Great Hunting Video Websites

Awhile ago I wrote about the impact of video for the hunting industry.

Young Mule Deer

Mule Deer image courtesy of greg westfall.

Hunting season is here in most parts of the country and that means hunting shows are back in full swing for the fall schedules. Last season’s hunts are being showcased on ESPN, The Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, Versus, and others as well. I don’t know about you but my blood gets moving when I turn on the TV early on a Saturday morning and enjoy a hot cup of coffee while watching giant whitetails being pursued by the best in the business.

Something that’s been interesting this season as well as been my own awareness of online hunting video shows. I’ve been watching a lot more quality hunting videos this fall than I can ever remember.

I thought we could look at a few reasons why hunting video has seemed to take a big step forward recently…

Hunting Videos

Quality Videos

The production level of hunting videos is really stepping up lately. Online hunting shows are being filmed in HD. The editing is becoming top notch. The hosts of the shows are paying attention to details like music, opening monologues, and narrating. Some of the best shows are evening taking unique approaches to their videos by including unique scenes like preseason planting, sharing terrain strategies, and showing footage from the summer of a buck that is harvested in the fall.

Raw, Uncut Feel

While the production quality has stepped up there are still great online hunting videos that take a more uncut approach. With online video there are fewer restrictions on the type of camerawork and nature of the hunt. Blood trails, impact shots, and other natural hunting occurrences are OK in the online world where they haven’t been in the TV world.

Timing

The trend for typical hunting shows has always been to show last season’s hunts this year. So there is a full year of waiting to see what is happening with the best hunters in the world. With online hunting videos there is a more immediate timing. Hunters are showcasing this season’s hunts as they happen. It’s awesome to see video of a hunt up only a few weeks or even a few days after the deer was harvested.

Every Day Hunters

My favorite thing about online hunting videos is the fact that most today seem to be created by every day hunters. It’s nice to see every day guys hunting land I’m familiar with, working hard, and seeing their work pay off with a nice buck.

Location

I have nothing against Texas but not being from makes it difficult to watch most hunting shows on ESPN showing hunters harvesting deer there. The terrain is different than I’m used to here in Wisconsin. With online video I’m able to find the shows that highlight the type of landscapes I’m used to. It’s enjoyable and more useful for me as a hunter.

Suggestions for Improvement

While online hunting video has taken a big step forward there is always room for improvement.

I like when I’m able to embed hunting videos. Offering viewers the option allows bloggers to share videos on their sites while expanding the audience of the show.

A few things could be done to improve the SEO a bit like title tags, video tags, and a little content, but for the most part these next few sites do an amazing job with their sites and videos.

These guys are top notch hunters, videographers, and site editors.

Bowhunting.com

Visit: Bowhunting.com

These guys are probably my favorite group of hunters online. They make great videos. They maintain a great blog and they sell awesome merchandise.

They’ve been putting videos online for a couple years now and the quality seems to improve each year. They’re doing great things.

Food Plot’s and Velvet from bowhunting.com on Vimeo.

Video: Deer Hunting Food Plots and Velvet Whitetails

Heartland Bowhunter

Visit: Heartland Bowhunter

I just realized these guys existed this season and I’ve been trying to catch up on the videos they have on their site. Lots of great stuff with plenty of enjoyable footage.

HBTV Season 3 – Episode 2 “Velvet Res Tag” from MAMMOTH on Vimeo.

Video: Velvet Res Tag (you’ll have to select it from the list below)

Midwest Whitetail

Visit: Midwest Whitetail

I’m still catching up on all the Wisconsin action. One of my favorites is from this year. Tons of great footage with quality editing and music. These videos really get me excited to hit the woods.

Plus it’s great to hear that amazing Wisconsin accent on a hunting video.

Video: Giant Badger Bucks

Summary

A big tip of the hat to Mark at Wired to Hunt. I follow him on Twitter (@wiredtohunt) and he’s always sharing the latest videos from the best websites.

It’s also great to see these shows taking on some great sponsors. The more support these hunters get the better quality video for us hunters to watch.

Related Posts on HBM

50 Viral Videos

Video On Your Website

3 Viral Video Ideas for Hunting Companies

The Importance of Frequency for Blogs

BloggingRecently I’ve been experimenting with a new Website: Country Music Life.

You can see more about the transition from HBM to CML with HBM Introduces Country Music Life.

Over the first three and half months of working on CML I’ve noticed some interesting things. I thought I’d share some of the findings so you can take them and perhaps use them in your own blogging.

