Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

Better late than never, right? The annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me was actually yesterday, but I fell asleep last night writing it. Although we’re a day late, I still thought it would be a good reflective exercise to participate in.

Here we go: 

1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Here is our link from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge. Doesn’t time just fly?!

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

The most important goal was to write, and post, on a more consistent basis.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

Yes, and yes. I have definitely posted more, but it hasn’t always been something I had to write. I think I’ve started to stop worrying that everything has to be a novel and sometimes will just post a fun photo of Toby. In fact, that seems to go over just as well, as writing a product review sometimes.

4. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?

I do plan out posts a little more than I did, but I don’t keep to a tight schedule. If I have five product reviews to do, I strategically plan when the best time to write and post them will be, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change or if there is something else interesting that I see, I can’t write about that, too.

Which are you doing now?

Based on my answer above, I guess I’m doing a little of both.

Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc? 

Oh, traffic… When I first started, I used to freak out about traffic, but then I stopped because of several factors. Very simple, numbers aren’t everything. You have to build relationships. What good is it to have 1 million followers, but only three people are talking about your brand? It’s the old saying quality over quantity.

I preach this to all my social clients, too. I would rather have 100 people who care about what I’m saying, engaging, listening and talking about my procust rather than 1,000 people who aren’t listening at all.

That said, Blogger’s new dashboard has made it easy to see your daily post views and I do watch them, but I don’t stress over them. It has, however, given me insight into what my readers like to hear about. What I pay more attention to are the social buttons at the bottom of each post. If someone “likes” or tweets something I’ve written, I feel like I’ve accomplished more than if 500 people read my story.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

No, but I would like it to. My website has helped me get jobs, so I guess inadvertently it generates income, but then I get so busy at my new job that I don’t have time to write my website. It’s a vicious cycle.

Has this changed since last year?

If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

Ironically, last year, I sold an ad and was all excited about trying to monetize it. Now, I think because over the past year, I’ve changed what I want to do with My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much, I’m not as focused on selling ads, and such, but am working toward a different goal, and way of making money through this.

6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?

I think overall my likes have stayed the same — I LOVE connecting with other people, writing about an industry that I enjoy and sharing my life with Toby. What I dislike is the commercialization of blogging — the race to gets sponsors, the 20-blog giveaways for a $10 Amazon card … The pet blogger community has changed quickly.

Personally, I just want to write, share, create conversation, meet new people, take pictures and shoot video, but I know sometimes that’s not enough, and those other things help generate new readers and build traffic — so it’s creating that careful balance and still staying true to yourself.

7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?

Yes! My audience has grown, my journalism experience combined with this gave me the very fortunate ability to be the online editor of Tails Magazine for a while {unfortunately, I was offered another amazing professional opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, so after three months I had to resign} and I’m getting more comfortable in my pet lifestyle writing skin.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

There are some fun ideas in the works to expand My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much, but it takes money, time and some luck … so I don’t want to jinx myself by sharing those.

I would really like to become more involved with companies and products — and not just through reviews and ambassadorships. Last year I attended several industry trade shows, including the Global Pet Expo, and really enjoyed learning about product development, and the overall pet industry. For me, those events were extremely beneficial.

It’s one thing to have an executive in your pet industry related company who excels at business development, networking or social media. It’s another to have an executive who does all of that AND loves pets.

Visit the other bloggers participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge:

10 thoughts on “Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

  1. Loved reading your post… your blog was one of the early ones I discovered when I started blogging, and I've been a loyal reader ever since! It was really nice to meet you at BlogPaws this year, and I look forward to more of your posts in 2012!

  2. Yep. The race for sponsors, arguments over whether or not bloggers should be paid for reviews or not, spending hours editing video to promote a bone. I'm over it all. I've lost my will to write ads for brands. The free sample isn't worth the time. I could by it myself without spending 3 hours making it a project. Bitter much? I guess so. Lol. I've got some great products to review still. Don't get me wrong. I'm just soured on brands with unrealistic expectations and a lack of initiative on their part to promote my post in return. It's as if that little sample treat is supposed to be a big whoop. I'm supposed to feel lucky to have been selected. No more. Only respectful brands get my time now, and only when I'm not writing for me. 🙂

    Good luck to us both on this renewed quest for enjoyment! Cheers to a successful 2012!

  3. I couldn't agree more with what you said about traffic and engaging with readers.
    Over this past year I have being trying to find a happy balance of where I would like my blog to go. It's really been a trial and error type of process.
    Good luck to you this year and I can't wait to see what lies ahead here:))

  4. Hi Michelle & Toby – I'm so glad you decided to join the PBC! I think you speak for a lot of us when you said that it's more important to focus on relationships than numbers. It's so easy to get caught up in the stats and lose sight of the people who are actually reading your blog. I've also had issues with whether or not to monetize my blog – don't we all want to be paid for what we do? But it's more important to me to maintain the integrity of my blog by focusing on issues that I think are important than do product reviews or chase after sponsors. Great post – thanks for sharing!

  5. I'm coming down the home stretch and I've seen lots of concerns about integrity and values. There are certainly plenty of pet bloggers chasing money and stats. But so many more seem to be about figuring out how to do well while doing good.

    And if there's a conflict, doing good will win.

    I hope 2012 brings you many good things. Perhaps I'll see you at BlogPaws?

  6. Oooooh, I'm excited to know what's on the horizon for you and Toby – and I totally get that you don't want to jinx it. I'll keep my fingers crossed that good things come your ways and look forward to some interesting announcements from you. Thanks for participating in the Challenge!

  7. "You have to build relationships." This is one of my main goals for 2012. I hope to build more relationships through my blog. By the way, I made use of your social media buttons at the bottom of this post 🙂 Best of luck to you in 2012!

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