BlogPaws 2011 – Lessons Learned, Day 1

Golden Retriever on a bed

Should I learn about SEO? Book publishing? Or just sleep in?

I arrived at BlogPaws feeling disheartened. I had gotten off track in my first time home buyer blog and felt I was neglecting Something Wagging This Way Comes. I wasn’t even sure why I had come.

Luckily, I arrived at the conference accompanied by my husband, Mike, and Honey who both believed in me more than I believed in myself.

The conference got better and better the longer it went on. Was it the conference? Or just my attitude. I guess it doesn’t matter.

Rescue Ink Keynote

We began our first full day of activities getting a “talking to” by two founding members of Rescue Ink.

Pup Fan captured some memorable quotes in her post on the keynote with terrific photos (love the Scarface reference in the title, don’t you?). And Eryka at Kahuna’s K9s gave her own “talking to” when she got to interview Joe Panz and Big Ant. With such great posts, I won’t say anything more.

Workshop: Publishing Options in Today’s Digital Environment 

Not the workshop I planned on attending but a mix-up led to my first choice presentation being cancelled. But all three presenters (Dorothy Hearst, Susan Daffron, and Penny Sansieveri) were engaging and well-organized. I just don’t know that I’d ever have enough to say in a book or the skill to write one.

What it covered: Working with a traditional book publisher, self publishing, and marketing for authors.

The most important thing I learned: Create a website for your book before you write it.

What’s probably more useful/interesting to you: In traditional publishing an author’s share of the proceeds is typically 7-20%.

Honey the Golden Retriever at BlogPaws 2011

I know it's not a very good picture but I insisted! I wanted everyone to see how good I was at dinner.

Workshop: Reach. Relevance. Design. Presentation. 

Speaker, Dino Dogan is the co-creater of the new social media platform, Triberr.

What It Covered: Getting more people to see your blog.

The Most Important Thing I Learned: Someone can be respected, successful, and popular without knowing basic spelling, grammar or logic. :)

What’s probably more interesting/useful to you:

  • Create a customer “avatar”–an ideal reader/customer you’re working for. What do they look like? Where do they live? Who are they? Work to give them what they need.
  • Check out triberr if you want to leverage the social media of your friends.

Workshop: Wonderful Widgets of Oz

Presenter Lauren Spencer works for Fetching Communications, a public relations that specializes in pet-related businesses.

What It Covered: Using plugins to link your blog to social media.

The Most Important Thing I Learned: Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

What’s probably more interesting/useful to you: Check out the following links to find plugins that will link social media to your blog.

Workshop: StumbleUpon – How to Create, Share, and Discover Great Content

Vijay Vachani shared a primer on using StumbleUpon to discover interesting websites and encourage interest in your own.

What It Covered: How the social media site, StumbleUpon, works.

The most important thing I learned: StumbleUpon has 54% male users and 75% of users are between 18 and 34 years old. Which means that very few Something Wagging readers are there (Roxanne Hawn of Champion of My Heart is the only one I know of). But it could be useful tool for my first time home buyer blog if I clean up my visuals (30 is the average age of a first time home buyer).

What’s probably more interesting/useful to you: StumbleUpon claims that websites with StumbleUpon badges increase traffic by 20-25%

Spooky Buddies Premiere

I have no words. Here’s a sneak peak for those of you who like talking puppy movies.

Phew, what a long day. I’d better get to bed.

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  1. How Fun! Thanks for giving the breakdown, and the info.

  2. Great review. Question is, would you go again?

    • Frankly, if the whole conference had been like the first day, no. But I made up the cancelled session the next day and it was excellent.

      My husband said the first day’s sessions were excellent for him and the second day’s less so. For me it was the opposite.

      But, I think we got a lot for our money. I assumed the registration fee only covered workshops and that we’d be having to provide our own meals. But everything was included and it was a good value.

      The biggest issue for me is the distance and timing. Not sure if Salt Lake City is in my future.

      And I teach home buying classes every week of the year except in August and December. So scheduling time off in June will be tough.

      Of course, if you tell me a certain Golden Retriever and her Dachshund sister will be there… Just saying.

  3. THANK YOU for a nice encapsulation of your BlogPaws experiences. I was there too and have just been too flattened by the delay in getting home (thank you Irene) to get around to doing the same on my own blog yet.

    Nice to see the conference through someone else’s eyes.


    • Thanks, Laurie.

      I guess I forgot to mention one thing about the conference–I was blown away by the corgi power in the hotel. The first time I’ve experienced it in full force.

      I’m thinking the greyhound folks might have some competition for breed fanaticism. :)

  4. Lots of interesting links in here, Pamela! I haven’t had time to check them all out yet. You have been busy since you got home.

    I don’t think I’ll worry about writing a book.

    I see lots of blogs have got a Twitter widget showing their latests tweets, and Facebook too. But all I do is tweet or retweet things I find interesting. I have nothing to say myself, lol.

    How is the toe?

    • Sue–if you’re tweeting other stuff you find interesting you’re a twitter queen! Only boring people (like me) tweet their own stuff.

      The toe is throbbing nicely thank you. I’ve never broken a bone before but I was advised by a friend that it hurts for a long time.

      The worst part is that it’s just a pinky toe. I don’t even have a big bandage or a limp that will get me lots of sympathy. So thanks, Sue, for giving me an excuse to complain.

  5. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive recap! We went to a few different sessions, so I appreciate reading about those that I missed. I love the pic of Honey in the hotel bed. It seems like all the dogs really took to those big comfy beds!!