Some of the things I’ve learned that I didn’t really know or understand prior to working on CML include:

  • The importance of post frequency
  • The importance of linking out
  • The balance of traffic sources

I’ll also throw in a few other tips from CML. Let’s take a look…

Frequency Blog Posting

On HBM and previously on DayneShuda.com I would try to get about 5 posts on the blog each week. This took a lot of time since it took me a good two hours or sometimes more to research, write, and link each blog post. For HBM I like to have posts at or above about 1,000 words.

This frequency served HBM well. Traffic continued to grow and there was a good amount of search traffic coming to the site each day.

With CML I’ve been trying to post about 10 times per week. Sometimes I’m able to get more posts up and sometimes a bit less, but overall I think it averages out to about 10 per week. The posts I write for CML are a bit different however. I like to write Featured posts or ‘snack’ posts along with more in depth Heading posts.

Featured Posts

Featured posts are about 300 to 500 words long. I usually look for country music news like a new song, album or some interesting tidbits on today’s hottest country artists. I’ll link to the news stories and provide my own thoughts.

This format allows me to post more frequently and the result has been big search traffic on a few terms like ‘come back song darius rucker‘.

Heading Posts

Heading posts are where I’m able to get a bit more in depth than just interpreting country music news. For these posts I like to write list posts that cover some high trafficked search terms like ‘sad country songs’ or ‘country wedding songs’. I’ll compile a list of about 50 songs to fit each category and write a bit about each.

Higher Frequency

This posting strategy has been great for increasing traffic. The traffic at CML is already five times higher than traffic ever has been for HBM. I credit this to demand in the niche (marketing vs. country music) as well as post frequency.

If you’re able to I recommend a blog posting strategy that allows for higher frequency posting. The more posts you can write that are still quality will increase your traffic. You’ll have more content for the search engines to rank and you’ll also give people a reason to come back to your site more.

Linking Out To Other Blogs

Just as I do with HBM I link to other blogs with CML. For each of the Featured posts on CML I like to link to about 2-5 blog posts about the same subject. This has led to some good traffic from pingbacks on other blogs. Linking out also allows you to get introduced in a way to other bloggers. Editors of sites and blogs love getting links. It means traffic and anchor text for them along with some respect from newcomers in the industry.

I recommend linking out as much as you can. It’s beneficial for you on multiple levels.

Balance of Traffic Sources

One thing I’m currently monitoring for CML is the source of the traffic. Currently I have a high percentage of traffic coming from natural search via Google. While this is good I don’t want to have all my eggs in one basket. Google has bee known to cut traffic instantly for even popular blogs.

I’m working to get traffic from other sources:

  • Referring blogs
  • Pingbacks
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email newsletter

It’s important to diversify your site’s traffic. Don’t let it be the end of the world if one traffic source disappears completely. Right now I’m treading on thin ice with the way my traffic sources are spread out.

Summary

It’s been great working on a new site. I’ll try to keep up with HBM as it’s still one of my babies. I’m on the one post per month frequency right now and it’ll probably stay that way. There is still a bunch of stuff in the archives if you’re new to the site so be sure to check things out.

I’ll try to write mostly about what I see in the blogging world and interpret how it affects the hunting industry.

So stay tuned.

And if you’re interesting in country music please sign up for the CML Newsletter.

Bonus – Lists Are Still Big

I’ve continued to see the impact lists can have on a blog. My goal for CML is to interpret country music news with the Featured posts while providing more in depth articles with the Heading posts. These Heading posts frequently including lists of country songs country fans search for and find enjoyable.

Here are a couple examples:

So if you haven’t already made lists a part of your blog be sure to experiment with a few. They can lead to an increase in traffic and page views.

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$22.9 Billion Spent on Hunting Each Year

The graphic says it all…

22 Billion Dollars Hunting

A big thanks to Sarah of Sarah Lynn Design for creating the image. She took my crazy idea and made it a reality. Without designers, marketers would be lost. 🙂

Update: Here is the reference…

From Hunting Industry Stats:

$22.9 Billion+ – Hunting expenditures (2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation Page 13 Paragraph 8)

Sportspersons spent a total of $76.6 billion in 2006—$42.2 billion on fi shing, $22.9 billion on hunting, and $11.6 billion on items used for both hunting and fi shing. Wildlife watchers spent $45.7 billion on their activities around the home and on trips away from home.

