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Why We Are Pet Blogging After 10 Years: Our Journey

It’s the beginning of a new decade (time flies, doesn’t it) and every year, a group of pet blogging folks get together in cyberspace to share all about their journeys. It’s a time to reflect, look back, share, and plan ahead.

Our friends at Go Pet Friendly started this fun idea a decade or so ago, and my good blogging buddy Colby Morita of Puppy In Training picked up the pet blogging torch this year.  Once you read through my Q&A, scroll down and you can learn more about pet bloggers in the list at the end.

In 2019, I became the President of the Dog Writers Association of America. This volunteer but very important position comes with much responsibility, but there have been a treasure trove of positive changes within the organization in 2019. 

Get to know us, why we do what we do, and where we go from here.

How to get involved with pet blogging

About The Fidose of Reality Pet Blog

When did I begin this blog and for anyone stopping by for the first time, provide a quick description of what your blog is all about?

Back in 2009, I was working for a then-fledgling dog magazine that did not have a blog presence. I asked if I could help them create one. They agreed and the blog ended up winning pet blogging awards.

I saw a need for solid, research-based health and wellness content in the dog space online. If I was unable to find that information when researching topics for my own dog’s health, I knew I wasn’t alone. Fidose of Reality was born and officially launched a decade ago!

Fidose of Reality is a health and wellness resource for Cocker Spaniels and their canine friends.

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2019, that made you most proud.

I wrote a book on the pet blogging topic! Along with my co-author, Maggie Marton, we published Pet Blogging for Love & Money, the ultimate guide to grow your pet blog or social media channels like a pro.

This comprehensive guide shares all the trade secrets of creating a pet-centric online brand. Each of the 15 chapters is packed full of practical tips and actionable advice you can implement right away. Plus, each chapter comes with bonus content to guide you to success: worksheets, checklists, plans, templates, and more. Gain inspiration from successful bloggers and social superstars that illustrate the principles you will learn in this book.

The book is available in paperbook and ebook formats on Amazon. You can purchase the book here

pet blog holiday gift pets

Behind The Pet Blogging Curtain

Which of your 2019 blog posts was your favorite and why? 

My favorite post of 2019 is titled Eight Easy Fixes for a Fear Free Veterinary Visit for Dogs. In this excerpt from the blog post, this sums up why:

Can you imagine getting a new puppy, working with him on confidence-building and training, establishing fear-free veterinary visits, and suddenly things change in a heartbeat? That’s exactly what happened to me when my once happy and carefree dog developed an intense fear of vet visits.

I knew if I was going through this, others were, too. I spent a long time on this post, intensely researched it, and brought my own personal experience with my dog and overcoming vet fear. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback on it, and the piece features some really unique ways to help dogs stay active and gain confidence.

What was the biggest blogging challenge you faced in 2019, and how did you tackle it?

Three letters: SEO. In our book, we write, “How SEO works and why it is important to you as a pet blogger is a hotly contested topic. Try typing “what is SEO” in your favorite search engine; the results are mind boggling. Whenever you type something into a search engine, the results have everything to do with the science that drives search engine optimization.”

When Google rolls out search engine updates, it can affect a blog greatly. I’ve learned to diversify and not put all my eggs in one revenue basket. Any blogger at any stage of their career or hobby will face SEO challenges, some more than others.

What SEO is does not change; how SEO operates does. Keeping up with the changes and investing in staying educated was the biggest challenge I faced.

journey of pet blogging through the years

Getting Dog Lovers To Visit My Pet Blog

One goal that we all seem to share is we want to reach more people. What is your #1 tip for bringing more traffic to your blog?

Understand what your core demographic is searching for and then overdeliver on their desires. Know your demographic inside and out. “All dog lovers” isn’t a viable demographic; Cocker Spaniel lovers who refer to themselves as parents versus owners and are willing to spend on their dog is my core crowd. Define the crowd, get deep inside their heads, and follow the advice in Pet Blogging for Love & Money. I’ve made mistakes, so I can save people the frustration of making them, too.

Working With Brands

Do you do sponsored posts/reviews? If so, what do you find works best and how do you determine what to charge for a blog post, social media shares, etc.? If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

Yes, I work with brands I believe in, use, and support on my dog. In our book, we talk about methods to work with brand, do’s and donts and setting yourself up for success. I work on a limited basis with brands and prefer long-term relationships over “one offs.” On social media, brands want the big influencers but they also look at smaller influencers with engaged followers.

What you are worth is the loaded question and a huge one in the context of this book. Price yourself out. There is an online source called Social Blue Book that can help. There are also some general rules of thumb.

Some pet bloggers charge $100 for every 10,000 pageviews for a blog post. Others set a standard rate for 500 to 700 words of anywhere between $300 and $500, sometimes more depending on your pageviews. The same holds true on Instagram. If you have a high engagement rate on your Instagram posts, like 25 to 30 percent, this increases your asking price.

The journey of a pet blogger

The Future of Fidose of Reality

Looking forward to 2020, if you accomplish only one thing through your blog, what do you hope it is?

