When my human asked me to put together this article for you, I nearly declined. Truth is I’ve been spending quite a bit of time out on the farm where he grew up, and frankly, my days are filled with chasing assorted varmints, swimming in the little river that dissects the property, and following my human’s mother around while begging for treats. All this makes for a busy day.
Oh, and then there’s all the lying around that I have to fit into my schedule. It’s a dog’s life.
That said, when he explained how important it was for ETR readers to hear my message, I accepted his challenge, but not before tricking him into giving me a few salmon-flavored treats.
He’s quite gullible, that human. As I mentioned, I’ve spent a lot of time on the farm in the care of my human’s mother while he’s been off gallivanting around the world earning money to pay for my one rawhide-per-day habit. Now you might think he’s smart, but frankly, he’s not terribly intelligent.
Why just the other day I duped him into feeding me a second bowl of lunch. It just so happened that he was returning from his latest trip around noon. I eat precisely at 12:00pm every day, not a minute later. When he arrived home at 12:10pm, I made sure to put on my ‘hungry face’ and may even have let out a whimper or two to feign hunger. Sure enough, he fell for it. Seconds later I was enjoying another bowl of dog food.
Little did he know that just thirty minutes earlier, his mother had fed me my regular lunch twenty minutes early, before she had to depart for a meeting. As you can see, my human is quite gullible, if you know his weak spots.
So what does all of this have to do with you?
Well, I’m earning my keep. This isn’t the first time I’ve written an article, created content, or been involved in the marketing for my human’s businesses. But I’m not just a pretty face, you know. Instead, I can actually convince other humans to buy products and services from the human that feeds me (and who lets me sleep on his bed when he’s not in it – fair trade, I think, for all those walks I have to take him on).
In exchange for writing these messages, he makes money that he keeps in his wallet and uses to pay for my high-priced dog food, my outrageous vet bills, and for my hotels.
I’d keep the money in my wallet, but frankly, the lack of opposable thumbs makes for an unbearably awkward moment at the cash register when I try to pull out the bills. Now you might wonder how I can craft this message, but you probably didn’t know there are specially made keyboards for dogs. It allows me to paw up to seven words per minute. Eight if I use my tail. **wags tail**
Let me give you some examples of my finest work. First, there was the time that I wrote about my interval training workouts to promote my human’s fat burning workout program. That one was simple enough. We added in some cute little details to make people laugh, including the line about how I was writing the email in order to pay for my dog food while my human was on holiday. By doing this, we were able to ask for money in a humorous, yet direct manner. It worked.
Next there was the time that he allowed me to be kidnapped by the evil Scandinavian industrialist, Braigz von Callentyne. This evolved into an on-going five email segment that helped my human promote a Super-Hero based fitness program with his friend, John Romaniello. I didn’t write any of the messages, but he shamelessly used me in his marketing to entertain and inform (creating “infotainment”, as Matt Furey once described it) his readers while again being able to ask them for money in a blunt manner softened by humor.
Finally, there is the infamous photo of my human that he has on all of his websites where both he and I are shirtless (well, I’m always shirtless) and flexing our ripped six-pack abs. (Little known fact: My vet really did say to my human, “Wow, your dog has six-pack abs”.) This photo has been published everywhere from his websites to the Toronto Star to the back cover of his best-selling book on Amazon.
I don’t know the exact amount of money I’ve made in royalties from that picture taken on a cheap digital camera, but I can tell you, I’ve never paid for my own dinner once.
As you can see, there are an endless number of ways to include your masters (or as you might call them, “your pets”) in your marketing. What you might now consider a financial liability can actually be a great financial asset.
Lest you think that my human is the only one doing this, let me assure you, there’s no way he’d be smart enough to come up with this idea on his own. Like many of his bright ideas, he probably first heard this from that Old Man Kennedy (who, if he were a dog, would be one of those grumpy old Saint Bernard’s with the cask of ale around his neck that they send out to rescue people in the Alps).
Old Kennedy once wrote, “Create a new voice to send marketing messages”. My human has taken this to heart. But he’s not the only one.
You can send emails from your cat, like Peggy Halgren has done in her knitting business.
You can send also send marketing messages from your children.
Inanimate objects work well, too. You can send emails from anyone or anything. My human once sent his fitness folks a “Letter from their belly fat”. It was even kind of funny. I BOL (Barked Out Loud) the first time I read it. I thought it was pretty clever…for a human.
The fact is that your readers want to be entertained and informed at the same time. They want to be infotained. If you can wrap up your message in a story, that’s a start. But don’t be afraid to hand over the content creation duties to a new voice once in a while., particularly to a dog with the puppy-doggiest puppy dog eyes.
Trust me, we know a thing or two about persuading humans to do our bidding.
Ruff. Ruff. Bark.
[Ed. Note. Bally the Dog is a dog. He likes to eat things. He barks, but only when he is on the farm, never in the city. And yes, a vet once said that he has "six pack abs" and that he was "well muscled". Both statements entertain his human to no end. Bally encourages you to invest in your education here so that he can continue living an uninterrupted dog's life.]