Dog Blog & Marketing Monday – It’s A Two Way Street But Are You Ready For The Traffic?

What’s impressed mum’s marketing brain about blogging is how interactive it is. Talk in the marketing world over the last few years has included a focus on 2 way communication. No longer is it a case that a brand just talks to a potential buyer in a one way conversation. If you really had something to say about a brand, at best you could phone a 1800 number or wow you could even write and post a letter. Dangerously for brands most people tended to just tell others that they know or meet (you know those chats down the dog park while we are chasing each other around… Great if they like something but not good for the brand if the person hasn’t had a good experience). The digital world has transformed this and consumers or potential consumers now have much easier access to their brands and expect answers! It is like barking in the middle of a quiet night and knowing there will quickly be a response.

What mum and I were contemplating though is sponsored blog posts and the role of the blogger when issues arise or the reader has a question?

Sponsored posts or most other interaction between your average brand manager and their customers tends to be pro-active good news. The client has a new product (oohhh maybe new puppy treats), something interesting say or maybe just wants to build positive associations between their brand and the bloggers audience. These are the standard types of stories. Yet if you go to the client’s owned social media outlets quite often there are equally as many questions and complaints as there are nice news story from the brand manager. These sites are usually closely managed either internally by the client or by a well briefed agency under the client’s management.

So if you are a blogger who accepts sponsored posts does the client provide you with a list of dos and don’ts to say or an issues management plan. Proactively having this means you can both protect the client’s reputation and also give your blog readers accurate and timely responses.

If you are a client do you treat bloggers differently than how you would treat your internal Corporate Comms or Customer Service who would be briefed on a project. Are bloggers different because it is in their voice and paid media vs owned media?

Hmmm a deep one for a Marketing Monday and one that we are interested to hear what people from both the Client / Marketing side and the Blogging side think so if you have an experience with this or thoughts on how you would manage please drop us a comment.

Ok and now our Dog Blog. After all that serious Marketing Talk this is a dog blog that is just a nice stories, rambling and the journey of a handler and her dogs (one retired and the other still quite young). Lifeofluman provides some nice informative posts on agility as well as the personal journey and we spent plenty of time reading through and leaving our paw prints with comments.

Dog Blog & Marketing Stuff Monday – Meeting New People.. The Places To Meet

Welcome back for 2014 1st World Dog Blog readers. We love the new year… it really does have that fresh start feel about it, especially here in Sydney where the sun has been shining and we have been outside enjoying it. Given the heat it also means enjoying the early mornings and the evenings for our training and mum has been focusing on some of her other work stuff on the computer during the heat of the day (while I nap of course).

So it seems that mum’s work and the plan for 1st World Dog Blog have a lot in common for 2014. It is all about meeting new people. In marketing terms it is “Driving Awareness”.

We have talked a bit about awareness in an earlier post about the Funky Funnel. We are a still a relatively new blog, like mum’s business is a relatively new business, so an important step is getting out there and introducing ourselves to people so they know we exist.

I’m a real life dog so I’m still a big fan of meeting in person (well… sniffing in dog).  So quite often when we meet people in dog parks, at trials or other dog places and something relevant comes up then mum will drop that 1st World Dog Blog exists. Having met me, as it would be rare for mum to be at a dog kinda place without me… if so I want to know why, than people are generally interested to learn more about the fun stuff we do or get the recipes for the yummy treats that their dogs are trying to snaffle from my mum.

There is also the world online. Given a lot of you reading this we haven’t actually met than you have obviously stumbled upon our little blog through an online means (we are actually really curious how you have so please feel free to drop a note in the comments of this post as to how you came across 1st World Dog).

Here are some of the ways that we have put ourselves out there:

  • Post Tags: We know some have found us through the searches of our tags on WordPress. We are not always great at this. It is easier if using the laptop but a little bit more cumbersome on the iThings and tend to stick to some key tags.
  • Facebook: Mum has been using Facebook herself for a while so she feels pretty comfortable with this. For most 1st World Dog posts she also shares it on her own Timeline to broader the number of people who see it (the technical term is Reach I think).
  • Instagram: This is a newer thing for us but we love sharing photos and playing with the fun stuff you can do with the photos via other apps. We Live In A Flat has been awesome at sharing great tips and photography apps for this.
  • Pinterest: I have a page on mum’s account. We mainly use this for recipes but other things sneak in at times. We also have other dog stuff on another board called “It’s A Dog’s Life” for a bit of fun.

