A Year in Review
For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?
This is our second year blogging, but it seems like we’ve been doing so and have been a member of the pet blogging community for WAY longer. We try to share information about pet ownership and opportunities for sharing experiences with our pets when we visit pet friendly establishments like breweries, wineries, pubs, etc. We also like sharing information about products that merge our love of dogs and drinking together!
What is your proudest blogging moment of 2017?
I am most proud of having had the opportunity to present at BlogPaws this past conference with a dear friend that I had met at the BlogPaws conference the year before. We spent hours researching information and crafting our presentation and I am so proud of the information we were able to share about best practices focusing on developing a relationship with brands and articulating value.
We learned that there is no cookie cutter in this industry, and that each blogger has their own unique talents and information to contribute which can impact the amount of money they may choose to charge. Brands also have their own unique sets of needs, and audiences which can affect their decision making on which bloggers they select for their campaigns. It was fascinating to get the inside scoop and I am so thankful to Alison Reder, from Sarcastic Dog, for sharing the experience with me.
Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?
Dog Friendly Travel & Free Slush Puppy Recipe
I’m proud of a lot of the posts I wrote this past year, but I really enjoyed when my posts were able to merge dogs and drinking. One such opportunity was when we got to meet Amy from GoPetFriendly while she was zipping and zagging across the US when she went to my hometown of Mystic, Connecticut and our pals from Tito’s Vodka helped to sponsor the event. We met TONS of amazing dogs that day and created a special drink recipe called the “Slush Puppy” for humans to enjoy on a toasty summer day.
In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?
The nerd in me sure does love diving into numbers. I evaluate analytic information to gain an understanding of blog traffic, and demographic information for readers along with their behavior when visiting the site. From a more loose perspective, I also measure success based on the connections we have formed through our blog and social media posts. We have gotten some really kind emails, comments, and messages telling us that we have helped our readers either find a new place to visit, learn about a new product to try, or learn about a different way to possibly solve a problem they were facing. That connection, even if the number is smaller, is more valuable to me.
Sometimes "success" can be measured by whether or not you can roll over.
In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?
We are still young enough for me to think that there is no trend yet for me to identify the outliers. I did try to be more regular with my posts and more frequent in drafting them, but there was still an ebb and flow based on my availability and my closeness to something that could distract me. I have collaborated more with fellow bloggers and I have enjoyed that opportunity a great deal.
What is the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?
I got sucked into the comparison “I’m not as good as ‘so and so’ game,” and it was really hard to get out. Instead of looking at fellow bloggers for inspiration, I started to think about how I was ‘failing’ compared to their volume of posts, nature of posts, number of social followers, you name it. I don’t know what caused me to shake out of that dangerous trend, but I took a step back, and started to refocus my attention on my own goals, and my content. I reached out to fellow bloggers for advise was able to remember that this community is filled with amazingly talented peers, not competition. We have all started in different places and we all have our own unique objectives and goals, my measure of success is different from someone else’s, it doesn’t make sense to compare. I hope to help others with making that same realization so we can learn from each other and not view each other as competition.
When things get hard, what keeps you blogging?
Does blogging while drunk count? I kid (sort of). To be honest, the people and their pets are the reason why I keep on blogging. It’s so amazing to feel like I’m now a member of a community and that I have helped to form my own community of like-minded pet owners. I would feel so lonely if I lost that group of people so I try to stay connected in some way as much as possible.
Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog?
A few simple, but important items are on my to do list. First, I am hoping to post more regularly and to include more posts that share fun stories or personal anecdotes. Evergreen content that is applicable year round is another focus of mine, which I hope will contribute to me posting more frequently.
I also need to pull the bandaid off and transfer my blog from WIX to Wordpress this year. I’ve outgrown the capabilities of the plug and play type of website design and need to create something that is easier to navigate for readers and is organized in a more logical way will help to engage readers for a longer period of time.
Lastly, I would like to learn more about how to use my DSLR camera so I can take even better images for my blog and to share with followers on social channels like Instagram and Facebook.
In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill that you’d like to improve or master this year?
The final portion of my last answer is really the answer to this question. Photography is what led me into developing a blog after having won a trip to BlogPaws because of an image I took. I’d like to continue to strengthen my skill in image creation that can help to show a story instead of simply telling it.
Over and over, brands have shown that compelling images are a significant priority of theirs when deciding which bloggers to work with, so to remain competitive I need to strengthen my photography skills which will increase my perceived value when working with brands. Also, Bean and Yoda are freakin’ adorable, so I of course, want to shower the universe with pictures of them as much as possible.
Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!
If we were to do away with EVERYTHING on our blog and social media except for ONE THING, what would you want that single thing to be? Features about dog friendly breweries and other adult beverage locations? Information about our lives in the form of fun with an occasional serious story? Story telling through our images?
If I have an idea of what you think we do best, or is most entertaining to you, that will help me to determine where I should be focusing my time and energy in the future.