog post, social media post, video, ebook, etc?

Outline the Blog Post

As a second phase to developing the content idea, next you write an outline. This need not be a laborious process, but I could never do a blog post without some sort of outline.

Outlining helps hone your craft, tightens the focus, and like a map, it guides you to your destination. Some of the sections in my outline for a blog post include:

  • My topic or idea
  • A working headline, which I refine later
  • The problem it solves or addresses.
  • Why my reader should care. I ask myself “who cares” and until I can answer that, I won’t blog.
  • Sources and quotes/experts
  • Outbound and inbound links to include
  • Terms to rank for SEO-wise
  • Images I want to take and/or already have in my files

Your outline can be as simple as a one-page sheet of paper with subheadings on it or as intricate as desired; we all have different learning and planning styles.

Visual Asset Planning

A picture says a thousand words and a video says even more! Know what shots you want before you get the post started so that you can capture exactly the visual message you want to complement your prose. I take close to 2,000 photos a month on my iPhone, no kidding. I take candids of my dog, things we do together, places we visit (from PetSmart to the park, visiting friends), and I dump them onto my computer once a month. From there, I categorize and separate the images into files. I actually have files the likes of:

  • Body shots
  • Face close ups
  • Park
  • Dog with people
  • Sleeping

…and many more.

I do this so that whenever I am writing a blog post, I have an arsenal of photos from which to choose. Quite honestly, I have my own stock photos that I took! I edit the photos I love the most and might use, ditch the blurred ones, and then I clean my phone up, back up my files onto a hard drive and an online photo storage service, and I am good to go.

Videos I plan to embed into a blog post or those in support of my blog post I will use on social are a part of the visual asset planning process. It’s never one and done: If you blog it, use it over and over in a variety of ways. The same holds true for visual and video assets. More about that later.

Keyword Research

This is oh-so-important to your knockout blog post process. Keyword research does NOT mean keyword stuffing. The traditional definition of a “good” keyword is one that has low competition from other sites attempting to rank with traffic from the keyword along with a high number of monthly searches. Finding that balance is the sweet spot for bloggers.

Your goal with a blog post is to create an ultimate resource with both short and longtail keywords. Long tail keywords have long staying power if properly executed in blog post. Why long tail? Longtail keywords are more closely related to the questions your readers are asking/searching for; they are actually easier to rank for; and since they target your specific audience, more relevant traffic is directed to your blog.

Here are three steps for finding juicy keyword nuggets.

Write a blog post

Determine Headline and Subheads: Brainstorm and Then Brainstorm Again

Work primary and secondary keywords into your headline if possible, and apply some time in determining your headline. Our Director of Content, Maggie Marton, says, “No matter how brilliant your writing, or how gorgeous your photography, unless you grab a reader’s attention with a catchy, click-worthy headline, you won’t capture new readers.”

An eye-catching title can make or break a post. Personally, I tend to spend more time developing a worthwhile title than many other things.Regardless of how your post is discovered: From a search engine to a tweet, the first thing a reader will see is that all important “headline” aka the title. Is your title worthy of the content within the post? Does it give the reader a full, enticing glance at what’s to come?

Think about those catchy headlines on glossy magazines as you stand in the supermarket check out line. The titles are designed to lure you in to buy the magazine or tabloid.

Here’s a 3-Step Process to Write Click-Worthy Headlines.

Subheadings break up a post and divide it into sections as this blog post illustrates.

It makes it easier for the reader to use and is another way to hold one’s attention span.

Similarly, bullet points and numbered lists are helpful. Bullet points are useful for stats, benefits, product features, short bits of info, and other data that you want to stand out.

Write

Blogging is not sheer opinion if you want to be considered an expert. I am not an expert in many of the topics on which I blog. I am, however, pretty darned good at finding folks who are experts in their respective fields. I utilize places like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), message boards, groups on Facebook, in-person networking to exchange business cards, industry-oriented mixers, Twitter, and so on.

Experts are out there. You need to find them to add credibility to a blog post. I suggest doing a blog post with opposing views and let your readers decide. Whichever route you take, do your research.

Please please and please check your grammar and spelling: It matters. Read it out loud to make sure that everything makes sense.

A stellar blog post instantly loses its appeal when a run on sentence comes into play and it never stops and the person writing it thinks that I want to stick around because I have nothing better to do than to hear about a great product and how super it is. See how annoying long that was? Don’t do it.

Bring it Home

An abrupt ending leaves the reader scratching their head, so summarize in a nice neat package for them. Re-emphasize your main points, perhaps circle back to your introduction, and give the reader the all-important call to action. A call to action is important at the end of a blog post but also in your social media promotions. A Call to Action is a statement that encourages your readers to take some sort of action.

