Meet Schatzi, a 40-pound shelter mutt and the most beautiful dog in the world, way cuter than my friend Dyana’s dog Uma. Schatzi is a very special dog, as in short-leash-special, and not unlike a blog for these 5 reasons:
1. At first glance, writing a blog looks easy
Many dogs wind up in a shelter not because they are unwanted but rather their owners completely underestimated the amount of energy required to properly care for it. Both my husband and I had grown up with dogs so we knew what we were getting into. Or so we thought. When we first met Schatzi at PAWS Chicago she rolled onto her back, bared her belly and thumbed her tail; we thought this was the happiest dog on earth. It wasn’t until we got her home that we learned her behavior was extremely submissive. She was terrified. Of everything. She shook inside her own skin, cowered when my husband came anywhere near her and would sometimes urinate on herself in fear. It’s been four years since we brought her home and while we continue to make progress, she will forever be a fearful dog.
Blogs can be similarly deceiving. Anyone can visit WordPress.com and start a blog in under a minute flat. Then the real work begins. Strategy. Content. Execution. Promotion. A blog is a living breathing thing – for some it may be easy, but for most it’s real work.
2. Left unattended, your blog may bite
Seeking a miracle cure for our dog’s anxiety my husband and I started watching The Dog Whisperer. We felt completely validated when Cesar said he would rather work with an aggressive dog than an anxious dog on any day. If Cesar said it, it was gospel right? We learned the hard way that even if she’s wagging her tail, our dog is not cool with you being in our house. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, the cleaning lady did not sue us, and our friends are patient souls. But now when we have guests in our home, Schatzi goes into lock-down.
Your blog needs a similarly vigilant eye. Occasional blogging is fine if it’s for your personal use. If you’re blogging for business, take extra care to quickly remove inappropriate comments, thoroughly respond to questions, and maintain a schedule of regular posts.
3. Blogs require regular check-ups and grooming
Our dog is on a regular regimen of anti-heartworm meds, anti-flea and tick stuff, and gets a check-up annually. She also gets special dental-care bones weekly and groomed every month. Let’s face it – it’s not easy to keep this pooch in perfect health. Your blog needs regular check-ups too.
In addition to making sure you have the latest software update or WordPress patch, take a look at your SEO strategy–have your keywords changed? How about widgets – are there any new ones you want to give a try? What about your Go To Market strategy, industry buzzwords or target readers? Schedule blog check-ups at least quarterly to make sure you’re on top of all the moving parts.
4. Your blog will not fetch slippers
And neither will my dog. With time, focus and consistent effort, maintaining a blog can do many things but if your sales force is weak or your marketing strategy off-base, writing a blog will not save your business.
5. Blogs can foster communication
Because our dog is “special” we’re not able to utilize a dog-walking service. So every Sunday my husband and I have to sort out who is taking which of the thrice daily walks for the week ahead. Thankfully we found a wonderful kennel that has adopted Schatzi as their own so on Cleaning Lady Day (see point #2) we have to figure out who is dropping her off at doggie day care and who is picking her up. That’s a level of calendar coordination that did not previously exist in our house! But the upside is that my husband and I are more keenly aware of our calendars and when we see our schedules getting nuts, we can pause and carve out time just for us.
Similarly, I wouldn’t know my friend Deirdre if it weren’t for Schatzi. Or Vic, the local liaison to the Alderman’s office and organizer of the neighborhood phone tree. These are contacts I made because we share a common bond: We are dog owners. Telling a fellow dog owner that you too have a mutt creates an instant connection. A blog can be a great way to connect with your targeted community… a way to say Hey and see if anyone says Hey back.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, don’t let me stop you. It can be a rewarding exercise on many levels. Just remember that when it’s 20 below windchill and you’re watching Seinfeld reruns by the fire, some has to take the dog for “last outs.”
PS. We have a cat too. Her name is Lolly and she’s the most beautiful cat in the world, way cuter than any one of my friend Glynis’ cats.