There are also a host of other ways to meet people such as Twitter, Google+ and plenty more but to be honest if we did them all there wouldn’t be much time for pats, runs, jumping and all that fun stuff.

We are also conscious of giving each of these a slightly different purposes. As we have already said above that Instagram is more about just photos. Pinterest tends to be about recipes so it gives anyone following us a reason to connect on a variety of platforms and well we find some platforms tend to do things better and are a more natural fit to why people use that platform.

Without making this a really long post we will finish up the marketing stuff there and next week talk about How To Meet.

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And now for our Dog Blog. In the spirit of New Years Resolutions that humans seem compelled to make we came across this post about Resolutions for Dogs. It is a really nice post and from 3 Lost Dogs and if you are sniffing around on there you might also want to check out the Beginners Guide To Agility. Mum wholeheartedly agrees, especially with how important (and tiring for me) the mental stimulation is. We hope you enjoy sniffing around this blog as much as we do.

Dog Blog & Marketing Monday – In the moment

Mum loves training and trialing with me as it really does force her to be “in the moment”. Be it doing some basic jumps in the front yard or out at a trial, if mum isn’t 100% “in the moment” than it all goes wrong.

Well the same can be said about great marketing moments. It is about being aware of the external things (oh is that a bird over there?!?!) that are going on and understanding what is relevant to your readers. Would they be interested in your opinion on that piece of current affairs or news.

It doesn’t have to be political or a rant (although I did have one recently because it was a topic I felt strongly about). It could just be a bit of fun, like when Lupo took center stage in the family photos of the new prince or a moment of reflection like our Photo Challenge picture during recent bushfires around Sydney.

One of my training buddies has a very clever mum. She has picked up on strata / apartment laws are changing in our area and for the 1st time it will be much easier to have a dog in an apartment (previously there was a lot of approvals required). She runs a dog training business (check out Goodog in my Friends page) so has created a course specifically for apartment dogs. What an awesome idea. So awesome in fact that local newspapers have run the story… including a front page!… Love the tongue Shellbe! )

Barbara Hodel with her dog Sheelbe in her house.

There is a lot of power in being in the moment… another marketing example is the Oreo tweet during the US Suprbowl. Huge sharing just by being in the moment. Being aware of your surroundings and then looking at ways, sometimes not direct, as to how they fit into your business or blog can be very newsworthy (as Shellbe has proven with her front page pic).

So that covers both mum’s marketing bit and also my dog blog… cause you have  to check out Goodog website and the blog there for lots of great dog related advice.

Have fun being in the moment guys!

Dog Blog & Marketing Stuff

So mum tells me that when you humans go shopping that most of you only take about 3 to 5 seconds to make up your mind what you are going to pick up when you are standing at a section of the shelf. Wow mum…. that is not a lot of time pondering which food or treats to buy me. So that had us wondering how long people spend deciding once they have clicked through to a blog whether they shall investigate further… hmmm???

When buying my stuff at the shops what usually counts is:

i) Comprehension. Can mum easily read what is on the packaging and what are the main messages on the packaging?

ii) The brand. Is it a brand mum has heard of before and is what they have said relevant to us?

There are other things that come into play but these are the ones we thought were most relevant when we think about what this would mean to the world of blogging.

Thinking about our personal experience we click through to plenty of blogs but really only engage in a few. So how do these ideas of Comprehension and Brand fit into blogging.

Firstly comprehension. Well if you are just browsing and it is all too hard… you just walk back out. Picture you are buying a new lead. You go to the shop and all the leads of different materials, lengths and designs are all jumbled up in one big bin. Don’t know about you but ALL TOO HARD. Well it is kinda the same if you are looking to see if it is a blog you might want to read. If it is all messy and not easy to see what the main theme is than it is all too hard. You might read the start of one post and then walk away if that doesn’t interest you and it is too hard to understand what the broader theme is about. Mum seems to love headers for this reason (and hence you will see this growing on our blog as mum organises the posts into groups so anyone who pops by can easily see the type of things we chat about…. and also so mum can find them again.

