Noticing that most dogs are getting sicker and living shorter lives, Krista Karpowich made it a mission to bring experts and dog enthusiasts together in a committed community to enhance the bond with our dogs, help them live longer, and be as happy and healthy as possible. In this episode, she joins Tracy Hazzard to talk about The Wag Out Loud Pawdcast, a show dedicated to canine health, nutrition, and overall wellbeing. Krista discusses how she turned her passion into one of the Top Dog podcasts, sharing her story of finding this active niche and then growing her show. Imparting lessons from her rough start to her current success, she talks about advanced monetization ideas, ways to use affiliates, community building, and more. Join Krista and Tracy to find out more about how to take your passions to the world through podcasting.
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How Turning Passion into a Top Dog Podcast Makes an Active Niche for Krista Karpowich Host of the Wag Out Loud Pawdcast
I am so excited to bring you Krista Karpowich and the Wag Out Loud Pawdcast. It’s such a great podcast. It’s got health and wellness tips. True canine nutrition and ideas. They’ve got fun facts about dogs. There’s so much packed into this great podcast. I wish I knew about it sooner and I can’t stand it when there’s a hidden podcast I didn’t know about by now, and I should have. That’s the funny part about it.
Krista Karpowich owns Wag Out Loud and the host of the weekly Wag Out Loud Pawdcast. A show focusing on canine health, nutrition and overall well-being. After receiving her certification in canine nutrition and noticing that most dogs are getting sicker and living shorter lives, Krista became obsessed with bringing experts and dog enthusiasts together in a committed community to enhance the bond with our dogs, help them live longer, and be as happy and healthy as possible.
She is the host of Wag Out Loud LTO, Limited Time Offers, which is a live streaming shopping show for the best dog-related products. She is also a brand ambassador for Dog is Good, the lifestyle brand for dog lovers that celebrates the dog-human connection. That’s why I was so excited. I should’ve met Krista a long time ago. The long story made short here, when I started my first show, I was having trouble getting readers for my blog, just like all of you.
I went to this networking group thinking that I would find out about marketing ideas and other things. I happened to find and go into networking and I would call it speed dating. It was like a speed dating event where they came and asked, “Who are you and what do you need next?” It was one of these things where I was so surprised because I had never been asked that question before. I thought, “It’s unusual.” I need more readers for my blog. The person I happened to be standing in front of was John Kurtz, one of the Cofounders with his wife Gila of Dog is Good.
We live in the same town in California. I happened to stand in front of them and said, “I need this,” and he said, “I might have someone who can help you with that.” He took out a card and he wrote his name, email address and the name of the company. I was like, “I don’t know what to do with this. This is a weird thing.” I took the card and I set it on my desk and I looked at it for days. I kept looking at it and at the end of the week I said, “He wouldn’t have given me his email address if he didn’t want me to reach out.” I sent an email over to John Kurtz. I said, “You said that you would introduce me to this company,” and he did.
A few months later, I had the start of what our whole entire Podetize business is based on, which was helping me take our blogging to the next level. It wasn’t about podcasting at all. It was about our techniques and how we took our podcasting to turn our website into a revenue-generating website. The company’s gone and completely defunct but the techniques that we brought pioneered and learned with them about managing websites and SEO and all the different things that we learn from there that we put into practice for our podcasters that we teach you all in Feed Your Brand the Podetize network. I sometimes talk about all those things that I learned from the process here on the show.
John’s responsible for setting me on this path. This is the key that I want to take out. When you get connections like this, you make the connections. Reach out and take action and that’s what Krista did. Krista happened to know one of our salespeople, Jennifer Orvis. She said, “You’ve got to interview Krista because she’s got a great podcast,” and she knows how much I love my dog. The next thing I knew, she’s on The Binge Factor, and here we are.
