Dear Blogger, it said.
We were searching the web for pet people who write consistent content about their dogs and cats and we found your blog.
We like your blog, it said.
We would like to offer you a box of our newest, most nutritional treats for a sponsored blog post. Please let us know if you are interested.
That is a sort summation of an email I may have received several years ago, well before I helped found BlogPaws. It’s a representation of a note from an agency, or a brand, asking me to do something in return for not only free product, but for a small stipend for the work of the post. I say small because in those early days the pet industry was, and some still are, reluctant to pay bloggers to represent them and their products. This post is about that – how my blog addiction pays for my dog and cat treats.
- I was passionate about my blog and wrote useful content at least 3 times a week. Often, five times a week.
- I remembered to cite properly. That also means I didn’t just grab a link from anywhere. I looked carefully at the content I was going to use to make my case, and reviewed more than one post to make sure the writer was legitimate. Much like citing a paper in high school, the requirement to cite sources today means you have to have trusted, reliable sources. I did.
- I was genuine. This means you could tell who I was, in each and every post. I often used the word “I”…and then identified who “I” was. I supported my friends by sharing their content, where it was relevant – always noting any content was opinion related, and when sharing educational content from friends, I noted their professional status, if it applied. If not, I just noted why I was sharing the content.
That’s pretty much how my blog addition pays for my dog and cat treats. When I treat the blog with respect, the brands learn to respect me. They offer me not only free product, but they compensate me for my time, and it pays for treats – and a whole lot more!
Over time, I came to realize the great big web was full of other pet bloggers, much like myself. In the early days of Scratchings and Sniffings our little blog endeavor was sponsored by a big brand. We were happy about that because I fed the brand dog food year after year. Being sponsored meant I was beholding to the brand sponsoring me, and no other, so when I received emails like the one above I reluctantly said no… always wondering if I was doing the right thing.
However, the attention my blog was receiving was one of the reasons I knew there was an opportunity in front of me… and then, one day Tom and I met Caroline of Romeo the Cat, a Co-Founder of BlogPaws, as many of you know. Her Crayons and Collars blog is a big focus of hers now, and that, too, is a pet blog, of sorts.
We talked, Tom, Caroline, and myself. We nodded when one of us said, “Pet brands are finally looking for pet bloggers the way consumer brands search out Mommy bloggers.”
“But they can’t find them,” Caroline said.
The decision to create the BlogPaws conference and community, to become a resource for other pet bloggers, came out of the realization. For me, it was partly out of my passion for blogging. As a writer, blogging gives me a way to share, to improve myself through daily writing, and a way to meet new people, with the same passion. I knew all of that because I’d been blogging for many years. Tom and I already had a successful business teaching other small businesses to blog. We had our Business Blogging Boot Camp, a local workshop where we explained the why of blogging and the how of blogging, and then, we built blogs for people and taught them the secrets of being successful.
Over the years, I’ve heard many people recite the mantra, “Conceive it, believe it, achieve it.” I like Muhammad Ali’s version best, I guess, “If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I can achieve it.”
That’s what got me going and kept me going. I had mentors, and networking groups that I attended, but the true foundation of how I succeeded was in my passion for writing. I conceived an idea – write a book. My heart believed it, so when I wrote the book, it got noticed. I was not as purposeful in my goal of what I wanted to achieve, back then, rather I allowed fate to guide me, and it led me to a publishing company, a speaking engagement, a petblog, and a personal relationship with Caroline.
When I say “I” you understand that Tom was there – he is part of MY “I”. I hope you have someone as supportive and smart and talented as Tom, to help you!
I didn’t make it happen, you understand. I didn’t will it to happen. I didn’t decide it would happen. I wanted it to happen, so I did what needed doing (a lot of hard work and late nights), and gradually, it happened. Operative word there is ‘gradually’. Because nothing happens overnight. Sorry.
If you want it to happen for you – whatever that means to you – then, conceive it, believe it, achieve it. Insert the hard work, the worry and late nights, and the exultation of success, in between each of those and you’re on your way.
Now bring all of that to BlogPaws – because we’re part of the hard work. We’ll stick with you and guide you along, faster and more successfully than you, alone, can guide yourself. Our goal is to make you successful.
If you missed the 2016 conference in Phoenix, here’s a visual taste of what you could have experienced:
NOTE: You can register for 2017 right now… here. Conference Special Prices are 50% off the regular ticket prices and good ONLY UNTIL Friday, July 1, 2016.
Yvonne DiVita is a Co-Founder of BlogPaws. She is dedicated to storytelling and the human-animal bond. When not working on BlogPaws, she writes at Scratchings and Sniffings and The Lipsticking Society. You may contact her at Yvonne@blogpaws.com .