Warning: an epic post lies ahead! Manna, Dexter, Dave, and I had a great time at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This year I was both a speaker and an ambassador. There were big events, educational sessions, keynote speakers, amazing sponsors, the new and improved Cat Lounge, and more friends than I could count! This is just a glimpse of all that we experienced at the conference.
A Conference That Makes a Difference
I am very proud to say that I was a part of the BlogPaws 2017 Conference. BlogPaws and the conference sponsors have been doing a lot to make a difference in the lives of pets and pet lovers. Just a few of the philanthropic efforts announced at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference were:
- $50,000 towards the vet bills for animal rescues (anonymous donor).
This money was awarded randomly to the animal rescues suggested by conference goers in $10,000 amounts.
- The PAWS Act supported by Bayer.
Many survivors of domestic violence will not leave their situation because they will have to leave their pets behind. The Pet and Women’s Safety Act (PAWS Act) looks to provide legal protections for pets in situations of domestic violence. You can fill out the form on the PAWS Act website to easily send information on the act to your local legislators.
- Merrick is donating to K9s for Warriors.
K9s for Warriors is an organization that helps bring service dogs to disabled military veterans. For every purchase of Merrick’s Backcountry line of pet foods, Merrick is making a donation to K9s for Warriors. They also helped to show the exclusive featurette of the upcoming film, Megan Leavy (out on June 9th), to the BlogPaws community first!
- Hope For Paws
This wonderful organization showed us all what an amazing job they are doing of rescuing pets around the world.
- The Cat Rescuers
This documentary is telling the world about what life is like for abandoned and feral cats as well as the people who rescue them. Cats deserve our love!
What did I learn at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference?
A ton of great information about pets and blogging was presented at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference. There were 2 amazing keynote speakers (Kathleen Gage and Jay Baer) and 23 educational sessions offered over the 3 days of the conference. You can see the full listing of speakers and events here.
There was no way to attend all of the educational sessions, but I did make it to a few. I attended both Kathleen Gage and Jay Baer’s keynote sessions as well as Jill Caren’s session on SEO for the Advanced Blogger and the Content Panel discussion in which I was a panelist. If you are interested in checking out my notes for any of these, please email me.
As always, I learned so much more than I could ever share in one blog post. There are a lot of areas where I feel like my blogging could use to be improved. Here are 5 lessons from the educational sessions I attended at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference:
- Be the person in private that you want to be in public.
Your reputation makes a difference in the opportunities that will be afforded to you. People often hear about you from others before they meet you. Always be aware of how you behave and how you treat others.
- Be a problem solver.
Jay Baer emphasized the importance of helping your audience to solve their problems. Making yourself more useful to other people is what will drive your success as a blogger. Jill Caren mentioned that using the website Answer the Public can help you to find out what kinds of questions people might be asking about your blog’s subject matter.
- Money helps bloggers to help others.
Bloggers shouldn’t be ashamed of asking to be paid for what they do. The more money we make as bloggers, the more we can afford to give to our readers and communities.
- Begin creating more video content.
At the moment, people are more interested in watching videos than in reading written content. According to Jay Baer, people spend 25 minutes per day reading, but 72 minutes per day watching videos.
- Asking questions in your headings can help your SEO.
Since many people are typing full questions into search engines these days, using questions in your blog post titles and headings can help your SEO.
My 1st Professional Speaking Engagement
One of the most exciting parts of the BlogPaws 2017 Conference for me was getting the opportunity to be a speaker. I was a part of the Content Panel with journalist Jen Reeder and Wendy Toth, the Director of Content for Pet360 Media. Maggie Morton of BlogPaws and her blog, Oh My Dog, acted as the moderator of the discussion.
My job on the panel was to provide the point of view of a professional blogger in creating great content. Jen and Wendy gave a lot of great tips on how to pitch your ideas to publishers and what publishers expect from writers. This discussion was less of a prepared speech and more of a question and answer session. We had a fairly full room and there were plenty of questions to fill our 70-minute time slot.
If I had to choose just one tip to give other bloggers about creating great content, it would be to create relationships with your readers. Figuring out what questions your readers have and how you can best serve them with the information and resources at your disposal will take your blogging from good to great. People want to know that they can trust you. They want to be your friend.
Want more actionable content tips? Email me and I’ll be happy to answer questions or send you a list of tips. I can talk all day about cats or blogging.
What were the Exhibit Hall and Cat Lounge like this year?
The Exhibit Hall was filled to the brim with representatives for pet-centric brands. There were 57 sponsors (see the full list here) of the BlogPaws 2017 Conference and most of them had booths where they gave away information and swag. Manna and Dexter hammed it up at each of the booths. Dexter was especially interested in interacting with everyone!
As mentioned, the Cat Lounge was new and improved this year! It was quite a bit larger than usual with a lot more products for the humans that love cats. There were a lot more products in general as well as pet astrology (provided by Ellen M. Zucker), Coco the Couture Cat strutting her stuff and visits from other famous cats! Kate Benjamin of HausPanther really did an amazing job of organizing everything.
What did the cats think of attending the conference?
Manna and Dexter enjoyed themselves thoroughly at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference! They got to meet some of our human and non-human friends in person. I was very proud of how calm and social they were with everyone. They were very well behaved and seemed to genuinely have a great time. When they got tired, they let us know.
Dexter didn’t want to stay in the stroller. He jumped out and explored at every opportunity. Manna, on the other hand, enjoyed being carted around like a queen. They both shined in their own ways.