We are taking those reaching out and asking people about your show, asking people about things, making those connections taking that action. You don’t know all those nuances of relationship building and networking’s going to do to you. The next thing you know, you might have the best interview ever. I’ve got some great nuggets in this interview with Krista. You’re going to love some of her advanced monetization ideas and alternative ideas about ways to use affiliates. You’re not going to want to miss reading about these limited-time offer live streams. Such a cool idea. She’s got some tips about Clubhouse as well. Come and check out the rest of this episode to Wag Out Loud’s host Krista Karpowich.
Krista, thanks so much for joining me. Wag Out Loud. I love the title and the graphic. I like to start there often because there’s something grabbing about what you did and coming up with a name. I want to start with that Genesis story of how you decided to start a podcast and how you decided to name it Wag Out Loud.
Thanks for having me, Tracy. This is such a privilege. You’ve done so much for so many people. Thank you. Wag Out Loud was born out of my previous dog and we’re talking years ago when it had seizures. Three different veterinarians couldn’t figure out what’s going on. We got a new dog. She was an adult and the people would not sell her unless we fed the raw food diet. Pixel, our new dog, got raw food, so we might as well feed it raw to Higgins, our dog with seizures. He never had another seizure, so I’ve always been fascinated with canine nutrition. My current dog, Winston, we were on a walk a few years ago. It hit me out of nowhere that I must become a canine nutritionist. I need to become certified. I had a JOB at the time and took me about a year to get through the course but I became certified. Out of nowhere, “You should be a podcaster.”
For so many people, it’s like a light came down and said, “You should be a podcaster.”
Tracy, we’re talking about the most non-tech person in the world, that’s me. Who did I think I was? Luckily, I signed up for the Power-up Podcasting course of Pat Flynn. Our favorite. He walks you through. I did it, over 100 episodes and love it.
You have over 100 episodes, which is so exciting. I have to ask you this first because I’m dying to amaze my daughters. You do a fun fact about dogs and all kinds of things like why you should maybe wet their paws when it’s hot outside. My dog has so much fur because she’s a Cocker Spaniel. It’s hot here in California. I’m like, “I’m doing that and amazing my children. I want to go through all your fun facts. Can I binge all the episodes and do the fun facts quickly and write them down for my daughter?” Are you sharing those on social somewhere so I could capture them that way?
I am. It’s multipurpose. I have a spreadsheet that I use because, in this space, I am a sponge. As with human health and nutrition, it changes every day, same for dogs. I have signed up for so many magazines, newsletters and industry publications. Every time I read about something fascinating with a new statistic, I put it both on the front end of my podcast episodes, as well as my social media. I’m trying to get people engaged. Whatever the topic is, I want to ask the people who follow me not just, “Did you know?” They’re not going to engage. You have to ask them a relevant question upfront and give the statistic or the information and it works well.
I want to hit into our five things early because you’re touching on one but I know you do a lot more. I want to hit on that before we talk about some other things that you have going on in your Wag Out Loud community because you have a cool community building here. Let’s do our five things. What are some of the best ways you found to get great guests? You have some very highly skilled guests. You had a canine dermatologist. I didn’t know there was such a thing. It was a fascinating episode. Even though I was trying to get through many of them, I had to listen to the whole thing because it was something I’d never heard of before. How do you find those great guests?
In the beginning, believe it or not, it started with my local veterinarian. Especially in this industry, people are so open to educating others. That’s what this platform is for. It’s how we can be the best advocate for our dog’s health and wellness. It was not too long when I started getting requests from the outside, either people making suggestions, or the guests PR person would reach out to me. Now years later, I am booked out until next March 2022 in advance with guests and I have not had to ask but I will know if I read an amazing article like, “You have to be on the show and share this.” I will reach out but I’d say 90% of the guests have come to me.
You have the right platform and show that’s educating, so the right type of people are being continually attracted to it. Are you doing something to vet them though?