My goal is to always, first and foremost, provide quality, researched, factual information for our readers that will help pet parents be more informed. In turn, dogs lives are changed, helped, and dogs live better overall.

With that in mind, I have more content planned in print and a video or podcast channel.

What steps are you planning to take to ensure you reach your goal?

I prepare my year in quarters. I work on overarching goals for the year but then break those down into quarters. Since deciding to forge my own path and treat Fidose of Reality as a business, I’ve really started working smarter.

I use tools like Trello to outline and plan but I am a diehard paper planner person. I am also investing in education, traveling to a few events, and will continue keeping up with SEO trends and changes.

The blogging landscape is constantly changing. What changes in blogging do you see coming in 2020 and beyond? What plans do you have to evolve?

In our book, we write, “Since blogging began, someone somewhere has been yelling, “Blogging is dead!” We contend that those people simply misunderstand how blogging works. The same goes for social media: While someone always claims social media has no value, we hope by now you know that just isn’t the case. “

I have a blog business plan and I update that as needed. My plans to evolve include a podcast or video channel and books.

For those who are thinking about blogging or are veterans of the craft, I always like to remind folks to not fall into the comparison trap.

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s an easy trap to fall into, so don’t go there. You do you.

Look at the long game of blogging and be tenacious. Blogging success does not happen overnight. It took me a while to have a steady income because of the blog.

Be willing to diversify. Blogging isn’t generally a “one source of income path.” Know how to juggle and be able to multitask.

A sense of humor is important. You must be able to laugh at yourself and others and take things with a grain of salt.

Also, don’t take things personally. You must not back down from trolls and the haters of the online world. Choose to ignore or block them and have a plan in place for dealing with them.

Oprah cocker spaniel
Me and Dex with Gayle King on Oprah Radio.

Reaching Out

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

Do you miss having a pet-related conference and would you attend something like that?

Here are some other pet bloggers taking part in this challenge, so be sure to stop by and say hello to them, too. 

About Carol Bryant

A dog lover of the highest order is how Gayle King introduced Carol Bryant, when she appeared with her Cocker Spaniel, Dexter, on Oprah Radio’s Gayle King show to dish dogs. Carol created and owns the trademark, My Heart Beats Dog® and lives that mantra. A 30-year veteran of the Cocker Spaniel world, she is President of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and a frequently sought-after media contributor with over 15 years’ experience writing and blogging about Cocker Spaniels, dog trends, dogs, and the pet industry. She co-authored Pet Blogging for Love & Money and is the 2020 DWAA winner for Best Dog Blog.

Comments

  1. Irene McHugh says

    Hi Carol,

    Time does fly by! Congratulations on ten years! Woot!

    I loved your book. Kind of hoping for a workbook that’s data-focused (hint-hint-nudge-nudge-smile) because yes, SEO. And the Googles.

    Do I miss a pet-related conference? I’m having a hard time containing overzealous giddiness at the mere thought that you and possibly other pet bloggers are entertaining this idea! One thing I definitely learned in 2019 is the value of professional development. After 20 years in education attending professional development workshops and classes all the time, I realized that I needed to apply the same rigor to my development as a blogger and dog mom.

    While I see other blogging conferences pop up, I have a hard time justifying their cost (conference + travel) against my perceived ROI. I would love the opportunity to learn from other bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, any content creators who have something to offer pet bloggers. Having time to meet other pet bloggers and collaborate would be incredibly valuable too!

    Looking forward to see what you’ve got up your sleeves in 2020! Irene

  2. Bren says

    I absolutely loved your post! This is so inspirational. And I am definitely going to have to read your book now for sure! I am an avid fan on your Facebook page and being able to read about your journey was very inspiring. I would definitely be interested in a pet-related conference and would attend. However, I am in Canada but would travel to the USA if needed. Your posts have provided me with so many tips and opportunities I could not thank you enough for. Your truly born to do this!! And Congratulations on your role as President of The Dog Writers Association of America. Wow, that is some great achievements you have made. Thank you for sharing this Journey!

  3. Colby says

    It’s hard to believe that you and I have both blogged the entire decade! I wonder how many pet blogs have come and gone during that time. Congratulations on all you accomplished last year and last decade!

    Thank you for the rule of thumb on sponsored posts/reviews. I think that will help many pet bloggers who come across your post. At this point in time I have no desire to do sponsored work, but who knows maybe some brand can talk me into doing one this year/decade 🙂

    I do miss the pet-related conferences. I had the opportunity to attend BlogPaws twice and BarkWorld once. Up until last year I had to think about my day job first and because of that I couldn’t attend many pet industry events. If this is something you’re thinking about doing I’d love to sit down and talk to you about it.

    Thanks so much for joining the journey! I know you’ll do great in 2020!

  4. Cathy says

    YES! I would love a pet blogger conference and definitely go. I have missed the BlogPaws conferences so much since they shut down.
    You are such a great role model for how to run a successful pet blogging business. Can I be you when i grow up?

