For bloggers, connecting with brands in your industry can be a prime source of revenue and opportunity. And those relationships can also lead to additional exposure for the brands.
In many industries, there are companies and platforms designed specifically to connect those brands and bloggers. But Yvonne DiVita and some friends noticed that there wasn’t such a platform designed with pet bloggers in mind. So, they started one.
DiVita is now the CEO of BlogPaws, a pet blogger conference and media company. She’s also one of the winners of Small Business Trends’ recent Brother eBook marketing tip contest. She shared the following tip with the community:
“Surprise people. Bring in laughter, tears, excitement, whatever works! Be emotional! To make your design/image stand out try these ideas: Create a compelling caption (be provocative! be unexpected! think ART, fun, humor!); be funny and/or outrageous; take previously created pictures and update them with new backgrounds, new stories, new messages. Connecting with people emotionally attracts loyalty and stimulates people to respond more positively. No matter what, always, always, be true to your CORE purpose in life”
Read more about DiVita and her BlogPaws business in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Connects bloggers with brands and runs a pet blogger conference.
The company connects bloggers with marketing campaigns and companies to facilitate things like product reviews and announcements. It also hosts a national social media marketing conference for pet bloggers.
Working with pet bloggers.
While the company can work with both bloggers and brands in a variety of industries, it specializes in pet-related blogs and the brands that target that niche. And, as such, the company always has to keep the welfare of animals at the top of its priority list. DiVita explains:
“The key here is to understand that, as a group, pet bloggers strive to support shelters and rescues around the world. We embrace the human-animal bond wholeheartedly and do everything we can to share that message.”
How the Business Got Started
As a conference for pet bloggers.
DiVita was at a women’s blogging conference when her co-founder, Caroline Golon, brought up the idea of doing the same type of conference for pet bloggers. Even with a lack of experience, they jumped right into the idea. DiVita says:
“No, none of us (myself, Caroline or Tom, my husband) had ever put on a conference. But we did not let that stop us. Not even when some trusted advisers told us, ‘You should start a community first, and then have a conference.’ We knew the conference had to come first.”
The first conference was successful so the business bloomed from there.
Hosting a second conference in the same year.
“We had just experienced the heady feeling of success with our first event, complete with the many accolades that came with it. We were steadfast in our belief that the pet community was bigger and more powerful than anyone knew! But, all we had to support that was our gut feeling. We didn’t have reports or case studies or industry stats. Not about pet bloggers. We only had our gut feeling.”
Luckily, the second conference, which was held in Denver so that those who couldn’t travel to the first conference in Columbus, Ohio, could attend, was also successful. So, their gut feelings were right.
Having the ability to help animals in need.
The keynote speakers at each conference don’t collect speaking fees. Instead, BlogPaws donates to a shelter of each speaker’s choice. And even without the ability to collect speaking fees, the company is able to attract quality speakers just because they all have a shared goal. DiVita explains:
“Each year, we attract new, talented keynote speakers, and they all appreciate this opportunity — to give back to a shelter in need. It continues to strengthen our foundation and to show our community that BlogPaws listens to them. Because this is what we all hope to achieve — the rescue of all animals.”
Online marketing is incredibly important.
Though the business has been successful to this point, the founders sort of jumped in without learning as much about the ins and outs of things, like marketing, first. DiVita says:
“To date, we’ve been growing well and succeeding in our work, but I have to wonder if we’d be even more successful, had we understood how to activate and support this fantastic network we’re building.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Hiring a business consultant.
“I’d hire an expert to come in, review our business, and help us focus on the areas we can be most successful as both a business and a network of bloggers. We sometimes get ourselves bogged down in wannabe land. Wannabe this or wannabe that, or we have folks suggest great ideas that we wish we could implement … in wanna be land. Outside eyes might be able to direct us on where to put the biggest effort, and continue growing into the next decade.”
Pets come first.
“BlogPaws is a pet-friendly company. We still work from home. Our pets are part of almost everything we do. Even our conferences are pet friendly. In fact, we refuse to go anywhere that pets are not allowed, and we will not hold a conference in a location that has breed specific legislation (banning pit bulls or any other breed). We have yet to consider California for a conference, though many pet friendly locations have courted us, because the entire state bans ferrets.”
If the Business Were a Book
“Oh the Places You’ll Go”, by Dr. Seuss
“Not only does this inspire US at the home office, it inspires all of our bloggers. Because, we believe that if you believe in yourself, you can go places you’ve only dreamed of! And yes, you can take your pets with you!”
“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” ~ Will Rogers (actor, A Connecticut Yankee)
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