Tag Archives: conferences

Why BlogPaws?

On a sunny May morning in 2010, I pulled into a gas station somewhere between Bloomington, IN, and Columbus, OH. I pulled out my phone while the tank filled. I spotted a ton of tweets from other folks who were on their way to the first ever BlogPaws conference.

I actually considered NOT tweeting that I was on my way, too, because I felt like such a fraud. Who was I to be going to a social media conference? Who was I–a blogger with less than a year under her belt–to think I could hold my own in a professional crowd?

Of course, it all turned out fine, despite myriad doubts and fears and insecurities. In fact, it turned out great. Some of the dearest friends and most important people in my life today were friendships formed at that first BlogPaws. I learned a ton, though I was incredibly intimidated. I vividly remember hearing a speaker say that you can’t really make any money at the blogging game until you have at least 5,000 followers. I balked. At the time, I don’t think I had more than 50 or 100 readers at that time. Not per day. Not per week. Per month!

Since then, since BlogPaws 2010, I’ve topped 20,000. I credit my herd with that growth because they’re the ones who give me the stories to tell. But, I also credit BlogPaws–not just the speakers and sessions and keynotes, but the relationships formed. If I have a WordPress question or need a contact at a PR agency, or if I just need someone to cry on the phone with (which I did when Lucas was diagnosed with cancer), that community is there.

Sure, BlogPaws isn’t perfect. But there’s truly no other organization like it, and we can all improve if we work together in constructive, positive ways.

We’re lucky: We’re in two growth industries. The pet industry has become a massive, innovative behemoth, and the blogosphere continues to expand and develop. Both industries are primed for development. We, as pet bloggers and social media influencers, are in position to lead, to direct the future of both capacities.

We have that power.

And that’s why I go to BlogPaws.

Join me?

5 Affordable holiday gifts for bloggers

Sure, we could all use a shiny new digital printer, a DSLR camera, or a powerful laptop. And if those gifts are in your budget, by all means! Get them for the blogger on your list! If, however, you’re on a tight budget or your gift list is longer than Santa’s, one of these five affordable holiday gifts for bloggers will do the trick!

{*Denotes an affiliate link.}

5 Affordable Holiday Gifts for Bloggers

A pretty notebook

Even though we work in a digital space, nothing beats putting pen to paper. When an idea hits–maybe for a new blog post series or a possible collaboration–every blogger needs a nice notebook to jot down the inspiration. I’m a huge fan of Moleskine notebooks because I love the paper quality, and they’re available just about everywhere. And they’re pretty.

Conference pass

Most bloggers attend at least one annual conference. It’s a great way to sharpen skills, network, and step away from the daily grind. A conference pass makes an excellent gift that’s as thoughtful as it is generous!

Amazon gift card

I was going to suggest a few specific blogging-related books (that are, ahem, on my wish list, like this* and this* and this*), but everyone has different needs. Because the blogging world changes so rapidly, staying on top of trends is incredibly important. A gift card to Amazon (or your bookstore of choice) can help the blogger in your life stay on top of what’s new through the latest releases.

Smartphone gloves

Have you ever been out walking your dog on a snowy winter morn when your phone rings. Or that text pops up. You know the one. The One. You’ve been waiting to get news to break on your blog. Long story short: Your hands are swaddled in warm winter gloves that don’t allow you to respond to that important message. Enter texting gloves! These babies will let you keep your hands warm while replying to that oh-so-critical message.

eBook

Finally, you know no list would be complete without a little self-promotion thrown in for good measure! For the blogger who loves useful, actionable tips and a step-by-step plan, I obviously recommend my eBook, Authentic Blogging: How to find (and use) your authentic voice. I’m a partial observer of course, but I’ve heard from many of you that it’s been incredibly useful in developing fresh content. Plus, it’s only $7 so there’s no reason not to buy it!

There you have it! My five recommendations for affordable holiday gifts for bloggers! What’s on your list this year? Tweet me your wish list so we can compare notes!

Here’s what happened at BlogPaws

I had a fabulous time at the BlogPaws conference last week. I learned so much about behind-the-scenes social media planning and content strategy, and I spent the entire time surrounded by a brilliant group of women. I tried to soak up everything I could over those four days. As I combed through my notes on the flight home, I realized a few key themes emerged.

BlogPaws 2014 recap

Here are my top three takeaways from BlogPaws 2014:

1. Tell a story. This point was made in numerous sessions. Readers want a story. Even if you’re writing a product review, turn it into a tale. People want to be entertained, so find a way to turn every blog post, tweet, and status update into a story.

2. Diversify. Don’t build your house on another man’s land, right? This holds true for social media platforms. After Facebook’s big algorithm change, a number of content developers experienced a hit. If you’re diversified and have a presence – and, ideally, an audience! – in several spaces, changes like that won’t impact you as negatively. However, your main hub has to be your own website. That’s your land.

3. Collaborate. This point wasn’t ever overtly stated, but so many speakers mentioned that, as writers and bloggers, many of us work alone. Ok, so our dogs are our colleagues, but they’re not particularly helpful when it comes to WordPress widgets or social media strategy. One speaker suggested finding an accountability partner. Another said to assemble a tribe – either online or off – who will give you honest feedback. One of the more techie speakers suggested finding local meetups of folks who are working on the same platforms as you are so you can share tips and tricks. Whatever route you take, it’s important to find someone you trust.

Overall, the conference was incredible. I learned a ton and met some amazing people. I hung out with old friends and made many new friends, too! I already can’t wait until next year.

Attending the BlogPaws conference

Here I am in Lake Las Vegas!

I'm Going to BlogPaws 2014 - The Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference

 

 

 

 

I’m attending BlogPaws, a conference that I find TREMENDOUSLY valuable. See those caps? That’s how strongly I feel about this. TREMENDOUS.

In fact, I’ve only ever missed one of the conferences (damn chemo), so I’m super excited to connect with old friends, meet bloggers I admire, and network with other sites and brands. It’s so important to step out from behind the computer screen and collaborate face-to-face. I’ll be back with a full recap next week!

Are you here, too? Tweet me @maggiemarton so we can get together! 

Travel schedule 2014

Conferences and meetings and trade shows… Oh, my!

I’m still nailing down a few dates, but I wanted to share my travel schedule (so far) for 2014. I’d love to meet in person. If you’ll be in any of these cities or at any of these events, please email me so we can get together!

Indianapolis and Bloomington: I just returned from a week in Indianapolis, but I’m going to be there again – and in Bloomington – in April, August, and October. I’m working to finalize dates, but if you’ll be in the area, let’s meet!

Global Pet Expo: March 12-14 in Orlando. I haven’t attended this particular trade show before, so I’m super excited to see what it’s all about. I’ll be attending this one as press, representing a mix of clients as well as my blog.

BlogPaws: May 8-10 in Lake Las Vegas. I’ll be attending this conference again. I was so disappointed to miss last year’s event, so I can’t wait for this one!

BarkWorld: October 30-November 1 in Atlanta. This is my second time attending this conference, and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends and meeting new brands.

Those are the definite events for which I’m already registered and have booked travel. There are a few more to come, so I’ll keep you posted. But, if you’ll be at any of those events, let’s meet. I love the online world, of course, but nothing beats meeting your online friends and colleagues face-to-face!