It’s great to find a supportive community. But it means that important messages don’t always get to a broader public. We spend a lot of time preaching to the choir.
Evangelizing for animals
How do animal welfare advocates get their messages across?
The adoption of the Shelter Pet Project by the Ad Council is one way. And hopefully it will change a lot of hearts on the issue of adopting shelter pets.
But we’re going to read about many amazing causes during the Blog the Change events. And none of us can afford to run expensive television ad campaigns.
So how can we take some of these great causes and get them out to a wider audience? An audience who doesn’t know that dogs sold in pet shops come from puppy mills or that pit bull type dogs can make wonderful family companions.
Tools for the animal evangelist – just a taste
Many of the things you do every day in social media and blogging can help you get your message to a wider audience. Here are just a few tools for you to use:
At Yahoo Answers, people seek answers from the only experts they know—people who know how to get a free internet mail account.
Ok, that was snarky. I’m sorry.
Yahoo Answers does attract people who are experts in their fields who give thoughtful answers. You could be that person.
Type a search phrase in to find questions people have asked on a particular topic. Don’t forget to filter it (left sidebar) to get only recently asked questions.
If you don’t believe this could have a big impact, try a search for “dominate dog” and see what comes up. Despite some of the wacky answers you’ll find to questions, thoughtful and intelligent answers do have a tendency to rise to the top with lots of votes for “best answer.”
But there has to be a thoughtful and intelligent answer there to begin with. Will it be yours?
Monitor new information on the internet with the help of Google Alerts. Pick your search terms and your format (news, blogs, videos, discussions etc.) and how often you want to get links in your mailbox.
The amount of information can be overwhelming so I’ve set my alerts to come once a week.
But if you want to know when people are posting information about the cause close to your heart, Google Alerts is the way to do it.
Now you just need to figure out your response.
Squidoo is a publishing platform. So if you’re already feeling overwhelmed by blogging, it might not be for you. Or you could replace your blog with it.
A published page on Squidoo is called a “lens.” And you can write a lens about anything you want. I had fun creating my first lens, Building a Strong Bond with Your Dog. On today’s home page, I also saw lenses about keeping chickens as pets, easy filled cupcakes, and how to wash your hands.
And Squidoo now has a link button to Pinterest.
Squidoo is a good platform for animal evangelists:
- It’s a very general gathering so you find a wide range of people.
- The entire site is based on principles of random, positive reinforcement. To keep you coming back, commenting, and improving your lens, Squidoo offers points, trophies and privileges at random. I was very impressed by how effectively the “clicks” worked at training me in Squidoo.
You can also make money on Squidoo and have it automatically donated to your favorite cause. Two great animal advocacy lenses doing just that are Everything Elephant: The Facts, the Beauty, the Heartache and Are You Polar Bear Aware?
The benefits of preaching to the choir
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to keep preaching to the choir either. You’ll find many benefits to sharing your ideas with a sympathetic audience:
- Your commitment strengthens with extra support.
- Others will challenge you to put your words into action.
- When you mess up, you’ll have forgiving friends.
Not everyone feels comfortable handing a pamphlet to strangers walking into a Cesar Millan talk at a large arena.
So use your words the way you use them now. But get them to a wider audience.
Do you consciously reach outside your regular community to educate people about important causes? If so, how?
[Update: I was going to include a section on this post about how to state the message when you reach a wider audience. But Jen over at Back Alley Soapbox did a great job on that topic. Don’t read this article without reading Jen’s too.]