Can one photo save the life of a long-standing pup? Absolutely, says Summer Huggins, volunteer photographer for Austin Pets Alive! But not just any photo will do. How about beginning a dog’s profile with an abbreviation? Not likely, says Elizabeth Doyle, senior creative copywriter for Best Friends Animal Society.

At the American Pets Alive! 2015 No-Kill Conference, Huggins and Doyle share their advice on effective marketing for hard-to-place pets.

Their three key areas of focus? Photography, video, and writing profiles.

When taking photos of pets, Huggins advises you to spend a few minutes with the animal to get to know them. A few of her tips for taking great photos include:

  • Get outside of the shelter
  • Shoot at their level
  • Aim for their eyes
  • Avoid harsh light

Huggins also shares that video is best when kept to 1-2 minutes. And, as with anything else, you want to make sure you highlight the unique characteristics of the pet.

Writing pet profiles can be tricky, but Doyle gives examples of what makes a good profile. More importantly, she tells you how to approach writing one so that the pet gets adopted. Some of her tips for writing a profile that gets a pet adopted include:

  • You have to want it (and make people feel it)
  • Grab them with the first sentence, and don’t lead with a fact or abbreviation
  • Tell them who the animal is, not what he or she is
  • Be open and welcoming
  • Keep an eye on the photo as you write

To get more useful tips on marketing hard-to-place dogs, watch their full presentation of Effective Dog Marketing and take the quiz. Then, share it with your volunteers and start emptying the cages!

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