When I launched Keep the Tail Wagging, a local marketing expert took the time to ask Google how many pet blogs were active and came back with a crazy number. I don’t remember what it was, but it was huge. I realized that I’m a minnow swimming in an ocean full of pet bloggers.
Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.
A year later, Keep the Tail Wagging had over 14,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. I was emailing regularly with PR professionals from major pet brands and coming home to fun packages for our dogs. I even had the courage to submit a proposal to be a speaker at BlogPaws 2013.
How did I get my blog to stand out in a popular niche? I just kept swimming.
Not everyone is interested in blog notoriety or making money. But I think pet bloggers have a bigger responsibility to consider. We have a powerful voice and a dedicated audience of animal lovers we can influence on a daily basis. This makes us very valuable to pet brands, rescue groups, and even the reputable breeders out there. The impact we can have on animal health and wellness is tremendous and that should inspire us to do more to stand out.
That being said, here are 10 ways to help your blog stand out in a popular niche like pet blogging.
1. Identify Your Blog’s Purpose – are you blogging to raise awareness, promote a business, or just blab on about your adorable fur baby? Knowing why your blogging and what you hope to gain (traffic, influence, friends), will help you create boundaries to keep your blog on tract and sets expectations for your audience and brands.
2. Set Goals for Your Blog – you can start by asking yourself what you would like to do with your blog this year and dream big! Setting goals is another way to stay on track with your blog. If you want to build a target readership of dog lovers, then you should probably stop writing about guinea pigs.
3. Select a Micro Niche – a micro niche is a topic within the topic of pets or dogs and cats. The benefit of a micro niche is that you can attract a dedicated audience who can relate specifically to your subject. As a dog blogger, my site attracts dog lovers; but I have a dedicated following of fur parents who are raising littermates.
4. Create Quality Content – yeah yeah, we’ve all heard this one before. When I started Keep the Tail Wagging, I created an image of my ideal reader and I write for her; today, 90% of my readers are women who love dogs. My ‘ideal reader’ helped me create quality content and develop my blog’s tone.
5. Write Clickable Titles – I struggled with this step until I started noticing what made me click on one title versus another. A great place for this experiment is your Triberr stream. Some posts I would just share, others I would click/read/comment.
Today, when I write a title, I keep two things in mind: (1) what people are searching for and (2) what spark’s a dog lover’s curiosity. In the example below, which would you click?
What Inspired My Love of Animals vs. My Passion for Dogs Sprouted from My Mother’s Hatred of Me
6. Go Where the Bloggers Go – I belong to Triberr and several groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. My Triberr membership helps me with post promotion and all of these networking sites have helped me connect with other bloggers who inspire and teach me every day. Other bloggers not only share what’s working for them, which gives you ideas of things that’ll work to build your blog.
7. Became Your Own Cheerleader – I use Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to find opportunities to promote my blog; check out the February issue of Women’s Day magazine, page 152. HARO sends 3 emails a day; I scroll through them looking for opportunities to promote myself and my blog by responding to queries about blogging, social media, and dogs.
8. Become Familiar with SEO Basics – Many bloggers shy away from SEO, because it seems too hard but there are great resources out there to help you get the basics. You can start today by increasing inbound links to specific pages and posts on your site when commenting on blogs. Think of what keywords people would use that will bring them to your blog post and use those when crafting your title and article. And link back to your older articles when you’re writing.
9. Become an Authority – I don’t know everything about dogs, but I do know something about living with three dogs and raising littermates. I share this knowledge by starting and participating in discussions on various social networking sites. Go a step further and share your thoughts on a discussion in a blog post.
10. Celebrate You! – No matter how popular a niche is, the one thing that you have that others don’t is YOU. We’re all unique and have a unique voice and ultimately our audience is attracted to us. So don’t compete with all the other bloggers out there; instead, let them inspire you.
Now it’s Your turn! What do you do to stand out in a popular niche?
About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the Editor in Chief of Keep the Tail Wagging and offers dog care tips to dog owners. She also distributes the weekly newsletter, Blogging in My Pajamas. When she's not gabbing about dogs and blogging, she is hanging out with three dogs, her dog co-parent, and planning to take over the world.