Monday, August 29, 2011

Blogpaws 2011

I arrived at Blogpaws in Tysons Corner, VA on late Thursday afternoon. Mike Arms, CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center, had offered an ACES Workshop earlier that day, but I arrived too late to attend. 

However, I did arrive in time to attend the Welcome Reception and see many people who I had met at the previous two conferences.

Friday morning’s keynote speakers were from Rescue Ink. They are an animal rescue group that brings an "in your face" approach to the fight against animal abuse and neglect. These are some big scary-looking guys, but the work they do to help animals is amazing!

The first session I attended that morning was Leveraging Niche Blogging. Toni Eberhardt from PetSmart, Dayna Hilton of Firehouse Dog Publishing, and Jill Lane of Travelin’ Jack’s Dog Blog discussed how niche bloggers can achieve success by focusing on a specific topic.

The second session I attended was Create a Compelling Brand. Holly Buchanan of Buchanan Marketing presented information about what makes a brand unique and how bloggers can uncover ways to leverage community, advertisers and sponsors.

By that afternoon, I was getting a little tired so I took some “me time”, but I came back later to watch The Petties on I was so excited that Be the Change for Animals won Best Cause Related Blog, as were fellow team members Kim Clune and Maggie Marton!

The next day began with a keynote address by Heidi Ganahl, Top Dog at Camp Bow Wow. Heidi gave a great talk, and I was excited to hear that they were doing a special project with one of our local Pittsburgh shelters – Western PA Humane Society.

The first session I planned to attend that day was Pet Blogging: Your Next Career Move to be presented by Laurie Ruettimann. Laurie is one of my favorite bloggers, and I was really looking forward to hearing her speak. Unfortunately, she was not able to make it to the conference because of Hurricane Irene. I hope I will get to meet her next year!

For the second session that day, I attended Grow Your Audience with Guest Blogging presented by Jane Harrell of and Laura Bennett of Embrace Pet Insurance. The session explored how to pitch yourself as a guest blogger, the benefits of guest blogging to grow your own readership, and things you need to know about content ownership.

Lunch included an inspiring presentation by BZTAT (artist Vicki Boatright) and dancer Miah Thornton. BZTAT made a video about her public art project Okey’s Promise, and Miah danced to the music. It was a wonderful performance, and it ended with BZTAT announcing a Kickstarter fundraising project for the next installment of Okey’s Promise.

The last session of the day was Be the Change: How You Can Help Pets in Need. This session has become a “tradition” at BlogPaws, and it was to be presented by Dorian Wagner of Your Daily Cute, Jane Harrell of, Jessica Vogelsang (Dr. V.) of Pawcurious, and Blogpaws co-founder, Caroline Golon.

Unfortunately, both Jane and Caroline had to leave early because of the hurricane, but Dorian and Dr. V. were troopers and led a “group tweet” to help find a forever home for a puppy named Devika. They also discussed ways that people can help pets in need and distributed “The Little Book of Big Change” to give people more ideas.

The closing keynote was presented by Francois Gossieaux, Founder of Human 1.0 and co-author of The Hyper-Social Organization. Blogpaws co-founders Tom Collins and Yvonne DiVita also presented checks totaling over $12,500 to five different shelters and rescue groups. But probably the most unique thing about this year’s conference is that we spent the evening celebrating at the closing reception while Hurricane Irene blew through the Washington D.C. area!

Next year, Blogpaws 2012 will be in Salt Lake City, Utah. I could do without another natural disaster, but I look forward to seeing all my blogging buddies again and learning even more!


  1. Great post dear friend. I learned a lot just from reading this. Again, thank you so much for the phone call from BlogPaws. I so enjoyed our brief chat. Between talking to 5 of my pals and MaggieTKat wearing a T-shirt with my picture on it, I did feel like I was there too.

  2. Dear Vicki - I too am sorry we never managed to meet at BlogPaws! Thanks for this post. I did attend the ARMS session and they gave us a USB with info. Once home in Atlanta (another 6 days -- I'm traveling), I'd be happy to send you the info. - Molly (AmazonCares)

  3. Terrific post, Blogpaws was such a great learning experience for us also. Lots of fun there too.

  4. Sounds like you had a good time - despite Irene. :) Mom is seriously thinking about going to BlogPaws next year....

  5. So nice to meet you this weekend!

  6. what a great recap! I had to leave Saturday morning due to Irene so I appreciate how you filled us in on everything that happened.

    I didn't know you were in the same session as me with Tango!

    Next year I hope to spend a little more time with you!

  7. I've wanted to go to BlogPaws for what seems like forever. Thanks for the great recap, Vicki! Maybe I'll see you next year in Utah ;-)

  8. Great to see you again, Vicki! I'll keep everyone updated on Devika's adoption status. We really appreciate everyone's support of Royal Canin and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in spreading the word about Devika - and all the adoptable pups.

  9. I can see your time at BlogPaws went by quickly also...there was so much to learn from these generous experts. It's great to be able to put face and voices to the pet bloggers we have come to know. Schatzi and I enjoyed meeting Tango and Jack in their session also.