Yes. I always do a Zoom meet and greet because I want to get to know them. “What has your journey with dogs been like? What are you working on now? What do you see happening in the future?” It happens very rarely, but some people are not a good fit. Either they don’t speak eloquently or they’re way too shy. For whatever reason, the meet and greet tell me right away. “Is this a fit?” Most of the time it is, then we schedule the interview and off we go.
I’m glad you’re vetting them though. You have an obligation to your audience to make sure these are great people that you’re bringing forward. How are you increasing listeners? How is that going for you?
That’s everybody’s struggle, especially in the beginning. As Pat Flynn would say, “You have to have the content. It doesn’t matter who you know and who you are. People are not going to listen, share and follow unless you have the content.” From the very beginning, I knew I wanted these to be short so my episodes are 25 to 30 minutes at the most. Just enough time for you to walk your dog and listen at the same time. Social media does help but it’s a constant reminder to your existing listeners. “If you love this content, please share and give us a review.” I think it’s constant.
It’s a congenial thing to increase listeners, right?
It is and in my guest waiver, they agree upfront share their episode with all of their followers. It is crucial when you send them the magic link. When it comes out, they have agreed to share it, so it’s just building but the content is number one, so keep at it.
Producing like a pro. Your show is very professional, it’s got some great music and segues in the way that you do it. How do you keep it up to that professional standard?Social media is a constant reminder to your existing listeners. Click To Tweet
It’s me being a perfectionist.
That’s not a bad thing.
All of this that I do is just me. I do not have a team at this point.
Have you set those standards for yourself?
Absolutely. At the time that I started this, there weren’t many dog podcasts that existed. Those that did were in the training space. I felt I was starting something new with health and wellness. I picked my music right from the beginning. There are so many facts about dogs, they’re fascinating. Putting that in the beginning, I’ve been doing it since day one. I’ve been approached by the Dog Podcast Network to head over to their platform. We are in talks right now and excited about that.
Everyone reading, I always give you a little tidbit or a piece that I want you to check out on our guest’s show. In the case of the Wag Out Loud Pawdcast, Krista’s got her dog Winston and she has a nice little throw at Winston at the very end. It’s super cute. It’s a nice close to an episode. You should check that out if you want to do something fun. That’s a recurring thing. Make sure you listen to the episode all the way through when you’re checking out her show. That’s fun and a nice professional touch at that. We talked a little bit about engagement. You talked about asking questions but what are some other ways that you encourage engagement with your audience base?
When I first started, you have this great show and content but you’re not making any money so you have to think outside the box. “How can I turn this into a true revenue generator?” I’m already using amazing products that I know, like and trust, I need to share that information. It became me reaching out to the product manufacturers that I already use. If you go to my website, you can see all of my product partners and my amazing affiliate relationships because I love these products. I want everybody to have them for themselves and their dogs. It’s a great partnership. As you can tell at the beginning of each of my episodes, we’ve got sponsors, so those are also my affiliates, and offering discount codes to try their products using my affiliate code. It’s a win-win for everyone. I know a lot of people find me by looking for certain products, maybe a discount code for that product.
That’s helping you to be found more.
Especially on Pinterest.
We’re tipping over a little bit into the monetization side of things. I want to talk with you about this in more detail. That’s part of why I wanted to do these five things first. You do multiple levels of monetization. You have sponsors and affiliate relationships. We’ll talk briefly about your brand ambassadorship with the Dog is Good. The Dog is Good direct you’ve got that as well. You’ve got all these different pieces. What have you found to be the most effective thing for you?
I must say, it’s all about relationships. Life is a contact sport. You can’t be shy. You have to talk to everybody. If you’re legit and seen as an expert in your industry, people are going to do whatever they can to help you and support you. Not only is it what you mentioned but the affiliates, the sponsorships and my Dog is Good online store, I thought outside the box and started my LTO show Wag Out Loud LTO, standing for Limited Time Offers. It’s a live stream, like a QVC for dog products and we simulcast. People jump on, watch the demo on a dog live. They get amazing discounts for 24 hours on the product that is being presented. That is another way to generate revenue.