Thanks for checking it out.

Write About What Your Audience Finds Interesting

Writing

Image courtesy of lowjumpingfrog

A difficult thing for most bloggers is to write about what the target audience finds interesting…not what the writer finds interesting.

A lesson I’ve learned with blogging is there is a balance between writing about things that interest you and things that may interest your audience more. In the best case scenario you will find topics to write about that both you and your audience find interesting. It’s difficult to find topics that interest you and your audience.

The balance plays an important part because to have a successful blog you need to write about topics that keep you interested. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself getting bored or tired of writing. To have success, you need to cover topics that keep you interested. This is especially important when traffic has some down days and people don’t seem to have as much interest.

On the other hand, to build a strong following and to build up enough traffic to monetize a site you’re going to need to write about topics that have a passionate audience. Both on HBM and CML (Country Music Life) I’ve written posts that I was deeply interested and passionate about. These posts often fell on deaf ears. Readers simply didn’t have the same interest as I did. On other occasions I’d write about topics that I saw as throwaway or not as important and they would take off and traffic and interest would soar. Blogging is funny that way.

So the key with blogging is to research and write about the topics that interest your audience. This is essential for building a successful blog. But also throw in a few topics every once and awhile you find interesting. Write those articles for yourself and don’t expect much. On the special occasions you’ll find that you and your audience both find something interesting. This is when blogging is most rewarding.

Building the Right Audience

Building the right audience for your blog takes time and it can be a tricky process. The lure to seek out any able person to read or simply just open a page on your blog or site is so tempting. Numbers and money talk and in blogging it’s all about how many visitors and page views you can get. That’s what impresses advertisers, potential publishers, and even search engines.

However, when it comes to building a sustainable blog and Website, building the right kind of audience is important. The right kind of audience means finding the people that are truly passionate about the topics you write as well as being passionate about the way you cover those topics. These are long time readers. These are subscribers. These are people that check your site frequently each day for updates. These are people that share your content with their friends.

It’s tough to find these people, but the lifetime value of a reader like this is much higher than 10 or even 100 one-time visitors.

Conclusion

For a successful blog, you need to find your balance of topics that interest your target audience and you. The mix should be heavily skewed toward your audience with the occasional topic that keeps your interest.

To reach your target audience you’ll have to do research. You need to find the sites your audience already reads. What articles to they love the most on these sites? What articles does your audience comment on the most? Where is the most interaction and sharing?

It takes time to build a sustainable blog and most give up before reaching their potential. Keep the balance of interest for your target readers as well as yourself and don’t give up. Take the time to build the right audience.

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Integrating Offline and Online Branding

Are there offline opportunities to explore when promoting your hunting business?

Jack Daniels Nascar

Image courtesy of pocketwiley

These days there is a lot of focus going towards branding and growing a business via online methods: PPC, Affiliates, SEO, Blogger Outreach, Social Channels (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), and many others. These methods all make great sense. The Internet has allowed people and business to connect and communicate in ways that have added value to relationships. Information is spread with little barrier. People are more connected and better educated. The Internet has been good for both business and consumer.

But are offline branding strategies being overlooked when it comes to marketing?

Offline Branding

Creating offline branding strategies can be a great way to enhance your online strategies or the offline branding you work towards can do fine on its own.

The world is moving toward a more connected, more online way of business. Smart business folks will want to stay on the cutting edge of information when it comes to new, online ways of connecting with customers and building trust.

However, there are still ways to connect and acquire customers offline that provide more return on investment than the current online methods.

An example of offline branding that reaches to a specific audience is the Native Hunt Racecar Sponsorship effort.

The Native Hunt Team is focusing on building awareness for their brand of outfitting while building business relationships that can lead to acquiring new customers while building trust to maintain their current customers. Native Hunt realizes that there is a significant portion of their target audience that is responding more to offline branding than to online. Native Hunt does a good job of integrating the two (their website URL on the car), but more on that below.

Some other examples of offline branding that may work for your business include:

  • Catalogs
  • Package Inserts
  • Postcards
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Fliers or other Printed Handouts

Industry Shows (These are still huge and great for connecting with customers and businesses)

Online Branding

The Web has allowed companies to do great things in their branding efforts with consumers.

Larger companies and companies focused on growth have ventured into many of the paid opportunities available on the Web. Services like Google AdWords offers targeted paid advertising that offers high return on investment. Companies looking for a variety of results (sales, branding, awareness, etc.) can find success with the paid branding opportunities available online.