The other thing is branding. Such a big scary marketing word but if you are a blog that wants to interact with brands (that is be a commercial blogger) than you are a brand in your own right. A logo is one element of that but it is all of the touch points that someone comes into contact with via your blog. Like personality (blog voice) which we chatted about before, the branding also includes things like other blogs you link to and from. Think like you are down the dog park and you are hanging with all the tough looking staffies with studded collars (it’s ok I know staffies are big softies but just work with me on this). The expectation from a new dog coming into the park is you are a bit of a tough pup. This might be different from if you were chasing the ball with the kelpie.

As you read 1st World Dog we are not putting ourselves up as a blog that has this stuff right at the moment. In fact as we are writing this we are thinking of what we can do to improve (especially the comprehension stuff so mum can find posts again and we just have a basic wordpress template). With time these are things that we will work on but in the meantime we love checking out what others do. One of our favs that we find really easy to understand what is there and navigate around plus it just looks gorgeous is Pretty Fluffy.  We are working our way through reading more and more of this blog but love the recipes (some inspiration for Foodie Friday) and also the Dogs of the Blogs (every good blog needs a dog!).

Hope you enjoyed this week’s Monday Marketing Stuff. If you want Monday Marketing Stuff and other 1st World Dog updates straight to your inbox than just follow us with the bottom over on the side. Or you can keep up to date with other 1st World Dog happenings by check out my Facebook or Instagram pages.

But oh this marketing stuff is exhausting.

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Dog Blog & Marketing Stuff

So this week on Dog Blog & Marketing Week we are going to talk a bit about Awareness, Trial & Loyalty.

One of mum’s favourite concepts in the world of marketing is what she often referred to with non-marketing colleagues as the “Funky Funnel”. The Marketing Funnel as it would be more professionally referred to explains the traditional way people would interact with a brand. Here is an image of the funky funnel…

marketingfunnelsource:   http://www.darylconnelly.com/blog/the-marketing-funnel-a-simple-metaphor-worth-remembering

So it is pretty isn’t it but what does it mean? Well if someone heard / read / saw something about your blog it would mean they were aware of it. Like if I am down at the dog park and I see another dog running around… I’m aware of that dog. But if I go over and do the sniff thing… well now I am considering. This is like when someone comes to your blog and just checks out the homepage or a couple of pages. These people are building your visits and views but you may not see them again. All making sense down at the dog park so far?

The next level is where someone actually engages. This is where I do the play bow and actually start a game with another dog. For a blog this is where someone actually signs up to follow the blog or another social media connection. They might leave a comment.

Loyalty…. this is the dog I refer to as my mate. These are the dogs that I seek out and regularly play with at the park. For a blog these are the regular visitors, often seen by comments (but if someone better with the technical stuff knows another way to show loyalty please pop in a comment). And then it is when someone recommends your blog that you have advocacy.

If you are writing the blog just for fun than you may not care how many people are reading and where they might sit on the “Funky Funnel”, but if do have a commercial bent than chances are there is a marketer  somewhere (especially if you are dealing with a bigger brand) with a brand plan that includes the “Funky Funnel”. These marketers will doing activities (ie engaging with your blog) for different reasons. For some it may be awareness (ie just getting people to see and become familiar with their brand… like me knowing another dog is at the dog park). For others it may be about building a relationship with a specific group of users. This is where loyalty comes in. If you have a very specific topic for your blog and regular readers engaging that they also want to engage in (think like if I was to invite a friend from Rally O training to come play with my mates that I do Agility training with so my Rally O mate could tell them how much fun Rally is and see if they want to come try it).

So if you do interact with anyone from a commercial perspective be aware that they probably have a specific reason for working with you that might be a bit more than just putting an ad on your side bar. Hopefully this will help you in asking the right questions on why they want to work with you and how you can offer them an opportunity that best helps them deliver their goals (and then they get the results and want to work with you again).

An example of a blog that we have Loyalty and Advocacy with is We Live In A Flat. Donna’s blog was one of the early blogs we come across. Scanning through the comments of 1st World Dog and We Live In A Flat you will see regular comments from both of us. Also by participating in Donna’s My Best Photo Of The Week challenge we are creating Advocacy both ways. Swing by Donna’s blog and check it out… especially the great hints on photo apps… we have learnt heaps on making photos look cool from Donna’s blog.

