It’s incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by fellow No Kill advocates – putting faces to the names of those I SO admire. Fellow bloggers, members of the 90% club, leaders of game-changing organizations. I am floored.
This morning, at the No Kill Conference, I attended an Advocacy Blogging workshop with Brent Toellner of KC Dog Blog, and Shirley Thistlethwaite of YesBiscuit!. Both are incredibly well-respected bloggers that I highly admire.
Their talk was excellent; and one of the key elements I took away from the presentation is reaffirmation of the concept that we ARE a community. No Kill bloggers work together – we highlight one another’s work; we share; we talk. And there need to be more of us.
Through blogging, we can make a major impact on shelter reform issues. Entrenched shelter directors and high kill facilities SHOULD be afraid, as we cover and report on the issues that the mainstream media may not. They can’t shut us up, they can’t control us, and we have the whole internet as our audience. This is the world of the citizen journalist.
Here were some other key points I took away from this workshop:
- Online is now the single biggest news source, which is a major benefit to bloggers.
- People trust blogs from people they know – so it’s key to build relationships with people online.
- Focus your blog’s topic when starting out – but remember that it will evolve over time.
- Always gather information from multiple sources. This is KEY and far too many people (bloggers and readers alike) assume that everything they read online is true.
- Check the facts – make phone calls, send emails. Brent mentioned that often, people are more than willing to talk (and I’ve noticed the same), so always reach out ask for information.
- Promote your blog via social media, and get involved in the blogging community. Network with other No Kill bloggers.
- It takes time to build traffic. Be patient.
- Opinions are good, facts are better. Facts are crucially important, and in the No Kill movement, they are absolutely on our side, so always include as much factual content as possible.
- Time your posts for optimal readership. If you notice more traffic at particular times of the day versus others – time your posts for those specific periods.
- Keep the ranting to a minimum.
- Share good news. Readers want more than doom & gloom, and to avoid your own burnout, post something happy every now and then. Talk about your pet, post a cute photo. Be silly.
I wanted to add a few comments of my own. I believe that it’s extremely important to maintain a level of professionalism in order to further our cause. The No Kill bloggers I follow (see my blogroll to the right) all do this incredibly well, and new bloggers should definitely take note.
This means reporting on factual information (versus internet rumors), maintaining proper grammar and always using spell check (as a former journalist, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are a pet peeve).
It also means avoiding name calling, keeping your tone appropriate and generally conducting yourself in a reasonable way at all times. This doesn’t mean you can’t express your outrage – it just means that others (particularly outsiders to the movement) are far more likely to listen if you stay level-headed.
So stand firm, and write your little heart out. Talk about what’s happening in your community. If you’re lucky, one day you might be a KC Dog Blog or a YesBiscuit!, and truly be making a difference for our nation’s shelter pets. They’re waiting!