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Blogging for the Greater Good

This guest post is by Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views.

My most popular blog post garnered over 500 comments. I asked my readers to leave a comment about their adopted pet. For each comment, a leading pet food manufacturer donated 25 bowls of food to a local animal shelter.

the greater good

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For those of you who volunteer at animal shelters, you know how hungry shelters can be for food and other supplies. Getting my readers to take action is the goal behind my blog, Pet News and Views. I want my readers to care about animals as much as I do—and they do!

So in addition to blogging about pet care, pet travel and other lifestyle pet and wildlife-related issues, I focus on the positive side of animal welfare. Writing about people who work with and on behalf of animals is my passion. I look up to these heroes, and so do my readers.

The couple in California who rescues dogs from hoarders, the 15-year old girl who runs her own animal shelter, the organization that has helped close a large number of greyhound race tracks, and many others are the subjects of my posts.

I ask my readers to contact state legislators to ask them to support or vote against specific bills. A bill before the Nevada senate denying water to wild horses and wild burros drew thousands to action. In addition to covering it on my blog, others posted similar calls to action on their blogs and on their Facebook pages. We asked our readers to send letters to the Nevada tourism office and to the senators stating we would boycott the state if the bill to deny water to horses was passed.

As soon as we learned that the bill was defeated, we asked our readers to send thank you notes. The power of blogging constantly amazes me.

Readers want to help

A call to action gives readers a chance to flex their voices and make a difference. I get a lot of “thank you” emails from readers who are happy to pitch in.

Accentuate the positive

I focus on the positive side of animal welfare. If I constantly posted all the negative stories, I wouldn’t be able to function—and readers would stay away. So, by reporting on my heroes and the good they are doing, readers are drawn in.

Find great people and their stories

I have contacted most public relations and media departments of animal nonprofits for story ideas and people to profile. I get information—usually a press release—and contact names and numbers so I can conduct an interview. I’m sure many of you can do the same. So many nonprofits have important stories that are often overlooked by mainstream media. Just ask, and I’m sure you will get a welcome reception. Heck, they will put you on their press lists and invite you to their events.

Going for the stars

While my favorite stories are about everyday people who make a difference, I recently started covering celebrities. I don’t watch much TV. I don’t read People, Us Weekly, or gossip blogs. I never cared about the lives of celebrities, but I’m starting to post about those who are using their celebrity to help animals. These stories have a higher Google ranking than my non-celebrity stories.

If I were to write about their personal lives, I wouldn’t get a response. However, when I ask a media rep if I can interview their client about a specific cause that client is involved with, I almost always get a “yes.”

Do a Google search, and enter the name of the celebrity followed by the word “causes.” Check out the cause, and if it is a match for your blog, contact the nonprofit. For instance, Reese Witherspoon volunteers on behalf of the Children’s Defense Fund and other child-related nonprofits. Obviously, she is not a fit for my blog. But if you are a mommy blogger, she is a good candidate.

I have written a lot about Farm Sanctuary; it is one of my favorite nonprofits and they get a lot of celebrity endorsements. Thanks to my connections at Farm Sanctuary, I was able to post stories about Emily Deschanel of the hit series Bones and Wendie Malick of Hot in Cleveland. I also got to post a story on Jackie Chan, who volunteers on behalf of several wildlife causes. His celebrity got to me—I was starstruck!

By focusing on the good that the celebrity is doing, I get to promote a cause that is also important to me. Plus, I get to interview someone who will bring my blog numbers up. Even the B-list celebrities count! Some musicians have their own following, and when I post a story about an up and coming group, they let their followers know—which brings more traffic to my blog.

And as an added bonus, the staff at the nonprofits I cover are regular readers of my blog. My biggest thrill was reporting on the Born Free Foundation, and the director left a comment.

A friend told me not to worry about my numbers, but to be concerned about who is reading and commenting. Pet News and Views is a niche blog. It covers people who have pets and who care about wildlife and farm animals. I’m reaching my peeps—people I truly am in sync with.

Advertisers

My advertisers know that, too. I recently told an advertiser from the U.K. that while I have readers in the U.K. (and I want more), the majority of my readers are in the states. His company sells pet products in the U.K., and I thought he would be better off finding a blog with a larger U.K. readership. He said he wanted to advertise on my blog because the readers really care about the topics and seem to take an active role.

So that takes me back to blogging for a cause and knowing my audience. They are concerned about the same issues I am. And for that, I feel fortunate.

Michele C. Hollow writes the blog Pet News and Views (http://www.petnewsandviews.com), a site for pet lovers and admirers of wildlife. Her blog focuses on pet care and the people who work with and on behalf of animals.

