|Me and my #petchat pals at Barkworld!|
But even better -- we get to see the friends we talk to online all year long, and our dogs get to meet too.
This year, I learned a lot more than just about social media. Here are the nine things I learned at Barkworld.
1) When you've got dogs in the car, ALWAYS have the child locks on the windows and doors. We almost lost Mom's dog Cappy on the way to Barkworld. He had broken the tether on his car seat, and he tried to get over my shoulder to the front. He put one of his paws down on the window button in the back seat and was almost sucked onto I-75. Fortunately I was able to grab his leash and pull him over my shoulder. Very scary.
2) Come to brands with more than questions. Come with ideas.
I got to meet a number of groups and companies this weekend, especially Thursday at Blogger Speed Dating. What I learned is that you can't just come to them, flash a media kit with your numbers and say "What can you do for me?" But at the same time, you can't just offer them the same old stuff everyone else does -- ads, sponsorships, etc. Companies are looking for new ideas. So come up with new stuff.
For instance, I'm starting work on a couple campaigns for the next couple of months that you'll hear about soon. My hope is that we'll do some giveaways with it!
|Lulu at the Barkworld Opening Night Party.|
We had a welcome party Thursday night, and there was a dance floor. Lulu did a few turns on her hind legs. Very impressive for a beagle. But I didn't get any pictures! I'm hoping someone else did and are willing to share.
|Matt Silverman's keynote at Barkworld.|
4) The key to success with killer content is a killer headline.
The first keynote speaker at Barkworld was Matt Silverman from Mashable.com and the Fluffington Post. And aside from his feeling that pictures rule the web (cat pics, HELLO!), this was a big take away for me, and an interesting one. When I'm not here blogging I work for a TV station, and we were taught how to write searchable headlines. So that's what I try to do here. But maybe I need to do a better job balancing the two sides.
5) Lulu has come a long way!
Last year, Lina, one of the top trainers for Petco, borrowed Lulu for onstage demos. At the time, she'd only had a couple of private lessons. Now she's been through almost a year of classes, and gotten her CGC. You can see the difference. She was calmer around MOST dogs -- she didn't bark at Pudgie the bull dog, or Carma Poodale (YAY!). She didn't bark at Pepper either. She did bark at Fabulous McGrady. I kept telling her that barking at a dog who was deaf was useless, but she didn't listen. And she still doesn't like Norman the Scooter Dog.
Here is Lulu last year.
(I'm trying to get this year's video up. I will add it when I can.)
6) Know the signs that your dog is not feeling well.
I realized that Lulu wasn't eating all of her food before Barkworld. I didn't know why, but I was prepared if she didn't want to eat that, at least mentally. What I wasn't prepared for was her sudden desire not to poop, and then for her tail to start drooping and her back reacting negatively to touch. It's the first time Lulu was doing anything like this, and while I tried not to panic, I couldn't help myself. Fortunately I was surrounded by more experienced dog people -- bloggers, rescue peeps, and vets. But Lulu wasn't well the rest of the conference. Poor baby!
|Lulu wearing a heating pad on the last day of Barkworld. As you can see, the tail is not up.|
I facilitated a roundtable discussion on working with the media the Saturday of the conference. I was amazed at how many people came to our discussion. I hope everyone liked the information I gave. Perhaps I will write on the topic here at some point.
8) "If you drink tea and juice on a daily basis you are a blogger. If you drink whiskey and beer on a daily basis, you are a journalist."
This was the takeaway from one of the other roundtables, and being on both sides of the coin I totally find this to be true. But what I hope that, one day, more people consider themselves "journalist-bloggers. That's how I consider myself. Tea and beer. Though more wine for me.
9) I am bi-petsual. Are you?
I participated in a discussion on cat bloggers vs. dog bloggers. I learned that since I have a dog and a cat, I'm bi-petsual ( and I need to start writing more with Galadriel).
One of the conclusions we also made was that we cannot be just dog bloggers or cat bloggers. We should say that we are pet bloggers, even if we only write about one pet. Why? Because we want people to understand that pet blogging is more than just a hobby. We are out to help people take better care of their pets, and to save pets by raising awareness. That means we need to be more unified to get people to take us seriously.
COMMENT BELOW: Where you at Barkworld? What was your biggest takeaway?
|We got a sneak peek at the new Star Wars collection from Petco!|
|Ruff and Mews from Petco.|
|The bowl I painted Friday night at the Nutrish Block Party.|
|Lulu with Victoria Stillwell. She already wasn't feeling well by then.|