Sponsorships, contest participation, and product reviews are just a few of the other ways companies have successfully taken advantage of the online branding opportunities. With the increase in available communication channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., there are an ever increasing number of resources available for increasing branding online.

Integrating Offline and Online Branding

When it comes to branding, companies often separate online and offline activities. This is usually a mistake since there is more benefit and return to be had by those that plan and integrate all branding initiatives.

Back to the Native Hunt example mentioned above. Native Hunt used their resources to sponsor a racecar. This was a great way to share the branding message of Native Hunt: Guided Hunts & Wildlife Tours. However, Native Hunt didn’t stop at simply including their logo and brand message. Native Hunt included their Website URL. This is an often used method for businesses that have more information and chances for engagement on their Website to increase the awareness of the Website.

Being seen more frequently today are TV ads for Twitter and Facebook pages. Large and small companies are going to where their customers are and building networks of followers. With these followers, companies are increasing the value of the connection and increasing sales. Companies are understanding that to penetrate an existing audience like the one on Facebook, they need to increase their clout on their Facebook page by gaining followers and then work to move those followers off the site to purchase (perhaps in the future customers will be able to purchase right on Facebook).

Integrating isn’t just for large companies.

Companies of all sizes can integrate their branding activities to increase awareness of communication channels. You can even integrate offline efforts with other offline efforts (postcard and catalog) and online with online (Facebook with Email).

If you have fans on Facebook, try to capture their attention for an email newsletter. Perhaps the email newsletter is a better driver for sales at your business. Most folks are apt to use email and once you have a fan captured on Facebook you want to continue adding value to their lives via your Facebook page while working to convert that fan to a customer via your channels that convert well.

Summary

Integrating is an important part of a successful company.

Find where you customers are spending their time, work to capture their attention on those channels by adding value, and then capture their attention via high converting channels. By increasing your clout across all communication channels – offline and online – you can increase the brand awareness for your company while increasing sales.

What are your thoughts on branding and integration?

Have you done anything of this sort with your company already? Please share in the comments.

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HBM Introduces Country Music Life

Introducing my latest venture: Country Music Life.

Guitar

Image courtesy of keela84

With $75 and 2-months I was able to create a site around one of my passions: country music.

If you’ve been following Hunting Business Marketing for awhile now you’ve probably realized my passion for country music.

As a reminder, here are a few posts I’ve written that have included a country music twist:

Don’t Rock The Blog Title

What Do Hunting, Country Music, and Your Hunting Blog have in Common?

10 Inspiring Country Music Videos for Hunting Businesses

Lessons From Crazy Heart

10 Country Song Lyrics to Inspire Your Hunting Business

Staying Power – Why Some Businesses (Like Classic Country Songs) Have It and Some Don’t

The Best Country Songs You’ve Never Heard – A Lesson in Marketing

The Merle Haggard Guide to Everlasting Success

The George Jones Successful Career Guide

The George Strait Guide to a Lifelong, Fulfilling, and Successful Career

Red Light! Something Different, Second Chances and Persistence

Albert of The Rasch Chronicles correctly noted my music passion as he mentioned that I must be an audiophile.

Well, after some thinking and encouragement from those close to me I decided to start experimenting with a country music site.

Country Music Life

Country Music Life

Country Music Life provides the products country music fans need to live a quality life.

My vision for CML is to write about the news and happenings in country music and relate it to the everyday lives of country music fans.

The categories you’ll notice on CML are:

1) Music

2) Shoes & Clothes

3) Home Décor

4) Electronics

These are the basic categories any country music fans needs in their lives – music being one of the most important.

To start, the individual category stores are setup through Amazon Associates. In the long run, if traffic grows and demand for sales grows, I’d look to move into drop shipping, fulfillment, and warehousing inventory to sell.

That’s an extremely long-term vision and lots can happen and change on the site in the meantime.

Strategy

The strategy for CML is to build an audience of dedicated country music fans that are seeking quality content relating to their favorite passion: country music.

As a way to connect their lives with country music – the music and the artists – CML will provide the products necessary for a quality country music life.

The blog posts on the Country Music Life Blog will be either Latest News or Top Stories. The latest news posts will be short highlights of news from around the Web. Top stories will be in-depth articles covering various topics including new music, music reviews, lists, and artist exclusive stories.

This strategy is built on providing quality long-form content to please the most passionate country music fans while providing the latest news for fans seeking quick content throughout the day.