For example:

  • Subscribe to my newsletter for posts just like this!
  • Add a comment to the bottom of this list and tell me what you think.
  • Follow me on Facebook.

Learn More: Discover how to successfully use a call to action.

Social Media Plan and Promotion

Our own Aimee Beltran says, “Writing blog posts takes a lot of time and hard work. The last thing you want is for nobody to read your posts. That is why you must have a solid promotional plan in place to grow your pageviews and audience. An effective social media marketing plan will help with this.”

Knowing how to promote a blog post and making the time to do so are pivotal to blog post success.

You don’t need to be on every single social media platform, and you don’t have to post everywhere at one time. In fact, the latter is highly frowned upon so as to avoid content saturation. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, and Co-Schedule allow for timed social media content.

Here are quick ways to promote blog posts (note: It isn’t one and done; be sure to recycle your posts and share social media content throughout the year).

Don’t Stop Now

If you want to start a pet blog and have no idea how to get going so you can use the tactics above, here’s a good place: How to Start a Pet Blog.

Learn how to do keyword research for your next blog post.

If you write it, readers will come, right? Not always, so if you want the readers, then identify them, determine how you will find them , and deliver with a knockout blog post and social sharing plan to enhance its longevity.

Connect Face to Face

Register for the BlogPaws 2018 Conference and invest in you. The BlogPaws 2018 Conference takes place in Kansas City, Missouri, April 18-20.  Join us and get your social media and blogging plans in order!

Bloggers at conference

Your Turn

What’s your process for writing a blog post? Do you have one? Does it resemble the above? Let us know in the comments below. We respond to all comments.

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.®

Images:  Floral Deco/  GaudiLab /Shutterstock.com

The post How to Write a Knockout Blog Post appeared first on BlogPaws.

Pet Blog Post Ideas to Kick off the New Year

Welcome to week two of 2018!

How are those New Year’s Declarations coming along?

If one of your 2018 goals was to build your audience by producing quality, consistent content, we’re here with some ideas to help build out your editorial calendar!

Pet Blog Post Ideas to Kick off the New Year

  1. Scope out the 2018 pet-related holidays and themes. From National Bubble Bath Day (that’s today!) to January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month, there’s something for everyone!
  2. 5 Facts About ___. It can be you, your pets, your blog, anything! In fact, this lends itself to a series and invites engagement. A perfect CTA: Share 5 facts about you/your pets/whatever the topic in the comments below!
  3. My Biggest Pet Peeve as a Pet Parent: For garnering engagement, you can’t beat this topic because everyone has some pretty big pet peeves, no matter what kind of pet they love. (Mine: People letting dogs off leash in on-leash areas!)
  4. Misconceptions about your pet: Whether it’s breed, size, coat color, adoptee, purebred, mutt, and so on, misconceptions about the pets we love abound. Address and dispel!
  5. Techy Pet Care: How do you integrate tech–from apps to wearables–in managing your pet’s care? What do you recommend? What do you not?
  6. A Social Handle Share-a-Thon: Building community around your blog builds success. Share your favorite social channel and invite your readers to do the same in the comments. Then, take a few minutes to follow and engage with them to build loyalty and friendships.
  7. Seasonal Must-Haves: If you gained affiliate income momentum with a range of holiday gift guides, don’t lose traction in the new year! Instead, think about product roundups that are relevant to the season, i.e. winter must-haves to keep dogs safe, your cats’ top-rated litter products, the best enrichment toys for hamsters, etc.
  8. Host a Challenge: Challenges create a ton of excitement among your community members. Events like “7 walks in 7 days” or “trick train your cat in 2 weeks” drive fun and social shares. Bonus tip: Create a unique hashtag around your event!
  9. Capitalize on the color of the year: Pantone names their Color of the Year, which drives a ton of hype on social media. Capture some of the excitement for yourself with a roundup or inspo post. (ICYMI, this year’s color is Ultra Violet.)
  10. List Posts: Love ’em or bored by ’em, list posts drive clicks. Some data indicates that odd-numbered lists and top 10s perform the best, but don’t let that info constrain your creativity. Integrate lists into your editorial calendar on a regular, rotating basis. Some January-friendly list ideas: 9 Ways to Enjoy Winter with Your Pet, 17 Must-Have Pet Products in Pantone’s Color of the Year, Top 10 Myths about Black Cats, and so on.

Your turn!

What’s on your editorial calendar for the month ahead? Any special posts to kick off the new year? If you decide to tackle any of these, please do drop the links in the comments below so we can all visit and engage!

Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws senior editor. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.

Image: nenetus/Shutterstock.com

The post Pet Blog Post Ideas to Kick off the New Year appeared first on BlogPaws.