Friday, April 4, 2014

Pet blogging: Do it for the right reasons (not for the money)

Liam the pug working on his pet blog

If this week's jobs report is any indication, things are looking up for writers all across the country. As a result, it's likely that fewer people will hit me up for advice on being a pet blogger, and I think that's a good thing.

Why?

Because many of the requests I get sound something like this: "I've seen your pet blog online, and I've decided that's what I want to do with my career. So tell me more about how I can make money at it."

I think that's the wrong way to approach pet blogging. In fact, I think if you're blogging about your animals simply because you want to make money at it, you're going into writing for all the wrong reasons. Sure, many people can and do make at least a little dough by writing about their pets on a regular basis. But there are a number of other really great benefits that can come from pet blogging, and overlooking them could be a huge mistake.

These are just a few of the reasons I keep blogging.

1. Increased exposure for your blogging skills. 

By writing about almost anything at all under your own name, you're promoting your skills and linking those skills to your name. When future employers look for information about you, they might be given search results that are simply loaded with the articles you've written about your pets. If you're a writer, that repository of work could help you to land a job. You might not get paid directly for your pet writing work, but that body of work could help you to get noticed as a writer.

2. Raised awareness about animal welfare issues. 

Most of my blog entries have to do with simple topics, like dental care, dog training or cat litter. These are the nuts and bolts of a day spent caring for small, furry animals. However, there are times when something important is taking place in the pet community, and sometimes, I feel like I have a unique perspective to share. I've written about breed-specific legislation and cat overpopulation on this blog, and I'm sure I'll come up with other important topics to blather on about in the future. Writing about these topics helps me feel as though I'm doing something to help animals that I don't own, and sometimes, that's an empowering feeling I don't get in the work I do for clients.

Sinead the Boston terrier working on a pet blog

3. Simple enjoyment of your pets. 

Blogging about your pets is fun. I love trying to grab the right photos, and throughout the week, I'm always trying to come up with new topics and new angles that might make an appearance on this blog. Writing about my pets helps me feel more connected to them, like I'm really documenting what makes them special and important, and I find that it's incredibly rewarding. Pet blogs should always be fun to read, and I think that only happens when the writer behind that blog is actually having a good time. Those who write for money might not approach the work with that kind of joy.

4. Connecting with other pet bloggers. 

I love getting comments on this blog (hint, hint), and I've had many readers send me followup questions via email. This, to me, is one of the main benefits of pet blogging. When you write about your pets, you might get connected to other pet lovers all around the world, and their stories are often inspiring and heartwarming. Participating in a chat room or pet forum can give you these benefits, too, but pet blogging is an easy way to dip a toe into the online world of animal lovers.

If you're not convinced and you really want to work as a pet blogger for the money, there are a number of articles out there that might give you some good pointers. But, I hope I've helped to encourage you to get started in your blogging career for reasons that have nothing to do with an immediate paycheck. It works for me, and I think it might work for you, too.

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