Traffic

In the coming months, I’ll continue posting articles on CML while also looking for opportunities to guest post on complementary blogs.

Any traffic from search engines usually takes 3-6 months (probably closer to 6) to start for a brand new site.

A few of the terms I’ll be targeting include:

Country Music Life

Country Music

Jason Aldean (other artist names as well…)

Country Merchandise

Country Music Blog

Along with the blog posts, I’ve also setup a format for Country Artists pages. Take a look at the page for Jason Aldean. The page includes a short biography, music info (with links to Amazon), and a few of his most popular videos.

Design

The design of the site is a work in progress.

To allow for ease of launch, I used the same free template I use for HBM and made a few slight modifications to the CSS and PHP.

The logo was made courtesy of the wonderful Sarah of Sarah Lynn Design.

I’m still working on adding an introductory image to the home page while cleaning up a few other things, but for the most part I’m happy with where CML is at right now.

Summary

It’s been two weeks and $75 since I decided to start Country Music Life.

I’ve been working hard to get some content created to make the site presentable and I’m excited to share it with you.

Note: The $75 was for domain and hosting expenses.

I’ll continue to write about the progress of CML as it pertains to the interests of you at HBM: Marketing, SEO, Blogging, etc.

I hope you take the chance to visit the new site and share it with your friends that enjoy country music.

It’s expected that CML will take time away from HBM, but my hope is to continue providing valuable content on HBM while providing marketing consulting as well.

Take care and thanks for continuing to support HBM. J

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10 Awesome Hunting Blog Designs

Design is important for success.

I’ll often write about design and inspiring images, art, and photography here at HBM and try to relate it to success in the hunting industry. I’m a big fan of interesting design that captures attention.

Looking at collections of photographs or Website designs helps to inspire new ideas and to continue to strive for improvement.

I think the visual aspect of hunting blogs is just as important as the content included on the site. Your readers not only want to take in the content, but they want what they’re looking at to be visually appealing as well. It’s an important part of Website development.

I won’t say that design is lacking in the outdoor blog world, but let’s just say that there is always room for improvement.

Here are 10 of my favorite hunting blog designs…

10) Wildlife Callers

Wildlife Callers Blog

Website: Wildlife Callers Blog

The subscribe call-outs are right at the top right to put importance on acquiring new names for the list. The text is black and the background is white. A great design for a store blog.

9) Hunting Life

Hunting Life Blog

Website: Hunting Life Blog

The page is simple in design and not busy. There isn’t much distraction from the content in each post. Images are used to enhance almost every post. I also love the rotating images at the top of the site.

8) Bowhunting.com

Bowhunting Blog

Website: Bowhunting Blog

The entire Bowhunting.com site is one of my favorites. The stuff surrounding the blog content gets a little busy, but that doesn’t take away from the good use of red, black, and gray in the blog design. It’s easy to read and comprehend.

7) Bulls and Beavers

Bulls and Beavers

Website: Bulls and Beavers

I really like the big image that previews the headline story on Bulls and Beavers. Using images is a great way to encourage visitors to your home page to visit your individual blog posts.

6) Wired to Hunt

Wired to Hunt

Website: Wired to Hunt

A great use of white space on this site (which I love). The main focus is the content. The search is also visible and easy to use at the top right.

5) Native Hunt Blog

Native Hunt Blog

Website: Native Hunt Blog

The site has a wide format with an appealing, outdoor feeling look. The design matches the business site – Native Hunt. This is a great way to allow readers to visit the two sites seamlessly.

4) Whitetail 365

Whitetail 365

Website: Whitetail 365

A classic hunting and outdoor publication gets it right with the design of their site and blogs. I love the use of white space on this blog. The three-column layout highlights all of the important content above the fold while allowing the main blog content to take center stage.

3) Muskoka Outdoors

Muskoka Outdoors

Website: Muskoka Outdoors

I’ve always loved the design of this site. A nice, big picture promo area on the home page to highlight the top or most recent posts. The whitespace is great. It’s a clean and crisp site that is all about focusing on the ease of absorbing the content.

2) Michael Waddell’s Blog

Michael Waddell's Blog

Website: Michael Waddell’s Blog

This is a great contrasting color blog and site design. It seems like a lot of outdoor-related sites like to use dark and bold colors in some way. I prefer white space with some dark, gradient colors. Michael’s blog uses a black border/background, but utilizes whitespace effectively for the blog. It’s easy to read and comfortable for the eyes.