I’m so glad you mentioned that because it was going to be one of my questions that asked me what this is. I didn’t get a chance to check one out because I missed it. You’re thinking of different ways at which to both bring exposure to these wonderful products that you’re proud of that you’ve worked hard to vet and choose and select the ones that you believe are the best. That is giving you this positioning of authority in the industry, which is also helping people come to you and giving you more opportunities for different sponsorships and more affiliation. It’s a wonderful rich circle you’ve created opportunities for monetization, and for supporting your community at the end of the day.
One more thing, Tracy, that I am jumping on the bandwagon. You might laugh at me because I’m a little late, Clubhouse.
Do you know how many dogs I hear barking on Clubhouse all the time from people on unmute? I feel there should be a whole show that’s all that they do. I heard that there was a Clubhouse where you come in and it’s some bacon crackling or sizzling. You literally open up into the Clubhouse room and you get to hear bacon sizzling. I want one that dogs barks. That would be hilarious.
The reason that podcasters should jump on board on Clubhouse is repurposing. I’m having previous guests on Clubhouse with me in a room. We’re going to summarize quickly what they talked about in a previous episode and then we open it up to everybody else to engage, ask questions and comment. That draws people. “Who’s this Krista person? Wag Out Loud, what’s that about? I’m going to click on it. I love what she’s doing. She’s an influencer. She has a show, I’m going to check her out.” It’s so easy because you’ve already done the hard work when you produce the episode.Life is a contact sport, and you can't be shy. Click To Tweet
I have to say that when I was reading some of your episodes, I mentioned the one with the dermatologist because I have a Cocker Spaniel who has ear infections and that’s what the show was actually about, ear infections. Cocker Spaniels are known to have them frequently. It was so ear opening to me to hear that’s more often a dermatology and skin-related condition. I thought, “I want to ask questions about the breed but where can I ask questions? I want Krista to have a panel.” Now you have a panel. You have an opportunity to be able to ask questions that are burned while you’re reading to the episode.
All you readers, this is what you need. When you start a Clubhouse room and you’re going to be doing this for the first time, you want to invite people who’ve been on the platform for a while to help you jumpstart your room. To come in and do that. There’s a way if you’ve already friended or connected with them, you can hit invite to let them know and they’ll get a notification on their phone that you started the room. Send it to them ahead of time too and let them know because you want to make sure they’re actually on their phone at the time that it’s happening.
What Krista is doing by having a panel is she’s got somebody else or more than one person who’s a guest starting in there and they’re inviting their friends and audience because when you pop into the room, people see that you’ve done that. It’s a fantastic way to start your following on Clubhouse as well. This sounds so exciting. I love how you’re always finding new and interesting ways to connect with your community and bring more value at the end of the day. I want to talk a little bit more about the monetization pieces on the sponsors and the advertisements that you do. I’m assuming you write your advertisements. Do you think there’s a trick to that there’s a process that you follow with writing them?
I want to keep them as short as possible. I aim for a 30-second spot but that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes you tell a little story.
I want to be genuine and authentic. “I’ve used this product and this is my feedback. This is why I love this so much.” To stand out in the industry, what does this product do differently? Why do you need one? Do I put it on the front end? Do I put it in the middle? I do a shout-out at the end. Thank you again to our sponsor, I’ve decided, in case they fast forward through the regular intro to do it right before I start the interview. Now, if I truly go over to the Dog Podcast Network, they handle all the sponsorships. They’re going to put it right in the middle, which is a good idea.
I’m a fan of that slinking, which is why my show segmented into three spots so that you have two spots but they’re in the middle, but not completely. Structuring your show, so that it can work out though, in that middle piece, there’s going to be maybe an adjustment that you’ll have to make if you’re moving over to a network like that. To make sure it doesn’t seem like you interrupted everything. You might want to put another little segue piece before it or something like that to help you out. It is so interesting that you’re doing it. Are you making enough money to support your show by doing that? What most people ask me, “The production of my show is being supported or the time and effort that I’m putting in are being supported at this point.” Did you see that tipping point yet?
