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This dog does social media better than you.

Alex Llull
Alex Llull
Hey there!
Welcome to the 57 new thieves who are joining our little club.
Today’s edition will be a bit different than usual. Not only for the character of choice but also for the format.
The usual format will return in the next edition, but this 4th issue felt like a good opportunity to experiment with something a bit different.
Once again, thanks for reading this and for being here.
Now let’s get started!
ESTIMATED READING TIME: 5 minutes

The Research - Who are we stealing from? Who is our target?
Our target this week is not a person, but a dog. And his name is Doug The Pug.
Yep, you read that right.
What can a dog possibly teach us about how to use social media and building an internet business?
Actually, quite a lot.
But first, let’s get to know him a little bit better.
The Profile
  • Doug is a 9-year-old Pug, as his name states
  • He’s the self-proclaimed King of Pop Culture
  • He lives in Nashville, Tenessee with his owners Leslie Mosier & Rob Chianelli
  • He was named Forbes #2 Most Influential Pet in 2018
  • And he is a New York Times best-selling author, has his own shoe deal with Sketchers & appeared as a voice actor in a Netflix Film.
The Numbers
Doug the Pug has:
  • 3,9 Million followers on Instagram
  • 5,8 Million followers on Facebook
  • 6 Million followers on TikTok
The operation - What are we stealing?
We are stealing…The Strategy behind his success
💬 Develop a distinctive voice through your content. Doug has a very clear and on-brand personality.
The pictures, the way he poses, and the copywriting on the captions all combine so well to build this incredible brand equity. You can almost feel it’s the dog writing these posts!
🧍Understand who your audience is. Despite being a dog, Doug writes for humans because that’s who consumes his content. Dogs don’t know how to read (yet).
Human life is reflected in his posts & captions and that makes him super relatable for his audience.
🔥 Hang out with the “big dogs”. Doug has become a star in his own right. Why? Well, he hangs out all the time with celebrities.
Doug has been pictured with people like Shakira, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, and many more… He leverages these celebrities’ attention to be able to draw some of it to his own profile.
📈 Capitalize on trends. Doug’s parents keep an eye on what’s hot. This usually means snatching up opportunities as they arise, like when the photo of an egg became the most-liked Instagram picture of all time. This is what happened a few hours later👇
At the time, it became Doug’s most liked picture ever.
📆 Be consistent. Although it sounds cliché, every single successful creator I know is dedicated to consistency. Doug posted two, high-quality posts every day in the first four years of his career.
No one becomes successful overnight.
❤️ Have a core purpose. Doug’s is to “make people happy”. It seems like he gets DMs and emails constantly from people thanking him for his pics, telling him that they help them cope with losing a pet.
That goes beyond entertainment and deepens the connection he has with his audience.
We are stealing…The blueprint to building an internet business & a few lessons
Famous dogs are nothing new. Some household names throughout history include Lassie, Layka, Beethoven or Scooby-Doo
These days, you can find thousands of dogs with social media accounts that are moderately successful. They do a brand deal here and there, but it doesn’t go further.
Doug’s owners were more ambitious. They quit their jobs when they realized Doug’s potential. And so it began, the birth of a social media empire.
This is the blueprint that they laid out for us to steal 👇
It all started with above-average content. Doug’s pictures and caption quality are way beyond what’s usual from “Dog Instagram” (Yep, that’s a thing).
➝ Lesson: If you create something of value, and you do it better (or different) than others, then your chances of success dramatically increase.
👕 First attempt at monetization: the merch.
With Doug, we’re looking at t-shirts and calendars. Particularly the calendars were a huge success, selling out very quickly.
Using this data, his owners pitched to a big calendar brand and got a deal. 5 years later, Doug’s calendars continue to be a bestseller.
➝ Lesson: Data talks, so use it for new content as well as proof for new business opportunities.
📙 Second, a book. That book in question, which is a recap of Doug’s pictures, became an NYT bestseller. Doug even went on a book tour!
➝ Lesson: if your content works in one medium, the chances it can be translated as a book (or ebook) are very high. It’s one of the easiest product ideas that you can make as a creator.
🐶 Third, retail. Once again, Doug’s owners cold-emailed big shopping chains. Claire’s ended up hearing their proposal and offering a deal.
Now you can buy Doug’s stuffed animals and other products at Claire’s around the world!
➝ Lesson: cold emailing works! If you or your brand feel like a good fit for a bigger company, you’re probably right! Doesn’t hurt to send that email.
📺 Fourth, mainstream media. At this stage, we can say Doug is a well-known social media star, but when you break into mainstream media, the real fame kicks in.
That means TV shows & movies.
Netflix recently produced an animated movie starring Doug, the first dog to do voice acting. The movie in question is “The Mitchells vs the Machines”. Doug’s owners said it was a real challenge to get Doug to record every sound needed, but he ended up doing it.
➝ Lesson: when the opportunity comes, you take it. You can figure out later how to go about it.
The loot - What have we stolen and how can we use it? Key takeaways
There’s a lot to learn on how Doug’s owners run his business, but here’s what I take home:
  • Develop your own unique voice. In social media, it is difficult to stand out from other creators. There are a lot of us and we sometimes feel like clones of each other. A distinctive tone of voice, which you can achieve via good copywriting, will solve this problem.
  • The only way to grow as a creator is to step out of your comfort zone. I’m sure Doug’s owners were afraid when they released their first t-shirt. Or when they wrote a book. Or when they got asked to be in a movie! However, they did it anyway and it seems it went quite well.
  • Consistency is key. I know, that’s what everyone says all the time, but I’ve done four creator breakdowns, including this one, and all four creators had this point in common. It must mean something, right?
The stash
This is everything I used to plan the heist on Doug’s content.
And this is it for now!
I hope you enjoyed this slightly different issue! We’ll be back with the usual structure next time.
I’ve also have some plans for the future of The Steal Club, so if you want to hear it first and give some feedback, reply to this email and I’ll get back to you.
See ya!
Alex Llull
Thief Master, The Steal Club
P.S: forward this to a friend or colleague so they can learn more from Doug! If this was forwarded to you, you can subscribe at thestealclub.com
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The cost - What it takes to put together
Total amount of time → 5h 30min
Research
  • Instagram & TikTok research - 30min
  • Blog/website/articles research - 1h
Writing
  • Drafting - 2h
  • Editing - 1h 45min
Other tasks
  • Design - 15min
Did you enjoy this issue? Yes No
Alex Llull
Alex Llull @AlexLlullTW

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