1) New Archery Products

New Archery Blog

Website: New Archery Blog

This is a favorite design of mine overall for hunting sites and the blog matches the site so I had to include it. It has a nice wide format. The font is read to read against the white background.

Blog Design

If your blog is need of a design tune-up, there is no better place to turn to than Sarah Lynn Design.

Sarah and her team will create a customized blog design to match your needs and the visual needs of your readers.

Website: Sarah Lynn Design and Sarah Lynn Design Portfolio

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Write Blog Posts for One Person

It can be difficult to focus on your exact target audience.

Yellow Flower

I advocate blogging to just about every person I encounter.

Please see:

The Hunting Offseason: The Best Time To Improve Your Business

4 Ways to Use a Blog to Improve Your Business

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Blog

The First 4 Days of Your Blog

There are many reasons blogs are a beneficial way to spend time for various people in various professions.

Business professionals can grow a following of folks that share interests in various products and services.

Community leaders and non-profits can grow a following of folks with similar demographics to foster understanding and tolerance.

Newly graduated college students can create a blog that demonstrates their worth vs. the other recent graduates as well as their worth against experienced workers. (This is vital in today’s employment environment).

The biggest reason, I feel, blogs are beneficial for most everyone is the ability to regular, relevant content to an audience. The nature of blogging fosters a following or community with specific interests. Blogging creates a type of list – a term used frequently in the direct mailing and email industry. And most professionals in those industries will tell you, “The money is in the list”.

After most folks realize the benefits of creating a blog, they begin writing content and experimenting with their posts to find out who their audience is. This is a great learning experience for most, but something that is difficult for bloggers both new and experienced is determining the single target audience member.

Single Target Audience Member

Often when I read blogs that are right on the cusp of breaking out with great traffic and attention, I’ll see posts that seem to target different audiences.

One post may cover how to use food plots to attract deer while the next may cover how to blog about deer.

It’s an easy mistake to make (I’ve done it) to blog about something not on topic with what you’re building your audience around. There will probably be some readers that want to read about how to blog about deer, but for the most part, in this example, the readers want to know how to hunt deer.

The key to successful blogging is determining the one person you’re writing your posts for.

With each post you write, think about your audience and get it down to one person. The person can be fictional, but I like using actual folks when I’m crafting a post. It seems to help with the words I use, the tone I use, and the way I cover a topic. It also helps me keep posting somewhat regularly, which is important for maintaining loyalty and repetitive visits from your core audience.

I stray sometimes for the sake of shaking things up – for my own sake to keep things fresh and for the sake of the readers. There is always the temptation to expand the audience and grow in scale, which is usually a good thing – having more readers. It’s a balancing act – writing quality, focused content while growing your audience as large as you can.

Multiple Target Audience Members

As I just mentioned, writing to multiple audiences can work for some bloggers if done correctly. And there is no, one way to do it correctly.

A situation where writing to a different audience may work:

Blog: Dave’s Hunting Blog – Deer hunting tips

Normal Post: How to Use Food Plots to Attract Deer

Multiple Audience Post: What Hunting Companies Are Doing Wrong

The multiple audience post will cover the things hunting companies are doing wrong in serving their customers: hunters. This post has the potential to both generate discussion amongst the hunters that agree with Dave and the companies that may stumble upon the blog post and realize there is an audience on the blog they can connect with while improving their service.

Summary

This post is mostly a reminder to me that my single target audience member for this blog is hunting bloggers. There are other folks that read this blog and that is wonderful, but for the most part, I try to write every post with a single person in mind as the audience: a dedicated blogger in the hunting industry. Sometimes I forget and you’ll see posts that are irrelevant to this person, but I try to stay on task.

What are your thoughts on writing for a single person?

Have you had success with a different strategy?

Please share your observations in the comments.

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Photo courtesy of aloshbennett

15+ Hunting Companies Connecting With Bloggers

Quality hunting companies have shown eagerness to connect with bloggers

The Sportsman Channel

After writing How to Connect with Bloggers, I realized that it might be valuable to list hunting companies I’ve come across that have shown a willingness to reach out and connect with bloggers for mutual benefit.

Although there are instances of great relationships amongst bloggers and hunting businesses, it still seems like there is a disconnect existing between the two sets of passionate folks.

As Ben of Ben G. Outdoors said in the comments, “I’m not sure why some [companies] don’t respond [to blogger outreach], but I feel they are missing free marketing.”

