After having the last week to collect my thoughts after returning from the BlogPaws 2017 Conference in Myrtle Beach I think that I might finally have it together enough to share more about the conference with you.
First, for those of you that have already shared you BlogPaws experience I have to commend you. When I saw posts popping up the day after the conference I got wide-eyed with fear. My brain and body was so overwhelmed that I could barely focus on driving let alone whip up a blog post as amazing as some of you have.
Second, if I wasn’t clear in my ambassador posts what the BlogPaws conference is all about, hopefully this will post will help straighten that out.
If you’ve ever been to a conference before then you’ll know that it’s made mostly up of seminars, networking, key note speakers, lunches, sponsors and more networking all around a certain topic. You go to a conference to learn and meet people that have similar interests as you.
The BlogPaws Conference is like a business conference. It’s focus is blogging and social media with the common interest being pets. We’re talking pets of all kinds such as dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, rats, hamsters….etc. It’s the ONLY conference that is pet friendly and pet focused. That’s right, BlogPaws makes it possible that all their conferences are pet friendly which is not an easy thing to make happen when you’re talking about a conference that draws at least 500 people each year.
If you’re an introvert, large conferences might not be your thing but that’s where BlogPaws is different. Most bloggers are introverts, that’s why we write blogs instead of doing public speaking, but when you get together hundreds of people that love pets all that being shy and hating people kind of goes out the window for a few days. Seriously. Ask any blogger that’s an introvert and they’ll probably tell you that pet bloggers are one of the most welcoming and friendliest people that they have ever met.
I’ve personally met lifelong friends at BlogPaws events. Like good friends that you tell your deepest darkest secrets too. Friends that you actually trust with your dog’s life kind of friends, and every year that I attend a conference I meet more people like that. Pet people are just good people.
Besides meeting new people a lot of other good happens too.
This year at the BlogPaws 2017 Conference there was a whole lot of donating going on:
- $50,000 was donated to veterinary hospitals that support animal shelters and rescue organizations
- $10,500 was donated to shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations across the country
- $7,000 will be donated to shelters and rescues chosen by winners of the Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards
- A brand new safety vest was donated for local police K-9, Daisy
As if that wasn’t enough, over 1,050 letters to senators were sent in support of the Pet and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act to aid domestic violence survivors and their pets.
A BlogPaws Conference wouldn’t be possible without amazing sponsors. Many of these sponsors attend the event and set up a booth in the exhibit hall displaying some of their latest and greatest products. They are often looking to connect with bloggers and establish a working relationship. Networking with these sponsors is an important part of the conference for anyone attending. There was over 50 sponsors at this years conference.
There is also invitation only events that are held at the conference. These are usually lunches that are help by particular sponsors. We had the pleasure of attending a VIP lunch with Bayer and one with Hills. AT Bayer we learned about their flea and tick products and at Hills we learned about the Hills Disaster Relief Network. Thank you for having Leroy and I for lunch!
We spent a lot of time talking with Bayer, Andis Pet, Red Roof Inn, Bissell and Treatibles during the conference and I hope to be talking more about them in future. Who I spent a lot of time talking too is maybe not who other bloggers spent a lot of time talking too and that’s the fun thing about going to conference like this, it’s different for everyone.
As far as sessions go, I unfortunately only made it to one of the several sessions that was taking place over the 2 days. It’s not that I didn’t want to go to them but it was very hard for me to go to point A to point B with Leroy in tow. Instead of it taking 15 minutes to quickly make a pass through the exhibit hall several times a day it took over an hour. Then it was time to take Leroy out to pee, then it was time to him back to rest and then it was dinner time. Repeat. I didn’t mind, I had a blast talking with people and I was still learning.
The end of the conference is when the Nose to Nose Awards take place and this is a red carpet event! You walk the red carpet, you get your picture taken, you have a few drinks, you have a glamorous dinner and then the awards and tears flow. We were blessed to of won our 3rd Nose to Nose Award this year in the Best Pet Humor Blog category. Not only did we get a trophy but we also get to give a $500 donation to a rescue group of our choice!
This year I was an Ambassador for BlogPaws so every morning of the conference a team meeting was held to go over what was needed from us for that day. Since each member of the team was responsible for different areas, we all had different jobs for that day. I was mostly responsible for acknowledging brands on social media and making sure that attendees were having their needs met. At first I thought that having Leroy there with me was distracting from my roll as an ambassador but now that I look back at it I actually think I was able to talk with more people because Leroy stood out so much and tons of people would come up and talk to us. This made it easy for me to make sure that attendees and Brands were having a good time. Without Leroy by my side I would of been lost in the crowd. It means the world to me that the amazing people at BlogPaws trusted me with their brand and image and I hope that I did them proud.
This year was also the first year that I had one of the dogs with me. I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t easy to do and anyone who brings their pet to a conference like this should have major kudos given to them because it’s a lot harder than it looks. For me it was difficult but more rewarding because I got to see the joy on people’s faces when they met Leroy. Many of these people I have known for several years and just for them to be able to meet Leroy face to face was such an amazing experience. Leroy’s laid back demeanor also was a big help with my anxiety.
If you’re interesting attending the BlogPaws Conference next year it will be held in Kansas City. If you’d like to learn more about the BlogPaws community you can visit here.
As far as pictures go, you would think that I had my camera out 24/7 but my real camera never actually left my bag and my cell phone camera barely left my pocket. I’m very grateful that others were camera ready!
Next up-The Road Trip!