If you think about what inspired you to start blogging, the clear answer for most pet bloggers would likely be their pets. And that’s no different for me. My cats inspired me to start Three Chatty Cats a little over two years ago.
To go a step further, I’d say that it’s my combined passion for cats, writing and photography that inspired my blog. But are those three passions enough to sustain a blog? Perhaps not. So, let’s go one level deeper…
While my core passions lit the internal spark to create a blog, it’s really my interests, skills and innate talents combined with those passions that truly allow me to create high-quality content for Three Chatty Cats.
If you look at your own blogging journey, perhaps you’ll find it’s the same for you.
Passion Leads the Way
Let’s take a look at passions first, since that’s what usually drives a blogger to start in the first place. My passions are writing, photography and cats.
As far back as I can remember (which pretty much gets me to elementary school), I’ve always been a writer and storyteller. In fact, my bachelor’s degree is in film, emphasis screenwriting (super useful, amiright?). Since I’ve graduated, I’ve continued to write in some form or another. My first job was in a creative marketing department where I wrote newsletters, drafted articles for magazines and created copy for flyers and brochures. All of this history and background in writing has provided me with writing skills that I use on my blog today.
Much like writing, my fondness for photography has been with me for quite some time. And like writing, I’ve gained photography skills throughout various avenues in my life. In high school, I was on the yearbook staff as the photography editor. This was my first official experience with using a “real” camera and learning how to compose a shot.
Fun tidbit: This was back in the day when we had to develop the film ourselves in a darkroom. It’s a skill I don’t use on the blog, but an interesting experience nonetheless.
The Cats (of course!)
It’s clear that I have a passion for anything cat-related. I’ve even adopted two new cats since starting Three Chatty Cats (Woodrow and Harley are offended that it hasn’t been re-branded to Five Chatty Cats). Not only do my cats fill me with love and provide comfort, they also inspire me to create stories through their adorableness, silly antics and general feline awesomeness.
Without Dexter, Olive, Sophie, Woodrow and Harley (phew!), there would be no blog. (Oh, the horrors! Can you imagine?)
Passion Leads the Way, But Talents Sustain the Blog
So, we’ve looked at the passions that inspired me to start blogging. But what allows me to create high-quality content on a consistent basis?
When I delved deeper and did a bit of self-reflection (how introspective of me), I realized the answer was my interests, skills and innate talents.
For me, what it boils down to is that I need to use what I have at my disposal and what I have a natural affinity for to be consistent in producing high-quality content.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before: “Organization is the key to success.” And whether or not you believe that, it certainly applies to me in all facets of my life—work, home and yes, blogging!
I’m a spreadsheet aficionado (raise your paw if you are, too). I create spreadsheets for everything. Perhaps too many spreadsheets (ha, as if that could be a thing).
Organization extends to more than just spreadsheets, though. It could be planning ahead, outlining, even just properly named files and folders on your computer. And while organization might not directly affect creating high-quality content, being organized helps keep my mind in order, which better prepares me to create that content.
The Whole Package
What do I mean by that? Branding! Or, the brand. Yes, my blog is a brand. Remember that marketing job I mentioned? Well, in that role, I was selected to be part of a global re-branding team where I helped launch a new brand. I learned that a brand is more than just a logo, tagline and some colors. For my blog, that means my brand should have a consistent voice, tone and messaging throughout all potential reader touchpoints (think Facebook, Instagram, interactions with readers, engagement, how one works with brands, etc.). When I keep this in mind, it helps me say, yes, I’ll include this in a post—or no, that doesn’t fit my brand at all.
This kind of relates to my background in marketing and branding. When I evaluate something, I’m immediately drawn to whether or not it’s pleasing to the eye. I feel like I have a natural desire to want to see high quality. Or, is it my marketer/graphic designer/artist husband always driving this point home? (We’re just two peas in a quality-driven pod). Naturally, I’ve applied this “desire to see high quality” to my blog in all aspects, including writing, photos, layout, general flow, etc.
It’s important to note, though, that high quality doesn’t equate with perfection. For example, I’ve used less-than-stellar photos because of the reaction they may elicit or the story they tell.
At heart, am I a researcher? In most aspects of my life, nope. But if I find a weird bump or mark on my cat, you can bet that I call up the ol’ Google and research it like crazy (and if needed, head to the dreaded V-E-T). Researching certainly comes in handy for blogging, too. For posts where outside knowledge or statistics are required, it’s a must. For example, I don’t support declawing cats at all. But to just state that in a post is one thing. To present supporting research of why it’s harmful to a cat helps drive the point home of why declawing shouldn’t be supported or practiced.
Personally, I laugh easily and gravitate toward humor whenever possible. I’ve always wanted Three Chatty Cats to be lighthearted and fun, but I’ve recently tried my hand at incorporating more humor into my posts. Besides adorably, sickeningly sweet photos of cats—humor is an easy way to connect with readers. Of course, humor is subjective, but cats and comedy go hand-in-hand. And humor is definitely a useful tool in my proverbial blogging belt.
What talents, interests and skills do you use for blogging?
Forget your passions. Well, don’t really forget them. But let’s not focus on those right now. What tools do you use that allow you to create consistent high-quality content for your blog? Is it humor? Stunning graphics? Video editing skills? A desire to continue learning and then educate your readers? Maybe you’re a master with flowcharts and outlines.
What Keeps You Motivated?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on staying motivated in regard to blogging. For me, keeping motivated resulted in an evolution of my blog.
When I first started Three Chatty Cats, I quickly gravitated toward highlighting rescue groups, foster parents, and anyone doing their part to help cats, which in a sense labeled Three Chatty Cats as a cause blog. But finding rescue groups and new people to feature…and then relying on them to respond and send in photos…and then writing and editing everything for three posts a week…well, it was tiring! Blogging fatigue quickly set in.
So, that’s when I started incorporating posts about my own cats more, and even started writing in their voices sometimes. Ultimately, I found my focus shifting toward my original inspiration—my own cats.
I felt a renewed sense of energy about storytelling (having switched hats from reporter to author) and realized it’s okay to shift focus. And while I still find cause-related topics to write about, that doesn’t need to be the central point of my blog.
And as an added bonus, I had readers comment that variety is a good thing. Apparently, bombarding readers with the same topic over and over and over and (you get the idea!) can be tiring for them as well.
It’s Time for a Recap!
Passions—good. Interests, skills and talents—required.
Essentially, I view my blog as an amalgamation—or a funnel, if you will—of what may seem like disparate pieces of my life coming together. My passions—writing, photography and cats—were the impetus to start my blog. But my interests, skills and innate talents allow me to stay inspired to continue to produce high-quality content for this creative project known as Three Chatty Cats.
And through that content, I hope readers feel a connection with my cats – through times of laughter or aww-induced moments of gushing. And if readers do feel that connection, then I’ve done my job as a blogger.
Everyone has their own story about how they arrived at blogging and what inspires them to keep going. This has been my story. What’s yours? What are your passions? What are your skills and talents? What is your inspiration? Let me guess, does it involve a cat or two?