Ben is exactly right.

Hunting Companies Need to Reach Out and Respond

It’s amazing that some companies will ignore emails from bloggers that are eager to write about them and their company.

Who turns down free, positive press?

Some companies even pay top dollar for the kind of media write-ups bloggers actively engage in.

In my experience, there are a number of quality companies that are willing to connect and engage with bloggers. These companies aren’t looking at the connection as a one-way street either. They are willing to offer value to bloggers (in various forms).

Bloggers Need to Reach Out and Respond

Even the content and ideas a company can provide seems like something bloggers should be willing to accept. Access to companies and people in the hunting industry that are seen as authorities in the hunting world should get bloggers excited.

There is value in a relationship for both bloggers and hunting companies. With little effort on both sides there can be value served to the audiences of both parties and each can grow over time as they share content and media.

Let’s take a look at companies willing to connect with bloggers…

Hunting Companies

Bowhunting.com

Website: Bowhunting.com

I like writing about Bowhunting.com. They are a unique retailer in the way they acquire sales through trust and authority by blogging, creating video, and sharing other content. They have written to thank me in the past for blogging about them. Even a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way.

The Sportsman Channel

Website: The Sportsman Channel

Michelle is a member of HBM and is actively seeking out interaction with bloggers.

Sportsmen of North America

Website: Sportsmen of North America

It’s been a little while, but I received an email from a staff member here and we tried to work out a connection.

Outdoors International

Website: Outdoors International

Cory is very active in the blogging community and other social sharing sites with outdoor folks.

Native Hunt

Website: Native Hunt

Michael has been active with commenting on my blog for awhile. He love the interaction and working with hunting bloggers.

Dry Creek Goose Camp

Website: Dry Creek Goose Camp

Rick is taking big advantage of commenting on blogs and connecting on Twitter.

New Archery Products

Website: New Archery Products

These guys have started a blog and are willing to link to reviews bloggers are doing with their products. It’s showing an open mind to partnerships.

Trophy Score

Website: Trophy Score

Review: Trophy Score Business Review

Chip (a blogger himself) reached out to me about his innovative scoring software.

TNT Outdoor Explosion

Website: TNT Outdoor Explosion

I saw that Todd Cast of TNT Outdoor Explosion did an interview – Interview with Todd Cast, host of TNT Outdoor Explosion – with Mark at Wired to Hunt. Interviews are a great way for bloggers and outdoor businesses to connect.

Heartland Bowhunter

Website: Heartland Bowhunter

More from Mark at Wired to Hunt. Interview with New Member of Heartland Bowhunter, Matt White and Introducing Our New Wired to Hunt Contributor Matt White.

Stedi-Stock

Website: Stedi-Stock

Kevin at Hunting Life has a great series of interviews and podcasts. Here is The Hunting Life – Steadi-Stock.

Pheasant Phun

Website: Pheasant Phun

Dave is very involved with bloggers. He’s a great guy to know.

Team Huntress

Website: Team Huntress

Review: Sponsorship Case Study | Team Huntress

Jane is active on Twitter and always willing to share content with bloggers.

Wildlife Callers

Website: Wildlife Callers

Mark and Marc are building a great site and company by blogging and sharing content with bloggers. They also work on guest posting.

Camofire

Website: Camofire

Review: Successful Hunting Business Highlight | Camofire

Kendall has a unique business and comments on lots of blogs including HBM. This business is great to write about due to its unique nature.

Companies added by readers

Dream Pursuit

Website: Dream Pursuit

Short Bio: A non-profit organization providing hunting and fishing adventures for children and young adults.

Africa Hunting

Website: African Hunting

Short Bio: Your source for all things hunting in Africa.

Ghillie Suit Source

Website: Ghillie Suit Source

Short Bio: The name says it all.

Fish Creek Spinners

Website: Fish Creek Spinners

Short Bio: Trout, salmon and other fish species lures and spinners.

Land and Game

Website: Land and Game

Short Bio: The best selection of market value property in the industry. Period.

Bear Archery

Website: Bear Archery

Short Bio: Hunting and Archery Products.

Warrior Outdoors

Website: Warrior Outdoors

Short Bio: In relentless pursuit of the moment of truth.

My Buck Story

Website: My Buck Story

Short Bio: Share your stories from the field.

Marauder Outdoors

Website: Marauder Outdoors

Short Bio: West Virginia Hunting Adventures

Camo Vision

Website: Camo Vision

Short Bio: Camo eye wear to keep you covered.

