Blog Spotlight with Kim O’Meara, editor of DogsBlog.com
Tell us about your DogsBlog.com, how did it get started?
We launched DogsBlog.com in January 2007. The main focus for us was almost to bring together what you saw through programmes like Channel 4's Pet Rescue where they'd feature different dogs from different rescues. Then the next day you would tune in, and you'd hear the presenter telling you not to call about 'Rusty' because although he'd been in rescue for say, 4 years, he'd had thousands of calls.
We felt with blogs becoming a far more popular style, easily adept to featuring large images and videos, that this could be the perfect way to raise awareness to dogs currently in rescues across the country.
Some dogs don't react well to being in kennels, so views and images alongside information about the dog really do help to get their personalities over. The blog style helps us achieve this for them.
So we teamed with our first site sponsor who helped fund a PR campaign to raise awareness for the launch, we offered the site free as a platform to rescues of all sizes, small to large and it's made a huge impact helping, to date, over 22,000 dogs to find loving new homes.
We have a fairly large, yet very targeted audience of just under 300,000 individual new/would be dog lovers visiting us monthly who view on average 8 pages per view. DogsBlog.com has become a source for lunchtime browsers to view and see who's the latest favourite to be rehomed and the latest dogs on the site, and so updating daily is key to us.
The perfect dog for you may not be just around the corner and we've had stories of people travelling from one end of the country to the other to meet a dog they saw on the site, and so we do ask people to keep an open view.
That said, I do remember the first dog we rehomed via the site was called Wally and the family who adopted him found a rescue about 5 minutes from their home. They had no idea the rescue existed, yet less than a week later after they'd met and followed the adoption procedure, Wally was in his new home.
Where do you source content for your blog?
We're lucky in that we have an endless supply of content. Our rescue partners send daily updates, from who's been rehomed to who's the latest dog in and we add them. We are strict about image quality, it's one area in particular we do push for, but we do all of the admin for our partners so they understand our needs.
Do youpost reviews on DogsBlog.com
We do from time to time include reviews and features such as advertorials on the site. We're due to revamp our 'Thinking About Getting A Dog' section which will include more opportunities in the near future.
How did you build a following for your blog?
We were very lucky in that we used our existing pet network (Total Pet Publishing) to leverage and launch the site alongside a PR campaign which saw us featured in The Guardian, The Sun and many other media.
The blog style and design was, and remains a very search engine friendly site so organic traffic and growth came quickly and has continued to grow as the site has.
Are you a PR friendly blog?
We are. We have various ongoing PR campaigns from National Dog Adoption Month to other education drives and our new 'Thinking About Getting A Dog' section will expand opportunities available. From research we know that our visitors trust who we recommend, but it also allows us to reach and communicate effectively with dog owners at a point in their life cycle where they can become brand loyal – and via us, a site they know and trust because we've helped them on their journey, we're in a fortunate position.
How best do you like to be approached by PRs?
Email is best if you have a press release. If you're looking to build something where our audience can be key to a campaign message, PR driven, then email or telephone – whatever best suits!
What’s the best thing about being a blogger in your field?
For us, in our field, the best thing about DogsBlog.com is knowing you're making a difference. Each year more
and more dogs are sadly abandoned and to feel like you're striving to do better on behalf of the dogs who don't have their own voices, is something that drives us to do better ourselves.
You can find DogsBlog tweeting @DogsBlog