  5. Carol Lowbeer, Mom says

    Carol, I sure enjoyed reading your post and I am so glad Colby decided to continue the Bloggers Challenge. I feel I was a small part of it by asking whether it was going to happen and then nudgning and nudgning. I was even considering hosting it( though I never hosted anything) if he hadn’t stepped up because I think its so important and fun for bloggers to share their activities, hopes and dreams.

    I read your book when it was first published and thought it was extremely comprehensive and that you were generous in your giving of specirfic information. For example, I sure wish I’d used WordPress at the beginning! I personally haven’t done a lot with my blog but retired recently and plan to. I love knowing the paths of others and at least the chance of keeping up to date! Thanks again for your post and your comprehensive book.

  6. Lindsay says

    Hi Carol, congrats on another year of blogging! I never made it to Blog Paws and I am not sure if I would attend a pet blogging conference or not. I would certainly consider it though.

    Congrats on your book! I have my paperback copy and found the info very helpful.

  7. Lindsay Pevny says

    Hi Carol! I miss BlogPaws, but conferences can be so expensive, so I’m not sure if I’d be able to go to one again. I was lucky that the Mediavine conference is going to be pretty close to me, but I also have trouble talking to people. Sometimes I’d go to smaller pet expos and not be able to make anything of it because I’d just walk around, but I’d be afraid to talk to anyone. At the same time, BlogPaws Arizona was an incredibly valuable experience for me, especially as a brand new blogger. I can’t believe it’s been… four years since then??

    As for SEO and blogging, I know that I prefer to read articles written by both professionals and bloggers, as opposed to watching videos, and I know there’s always going to be people who need us to keep doing what we do. I’ve got to grab my copy of Pet Blogging for Love & Money, I feel like I could use some fresh ideas for my blog for this year.

  8. Angela Schneider says

    Hi, Carol! So great to read this and see how you are supporting bloggers and just the idea of blogging in general. I’m still new to dog blogging but I’ve been blogging about other topics since 2009 or so. I’ve never not believed in it!
    I’d love to hear more about a pet bloggers conference. And I’m looking forward to meeting you at the DWAA awards.

  9. Candy says

    Hi Carol,

    You and your blog are major goals! Happy 10 years – what an awesome milestone to hit!

    Regarding your question – 100% YES! I was lucky enough to attend the very last Blog Paws conference, but I was just starting my blog at the time. I got so much out of it, even though I signed up last minute and went in blind. I feel like I’d get so much more out of a conference now, since I have more experience and know what to ask. It’s absolutely something I’d be interested in attending again.

  10. Jessica Williams says

    “What SEO is does not change; how SEO operates does.” <– THIS. I think I've recommended your book to at least 5 people in the last month.

    I miss "the" pet-focused conference. Not for the learning but because it brought "my people" together all in one place. I'd definitely attend a conference that gave all of the pet bloggers a chance to meet face-to-face again.

  11. Hannah Zulueta says

    Hello Carol. Huge Kudos for publishing your book and including me in it. I’m still a bit shy about being in a book lol. I feel as if I’m still learning so much. SEO is definitely a top focus for me this year as well.

    I’m so happy to be part of our blogging community and I’m . honored to be your friend. Here’s to a great 2020.

  12. Barbara Rivers says

    Hi Carol, congratulations on your book! It’s on my to-read list and already in my Amazon shopping cart. Just need to finish a few other books first that I had already purchased.

  13. Erin Sullivan says

    Congrats on writing your book! I swear, I see it referenced everywhere but I had no idea it was written so recently. You truly are a beacon that other pet bloggers look up to. Can’t wait to see what you can accomplish in 2020!

  14. dawn says

    Congrats on getting your book published! I’m still working my way through it(Not much time to read right now.).

    I do miss having a pet conference, but honestly for me the preparation before going with my pets, and travel and then the 3 days at a conference gets overwhelming for me. I’d love something smaller and closer to attend. Jodi Stone and I had talked about doing a pet blogger meet-up. My life got crazy and we never did get anything planned. I’m thinking we should try to do something this year.

  15. Kimberly says

    Thank you for sharing your journey. I wanted to let you know that you once gave a group of us some advice years ago that still helps me today. You posted in a community that we should behave like journalist, holding the same integrity regarding research, fact checking, and grammar.

    Thank you for that advice.

    Congratulations on the book. Have a lovely 2020.

  16. chidera okobo says

    Congratulations on your ten years and on being President of The Dog Writers Association of America. It was lovely you shared your journey, I’m not a Pet writer but I learned a couple of things from your experiences.

  17. Marjorie and The Dash Kitten Crew says

    You are so right about needing a plan. It takes the stress off and enables you to work for and reach goals. Each small step towards a real goal makes a difference and encourages you to believe more and more that you can succeed.

    The book isn an awesome help too!

  18. Emilia says

    Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. And on your leadership of the DWAA. You’re an inspiration.

    Your book is super helpful. And yes, I would love to attend a pet blogging theme conference, I got into the business just as blogpaws ended, I think something like that would be really helpful. It’s a lonely business.

  19. Blessing says

    Hey Carol,
    You had a great 2019. Congratulations on doing what you love for 10 years, not a common feat at all.

    Just learnt about Pet Conference and it sounds pretty interesting. Would be worth attending.

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