Some of us consider our dogs our kids, others our companions, some are best friends, and many of us say, “all of the above,” when asked how we feel about our dogs. One of the comments I hear in my dog travels and online is, “Wow, you get to work from home writing about dogs. That must be so cool! How do you make money as a pet blogger?”
I have always been a writer, so blogging was a natural evolution for me.
Writing and blogging are both a lot of hard work. I don’t sit at home, eating bite-sized candy bars with my feet propped up watching reality shows. Like anything in life, if you want something, you work for it. It took me years to have the guts to follow my passion–the way I wanted it and where I wanted it. So, if you have a strong work ethic, an overall sense of self-discipline and a passion for dogs, you, too, can do what I do: work for and about dogs in some capacity.
I am a dog lover of the highest order, a title bestowed on me by Gayle King when my dog Dexter and I appeared on her show on Oprah Radio.
It has been with great joy that I’ve covered the crème de la crème of the dog show world for the past three years. In doing so, I have worked my way down, so to speak. You see, when I first attended the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, I started in the nosebleed seats, and over the years I got closer and closer to WKC Communications Director David Frei. Not quite a stalker, but perhaps a bit more of a groupie, I moved down over the years and finally found myself in the media area.
Officially, I also consider myself a dog lover of the highest order. Professionally, my LinkedIn page says I am a Pet Public Relations and Social Media Specialist/Writer/Blogger. Dogs are kids to me, and I’ve always said, “My heart beats dog.” So when I decided to switch careers several years ago, I knew in my heart and gut that incorporating blogging about dogs into my life was a must. I am the founder of Fidose of Reality, a magazine-style dog blog.
Years ago, I was hired by a dog magazine to increase its social media numbers and create a blog for the publication. As a result of the blog and presence on Twitter and Facebook, the magazine’s numbers grew by the thousands within months. Under my blog management and leadership, we won a dog blogger award within one year of the blog’s formation. I am very proud of this. Since moving on to bigger and brighter things, I formed my own canine-centric online magazine dog blog “where dog lovers of the highest order unite,” Fidose of Reality.
Advice for Anyone Who Wants to Blog
If you are reading this, you are involved with dogs in some capacity. You have things to say, information to share, a life in the show ring, and you’d like others to be involved in your comings and goings. Enter blogging. So many feel social media is a threat, and they run from it. I don’t think social media has even begun to reach its peak yet. The sky’s the social limit. My advice is to believe in yourself, do your homework and stick to a schedule.
The road to my success has not been easy. I didn’t wake up a successful pet blogger; in fact, pet blogging is just one part of what I do. There are ways to become a professional full-time blogger or make it a part-time hobby, a way to channel a passion for pets, or a way to promote other things like writing a book. Have you ever dreamed of writing a book? Many pet bloggers do, and they use material garnered from their blogs.
The pet industry has been touted as being recession-proof. While not entirely true, we love our pets as a culture. Being a blogger means you can be a part of change, while building your blog as a business.
I developed a social media strategy and hired someone to set up a new blog for me. I honed in on SEO (search engine optimization) and incorporated what I learned into the flow and rhythm of my words. I stayed true to content, but blogged more cognizant of SEO. My blog ranked Number1 in Pets/Living on Technorati.com the week of Christmas. That was like getting a wonderfully unexpected present under my tree.
Most importantly, never stop learning. Set goals, and make them doable.
The Conference for Pet Bloggers
I also suggest that you consider attending the BlogPaws annual conference and join the BlogPaws Community. Plenty of fellow bloggers are willing to help and provide advice. We were all new to blogging at one time. Most days, I still feel like a newbie and I’m just jumping into the waters.
The BlogPaws 2013 conference takes place May 16 through18, 2013, in Tyson’s Corner, Va. Hundreds of pet bloggers, brands, journalists, writers and industry experts, many of them bringing their pets, will gather for the fifth annual conference. Attending the 2012 BlogPaws conference allowed me to check some items off my bucket list, and off of Dexter’s too.
I will never skip one of these conferences. Each one is unique. I feel like I travel to a familiar place with familiar friends, then arrive at a totally different destination every time. For $199 for three days with industry experts, leaders and bloggers, plus lots of networking, Oscar-style awards and swag, brands, bloggers, and more, I’d hate to miss it.
I remember walking into my first BlogPaws conference in Ohio and getting chills, literally, up and down my arms. There was something very electric in the air, and I felt a connection. As the days passed, I realized, “These are my people; this is my life.” Pet bloggers are a force with which to reckon. This much I know is true.
So why go to this year’s conference? Dynamic speakers include the Chicago Tribune’s Steve Dale and Clara Shih, a social media pioneer and Harvard textbook author. The agenda of seminar leaders and educational speakers is also taking shape, but if I revealed anything, well, I might be banished to the doghouse. One hint though: whether you are a beginning blogger, want to start a blog or are a seasoned pro, there is a topic for everyone at every level many times over.
BlogPaws recently announced that David Frei will be the celebrity emcee for the 2013 Nose-to-Nose Social Media and Pet Blogger Awards, held at the conference.
See You in Virginia!I will be at BlogPaws from May 16-18. I hope you’ll join me. Don’t leave your pooch behind; I will be there with Dexter. I can answer your blogging and social media questions in person and so can dozens of experts. Oh, and if you want to turn your trip into a mini vacation, Washington, D.C., is nearby. Learn more aboutBlogPaws at www.blogpawsconference.com.