For this edition of the PetSittingOlogy Digital Series, Josh Cary interviews writer and entrepreneur John…
“I don’t know what to write about.”
Have you ever said that when thinking about blogging? It is probably the most common reason people give as to why they haven’t started blogging yet.
This article and video are going to take that reason totally and completely off of the table. It won’t exist anymore.
Press Play and Enjoy The Video:
@petsittingology Great webinar on blogging tonight! Thanks for allowing me to join in – feeling inspired
— Sarah Rodgers (@SpottedHoundUK) September 29, 2015
Here are the 5 Ways To Get Blog Topics as outlined in the video:
1) The Low Hanging Fruit.
Check your email for all the questions and answers you’ve already provide. “Do you watch puppies? Can you handle senior dogs? Can my uncle’s cousin sleep on the couch when you’re there… Do you watch chickens, hamsters, snakes, unicorns?”
Go back through old emails (and begin to be aware of current emails for topics) for written answers you may have already provided, and see what you can expand on.
You can do the same for all phone calls you have with potential clients. Every piece of dialogue could be ripe for blog topics. Especially the ones you find yourself repeating over and over. When a potential clients calls and asks a question, you don’t say to them “hold on, I need to think about that for a minute. I’ll get back to you.” Of course you don’t.
They ask. You answer.
Write the question in the Title Section of your blog post article.
Write the answer as the body/content of your blog.
Do you do every-other-day visits for cats? Why or why not? There’s your first blog post topic.
2) Your Business Process and Policies
How things work and why they are in place.
- WHY is your cancellation policy in place to benefit the client?
- Do you take last minute reservations?
- What constitutes “last minute?”
- Why do you need two sets of keys?
- What if the key does not work and you need to call a locksmith?
- What can I expect on the meet and greet?
- What happens at my house?
- What do I need to have ready or prepare (and why)?
- Do you need to go through my house room by room?
- Do I need to show you where I keep my cleaning products?
This is not a debate as to what policies you have in place. It is your business and you run it however it works best for you.
THAT’S WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT FROM OTHER PET SITTERS!
Some pet sitters say that we are losing potential clients because we do not accept Credit Cards. We’re not. I don’t care if you take plastic or not, we don’t. And I’m going to go write a blog about that topic right now. You should too! (Why you take them OR why you don’t – there is no wrong answer!) Always talk about the benefit to the pet client for your listed policies.
3) Best Of lists. (Or Top (3, 5, 10) Lists)
Top 5 pet friendly restaurants, beaches, dog parks, pet food stores, vets who love cats…
Have you made the rounds in your town dropping off business cards and then don’t get one call?
Because you haven’t made an investment. You don’t stand out from any of the other pet sitters that make the same rounds to the same pet stores, the same vets etc.
Go into your local pet store and talk with owner. Don’t sell yourself. Sell them.
Ask to see new cat toys and do a review of it (and take some pics). Ask for their most popular item and write about it. Include a link to the store, the name of the owner, address, where to park (if applicable). When you are finished, email the link to your blog to the owner thanking her for her time.
Which method – taking 5 minutes to drop of business cards OR spending the time to build a relationship.
Which method will have the store referring you to everyone who walks in their door?
(Did a lightbulb just go off?)
Lauren Hollas, owner of Leander Pet Care in Leander, TX wrote an article on the 5 Best Dog Parks In The Austin Area.
She starts out by answering the question of why dog parks can be beneficial to dogs. And then she lists 5 area dog parks, the address of each along with a brief description.
Brilliant. Why? Because I bet there are a lot of people putting “dog parks near Austin” into the Google search box. Guess who’s article will come up? Lauren’s! She is doing 3 things with this topic:
- Being helpful. She knows about the local dog parks, she knows people will want information about them and she provides that information.
- While not directly related to pet sitting, she is reaching her audience. People with dogs who have a vested interest in their socialization and physical activity. Like attracts like.
- Education. The people searching for dog parks may not know that pet sitting exists. She got them onto her site with this article and now they know, and will potentially call her when they need a pet sitter.
This article in and of itself is perfect. A way to take it to the next level would be to write a more in depth blog on each individual dog park. Include pictures of the park, does it have water, shade, is it easy to get too….
While you are at each park taking pictures, take a video. Upload the video to YouTube, embed it into your blog.
So out of that 1 topic (5 Dog Parks In The Austin Area) you have:
5 articles on the individual parks
5 videos on the individual parks
Include the original blog with the above and you have 11 blogs!!! 11!!
What if I don’t have dog parks in my area?
Do the same concept with vet offices. Or groomers. Or hiking trails….
Highlight and showcase your wonderful furry clients.
Show how you’ve overcome an issue. Excited dog that jumps? Anxious, hiding cat? Animal that won’t eat? Dog tricks and cute adorable things they do.
Take a video with your phone (it doesn’t need to be more high tech than that) and make a blog out of the parrot dancing, or dog fetching, or odd purr that a cat may have.
THOSE ARE ALL GOOD TOPICS!!
You can also spotlight the human client.
Why does this amazing client use you? Do they have a cool job that takes them away each year? Do they work with animals? Have they achieved something interesting?
People love human interest stories. Also, YOUR history in other professions and how you use those talents and skills in this business.
5) Professional Insight/Experience
Highlight what you do as the go-to professional.
- Can you give injections?
- Experience with seizures in dogs?
- Understand obesity in cats?
- Trained in first aid?
- Can you suggest better food/diet options?
- Do you jog with dogs?
You are a professional. Detail those aspects about how you are THE professional.
You must find all the ways that they need to hire YOU and nobody else.
Answer the question: Why YOU and not the neighbor’s kid? (It’s more than having insurance and being bonded).
If I have a dog with epilepsy and I see that a pet sitter has written about their experience with epileptic dogs – who do you think I’m going to want watching my dog?! The pet sitter with that professional experience! That will tip the scale EVEN IF THEIR PRICES ARE HIGHER (but that’s another blog topic!)
BONUS) What to do if you get writer’s block?
This dialogue is about making sure you have the correct tools at your disposal out of the gate, so you can dip into the well if you are not sure what to write about at any time.
Josh uses and recommends the free app Evernote. Another great tool is the audio recorder on your phone.
Get into the habit of immediately always jotting down ideas, thoughts, titles, post ideas, etc so when you have a block, you can go back to your notes and easily pick something to blog about.
Laura’s approach is to take a step back. Staring at a blank screen waiting for words to come to you is a waste of time.
You are not writing the next War & Peace, there is no professor that is going to grade your blog. If it’s not coming to you, step away from your computer. Or even write about a different topic. Just because you told yourself you would write about heat stroke in dogs, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind and write about places in town to keep your dog cool.
Now that we crushed “I don’t know what to write about”, what can we help you with?