Sunday, November 25, 2012

10 Things I learned about pets and pet blogging at Barkworld

This has been long time coming. I should have written it weeks ago, but I've been so crazy busy and it's been tough to go through my mess of notes.

But without much ado, here is my list of the 10 things I learned about pets and pet blogging at Barkworld Expo 2012.

A caricature of Lulu and Cappy, done at Barkworld.
  1. Making your site a go-to for the local community, and a way to bring your community together to get behind pets is not easy. There is no magic bullet, or at least pet bloggers have not found a magic bullet to get people interested in forming local pet communities. It is a function of my blog, but I've found it hard here as well. I need to go to Meetup.com and start doing more digging for local dog groups. We met the founder of Meetup.com, Matt Meeker, and he talked about how hard it is even in the Meetup.com community. But it is important to build those bonds. Orlando has great potential... we just need to all break out of our shells.
  2. The pet blogger community is huge! It's more than dogs and cats. And if you want to grow your blog, you need to network.
  3. LinkedIn is not as confusing as it seems. I did a seminar on LinkedIn, and I'm already putting into practice what I've learned to grow my connections. Hopefully that will lead to bigger things.
  4. You don't have to get involved on EVERY Social Media platform. At Central Florida Blogger Conference I learned that you have to Engage and Socialize. And while it is still essential to do both, it is not essential to do it on all platforms. In other words, I don't need to be bigger on Instagram, or get a Tumblr account. But I would still like to grow my Facebook page. 26 likes is pathetic. If you're reading this, please follow me on Facebook at Facebook.com/Luluthebeagle.
  5. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself. My mother is awesome at this. She was at Barkworld, and she was lighting up the Exhibitor Area. It was impressive. I called her my herald because she was always a table ahead of me, announcing my presence to the room. I am horrible at this. I never know what to say at the moment I need to say it. I've never been good at selling myself. If I want to be able to monetize my blog, I have to learn to do this better. There is money. Wow, is there money.
    Time for a doggy intermission:
  6. Lulu and Cappy pose with Day 1's swag haul.
  7. The Amish have puppy mills. And they're mean about it.This broke my heart. We heard a presentation about the documentary "Madonna of the Mills." This woman, a dental hygienist from Staten Island, NY, goes to puppy mills in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County and rescues pets who can no longer breed and would be otherwise killed -- shooting, dropping bricks on their head, that sort of thing. I spent many summers and winters in Lancaster, and learning this really hurt. Did we support puppy mills as we looked for fresh produce, apple butter and shoo-fly pie? I hope not. Check out the documentary if you can, either by going to the Madonna of the Mills website or looking for it on HBO. It really is eye-opening.
  8. Helping rescues and pet charities is easier than you think.
    Last week I posted about easy ways to help pet charities this holiday season. Some of them I first heard about at Barkworld, like Iams Home 4 the Holidays. Check them out. I also learned helping can be easy as a tweet with the right hashtag, or nominating a charity for a contest, or liking a company on Facebook, or buying a collar. I'll be talking about Project Blue Collar more next week. You can also go to Be the Change 4 Animals for more simple ways to help.
  9. My influence is critical.A majority of Americans consider a product based on the recommendation on a blog. That's power. It should be used to do the most good.
  10. You don't need lots of blog pageviews -- you just need to be engaged and influential. Pet blogging is already a niche. Dog blogging is a smaller community. Beagles even smaller. Beagles in Orlando even smaller still. I've been trying to climb into a higher niche, but the bottom line is -- I don't need 100,000 page views a month to be influential and to get companies and other groups to work with me. I just need to show that I have an important voice.
  11. Lulu is an awesome dog. Some didn't get to really experience that, because she barked at certain dogs -- a lot. But I think she showed people at the conference that she is a fun, funny and talented pup. She got to be part of a special Petco demonstration for their Train to Adopt program, where they go into shelters to teach volunteers to help dogs become more adoptable. 
Those are my 10 things I learned at Barkworld. I can't wait for the next one (already have my ticket!). I leave you with the video of Lulu's demo with Lina from Petco.

 

24 comments :

  1. Hey Lulu, Hey Cappy, Jet here. Hi Miss Christie.

    Thanks for sharing such comprehensive info from Barkworld. Mom would have considered going except it fell on the ONLY weekend of the year she went away. Next year if it's in Orlando, she said she will even take me! I can do 4 hours in the car!

    PS... great swag!

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    1. It will be in Atlanta next year. It's only $59 if you buy the ticket now.

      Where exactly do you live, Jet? I'm in Orlando!

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  2. I feel a little lost on Linkedin myself. I think I could use a seminar on it! Seems like you learned a lot of useful information.

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    1. I have all my notes. I can send them to you.

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  3. You have given me a lot to think about here...I am not currently a FB user and would like to think my blog can work without it...I hope my active use of Twitter can make up for that...as for LinkedIn, I've been on there for years now but sadly have never figured out how to make it work for me...wish I'd been at that seminar...I have my ticket too and can't wait for August...and if you want to carpool to Atlanta we should talk

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    1. Many blogs do work with out it! And LinkedIn is very useful if used right. I'm already getting emails from PR people.

      Since Mom and Dad are coming now to Barkworld there won't be much room to carpool. But there are others from Florida who are probably going!

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  4. Gizmo's mom Beth here...please share your LinkedIn notes with me too if you would ... i'd really appreciate it

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    1. Beth -- I will gather those notes and send them your way!

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  5. I had fun and learned a lot at BarkWorld too. One of my favorite parts was meeting pet bloggers and brands face to face. I was lucky I had the chance to participate in the speed dating for bloggers session. It was a great start to the conference meeting with different brand representatives one on one for 6 minutes each. I'm hoping to make it to BarkWorld again next year.

    By the way, you're at 27 "likes" now :)

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    1. Thanks, Colby! :)

      I wish I had gotten to do Speed Dating. If there's a chance to get invited and get there next year, I will try. Prolly won't happen, since I'll be with the 'rents.

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  6. Another great list Christie! Your #1 is my goal with my new blog. I'm lucky that I know pet people in my immediate area and know people who know people so I'm hoping that makes it easier. I can really see a lot of different potential in having a local aspect to your blog.

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    1. It's very true, Dawn. I admit to not knowing as many people. And the dog community in Orlando can be a little insular. So it's a tough crowd to break into. But I'm working on it. :)

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  7. Terrific post and video! Love Lulu & Cappy! Mom has an action shot of Lulu, what a hound! She's looking forward to seeing you at next year's BarkWorld!

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    1. You got an action shot of Lulu? I wanna see!

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  8. Very helpful and interesting post. Makes us want to try to go to BarkWorld!

    your pal,
    Garth

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    1. Wish you could come, Garth! But we'll see each other at Blogpaws!

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  9. Hi there, You've done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this website.
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  10. Thanks for sharing. The expo sounded great, and I hope I can attend one in the future. Lulu your blog is paw-some! I too struggle with the "time" it takes with all the social media out there...but learning.

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    1. It would be awesome if you could come Maggie, though I'd be scared of you flying in a plane...

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  11. It sounds like it was interesting and worth attending.

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    1. It really was... so glad I talked myself into it, because I wasn't sure I would attend.

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  12. Hi Christie! Great Post! Aaarrrooooto Lulu! DaMa sez she had funz hanging with you, your Mom, Lulu and Cappy!

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