Until your beloved pet figures out how to earn a paycheck, it’s your job to bring home the kibble. If you’re a content writer and a pet lover you’re obviously an intelligent and kind-hearted person. Why not combine those skills to become a pedigreed pet writer? You’ll increase your income while increasing awareness on topics such as animal rescue, pet health and safety, and the everyday pleasures of living with animal companions. But you can’t make a difference if you don’t fetch those jobs. Learn how to “sit,” “speak” and “stay” your way into the pet-writing niche.
Sit! (Position Yourself for Success)
Pet owners have real-life, paws-on involvement with animal care. Are you the go-to guy for friends who want to set up salt-water fish tanks? Do you regularly attend cat shows or do you breed exotic hamsters? Your pet-related hobby qualifies as experience. And of course, if you do have professional skills, all the better! To further increase your gravitas, join an organization such as the Cat Writers’ Association or the Dog Writers Association of America.
Never stop learning. Read pet magazines and blogs to keep up with trends. Build your own network of experts that includes trainers, breeders and veterinarians or vet techs. Become as knowledgeable about reptiles or parakeets or hairless cats as you possibly can. Be ready to act on job opportunities by regularly updating your résumé and keeping a fresh writing sample on hand.
Speak! (Hone Your Writing Voice)
Delivering content that’s past deadline or poorly written is sure to put you in the dog house, but failing to write in the tone and style your client prefers is equally bad for business. Take the time to read the client’s current material. Ask what they like or don’t like about the content they already have. Stay away from general descriptions when discussing writing style — everyone wants writing that’s “engaging” and “informative.” Knowing whether or not your client prefers content that’s casual or formal, humorous or academic, colorful or with “no fluff please,” will help you create the exact piece they want and get you more gigs.
Stay! (Get More Work from Current Clients)
Where are the pet-writing jobs? Everywhere! Companies that sell pet products need copywriters and bloggers, pet magazines need article submissions, your local pet store needs a content writer for their website, the dog park needs a monthly newsletter, and rescue organizations need press releases and descriptions of adoptable animals. Yes, you may have to write for free now and then, but you never know where an opportunity will lead, once you dig them up!
Once you’ve established a relationship with a client, be proactive about landing future gigs with them. As a convenience to them, suggest a set schedule for blogs or pitch another project when you submit the current one. Search their website and find the gaps in their content. Be helpful, be flexible, and be aware of current trends in the pet-writing field. A client doesn’t want to go searching for another great content writer any more than writers want to go searching for clients.
Tammie B is a very good girl whose love of four-legged people led her to specialize in pet writing. She is currently writing an ebook on Shih Tzu care and visiting the dog park as commanded.