Now if you missed our earlier Dog Blog & Marketing Monday swing by the page where we keep an index. If you don’t want to miss out on any future Dog Blogs & Marketing Mondays than sign up to follow 1st World Dog over on the side or Like me on Facebook.

OK way to much serious stuff…. even despite the wet weather it is time for mum to put the gumboots on and get out for a walk… Have a woofwonderful Monday!

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Dog Blogs & Monday Marketing Stuff

As promised last Monday our plan for Monday’s is to indulge mum and chat a bit of marketing stuff and also chat other dog blogs we have come across that we think are worth sharing.

So starting with marketing stuff… we are pretty new to the world of blogging but the good news for mum is that a lot of the stuff we read on blogging makes sense with her marketing background. One such thing is being genuine. Be it how a brand portrays itself in a TV ad (loving the new Purina ad!), the packaging of a new product (my Hills Science kibble bag (yeah I know… Light.. I honestly think mum spends too much time worrying about my bum) looks very different from my Schmackos packaging) or a stunt it pulls for PR… all of these things forms part of what makes a brand. For all purposes a blog is a brand. So what is the personality of a blog and are you being true to it?

To be honest, letting mum loose with Monday Marketing Stuff is a bit of experiment in brand stretch (maybe she just needs her own blog) but we are going to give it a go. The rule for mum is to keep it so I can understand and then explain it in 1st World Dog style.

So that is the thing with being genuine… it is way easier to be consistent with a brand personality if you are being true to who you are.  If one day I was writing my blog in the style of Hills Science (all very factual) and the next in the style of Schmackos (lots of colour and fun) then it would be a bit confusing to the sort of dog blogger I was. Instead when mum & I blog we try to keep it relaxed and conversational. Mum is a bit of a chatterbox with people we come across out on our walks, at dog parks and ohhh how we ever getting any training done at the dog club I don’t know. So this blog is in that style. It is written in a style that if mum wants to go back and re-read something to remember how she taught me a training trick or look at a recipe than it is in a style that she would honestly chat to a friend in.

It maybe something that isn’t a conscious decision, kinda like that rear leg pump thing I get if I get scratched on a certain point on my back, but we like to think about it just so we make sure we stay true to 1st World Dog.

Another blog that we have recently come across that has a nice relaxed style too is Paws and Pedals. Some posts about staying fit with your dog there but what really stood out for us and hence mentioning is a well researched post about ticks. After the nasty tick incident a fortnight ago it is something very top of mind at the moment.  If you are along Australia’s east coast than definitely worth a read.

Hope you enjoyed our Monday Marketing Stuff and love your paws up if you think we should keep it (or not).

If you want Monday Marketing Stuff and other 1st World Dog updates straight to your inbox than just follow us with the bottom over on the side. Or you can keep up to date with other 1st World Dog happenings by check out my Facebook or Instagram pages.

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All too hard now… I need to zzzz

Dog Blog & Marketing Monday… So the ratings are in the drama!

For anyone in Australia (and probably the UK) who was born before me (not too hard given you wouldn’t be reading this at 3.5yrs old unless you were very advanced or working on dog years) than you may recall some critical moments in Australian soapie history… Charlene & Scott’s Wedding on Neighbours? Sally leaving Home & Away? Or if you want to go WAY back we can talk The Flying Doctors or even A Country Practice. What do all of these shows have in common? A bit of good ol’ fashion drama!

Well last week proved that drama rates. Spend 48hrs in SASH Emergency Vet Hospital and double my usual visitors and views. Yep drama rates!

So don’t plan on doing that too often but it did prove an interesting diversion to worrying about me for mum. And for those that don’t know mum works in the world of marketing and research so she finds this stuff a bit interesting. I think part of her reason for helping with 1st World Dog is to understand the world of blogging. So being the helpful pup that I am we are going to start making Monday a day about Dog Blogs and maybe some of this marketing stuff. It is a bit of an experiment so as we get into it let us know what you think. We will work on some original material, find what else is out there and also happy to do guests so if you want to join in drop us a note.

Well better finish off with a health update. GOING NUTS! I WANT TO RUN AND JUMP! It is what I do!!!! Another week of rest, mental games, rationed food in difficult ways to access (mum trying to manage my weight while I’m not running around) but apart from that I’m good.

A special paws up to the lovely little humans next door for my Get Well card… Ahhhh sweet. Puppy licks guys and I will be back as soccer goalie soon.

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