Have you ever wonder just what it takes to be a pet blogger? Did you know that pet blogging can be a lucrative career move with a feasible income, whether for supplemental money or as a part-time option and even as a full-time career. If you have ever considered a career in pet blogging and/or within the pet industry, here’s a primer on what you need to know, things you might not hear about in seminars or webinars, and the one resource you absolutely must engage with in order to move forward in this industry.
First, a little background and see how many of these stats make you go “wowza!”
There is a group called the American Pet Products Association (APPA) , and each year they host the biggest pet industry trade show along with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). The trade show is called Global Pet Expo and in 2014, it featured 985 exhibitors, 2,896 booths and more than 3,000 new product launches. Additionally, 5,597 pet product buyers from around the world attended. Global Pet Expo is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified professionals. Global takes place in Orlando, Florida, and it encompasses the size of about 16 football fields. Yes, that many.
What does this all have to do with you, wanting to work in the pet industry and more precisely, have a pet blog and/or social media presence? Consider this:
- We seek veterinary care for our pets, with the category of veterinary care demonstrating significant growth in 2013, with $14.37 billion in spending, second only to food category spending. While the number of veterinary visits is down, spending on care is escalating.
- The President of APPA, Bob Vetere, says that a recovering economy and the continuation of the humanization of pets as two leading forces behind increased growth in overall spending.
- And just how many pets are we talking about? According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet, which equates to 82.5 million homes.
- Dogs or cats, you ask? There are an estimated 83.3 million dogs in U.S households and 95.6 million cats.
- Our love of pets and their inclusion as family members will only continue to escalate. Pet bloggers are here to stay.
Alas, the pet blogger: I chose to become a pet blogger and work as a writer/blogger/pet industry public relations and social media specialist because my heart beats dog. I love dogs so much, I even trademarked “my heart beats dog.” Someone needs to speak for the pets and speak to the pet parent(s) who deserve accurate, well researched, information from an “I can relate to you” perspective.
Since pets are considered by many to be part of the family, and in fact, a bonafide “kid” to a great number of us, it makes sense then that pet bloggers are rocks stars of the pet industry: We go to the trade shows, visit the expos, meet the experts, research the products, go behind the curtain and ask the tough questions: And then we deliver it to you in something called a “blog post.” And no, not every blogger does this nor does every person in every career do what they are supposed to do. But the great ones do this, and they keep learning.
Pet bloggers are the voice of the dog. Still interested? Keep reading because this is a lot of fun as a career, honestly.
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 2012. That was like getting a wonderfully unexpected present under my tree.
* I want to help dogs in need but have no idea what to do; I don’t have a lot of time or money, though;* I use social media in some form: Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or I want to and need someone to show me;* I love to learn new things and be able to apply them to my life;* I love taking my pet(s) with me when I travel, where applicable and accessible;* I wish I could be around like-minded people who won’t think I am goofy for loving my pet(s) as I do;* I want to meet some of the brands that make the products I buy for my pet;* I’d love to learn how to blog and get people to notice me, my words, my passion, and I just don’t know where to start;
Did you answer yes to any of those statements? If so, keep reading to my part B:
I suggest 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. If you don’t feel you have writing skills, there’s a place for that. If you have no idea where to start, there’s a place for that. Heck, BlogPaws will even show you how to turn a blog into a business, complete with a business plan.
If you are really serious about learning more, meeting like-minded people, being able to choose from dozens of expert educational sessions from beginner to intermediate to advanced, then here’s my best advice as an accomplished dog blogger: Meet me and my dog, Dexter, in Nevada, in 40 days from today.
The BlogPaws 2014 conference takes place May 8 through 10 2014, in Henderson, Nevada, just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Hundreds of pet bloggers, brands, journalists, writers and industry experts, many of them bringing their pets, will gather for the sixth annual conference. And it is not scary. Drop any preconceived notions of stuffy conferences at the door, as I have been to every BlogPaws Conference and they are all equally accepting of newcomers with open arms (and paws). BlogPaws is a pet-friendly conference. Sure, there is a pet daycare on site for the duration of the conference, but you can choose whether or not to use it.
Oh and big corporate muckety mucks did not start this company. BlogPaws was founded in 2009 by Caroline Golon, Yvonne DiVita, and Tom Collins, all themselves successful bloggers and business gurus. BlogPaws’ mission is creating educational, networking, and business opportunities for the online pet community.
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 just around $200, you get three days with industry experts, leaders and bloggers, plus lots of networking, Oscar-style awards and swag, brands, bloggers, most meals, and the start to a new life. You can even make a mini vacation out of it, as Vegas is right down the road, so to speak.
Can’t You Just Buy a Book or Learn Online?
Um, well I guess. There is something to be said for meeting people in person. If you are shy, that’s fine: We welcome all types of people. No need to feel alone or nervous. Networking and seeing people, meeting new faces and developing connections helped get me to where I am today. Working from a home office does not mean never leaving a home office. So learning from home or reading a “how to” book on blogging is great background, but the BlogPaws Conference brings it all together and much more. I am gushing because they changed my life.
I remember walking into my first BlogPaws conference in Ohio in 2010 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. 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.
Who Do I Think I Am?
I started exactly where many of you are who are reading this. I love dogs: I did as a kid, I did growing up, and I do as an adult. I just never had the stomach nor emotional fortitude to become a veterinarian – that whole euthanizing pets thing would have destroyed me. So I returned to college as an adult, got a few degrees, eventually my B.A. in English, and I had a decision to make. Now what? It is my belief that with the right attitude, a willing spirit, and a can-do thought process, anything is possible. I decided to work in the pet industry, one step, one paw at a time.
If you don’t know me (or maybe you do and this is redundant), this is me in a nutshell: A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced me when I appeared with my Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. A frequent media contributor, you might have seen or heard me on television, radio, and in print. A repeat nominee from the Dog Writer’s Association of America, I contribute to a variety of pet-related websites and am the PR and Marketing Manager for BlogPaws. I am active in canine rescue and fundraising through my Wigglebutt Warriors foundation. (my dog got married in a big fundraiser in 2013). I am the founder of Fidose of Reality, a consistently ranked Technorati top 50 pet blog. And yes, I trademarked the quote, “my heart beats dog.™” Oh and I was also a WIPIN (Women in the Pet Industry Network) Woman of the Year finalist. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and bookmark this blog so we can keep in touch.
Oh and here’s my media reel:
I would never recommend something that didn’t absolutely work for me. I never even got to mention the fun you have and the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Social Media and Pet Blogging awards done red carpet style with you (and your pet) where you are welcome to dress to the nines, be photographed, and take part in these Oscar-like awards for the best of the best in the pet blogging and social media space.
I will be at the BlogPaws Conference in May, and I hope you’ll consider joining 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. I also have a 10 percent off coupon, which means you can drop a few bucks off the cost and save some moola. As a well-traveled conference gal, I can honestly attest there are very few conferences I have ever attended that fell in this price range and offered oh so much.
Here is the link to learn more: http://blogpaws.com/events/conference-2014/
The link to register: http://blogpaws.com/events/conference-2014/register/
And the discount code for 10 percent off: BlogPaws2014-Carol-10
At the very least, join me in the BlogPaws Community where we can show you around.
Oh, and if you are like me and one of those “lemme see what really happens” types, here’s a video we shot last year that gives the scoop: