Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

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PBCToday we are joining the Pet Blogger Challenge. Since we were new to blogging last year, we did not participate in the 2013 Challenge, but in looking back at last year’s entries we realized it’s a great way to get to know our fellow bloggers and even to help us think a bit about the ‘bigger picture’ & strategy of our blog, which sometimes you lose sight of in the urgency of the day-to-day.

So, here goes:

How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
The SlimDoggy blog has only been around for just over a year. We started the blog in order to spread our message of health & fitness for dogs. We provide weekly articles on canine fitness and an extensive series on dog food and dog food ingredients. In addition, we have some regular features such as Dear Labby, Mythbusters and Tale of Tails.

We also have created an iPhone app which is like a “Weight Watchers” and “Runkeeper” for dogs.  It lets you track your dog’s activity and provides you with their daily calorie burn.  You can also look up your dog’s food from the app and see how many calories it has, the ingredients, and our Slimdoggy food ranking.  You can download it in the App store (click here).

 

Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
Our biggest goal was to get people familiar with our brand and what we stand for in the fight against pet obesity and in enlightening people to the benefits of better food and more consistent exercise for your dog. We think we accomplished this as we have presented on topics related to canine food and fitness at conferences, and have appeared as experts on numerous TV , radio, and podcast shows.

 

When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
We didn’t participate last year.

 

What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
We’ve learned so much in this first year – most importantly that content is king and people who are entertained or educated by your content will return to read more and will tell their friends about it. At least we hope that’s what they do!

 

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
Our challenge is to spread our message beyond the blogging community. It’s so critical for the average dog owner to be aware of what they are feeding their dogs and how exercise impacts their dog’s health, longevity and the owner’s wallet. We really want to expand our readership and get that message out there to the broader public at large..

 

What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
Content is king and good SEO is obvious, but the Blog Hops we participate in certainly help build traffic and expose us to new blogs that we aren’t familiar with. Media appearances can help for sure.

 

How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
We spend several hours a day on social media promotion and have Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram and Stumble accounts. We would like to spend less, but think we will be spending more.

 

How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
We use traffic metrics as well as comments to help guide us.  Although we have a mix of topics, our primary focus is on canine food, fitness, and overall health.  Stay tuned in 2014 as we will be adding a lot more features and articles on food.

 

How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
Haven’t had that happen yet, although if you folks are tired of something, please let us know.

 

When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
If I can relate to the story they’ve told or have a similar or complimenting anecdote I will take the time to leave a comment. We also try to be loyal to blogs that are faithful readers and spend more time with them consuming their content.

 

Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
Not very often. We try to stay impartial with foods and most of the giveaways are food related. We think that bloggers deserve to be paid, in cash, for their reviews and story lines involving Brands. We often wonder if the blogging communities’ willingness to take product in exchange for editorial work has set the wrong precedent.

 

When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
Luckily there are two of us, so we can rely on each other for ideas and inspiration. We’ve also had many dogs in our lives (12+) so we have lots of material. We are so passionate about canine health, fitness, and food, so it is hard to run out of posts!

 

Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
Never done it. We publish a minimum of 6 times per week.

 

Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
Never – we really enjoy it, but it’s only been a year, so ask this question again next year and we might have a different answer.

 

What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
Similar to what we said above, we’d like to expand our reach and become more of a content publisher than a blogger. We’ll probably add more guest bloggers to our blog and do more guest blogging and outreach. We are adding some great new features related to food so that will be fun.

 

Thanks for this opportunity to share our thoughts and plans for our Blog. We are always open to hear suggestions from our readers for other topics for us to cover or investigate, so please feel free to leave your thoughts, advice and constructive criticism in the comments.

