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Marketing for animal rescue advocates: SEO, Social Media, Fundraising  & Blogging Tips To Save Lives. Marie Macaspac is the ARM's founder. She is also the Marketing Director for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco, CA. ARM is a  resource to help other rescues learn the value of marketing to increase adoptions, donations and visibility. Together, we'll save more animals!

Black dog prejudice? BS. It's all in the way you market them.

Have you heard the theory that black dogs are less desirable than dogs of another color?  I think this statement is BS. Yes, that's right. My stance on marketing any animal of any color, breed or age is this: If you promote the animal in a positive way, that pet WILL get more attention - the kind of attention that gets them adopted.  Pointing out characteristics that you classified as its "downfall" or "flaw" only feeds the negative conversation - and doesn't help your cause.

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5 Useful Blogging Tips You Can Use Now


Let's cut to the chase! Read on to learn my easy-to-use blogging tips to get attention, shares,  likes or retweets when you push your blog articles to your social networks (which perhaps is a tip in itself! Don't worry - it's covered in this article!)



#1: Headlines should be attractive and catchy

What makes you want to click a story to read more? Two things I highly recommend:

Use numbers effectively, like: "10 Useful Blogging Tips" or "Top 5 Reasons Why You Need..." SEO shows that people click to read more with headlines with numbers.

Easy, simple direct words - And its ok to  repeat words that are powerful and speak directly to your desired readers: " Simple Tips That Save Lives" "Ideas You Can Learn in 30 Seconds".

#2 Always include at least one image

Images are important for several reasons.

First of all, an image gets a reader's attention immediately. Make sure the image is not generic, and if you can avoid stock photos, even better. Photos of your real animals for adoption (even if they are already adopted) or volunteers, employees, etc. are always better. iPhones can take decent photos these days and photo filter apps does wonders to brighten up a dark photo. Use visuals with personality, humor, emotion, drama - but stay away from negative visuals. In general people, turn away from images that make them feel bad.
Second, images are important for social networking. When you or a reader or an RSS feed shares your blog article,  thumbnail image can accompany your blog article as long as you include one image.. Just think about your own general impression of posts on Facebook. Do you notice links that don't include an image thumbnail? Most people do not Try it sometime. Post a link with a thumbnail and post the same link with an image. The number of Likes is dramatically higher.

#3 Include a question to engage readers to interact with your site

You want to encourage people to comment on your article, give you feedback, their opinions, etc. so they invest in your article. Blogs are really most effective when they create conversations. Your blog site audience can becoming your online community for the cause or mission you write about. Their participation is key to understanding what they expect from your articles or new content for your blog.

The question doesn't always have to be "deep" or encourage a debate. A simple question like " What caption would you put for this photo?" or "What name would you pick for our latest arrival?" are fun ways to encourage interaction.

#4 Links are good! The more, the better

You'll notice that often I share blog articles from other bloggers and websites of which I am a fan. My blog site is a resource for animal rescue advocates. People say I am a great marketer, and I feel it is because I continue to learn from others. I look for veterans, young people, out-of-the-box thinkers. We all can recognize the gifted and experienced specialists whom we can learn from. Sharing their wisdom helps build stronger ties amongst our community.

The other important use of links is to "link" any reference you make to a person, organization, website, book, etc. to a website that provides more information.  For SEO, this helps improve search engine ranking and it also is  a subtle tip of the hat to a fellow animal advocate or blogger you admire if they use monitoring tools, such as Google Alerts.

#5 Make sure your blog articles are automatically being shared to your social networks

Do you want people to read your blog? Might sound like a silly question. But if you are a blogger who believes that once you hit the "Publish" button, you've done all you need to share your story to the world, then you may need to go back to Blogging 101. Just because you decided to throw a party, doesn't mean people will show up at your house. You have to send out invitations, call your friends, something about it on Facebook!

These days, share buttons are usually built in to blogging sites like Wordpress and Squarespace, and can be found at the end of your blog entries. The obvious use is for readers to share your article, if they choose, to their social networks or by email. The Share buttons are also there for YOU to share your own blog articles to your own social networks. But even better, automatically post every article to Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, and every social network where you are reaching your target audiences. Tools like Networked Blogs syndicate your blog on their website and it has an auto-post feature (you can set it to post your blog article automatically to your Facebook Timeline and Business Pages). I use RSSGraffiti to auto-post to Facebook, and then I use a Facebook app that links my pages to their respective Twitter accounts. By linking them, the posts automatically send out as tweets.