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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.