It was about a year that there was no monetization, the money was going out, but nothing was coming in. I expected that. You have to be patient and wait, unfortunately, I’m not patient.
That’s why you took things into your own hands, started your affiliate relationships and built those. Let’s talk about Dog is Good. I mentioned my story at the beginning of how I know the Dog is Good, which isn’t how we met. You’re a brand ambassador and you have a Dog is Good direct store, which is such an interesting idea. You have a store that’s directly on your website, they don’t leave your website and go to the Dog is Good website. Is that right?
Yes. If you go to WagOutLoud.com and click on a Dog is Good. You will be taken if you want to shop on my site. The cool thing is a Dog is Good has been around since 2008. It’s an emotional lifestyle brand for dog lovers. “It’s T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and hats.” No. There’s a T-shirt that says, “Your dog doesn’t know sit.” It’s adorable. There’s funny and emotional. It’s celebrating the bond that you have with your dog. The Dig Direct, which is my store, Dog is Good’s new division has limited edition items. It has exclusive items that you won’t find in a Dog is Good. Anybody that has a passion for dogs can start this as a side business and grow it into a real business.
You’re creating a business opportunity plus some cool products at the same time. That’s a different and unusual way to decide that you want to bring in other products, into your ecosystem and into the community that you’re building. Fantastic ideas that you’ve got going on here. I want to mention that you have a disclaimer at the end of your show. When did you decide that was necessary? Did you do it from the beginning?
I did because some people said that I should even get liability insurance. I thought, “That’s crazy.” When you’re talking about health and wellness, especially for dogs, what if I recommend a certain treatment? Like, “Your dog should get acupuncture.” Somebody does it and their dog dies. What happens? I did not go to the insurance route because I am an LLC and feel protected. I had to put the disclaimer not only on the outro on the show but also on my page, it has to be there, “For any health advice, go talk to a canine nutritionist or your veterinarian.”
I love this path where you went from, “I’m going to be a certified canine nutritionist to I’m going to start a podcast to I have a business going.” What’s next for you?
With the Dig Direct opportunity, I’m going to become a pop-up shop. They’re going to offer that as well. I can go to events and have my actual booth.
Krista, this is my suggestion for an episode that I’ve been dying to hear from you. As I was writing down, I was like, “I need this episode because I need this advice.” Dogs have not been very socialized beyond our immediate family. What am I going to do when they start getting around more crowded dog parks? For my dog, it’s a dog issue not a people issue because she could care less about people but it could go the other way too. I was thinking about this that we’re about to emerge into a more regular daily society that she hasn’t seen and mine is only two. She was a puppy that hasn’t gone through it at all. I’ve missed that socialization, what am I going to do? That’s the episode I want you to do for me, please? We’re about to go to events again, you’re going to have pop-up shops and dogs around.Learn from others. Don't be stuck in your own industry. Click To Tweet
Everything’s going to have a QR code because if I’m out of a size or a color, you just put your phone on it because everybody’s used to that with menus.
They could order it online, and it’ll be at their home before they know it. You’ve got it all. You’ve got the future planned here. You now have a Wag Out Loud business and community. To be honest with you, doing it in 105 episodes is astoundingly good. You may not feel that and I know it when we’re in the middle of it, especially when we’re in a do it still stage where you’re doing a little bit of everything. You may not feel as successful but you should. I’m telling you I interview so many podcasters here and you have done some incredible progress in a short period.
Tracy, thank you.
Before we end, I want to make sure that you give some advice out there to other podcasters. What do you have to say to them?