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Comments

  1. I rescued my boo Girl and she is the best dog ever. She is always there when no one else is. and she makes some of the most silly faces. I pray one day we have no homeless animals and people realize how important it is to be responsible for an animal. thay are alive and feelings too.

  2. Blogging for the greater good? Not sure I like the sound of this. However, I like dogs.

  3. The picture is so cute! Great project.

  4. I love dogs, people care so much about their pets and by using this subject matter you not only create empathy for your cause but for the suffering of the animals. I can see why the UK advertiser wanted to advertise on your blog as a visitor from your site is more likely to recommend and be a brand evangelist for his product if he can continue their empathy by linking a worthy cause to his product for example donating profits to animal shelters.

    I have been blogging for a while but only recently have been putting a lot of time towards it. I would like to help families living in poverty but not quite sure how I will get there yet. This not only helps users relate to my cause but means I will feel like I am working towards something bigger than myself and more worthy.

    • It does make you feel good Phil. Look for a nonprofit that focuses on homeless people or a community center that has programs for low income adults or kids. Then write about them. Maybe you can host a fund raiser on your blog. Within the next 2 weeks, I am doing a fund raiser with Iams (they are rolling out two high end dog food products) to donate food to my local pet shelter. For every comment I get on my blog, Iams will donate a certain amount of food. Good luck Phil!

  5. gazzali says:

    yea i agree. The title is too great for dog care

    http://mylifepage.blogspot.com

  6. Michele your doing a great work,keep it up….i know there are very few people in this whole world who care for dogs and pets.i really want to appreciate you for this great blog post,making readers understand the importance of caring about pets and dogs….

  7. Debdip Ghosh says:

    Blogging can gain you information abt everything in lifel …I personnaly follow blogs for most of my probems
    Technical ….or ever household

    It makes you feel connected…Can even bring out a writer from you !!

  8. soubhiks says:

    he great post to help out the poor creatres…

  9. soubhiks says:

    hey great post to help out the poor creatures… great one. :)

  10. I tend to agree with most of the things said in this post. When you’re blogging about something that people truly care about, you’re definitely able to convert that passion into dollars (whether it be for the greater good or for personal profit). The stronger the personal connection, the more potential your site has.

  11. No doubt Blogging has become a great weapon to show your feelings.

  12. NairaMan says:

    The internet is a space for providing free services. That is if you are like me following the Google, Yahoo, Facebook model. Give something for free and get the readers to come in, and you might be lucky to get them interested in what you have to sell.

    So for me Blogging for the Greater Good reads: Give something for free always without expecting something in return, and you will get returns from it. Everyone is happy after all.

  13. alls says:

    Every live corner can be very interested story to your blog.

  14. really great post and unique. i found your blog interesting.

  15. Marie Noelle says:

    “My most popular blog post garnered over 500 comments. I asked my readers to leave a comment about their adopted pet. For each comment, a leading pet food manufacturer donated 25 bowls of food to a local animal shelter.”

    That is such a nice thing to do!

    • Thanks Marie, I’m actually hosting another contest in a week or two. I will ask readers to leave comments and Iams will donate food to my local animal shelter.

  16. Michelle! FABULOUS! I love what you’re doing and thank you for it. What you write in your post is so beautifully applicable to general blogging instruction as well. Well done all around!
    Currently caring for one stray kitten in the studio and his family at large in the yard,
    Suzanne
    suzannemcdermott.com
    drawandwatercolor.com

  17. I have to say that I have gained a lot in terms of structuring my blog posts after reading this great post. Thanks a lot for sharing this info.

  18. James Greg says:

    Getting 500 comments means you were the cause to feed 500 pets that’s a huge cause and I must say every blogger must do this kind of fund raising at least once a year

    • It’s a great goal James. I do it for the animals, and there are so many important causes out there. In another week or two, I’m hosting another contest to feed animals at my local shelter. The great thing is that there is no $$ involved. By just leaving a comment, people can help!

  19. Alex Neuer says:

    If it’s for a good cause then why not? In fact it is a great idea to do that. Well thought.

  20. Thank you for the great post, I really liked it!

  21. matthew says:

    I like to blog about things I like to talk about, it makes the content easier to read and its then simple to write timeless information.

  22. Sam says:

    Not many people may like this, but I hate it when I see car stickers that suggest pet euthanasia. We may be anatomically and physiologically different than animals, but we are related.

  23. As a pet blogger people always ask me what my favorite breed is, and I always say “a rescue.” thanks Scarlet