Yesterday I sat in front of my iPad for about 10 hours or so in total. And all I was doing was looking at dog images. That’s a long time for anyone to look at dog photographs, no matter how cute!

But I’d registered ‘National Dog Photography Day’ earlier in the year and I wanted it to do well and not flop, I wanted people to rejoice in their obsession with taking pictures of their dogs, I wanted people to share their favourite images and why it meant so much to them. And share they did!

So here’s how the day unfolded and how #NationalDogPhotographyDay went viral.

It all starts with creating content.

No-one tells you when you have a small business how much you need to think about creating content to help clients find you. So not just selling what you do, but creating something interesting that people will enjoy. Over the last year I’ve been listening to PR Expert Janet Murray (and attended one of her events) and read The Million Dollar Dog Brand twice (an amazing book for any dog brand) and one bit of advice was too look at all the national/international ‘days’ that I thought my followers would be interested in, from dog friendly pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday to creating a Valentine’s Day image with my hounds eating lamb spaghetti together!

Apart from the usual days that everyone knows, there are others, LOTS of others. From days that have been created to raise awareness – important days like World Lupus Day (10th May) & International Homeless Animals’ Day (18th August) to fun days like National Hot Dog Day (23rd July) & Take Your Dog to Work Day (22nd June) to the downright bizarre like Ugly Truck Day (yes really, 20th July) & Frankenstein Friday (26th October).

One of those random days was about ‘Make up your own holiday’ and in a round about way, it got me thinking what national day would I create if I could. The obvious one would be my two favourite things! Dogs & photography.

I thought, why not give it a try? So I researched how to register these days and found Year Ahead which is an events database. I chose 26th July as it’s the birthday of Elliot Erwitt who is famous for his documentary photography of dogs and pinged Year Ahead an email. They asked a few questions as to why the day should be listed, and the event was created!

That was back in February, and suddenly the day was almost upon me. I hadn’t really done any preparation, I had no idea if people would pick up the hashtag so I knew I needed to kick it off. I asked some of my lovely dog business friends to help and on the 26th July we started posting and asking people to share their favourite images of their dogs, using the hashtag #NationalDogPhotographyDay

It started off a little slow, I spent hours on facebook, instagram & twitter using my own images with text to try and engage people, retweeting posts by other people, commenting on posts on Instagram & Facebook. By mid morning it was picking up, particularly on twitter. And then it really took off. After lunch it had hit #11 on the UK twitter trending list, and people were loving the hashtag feed, because who doesn’t love a stream of gorgeous dogs, even Admiral Insurance dog Winston joined in!

By late afternoon a lovely chap from the Press Association contacted me and it was added to their viral page. I couldn’t quite believe it!

It was such an awesome day, I saw so many gorgeous images, and read so many inspiring stories.

Was it worth it?

So was it worth it? I got to spend the day looking at dogs so heck yes! When I set out, I had no expectations of how the day would play out so it was always going to exceed my zero expectations. For a small local business, it’s all about getting your name out there, apart from the exposure, nothing may come of it. Or, in a few weeks, someone will want a dog photographer and remember National Dog Photography Day and check me out to see if I’m right for them.

Huge thank you to everyone who joined in, I can’t wait till next year!!

Kerry x


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