If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, there is no price tag I can put on the value that Pat gives and continue to follow Pat and his shows. Tracy, you’ve got so many shows going on. I’m doing one. Learn from others. Don’t be stuck in your industry. See what others are doing in other industries because you can say, “That’s a great idea. I can do that for myself.”
What I keep thinking here is what you are modeling here in dog health and wellness is perfectly acceptable in a regular health and wellness model. You’ve got a great model for business that other podcasters out there, especially you in the wellness world, you should be thinking about this, as well as thinking about some of these ideas of what Krista has explored, see if they would work for you. That’s why we bring experts like Krista on the show, highlight their podcast and all the good things that they are doing. Krista, I want to give you your binge factor but first, when did you know you had binge listeners?
It’s when you start hearing from raving fans that you didn’t even know existed who say they love what you’re doing or, “I listened to such and such episode. You’ve been changing my life. I listen to you all the time.” You need to hear that so that you keep going and money is great but knowing that you’re making a difference in that ether out there of audio in the world is so fulfilling. I love it. If anybody’s thinking about starting a podcast. You don’t have to be the expert. I don’t know it all and that’s why I have guests. They’re the ones that share the information. It’s just creating a platform.
You’ve hit a little tiny piece of the binge factor that you have in your show. It is that Krista and Wag Out Loud have set a precedent for this curiosity of wanting to find the right health and wellness for your pet. It’s that passion of making sure that you’re diving deep enough. It’s not just a surface thing to understand the why the cool tips, the things about this whole area that you’re working on, which is pet wellness or dog wellness, when you’re looking at that from the perspective of this absolute passion that is coming through every single show.
When I get to your show, I don’t feel like you touched the surface. I may have to listen to more than one episode to get all of the nuances, the details and the complexities of what you’re talking about because one day it might be dermatology. The next day, it might be something else about allergies. The next day, it might be something else about raw food. I start to piece all that together for my dog. All of a sudden, I do feel like I’m on a path to wellness. You were the guide for that. That’s why they have to read to all your episodes. That’s what we want in The Binge Factor.
That’s the beauty of podcasting. It’s evergreen, you can go back.
Krista, keep it up. Wag Out Loud Pawdcast is a fascinating, fabulous show. Keep up the good work. Please let us know how you’re doing. Let us know how things go as you look at joining the Dog Podcast Network, we’d love to hear that. We’ll have to have a follow-up on that.
That would be excellent. Thank you, Tracy. I appreciate you and everything you do.
Lucy and I enjoyed getting to meet Krista, we had such a good time with this episode. Lucy was sitting at my feet and she was listening in. We had such a great time learning all of these different things from Krista. There’s so much going on. She has powered her podcast with some great things that are going to pay dividends in the future. You feel like a podcaster and as Krista does too, when you’re paying your dues in the beginning, you have to give it that long-haul try. She’s on 105 episodes. She is at the stage where it’s time where she’s created the value, the highly valuable content, niche down, and ready to go.
We wish Krista all the best as she moves forward in her show. We look forward to seeing what’s next if she’s going to join the network. We look forward to seeing what’s at the forefront and what new ideas she breaks out. You’re going to want to jump on the Clubhouse, check out what she’s doing over there. You’re going to want to go to the blog post for this episode at TheBingeFactor.com and check out all ways of which you can find Wag Out Loud and all the fun things that she’s doing over there so you can model Krista Karpowich, too.
All of you readers out there, thank you so much for reading this episode. We appreciate it. I love that you’re all starting to interact and ask us questions. That’s been exciting. We’re starting to see lots of questions on Instagram and lots of questions online on Facebook. More importantly, a lot of you are popping into our Podetize Clubroom. You’re joining us there and asking questions and letting us put you as the host in the hot seat where we’re doing live coaching there. I am having so much fun getting to meet lots of new people in such a diverse show. I hope I’ll be able to bring you more podcasters in all kinds of diverse areas so you can have the broadest ideas of what it takes to be a successful podcaster. Thanks for reading The Binge Factor. Talk to you soon.
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