The pet industry is booming.
In 2018, Americans spent $72 billion on their pets.
That number has been climbing steadily for at least 25 years. That includes the recessions in that timeframe including the big one in 2008. In fact, if you looked at the growth chart for the pet industry you wouldn’t even be able to pick out the recessions.
The seem to prove the case. But you probably can think of your own supporting evidence as well. I know that my generation seems to be having kids later in life while also possibly cutting back on the total number of children compared to previous generations.
Some prefer pets. Possibly for emotional reasons, but also for cost reasons. Pets can be expensive, but compared to raising a child, a pet can be very inexpensive. And while many would say that a pet could never compare to a human child, you may be surprised at how some people feel.
Anyway, the pet industry is booming and as a result there is a big opportunity to start a pet blog. If you’re a business owner selling anything involving pets then you have a big opportunity.
Here are a few steps for starting your own pet blog.
1. On Your Own Site or Domain
The first step is setting up the blog. If possible, and it should be possible, is to host the blog right on the same site you use for your business. Even if you have a unique software for your website you can still usually work with your on-staff programmers or someone at your hosting company to get the blog site as yoursite.com/blog/ or blog.yoursite.com. Either is fine. The first is probably better.
You can typically even install the blogging software WordPress just for the blog. It’s the best blogging software available and looks to continue to be going forward.
Having the blog on your site makes it easy for you to manage. It makes it easy for the reader to see who is creating the content. Because of that reason it’s also a positive for SEO.
2. Writing Responsibility
Identifying someone internally to write the posts is a crucial step. Seek out those that are very knowledgable in the pet industry and also those that have writing interests or skills. Sometimes you might have a great writer that can work with a great insider with knowledge to co-create great content.
For example, I used to work in marketing for a shoe company. I would connect with the merchandisers to discuss their insider knowledge about upcoming fashion trends and more. They didn’t want to write, but I could use their knowledge to create a steady stream of blog content that shoe lovers found interesting and helpful.
You can have someone that blogs kind of on the side of their regular job. But it’s up to you to make sure you A) allow them time to write in their schedule and B) make it a priority so they don’t push it off their list when unexpected things come up in other areas of their job.
3. Overall Strategy & Titles
The best strategy for any blog including a pet blog is to focus on the Entertainment and Education. This is the type of content people are searching for. Some are looking for sales-related content. Content about products and services. But you want those people to find your sales and product pages, not your blog posts.
Pet lovers are looking for entertaining content like, 10 Reasons Why Dogs Chase Their Tails. They also might want something educational and helpful like, How To Train Your Current Cat To Accept A New Kitten. You could also combine entertainment and education with a title like, Why Does My Dog Stare At Me When She’s Chewing Something?.
Use Entertainment and Education as your main strategy. Then separate the title brainstorming from the writing. Come up with ~2 months worth of titles. Add them to a schedule. Then when you’re down to about two titles left, brainstorm again.
4. Consistent Schedule & Quantity
Speaking of a blogging schedule, definitely have the writer use one. It can be a simple spreadsheet. Title, notes, publish date. Have them leave at least a couple days to “deliver” the post before the publish date. This way there is leeway for when something comes up and they have to push off the post.
Also have them write at least weekly posts. If possible, have them write 3 posts per week. Aim for about 600 words. That’s about a 3-5 minute read. Some can be longer. Some shorter. You can experiment with that, but 600 is a good place to begin.
Allow the writer to focus on quantity and quality. But a little more on quantity at first. Let them know that you trust that they will get better the more they create. If they’re too stressed about quality during the initial stages they will be so worried about creating the “perfect post” that they won’t create good content anyway and they probably will fall behind on the schedule.
When the writer completes the post, have them create 3-5 snippets. These are shorter sections of the post that can be published on social medial like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Have them schedule time to share them throughout the next few days after the post is published or you can use a social media scheduling software.
When you start the blog, have the writer focus mostly on production for a year. You likely won’t get tons of traffic that first year anyway unless you’re an established brand. The main goal is to go a year with consistent publishing. After the writer proves they can do that they can start to look back at the analytics to assess what is working and what isn’t connecting. That can lead to insights for future posts.
Also allow the writer room to experiment. They will probably find a formula for a type of post that works. Let them do that, but encourage them to try new formats. You never know when an experiment really hits with readers.
7. Non-Pet Businesses
One last tip. If you’re reading this and don’t sell pet-related products or services there is still an opportunity to create a pet blog.
Think about or assess your current customer base. If a high number of them are pet owners and especially those that really love their pets then you have a big opportunity.
I remember a great story about an attorney that created a blog all about golf. He found that a high number of his best clients were obsessed with golf. So he wrote about golf and attracted golfers and many of those golfers fit his target market and wanted his services.
You don’t need to sell dog food to find return on a pet blog. I’m sure dental customers love pets. The same with bank customers or food truck customers that walk in the park with their pets on food truck night.
A blog is a big commitment. It is something you can test, but typically it’ll take a few years of commitment to a consistent schedule to see results. That provides a barrier to entry, but it also creates a big opportunity if you’re willing to invest the effort. Hopefully the tips here help you find that success.