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The Road to a Dog-Blogging Career

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.

Here I am with my dog, Dexter.

Here I am with my dog, Dexter.

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.

My first seat at Westminster was in the nosebleed section; now I sit with the media on the floor at Madison Square Garden.

My first seat at Westminster was in the nosebleed section; now I sit with the media on the floor at Madison Square Garden.

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.

The logo for my website says it all.

The logo for my website says it all.

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 BlogPaws conference is one I never miss. When I’m there, I’m among “my people.”

The BlogPaws conference is one I never miss. When I’m there, I’m among “my people.”

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.

Visit Carol at Fidose of Reality, on Facebook and Twitter.

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Comments
  • Bonnie Marshall April 19, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    I LOVE Carol’s blog…and I love her sweet boy Dexter!! Carol you are AMAZING… your pieces are full of wit and humor and lots of great ideas and information. You are SO DESERVING of ANY awards / accolades that are bestowed upon you!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Anyone who reads your blog can clearly see the genuine passion that fills your pages…and the” more than” genuine passion that fills your heart … Keep up the GREAT WORK!!! I am sure Dex proofs everything before the send button is pushed..so GREAT WORK DEX!!! Congratulations to you too!! You and your mom are a remarkable team!! ~ Bonnie Marshall ~ WEST COAST COCKER RESCUE ( Vancouver BC , Canada)

    • Carol Bryant
      Carol Bryant April 19, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Why thanks, Bonnie. It is my pleasure to bring my passion and years of working with dogs to the blogosphere!

  • Christine Aiello April 19, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    AWESOME ARTICLE!!!! You are such a great writer!

  • Felissa (Two Little Cavaliers) April 19, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Carol is right. As Pedigree dog owners, breeders, handlers, and enthusiasts we cannot be scared of Social Media we need to embrace it. Social Media can help us share our message that we as lovers or our particular breed or breeds want to see them living long healthy lives and are doing everything in our power to make that happen. We can use it to show how happy and well adjusted our dogs are. Show dogs don’t hate going to shows in fact they love going on new adventures – seeing new cities, towns, and venues. It certainly isn’t torture or upsetting to them to be freshly groomed, get to go for a drive, and spend the day or weekend at a show.

    Even at our very first show when Indiana squatted in the middle of the ring in front of the judge (in the rain) and peed she was having fun. We don’t go out every weekend and do fun things while our dogs stay home they come with us and we have fun adventures together. We have knowledge, stories, and ideas to share about our lives with our dogs. Let us all harness the power of Social Media and show what a positive impact we are on the dog world.

    If we don’t it is the BYBs, Puppy Mills, and pet shops that will and we will continue to be tainted by their poor decisions.

    Felissa
    twolittlecavaliers.com

    • Carol Bryant
      Carol Bryant April 19, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Very well stated, Felissa. I applaud you for showing the positive impact indeed!

  • Anita April 19, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Nicely done Carol! Very informative. Though I don’t write about dogs myself, I do enjoy the creative process of writing my blog. Maybe next year I’ll make the conference.

    • Carol Bryant
      Carol Bryant April 19, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Thanks, Anita. I hope you can be there next year, too!!

  • Carma Poodale April 19, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    I am a huge Carol Bryant fan. Have been for years. I had the pleasure of meeting her and I was overly shy. Over the years I have always said one day I hope to write half as well as she does. I am attending Blogpaws this year. I wasn’t even considering it but after reading everything she wrote about it now and in the past I thought I would give it a try. Plus this year I WILL have my photo taken with her! I am so excited to be going. I know I will learn how to make my blog better, more informative , more interesting. Social Media is a big part of me because I am a Spokesdog for a No Kill shelter and I need to find ways to harness the media to bring awareness to my adoptable fur friends who are seeking homes of their own and educating the public on how to be a better pet parent to name a few.
    See you in May Carol !

    • Carol Bryant
      Carol Bryant April 20, 2013 at 9:15 PM

      I am so incredibly touched by your words. For all you have done and continue to do in the name of dog (and cat, etc), thank you. Can’t wait to see you in May at BlogPaws.

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