    • I’ve always loved the beds and pillows at Sheratons too. Some one could probably host a blog hop for everyone to link their dog on bed pix to and we’d have a nice collage. :)

  6. A talking golden retriever puppy? How could you resist? I have a feeling that movie would just give me nightmares so I am not even going to watch the clip. Cute I am sure, if you like that sort of thing. *shudder*

    That’s too bad you weren’t able to attend the session you wanted! That’s very disappointing. But it does sound like you learned a few things, and Honey obviously impressed you with her perfect behaviour. After all that, you would ace any CGC test for sure!
    I’ve seen the Rescue Ink show a few times, at least, while I still got it on my channels. It was very strange and I chose not to form an opinion. Listening to them talk would be very interesting, to say the least.

    I agree with Elizabeth that the most important question, at least in my opinion, is whether or not you would attend a second time… I am not too proud to say that the attendee list will probably affect my decision on whether or not to attend next year…

    • Actually, the clip is much cuter than the movie. Apparently anything is ok in small doses.

      Rescue Ink is a strange group to me too. I’ve never seen the show but I did read the book. I worry a little bit (and did when I saw the reaction to them at BlogPaws) that their “schtick” in public could heighten some people’s fear of cities and the people who live in them.

      As someone who has lived much of her adult life in the kind of urban neighborhoods they do much of the work in, I bristle a bit at the vicarious thrill some people in quiet middle class neighborhoods feel when they see how tough the “streets” are.

      I think the guys of RI are genuine and express the truth–you see good and bad things everywhere. And sometimes people do wrong things just because they’re struggling to keep things together. Oops, I think I just wrote a post, there, didn’t it?

      I’m uncertain about next year. I was sorry some people I consider friends in the blog world weren’t in Virginia (hint, hint Kristine) but I’m happy for the folks I did meet.

      I’ll be thinking hard about this. And for me, a big issue will be if I make the most of what I learned to justify the big trip.

      BTW, I will do a post soon on how to save money for BlogPaws. It can’t hurt…

  7. Thanks for the recap Pamela, I will be working on these suggestions.
    There are some really great ideas in there, which will hopefully work. I am the one with no grammar logic, but I’m not sure if I am respected or not…. LOL I struggle with grammar, but people still read. :=)

    Of course if I can’t figure something out you know who I will be turning to….;-)

    • It’s a silly lesson, I know. But I was encouraged to see how far enthusiasm can take someone.

      And don’t come to me for grammar help. I know it intuitively but never remember the rules. :)

  8. Oh great, another “Buddies” movie my kids will “need” to rent.

    I am frequently amazed by blogs that are poorly written/sophomoric/BORING that get tremendous numbers. I suppose the world is just getting more “Jersey Shore” every day. Writing for a specific reader is what writers (those with novels on bookstore shelves) do, although I’ve seen many writers say, “I just wrote something that I’d like to read myself.” I’d love to turn my blog into a book, but I can’t see it happening. So I’ll just keep writing for my own amusement and hope to amuse a few others as well.

    I can’t see Salt Lake City happening either, but at least I get the vicarious enjoyment reading the recaps. :)

    • Writing a book is easier than ever–it’s selling one that’s hard. But they say dream big. I love reading your posts and I don’t see any reason you couldn’t publish a book if you really wanted to do it.

      Whether it would make the bestseller’s list is another issue–I think most of those spots are reserved for “Why the people in the other political party are dangerous morons and what you can do about it” books. At least in the U.S. :)

      Cheer up. Soon your kids will be old enough that you only have to worry about smoking, bad driving, and drugs. No more Buddies movies.

  9. I appreciate all the info you shared here, except maybe the part about not going next year, since I was so hoping to meet you!

    • Well, Vicky, I’m thinking it over. We’ll have to see.

      Of course, to avoid the long flight, I could sell my house, buy a sailboat, travel the Intercoastal Waterway south, pass through the Panama Canal, land in California, and take a bus to Salt Lake City. Then I could bring Honey!

  10. Thanks for the recap! It’s nice that your husband went with you (my husband is also believes in me more than I believe in myself . .I feel pretty lucky!) It’s a huge bummer that you won’t make it next year – I too was hoping to meet you!

    Have a great weekend!

    • So does that mean you’re definitely going?

      I’m thinking it over (and have some time). However, if I knew you were going to do a presentation on improving blog design that would be tempting… hint, hint, hint.

  11. Thank you Pamela for writing a post on BlogPaws that was extremely helpful. I think this is perhaps the best synopsis I have read (although I will go check out Pup Fan’s and Eryka’s thoughts and experiences as well.
    I would have loved to have seen the one on book publishing (writing a book is on my bucket list). I actually attended a speech by David Meerman Scott and he talked about self-publishing and promoting a book. One woman he called out as a perfect example started out self-publish and then her book was asked to be published by a big publishing house and made it to Target, Barnes and Noble, etc. Pretty interesting.
    I also would have loved to learn a little more about StumbleUpon – just because I don’t really get it, but after reading your notes on the audience stats, maybe I don’t need to after all.
    Meeting Dino in person would have been cool too (your grammar comment gave me a laugh).
    Now I have to read Day 2 since you liked the stuff for that day better. Thanks for making the experience more digestible and understandable.

  12. LOL – was Honey upset that she was never called to audition for SPooky Buddies?? Tell her she’s far too dignified for that sort of film… 😉