Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

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Dexter

Every year for the past four years, January 10th is dubbed the annual “Pet Blogger Challenge” wherein we, the pet bloggers, share a bit about ourselves, you get to know us more, and in turn, you can get the inside scoop on us. My heart beats dog™, so without further ado, here’s some things about me, our blog, our lives, and we’d love to hear your feedback.

QUESTION:  How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

ANSWER: 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 into my life was a must. In fact, in 2013, I trademarked the quote “My heart beats dog™.”

fidose

I was hired by a dog magazine years ago in order to increase their social media numbers and create a blog for them. As a result of the blog and presence on Twitter and Facebook, their 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. Not your ordinary dog lover blog: Fidose of Reality is all about extraordinary dog lovers.

I have always been a writer, so blogging was a natural evolution for me.

cocker_spaniel

Me and Dexter at a BlogPaws Conference.

QUESTION:  Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

ANSWER: I was the #1 Technorati blog in the Lifestyle/Pets Category at one point.

However, I am most proud that Fidose of Reality serves as a catalyst for my dog fundraising efforts, the formation of Wigglebutt Warriors, and is the inspiration for my book this year.

Wigglebutt Warriors

QUESTION:  When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?

ANSWER: This is my first ever pet blogger challenge, but in terms of blogging itself and how it has changed over the year: I see the impact pet bloggers have on the pet industry and the purchases and decisions made by pet parents. Thanks to BlogPaws being the catalyst for all this, many pet bloggers are viewed as rock stars. We are influencers, our voices are being heard, our opinions are being taken seriously, and our time has come. We have arrived and the sky is now the limit.

QUESTION: What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?

ANSWER: I have learned SO much from other pet bloggers. I am constantly amazed and educated by fellow pet bloggers, including folks like Keep the Tail Wagging, Kols Notes, My Brown Newfies, The Lazy Pit Bull, BlogPaws, and so many more. My advice is to use a blog following tool like BlogLovin and make time at least for a bit each day to read what these pet bloggers are writing. I have learned I am not alone in this great big world where we are all coming together to share information and help pet parents.

QUESTION: If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

ANSWER: Hmmmm, any of this info I ask on the BlogPaws free Community and I get my answers there. I would definitely encourage folks to join the free BlogPaws Community and participate in the forum with over at http://community.blogpaws.com. It is because of joining there, going to the yearly conferences, and interacting with the bloggers and brands that my blog and career are growing.

blogpaws_2014

QUESTION:  What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

ANSWER: Networking, networking, networking. Read and reply to other blogs both within and outside the pet sector. Be in the BlogPaws Community: I cannot stress this enough. I have been an active member for years, and if you want to connect with other pet bloggers and microbloggers and ask questions, get advice, and grow your blog: It is there. Also social media has been a Godsend. I love the way that Instagram is growing and how using social media effectively, at the right time with the proper content will help a blog grow.

QUESTION: How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?

ANSWER: I consider all my actions on social media indirectly promoting my blog in some way, and I am on there a lot. I follow a blog business plan and so that dictates my time.

QUESTION:  How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

ANSWER: If people are talking about it, sharing it, and I follow Google Analytics.

QUESTION:How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?

ANSWER: I pretty much follow a set guideline for myself and I have not had this issue. I write, I attempt to educate and inform, make people think and laugh, and I let something go when I feel the point and purpose has been made.

QUESTION: When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

ANSWER: I have a habit of reading something and moving on and I’ve learned to start commenting. We are all so busy and leaving a quick comment to let someone know you stopped by is really helpful to a blogger. I know from experience, and I plan to do more of this for 2014 and beyond.

myheartbeatsdog

QUESTION:Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

ANSWER: Yes and I  have one going on now for a “My Dog and Me Selfie” contest: Come see —-> http://fidoseofreality.com/dog-selfies-photo-contest/

QUESTION: If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?

ANSWER: I have not had a problem with reviews or contests not working.

QUESTION: When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

ANSWER: If I feel writer’s block seeping in, I walk away. I get these bursts of energy/ideas in the weirdest places and times, so I’ve learned to carry a tablet (yes, the good old fashioned kind that you actually write upon with a writing instrument and not a stylus), and I jot ideas down. For some of my most creative work, it tends to flow better with a pen and paper. If I am dog tired, I simply don’t write at those times.

Westminster

Where I sat for the Westminster Kennel Club media coverage in 2013.

QUESTION: Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

ANSWER: Other than the Christmas holiday, no. Writing is in my blood, so it never feels like “work.”

QUESTION: Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

ANSWER: Never. I have a solid blog business plan in place with goals and things to come. My passion for it makes me stay. The fact that I want to help dog parents be better informed and help their dogs as well as their own lives keeps me here. It always will. ;)

QUESTION: What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

ANSWER: Growth, bringing the alternative living element into it, and if you haven’t seen my announcement that feels oh so good to have shared, here are goals for the blog. Also, I am writing a book! I also plan to monetize more thanks to being in the BlogPaws Pet Blogger Network. Folks can join that who are interested in monetizing their blogs as well.

Happy Blogging and thanks for hosting this! 

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Comments

  1. Oh! I am so honored to be included among the wonderful bloggers you listed here. Thank you – I feel the same about you!! :)

    I agree that this never feels like work – if anything, it’s a labor of love.

    • Thanks dear, I love your blog ! You have provided a good info through this blog about a pet. I’ve learned more Titan and Milo through this blog.
      Really your your blog is top notch and very classy.
      Many thanks again for sharing.

  2. Wow! Thank you so much for mentioning my blog. I’m so honored.

    You are so right about the pet blogging community on BlogPaws. That is the best find and totally unique to our niche. Other niches have communities, but they’re so not the same and the fact that it’s free while offering so much valuable information – I just have to say “wow!!!”

