The Pop Profile series is a peek into the creative process of some of the most talented people making content on social media. It’s a chance for them to step out from behind the camera, into the spotlight, and let us pick their brains. This month, we’re talking with Kelsey Rodas and her content creating pup @rustyrodas.
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but we’re still here for a good love story. One of our favorite relationships on Pop Pays is between a particularly sweet and fluffy creator, Rusty, and his equally sweet owner Kelsey. Rusty is a 10-year-old golden retriever who is the photogenic face of @rustyrodas and Kelsey’s favorite photography subject. Kelsey and Rusty represent the bright side of social media, with a focus on keeping their posts positive and the intent to spread joy and encourage kindness. We caught up with Kelsey to hear about her relationship with her Rusty, what it’s like to create content with her canine companion, and how they built an organic following on social media.
Photo courtesy of Kelsey Rodas for Method.
On rescuing Rusty:
I adopted Rusty over 8 years ago from our local shelter when he was about one. Rusty was found as a stray at a park here in Oregon. He was so afraid of humans that potential adopters decided not to take him home, he would cower and shake with fear, not the typical golden personality people might have expected. I was put on the waiting list for him twice, waiting for each person in line ahead of me to say no. Finally it was my turn and I got to take him home, which was pretty amazing because about 8 families had to change their mind and take their name off the waiting list for me to have the chance to adopt him. I think it was meant to be! Our bond grew from there and it runs deep.
On creating content with her pup:
People thought I was a crazy dog mom (which I was and still am) for creating him an Instagram back in 2013. It was a fun place to share photos of him and practice my photography skills. When @Instagram featured Rusty on their feed and as a Recommended Account, we grew really fast. From there we tried to keep our posts positive, and spread joy and encourage kindness. We have had the opportunity to create content for some awesome brands and its been really fun. Rusty gets a lot of treats and positive reinforcement during a photoshoot so he loves them!
The biggest challenge:
The biggest challenge is trying to communicate. It’s so much easier with a human, asking them to pose this way, or look that way, but with Rusty I have to be patient and creative to get him into the spot I want him for the photo. I have found that if either one of us starts to get frustrated, its not worth it. We stop immediately and go play outside. Our best photos come after a play date when we are both in a really happy mood.
The best part:
I love that it’s something we can do together. We both enjoy it. He looks so cute in photos that creating content is a fun way to preserve memories and work together.
Their favorite campaign:
My favorite campaign to shoot was the Qdoba campaign. The photos of Rusty and Scarlett together were so fun to take. I thought it would be more challenging with two dogs versus just Rusty, but they are such good friends that it was super easy and fun to shoot them together. The photos are still some of my favorite ones to date! And, well… burritos!
Advice for fellow pet lovers on social media:
First off, my main advice is to make sure it’s fun for your pet too. If your pet isn’t having fun with you, then it will show through the photos and it the experience won’t be good. Make it a fun experience with treats and positive reinforcement and not only will your photos be better, but it will grow your bond between you and your pet even stronger. Also, my go to advice for dog accounts is to exercise your dog before a photo shoot. Go outside and play with your dog, or take them on a walk first, because a tired dog is a happy dog! They will look happier and listen better after exercise!
The content performs best:
For us, I like posting branded content that fits in with our feed nicely. People are bombarded with ads everywhere these days, so we try to make sure our branded content still adds value to their feed. The photo needs to still be fun and worth seeing!
What do you think Rusty would say if he could talk (we like to pretend he can):
I think he would encourage kindness and positivity and help raise awareness for animal rescue… and probably call and order a pizza every day!
Big thank you to Kelsey for sharing her creative process and journey with us. You can keep up with Kelsey and Rusty on their Instagram account. Interested in learning more about how Pop Pays can speed up your custom content production? Learn how to get started, and check back here for more inspiration from our creator community.