Magnet Gun Caddy

Website: Magnet Gun Caddy

Short Bio: Easy place to store your gun.

Speedy Sharp

Website: Speedy Sharp

Short Bio: Quick, universal knife sharpener.

Hunting Life

Website: Hunting Life

Short Bio: A great resource for hunters on the Web. Directories for bloggers and hunting companies. Also a source of the latest conservation news.

Share Hunting Companies

If you are aware of other companies that are willing to connect with bloggers, please share them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

If your company is willing to connect with bloggers, please share in the comments…and pay attention for the next post.

I’ll keep adding to the list as I come across more as well. 🙂

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Your business has content, bloggers need topics

A Rose in Hand

An interesting thought was brought up in the Hunting Business Marketing Forum about connecting with bloggers. I started responding to the question in the forum, but felt that the topic was big enough to promote to a full blog post on the main blog.

Connecting With Bloggers

In another forum post, Generating Buzz, Mark of Wired to Hunt discussed a job he had with a marketing agency where he would help to connect businesses and bloggers by using the content the business would create and organize so it was valuable to bloggers.

Mark discusses that he would create a list of bloggers that were active and willing to accept relevant information from companies. These bloggers were then prioritized by traffic, quality of content, interaction of readers in the comments, among other criteria. From there the organization would craft the content so the bloggers could then use it for their blog posts.

It’s important to note that Mark says that each blogger received a unique email that was personalized. The communication was honest and up front in goal.

I think connecting with bloggers really begins by becoming involved in the online communities where your targeted bloggers are spending time.

A reason Twitter has become popular is because it allowed folks to connect with people and businesses they looked up to and wanted to connect with. Businesses can seek out connections with prominent bloggers in their niches and bloggers can seek out businesses that may have potentially useful information that can lead to quality blog posts.

Starting Relationships With Bloggers

As mentioned above, starting the relationships can start with a simple direct message or email that is personalized. The communication can originate from the blogger or the business.

A common experience some have is that after a few messages back and forth the blogger and the business contact lose interest with each and the relationship dies. This may happen because the blogger and the business didn’t find any common ground for a relationship where they share content and work with each other to produce blog posts for their target audience. It could happen because there just wasn’t a relevant way to connect the goals of each party.

It’s important to remember that not all bloggers will take content and turn it into blog post gold. Early on in your efforts this will be even less likely. The truth is that it will take one or two bloggers here and there over time that consistently take content and share it with their audience. Slowly, over time others will join in and eventually a critical mass will be tuning in to your stream of communication to absorb the content you’re sharing about your company.

Maintaining Relationships With Bloggers

Since it was mentioned that business and blogger relationships are often lost or that one of the parties loses interest over time I thought I’d brainstorm a few ideas to keep the conversation active as the life of the relationship ages.

Here are a few I can think off the top of my head:

  • Newsletter
  • Email Thread
  • Forum
  • Google Spreadsheet
  • HARO (Help A Reporter Out) for Hunting – HAHBO (Help a Hunting Blogger Out)

All of these are ways to keep the conversation active with your friends and followers. Not all of the bloggers you form relationships with will become actively involved with your brand by picking up your stories, but a few will become dedicated and over time those dedicated few will grow an audience around the content you’re sharing on the communication channel you’ve created for them.

The reality of interacting with bloggers is that you (the business) will have to take most of the initiative to continue the relationship where your provide ideas for blog posts to bloggers. Some will take the content and run with it and create amazing, unique content while others will ignore it. Some will need you to keep feeding them content while working to improve the content by making it more appealing to their interest.

Gaining permission to share your content with bloggers is the important part of the business-blogger equation. Forming relationships that are mutually beneficial is the way to find success with connecting with bloggers.

Summary

Connecting with bloggers is something most businesses want to be able to do, but sometimes don’t know how or don’t have the resources needed to connect and maintain relationships.

It takes time to first connect with bloggers – a few messages back and forth to get familiar with each other. After this initial conversation it takes even more effort on the part of the business to keep up the flow of communication while providing appealing content and topics of discussion for the blogger to take and use as inspiration for their own content.

It’s a process that builds over time, but when a business can commit and understand the importance of the blogging community there can be real benefit to both of the parties involved.

What are your thoughts on connecting with bloggers?

Businesses: What relationships do you have with bloggers?

Bloggers: What relationships do you have with businesses?

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Image courtesy of Hamed Saber