  3. I’m so excited that you’re writing a book! I wish I’ve been able to travel to BlogPaws, I hope I will some day. I’m a horrible traveler!

  4. Carol-you are such an inspiration and an awesome role model for us who are struggling with blogging! Reading your post today gave me a big kick in the butt, in a good way, so thank you for that! I love how positive and driven you are!
    Thank you for the mention :) that was a total surprise and made my day!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Yours is one of the blogs I read regularly. I love your wit, way of looking at the world, and just your general refreshing take on dogs. I need to get better about commenting so folks know I was there. That is a promise I made to myself in 2014.

  5. You do an amazing job! I totally forgot about technorati, that has been a flop for us, we need a users manual I think, maybe include one with google analytics. Are there any plans for classes on either of these subjects for BlogPaws this year? I think lots of us would want to attend! You are so right on networking, that is the best way to find friends and followers. My fb page follows tons of fb pages but there are a handful that we always interact with, many have over 10,000 likes and if they share a post of ours, we get 100 followers overnight, it is crazy, but networking pays off for sure. Once they find me on fb I figure some will move on to read my blog as well.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      One of the things that has helped me, and I am about 90% done with revamping, is a blog business plan. I didn’t have one when I first started blogging and I know that I learned with time….that I needed one. I still have some flexibility in parts of it (content related), but I love blogging and want it to be a business and grow as one.

      With that, for Technorati boosting, my best advice is to make sure you are SEO optimizing. It just sort of happened for me that we were there one day.

      In terms of Google – I know that Denise Wakeman will be doing a session on Google Plus, so stay tuned on that.

  6. I think you do such a great job of picking topics that others haven’t written about yet. You are so engaging on your blog AND social media which makes you quite an inspiration! I always get my best ideas for blog posts when I am trying to sleep. So I sometimes don’t remember them the next day. I have been told to keep a pen and paper near my bed, but if I did get up to jot my ideas down I’d be up all night long! I’m a bit of an insomniac, so it’s not like it would hurt anything probably :)

    • Carol Bryant says:

      You just made my day. I am the same way, I do admit: I get ideas at 3 am (and sometimes that’s because I am still up). I love blogging and writing, so I never feel like this is a struggle or “job” for me. I get the same feeling reading your posts, Ann. You have a genuine passion for it. ;)

  7. Congrats on being #1 on Technorati in the pets category. And I loved the Wigglebutt Wedding. What a cute and fun way to raise money. You really seem to have a handle on all the aspects of blogging. I sort of fell into and stumbled my way through. Blog Paws has helped out a lot.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      I am so glad BlogPaws has helped – it has done the same for me and continues to do so. Are you coming to Vegas in May by chance, Dawn?

  8. Thanks for taking part in the Challenge, Carol. Best of luck with your book! I’m sure, based on your smarts and great writing — not to mention your energy — it’ll be a big success.

  9. I’m a watcher from afar. Or reader from afar. Or something non-creepy like that! I enjoy reading your blog and I really love how supportive you are of other pet bloggers. In fact, the entire pet blogging community is so supportive, and I think your actions helped build that community and expectation! You are so very authentic and your passion shines through. Your an inspiration to this blogger, that’s for sure!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      That is very kind of you, Laurie. I try to help others and I take joy when something I share helps someone. Wags of gratitude to you!

  10. I promised myself I would explore this hop fully, even if it takes me a few weeks.

    Though I’ve been blogging for three years, this is my first year reaching out and getting connected with the community; you are so right about the importance of being involved. I’m going to Vegas this year and I’m hoping to learn a lot and meet in person some of the folks I’ve met online. Maybe I’ll see you there!

    –Woofs (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      You will really like the BlogPaws Conference. And yes, let’s connect there. Good for you to get through the hop fully – it’s a wonderful way to connect with people. Stop by the BlogPaws free online community – we always have discussions going there for bloggers at all levels. http://community.blogpaws.com

  11. You are the epitome of the phrase, “nothing succeeds like success” – I love checking in on your blog on a regular basis.

    • Carol Bryant says:

      WOW, that is very kind of you to say. And it is so good to connect with you – I am a fan of yours, as well. ;)

  12. I love the concept of a blog business plan. This is my first year creating and implementing a plan, so I’m excited to see how that turns out. I’ve loved following the evolution of your blog, and I can’t wait to see where you go in 2014. I’m super excited to catch up in person at BlogPaws!!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      When I first started, I don’t know why I didn’t treat blogging as a business… I love it, monetize it, share with it, learn from it, educate others with it – and I am glad I finally decided to do that. I am excited to see you, Maggie!

  13. Sounds like you’ve crafted work and a life that bring you joy. Hope 2014 brings you even more success.

  14. Nice to learn more about you and your blog Carol

  15. I am learning so much from you Carol and joining BlogPaws and meeting so many wonderful people has really been inspiring! I so much appreciate the fact that everyone I have met is so very helpful. It’s obvious each and everyone of them wants to help others succeed, what more can one ask for!

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers, especially since I think you have pretty much “made it! I don’t know if you realize it or not what a role model you are to at least me! Sandra & Dolly

  17. I loved reading your responses Carol! I missed “linking up” before it closed but I added the code of everyone else who was a part of the Pet Blogger Challenge so they could be listed on my post (and so I could go visit everyone). This is my first year taking part in it too. I really want to make my blog as successful as can be, and you are definitely a role model of dedication, hard work and ‘making it happen’. Thank you for your friendship and guidance.
    Jenny & Pixel

  18. Oh, I wanted to share the link to my ‘Pet Blogger Challenge 2014′ post with you: http://www.pixelblueeyes.com/2014/01/pixels-pet-blogger-challenge-2014-my.html
    Come visit anytime my friend! :)

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