What veterinarians should know about pet bloggers
Theresa L. Entriken, DVM
Dr. Entriken is the Medical Director for UBM Animal Care.
You're familiar with top veterinary blogs, but do you read pet parent blogs? Perhaps it's time to start.
Four BlogPaws attendees ride in style.Rats are cool, and I got to sit next to one in a session at a recent conference for pet bloggers-where the furry blog stars were encouraged to network, learn and try new products alongside their writer-parents. And who hasn't gone to a conference where people annoyingly snore in post-lunch sessions? Somehow when a dog or cat does do it, it's kind of adorable (and yes, perhaps a sign of an obstructive upper airway condition).
Some of the signage at BlogPaws.I learned more about the pet blogging world thanks to Carol Bryant, a lifelong cocker spaniel lover and creator of the blog Fidose of Reality. Carol granted me press access at the 10th BlogPaws Conference held in April in Kansas City, Missouri. The annual conference is an educational and networking event for pet enthusiasts who dish on their beloved companions and pet-related products via their websites and social media posts. (Are any of your clients pet bloggers? If so, some of your patients might be social media celebrities!)
Here are a few reasons why you may want to explore this pet-loving community, too.
They're passionate pet advocates
Among the exhibitors at BlogPaws were Carol Borchert, senior director of communications at Morris Animal Foundation. Truman (a participant in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study) stopped by with his pet parent Andrea Cole.Through engaging stories and inviting photos, pet bloggers emotionally connect with other pet lovers-they're vocal aficionados of dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits, fish or other species. Bloggers share their experiences, opinions and curated research on a myriad of pet topics including wellness, medical conditions, nutrition, behavior and welfare, as well as information on lifestyle, travel, fashion, pet adoption and fostering, and pet-related charities.
Another exhibitor's customized vehicle. (Note: The alcohol content bakes out of their dog treats.)Pet bloggers number in the thousands! The BlogPaws community alone has about 5,000 members, according to BlogPaws' director of influencer marketing, Felissa Elfenbein.
Explore a few pet blogs via the BlogPaws' 2018 Nose-to-Nose Awards Finalists list.
They're reviewers of pet products, services and trends
Examples of products shown by exhibitors at BlogPaws.Bloggers' posts often involve product and service recommendations, reviews and comparisons. In these posts, you'll find scores of new and established pet toys and enrichment activities, foods and treats, grooming supplies, preventives and therapeutics, leashes and carriers, and fundraising campaigns and charities. You'll keep up on trends from pet parents' perspectives-trends that tend to follow people's preferences (the humanization of pets) such as activity trackers, telemedicine and dietary ingredients.
Keep in mind some of these may be sponsored or paid posts (and the Federal Trade Commission has guidelines on disclosures).
By investigating these pet blogs, you may discover sites that you can suggest to your clients that support their interests, amusements and causes, along with the trusted veterinary sources you already recommend.
They're brand ambassadors and market influencers
Product testers highly approved of the Meowijuana samples. Bloggers sway many other pet owners' beliefs and purchasing decisions. And pet product companies-including veterinary product manufacturers and professional associations-have taken note of the social media influencer arena. Take a look at the sponsors and exhibitors of the BlogPaws conference, for starters (see collage of logos at bottom of this article).
According to BlogPaws keynote panelists from Elanco, Chewy, WellPet and Central Garden & Pet in their session “A day in the life of a brand marketer,” product managers are interested in building relationships with pet bloggers who believe in their goods. These company representatives are aware that bloggers create terrific content experiences and interact with engaged audiences. They also appreciate that pet bloggers deliver creative, consistent messaging to a targeted segment of pet owners and can influence their purchasing decisions-bloggers' reviews can make or break a product. Bloggers also connect with their followers in a personal voice that may not work for companies attempting to connect with customers on a larger scale.
Manufacturers also value the feedback bloggers garner when pet owners find novel uses for products, or when a product doesn't work, because it helps companies in their product development efforts.
They're interested in connecting with veterinarians
In addition to blogging about their own pets' veterinary experiences, many bloggers would appreciate the opportunity to build a relationship with a veterinarian. They would like to have the veterinarians' feedback and ensure their information is accurate. A blogging conference-like BlogPaws-or a pet expo-like our upcoming Vet+Pet West convention and expo for veterinarians, pet retailers, and pet parents in San Diego-provide excellent opportunities for bloggers and veterinarians to meet!
So, peruse a few pet blogs to stay informed about what your clients may be learning from these resources. The knowledge will help you anticipate and prepare responses to many of your clients' questions. Plus, you'll learn about cool new pet products you may have never heard of!
The sponsors listed in the 2018 BlogPaws conference program. (Do you see why veterinarians should pay attention?)