 
The Pet Blogger Challenge is sponsored by Go Pet Friendly and Will my Dog hate Me? Not to late to join the fun:

 


 

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32 Comments

  1. What a great post for the challenge. I was nodding my head big time about your goal to become a content publisher rather than a blog. Actually, I could easily see your blog becoming a magazine. And I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit that I smiled with a touch of envy when you referred to there being two of you writing your blog. Ah, if only I could clone myself 😉
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Tennessee Tails by Kathryn Primm DVM | Book ReviewMy Profile

  2. Publishing 6 times a week is a commitment! I commend you!

    Looking forward to more in 2014! Keep up the great work!
    Christina Berry recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014My Profile

  3. Thanks for taking part in this challenge. I’m awed by your energy — creating an app, blogging so regularly, keeping up with social media — and I’m glad it’s paying off for you.
    Edie recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge, Round 4: Giving Me a BreakMy Profile

  4. I wish you luck in your goal to spread your content beyond the pet blogging community – that is tough and I definitely am not enough of a master at marketing or social media to achieve that sort of thing!
    It’s difficult because often I find that posts providing advice or information – unless extremely detailed or specialised – is preaching to the choir. Most of my readers are other dog bloggers, and that is a population who is on their game when it comes to pet ownership!
    So I’ve moved to more personal stuff, but your message is super important to get out to your target audience – the general dog owner needs to know this! I was having a conversation just the other day with a coworker who was baffled that I walk my dogs EVERY day. And I was equally baffled by her response.
    So I appreciate and respect all you guys do here. It’s important!
    Jen K recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014My Profile

    • You are right about preaching to the choir…the bloggers that read our blog keep their dogs in pretty good shape already. We’re hoping they in turn spread the word to their friends & followers. Thanks for your comments & encouragement.
      mkob recently posted…Five Tips to Make Exercise ConvenientMy Profile

    • You might be surprised to find you’re “preaching to the choir” less than you think. It feels like our readers are mostly other bloggers with a similar outlook because those folks are more motivated to comment. But a nonblogger will occasionally comment on my blog or, more likely, interact with me on FB. And I then see that I’m speaking to a more diverse audience than I might think.
      Pamela recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014 – Something Wagging’s Multimedia ExtravaganzaMy Profile

  5. I loved reading your challenge since you are one of those blogs that just took off in a much shorter period then me while I am still stumbling along, and that’s a compliment! I think you have struck a real niche, which appeals to more than just bloggers, so I am confident you will reach your challenges. We aren’t as faithful as we would like to be to your blog, fitness is very important to us but our blog’s direction isn’t quite the same so we tend to lag a bit. I am an avid swimmer and walker which is why I have Dolly to walk with me and that’s about our fitness level! Sandra & Dolly
    Dolly the Doxie recently posted…The Lady’s Pet Blogger ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thank you for the kind words. We’re hoping our message hits those non-bloggers, we’re kind of preaching to the choir there but recognize they can help us spread the word. Walks are just as good as most anything in my book, so Dolly is doing her job.
      mkob recently posted…Five Tips to Make Exercise ConvenientMy Profile

  6. You’ve definitely made me think more about canine fitness so that’s something! I didn’t realize your blog was (relatively) new. For some reason, I thought you had been blogging longer.

  7. You’re doing amazing things in such a short time. I can’t wait to see Slim Doggy take off into the stratosphere. For your business model, obviously getting media attention is important. You need to be registered with HARO (help a reporter out) so that anytime a reporter needs a pet fitness expert they turn to you. That would probably be the fastest way for you to increase your visibility instead of meeting readers one person at a time.
    Pamela recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014 – Something Wagging’s Multimedia ExtravaganzaMy Profile

    • Pamela, thanks for the tip – you know I am in HARO and get updates each day, but I am not diligent in reviewing them for opportunities…I need to remedy that because you are right, it’s a good avenue for us.
      mkob recently posted…Five Tips to Make Exercise ConvenientMy Profile

  8. You have accomplished so much in one year! Congrats! Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for you 🙂

  9. I absolutely love that you are so focused and driven and it shows in all that you have done this year! I think that your sight is amazing and love to read your Monday Mischief posts and I’ve learned so much as far as nutrition and exercise goes!
    Jen recently posted…The Pet Blogger Challenge 2014My Profile

    • Thanks for the kind words Jen, we really appreciate it.

  10. I so enjoy your blog and you do a great job at it. You have so much great information. It’s sometimes like a refresher course for me as I had nutrition in Vet Tech school over 20 years ago and time change and information changes so it’s nice to hear the current stuff. Keep up the great work.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Nothing But NormanMy Profile

  11. The anti-obesity message for pet owners is so hard to get across. I politely tell people, frequently, that their dog could be a little lighter. They almost always respond with, “My dog saw the vet x months ago, and s/he said my dog was fine!”. I think vets have a lot to answer for. No, people don’t like to hear their dog is fat – but you can break the news in a polite way. “Suzie would feel a lot better with less weight on her joints”, “I bet Fido would be a lot more energetic if he loss a kilo or two”. Vets are obliged to make recommendations on the weight of pets. Many don’t.

    That being said, many vets are out of touch. In rescue, I’ve had a few fat dogs come in, and one of the first things I say to the vet is, “We’re getting weight off them.” Many vets don’t seem to consider it important, or sometimes don’t even see the pet as fat! It it a distorted perception or social correctness gone wrong?
    Tegan recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014My Profile

  12. I really appreciate the specific focus that you guys have. I love clicking over to a blog and knowing the type and quality of content I’ll find there, and I think you’re super consistent with that. I admire your diligence on all those social channels. I struggle with that, so I’m hoping to take your example and improve in 2014!
    Maggie recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2014My Profile

  13. Great idea for the iPhone app! Will you be getting an Android version someday?

    I really think getting the word out about the crap that passes as food for dogs needs to get out there. Many people just don’t realize that cheap isn’t cheap in the long run.

    I admire your diligence in getting 6 posts a week! OMD! Great work!
    Julie recently posted…Pet Blogger 2014 ChallengeMy Profile

  14. I think you are doing great. You have a lot of projects going and quality content and I think it’s just a matter of time before you get where you want to be. Your passion for pet health and fitness will get you there….it does just need to catch on more with the general public, and I know it will. You give all of us other bloggers a chance to join in on your “cause” and that will continue to spread the word to where it needs to go.
    Jan K recently posted…2014 Pet Blogger ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thanks for the great feedback – we appreciate it and all of the support we’ve gotten from everyone!
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 1-12-14My Profile

  15. I think it’s so great that you and Steve work on this blog and SlimDoggy together. My hubby is supportive of what I do and is willing to forgo biking for a sport he likes less – hiking – when I need new blog material. All of the writing, photos and promotion is up to me though.
    Jessica recently posted…2014 Pet Blogger ChallengeMy Profile

    • It’s great to have the support for sure. We’d never accomplish as much without two of us.
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 1-12-14My Profile

  16. I won’t lie – a pang of envy hit me when you said there was two of you. LOL, I mean I knew that, but it must be so very nice to share the work. I think your goal of content publishing as opposed to blogging is a both a good and a bad idea. Even with companies, I’m a sucker for the personal touch, but your content is so good that I can see it being wildly successful to. Either way, you’ve added a lot to the canine fitness discussion in the blogosphere and that’s a good thing.
    Kolchak, Felix & Jodi recently posted…Navel Gazing With the Pet Blogger’s ChallengeMy Profile

    • Thanks for the kind words, we appreciate the feedback. I don’t think I could ever give up writing about our dogs, so there will always be a personal touch involved 🙂
      mkob recently posted…Black & White Sunday 1-12-14My Profile

  17. I think you have a good plan for this coming year. Do you worry that if you become less of a blogger and more content oriented that your comments will drop off? I have thought about going more toward content but I worry that I will not get comment feedback.

    I don’t mind doing product reviews in exchange for a sample. I have a real job where I earn money and my blog is a hobby. Product reviews give me some variety of content and usually I am curious about the product anyway. It is no different than someone writing a review on amazon or an app, but then in those cases I have actually paid for the product. I usually shy away from doing those…lol.

  18. Let’s go to the advanced SEO session together and BlogPaws and let’s trade notes. I’m not great at SEO, but I’ve gotten pretty good and I’m starting to rank for keywords that I want and I’m getting a lot of new dog owners who are interested in raising littermate puppies and raw dog food.

    Another thing I recommend, if you haven’t done this already, is to go see which posts are getting the most traffic and expand upon them. I plan to work on that this weekend.

    We can chat anytime – I love SEO and learning about it and it would be easier to learn with someone 🙂
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…Fur Mom Confessions | I Stole a Box of Riley’s Organic Dog TreatsMy Profile

    • You’ve got a date. Studying up is on my list of tasks – along with better reading of Google Analytics. Our life span post gets the most traffic far and away.
      mkob recently posted…7 Tips for Starting a Running Program with Your Dog My Profile

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