By Carol Bryant
As a four-time attendee to the BlogPaws conferences, all of them with my dog in tow, I've become versed in the benefits during and after the event. I still, however, meet people who wonder if BlogPaws the conference is worth attending. I also meet people who are repeat attendees, like myself, who have taken the BlogPaws mantra into their own lives (and blog) and are reaping the benefits.
Then there are those who think the BlogPaws conference lights go dark and we head home to plan for another conference and that's all we do. As Jack told Rose(in Titanic), "quite the contrary, that's just the tip of the iceberg." Here are my top 12 reasons to attend BlogPaws the Conference. How about you?
- Taking Facebook to the Next Level: How? Meet your online contacts, business connections, friends, and fellow animal lovers in person. I’ve found that meeting people with whom I first connected with online takes the relationship to a whole other level. We now know each other, we’ve hugged, had time to chat, maybe even participated in a flash mob or Human Bingo game together. BlogPaws takes Facebook to the face-to-face level.
- In-Person Access to Sponsors and Brands: When’s the last time you could walk up to executives at dozens of pet industry companies and introduce yourself? E-mail becomes en-gagement, in person. If you didn’t meet up with every brand you wanted to this year, make a note of who you want to talk to next year. Tell them who you are, what you write about, and how you can help them with their brand. Form relationships in person, then continue to foster them long after the conference lights go dark. Follow up on those business cards.
- More Than a Conference: There is a misconception about BlogPaws that we are a once-a-year conference, we go home and then start planning for next year. That would be the equivalent of a dog trainer who only teaches “sit.” BlogPaws has a community consisting of close to 1500 members, Twitter chats, Twitter parties, Focus Groups, Corporate Visits, Tweet Ups, newsletter content and ads, an ad network we’ve launched, and we participate in customized packages for sponsors leading up to the conference. Oh and we blog, engage in social media, connect with the media, and grow as a company year-round. The conference is the culmination of it all. Ask us in person, at the conference. We’ll dish!
- Monetize aka Make Money: How cool would it be to actually monetize your blog? Or maybe you are but want to take it to the next level?
- Launching Pad: Access to ideas to continue or escalate a business involving animals whether for or non-profit, on a blog or a microblog (like Twitter or Facebook).
- Go Viral: Why wait for the internet to take something viral? Walking the BlogPaws conference floor, you engage with key players, industry leaders, brands and sponsors, fellow bloggers and microbloggers, experts in their respective fields, and so much more. Go viral and walk around, introduce yourself, go home with the contacts in tow.
- Learn, Learn, Learn: Access to dozens of educational seminars delivered by experts in their respective fields. Pick and choose the sessions you want to attend.I'm applying what Caroline Golon taught in her Pinterest session and so much more. Did you know we posted the slides from the sessions?
- Partake in a blogging awards ceremony: Red carpet, celebrity emcee, paparazzi, videotaping, interviews, trophies, tweeting throughout: the whole nine yards. You can even be nominated; newcomers and veterans are welcomed. We’re not a clique and voting is not a popularity contest. You don’t need to summon every Facebook friend you have to vote for you; an esteemed panel of industry peers select the winners Oscar award style.
- Get a Killer Deal: Seriously, how much would you pay for all this?
- Show a Sponsor Your Skills: Want to come to BlogPaws but thinking getting sponsored can help defray costs? Here's how to get a sponsor.
- Swag. Not the kind that greets you on check in or is peppered throughout the weekend, but the cerebral type. Brain swag is what BlogPaws is to me. All the goodies for pet bloggers under one roof.
Start saving NOW. Drop a few bucks a week into a savings jar. As a four-time attendee to BlogPaws conferences, this is what I did to attend for years. By saving a few bucks a week and not touching it, I had money saved to pay for my trip when the time came.
Remember, there’s BlogPaws the Conference and BlogPaws the Company. One happens yearly, the latter never stops.
So what did I miss? What would you tell someone who wonders if the BlogPaws conference is worth attending?
Great list Carol! This was my first time at BlogPaws and I’m a big fan of #1 and that is meeting people face to face. You make a great point that it takes relationships to a whole new level!
Those are all very good points, Carol – and Colby, I’m with you on #1!
I’ve come away from each BlogPaws I’ve attended with a new group of friends. A lot of us are so busy every day with whatever it is we do for a living, caring for our pets, volunteering, family obligations, and being bloggers – a lot of solo computer time. A social life is a luxury we may not allow ourselves much of.
BlogPaws puts the ‘social’ back in ‘social networking.’ Real life face-to-face friendships develop over those few days; Some with strangers with whom you have much in common, and some with people you’ve known online for years – like Heather (Brutus the Dane), Robin (Cheshire Kitten) and me, Kristin (Cokie the Cat), from The Anipal Times. We actually met for the first time this year at BlogPaws!
It gives me a sense of balance that I take home with me, a whole new reference when I connect with them later online, and it reminds me to give myself a little ‘people’ time now and then, too!