Perspective on Attending Blog Paws

P3JCP_Feb2013aWhere to begin?

From the moment I entered the lobby of the Sheraton
Premiere, on Thursday morning, to the time I finally left to catch my flight home on Sunday afternoon, I had one of the best times of my life.

As a newbie to Blog Paws conferences I admit to being a little nervous but, standing there in the lobby my nervousness soon disappeared as I heard my name called, turned around, & saw Caren Gittleman (Cat Chat); arms open wide, a smile on her face, charging forward to embrace me in a welcoming hug.

Soon I was walking the halls, attending my first speaker
session in the afternoon, and the welcome speech and get together in the
evening, like I’d been coming to the conference since forever.

Blog Paws 8I started my first day with a wonderful, informative, 2 hour
visit with my friend  the Creative Idea Gal, Amanda Socci
(Her adorable little daughter wasn’t exactly sure about me,
though).

The people who attended this conference are bloggers, freelancers, published authors, writers all! They are rescue volunteers, shelter workers, veterinarians, blog readers, major names in our niche of social media, pet related retailers and food manufacturers, and more.

They are male and female, representing all age groups, social/economic status, races and many nations.

Unlike a comic book, or Star Trek convention people were not
the only ones playing dress up; from cats and kittens, chicks, dogs and
ferrets, to cute, but humongous wabbits, many animals were strutting their
stuff, dressed up and not.

Sidebar Badge1 During the day I would wear either my shirt with Nikita and Elvira on the front, or the one with the blog header design, as a way to make it easy for people to find me and learn about the Opinionated Pussycat..

For anyone who writes online as a pet blogger this event is the best hands on introduction to how social media involvement is important.

You will get an ego boost in the most amusing way; imagine a 53-year-old, balding, dude finding himself being approached by a pair of women old enough to be his mother, all smiles as they breathlessly tell him they
are big fans of his blog!

Blog Paws 15

You will get an education on many subjects, at as many as 9 presentations that will help you be better at what you do. You will make new friends, meet old ones only known via online interaction, and connect with various industry types in many ways. Inspiration to be the best will come from attending the awards dinner recognizing some of the best in the world of pet blogging.

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You will take a ton of photos and pass out 100 of your blog cards, collecting just as many from others; buy a few things, including books you will get autographed, and maybe get pep talks about your writing efforts from the most unexpected people. You will gain 3 lbs. eating fabulous free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and leave your room key in your room at least twice….but, um, let’s not get too much into all of that, hee, hee!

The Blogs of Kiril Kundurazieff:

1. Mad Macedonian

2. The Opinionated Pussycat

3. SMFCB: A 365 Day Project

Day 72 : Blog Paws Conference Preview

P3JCP_Feb2013

BlogPaws was founded in 2009 by three pet lovers and bloggers – Caroline Golon of Romeothecat.com and Yvonne DiVita and Tom Collins of Scratchings and Sniffings and Windsor Media Enterprises.

The conferences are a great way for pet bloggers to connect with other pet bloggers  They gather to share expertise, tell stories and support one another. The sessions offer educational training and insight from industry experts in all sorts of topics such as SEO, Branding, Publishing, Video, Email Marketing, Photography, Writing, Blog Platforms, and a lot more.

This year I finally get to attend!

There are just a few days before the BlogPaws 2013 Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference and I want to share with you what’s on my agenda for those 3 days and a few other thoughts from discussions, today,  with fellow members of the Blog Paws Community Conference Newbies Group.

On day one there will be a Be the Change presentation on animal rescue at Sandy Hook and a Bloggers vs Vets discussion on how the 2 sides can work together and network.

There will be an evening welcome reception as well.

On day 2 the opening keynote speech is by Steve Dale then I plan to attend these presentations:

1. Facebook: Building fans to your page.

2. WordPress for beginners and converts.

3. Purina will be hosting a pair of presentations and I chose to attend the 2nd one:

A. The Link Between Diet and Domestication: 10,000 Years of Dietary Influences on the Canine Genome presented by Arleigh Reynolds.

B. Pet Welfare in America presented by Brenda Bax and David Meyer (of Adopt A Pet).

4. Using social media to be an effective advocate,

KIRIL-21 On day 3 the opening keynote speech is by Clara Shih, author The Facebook Era.

The presentations I want to attend are:

1. Foundations of reporting for pet bloggers.

2. How to write and print on demand your book in 90 days.

3. Taking Twitter beyond a Tweet.

4.  Standing out in the popular niche of pet blogging.

The evening will be centered on events connected with the BlogPaws 2013 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards and the “Pawty” afterwards.

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There will be an exhibition hall, and plenty of free swag,

I am looking forward to meeting many of my fellow pet blogging friends and also meeting my friend, the creative idea gal, Amanda Socci.

It was announced today that BlogPaws Sold Out and there would be Livestreaming (Details about the livestreaming included).

I went onto the Blog Paws Community website for the first time since before my eye surgeries to catch-up and hopefully learn a few things to help this newbie survive the experience.

The hotel will have free internet for conference attendees, and many attendees will be bringing their laptops and even using them to take notes during presentations.

Me? I’ll bring my laptop, but will be using good old fashioned notepads and pen for note taking.

While the evening events will require business casual, or fancier, attire, many people will be wearing casual during the day, including t-shirts with their pets on them.

I will be bringing mine and will see about wearing it. It would definitely help people familiar with Nikita and Elvira to pick me out of the crowd.

I will be bringing all my Opinionated Pussycat business cards (around 200) and expect to be exchanging cards with many people.

I expect to learn a lot, make some useful connections and who knows what else. Most important I expect to have fun, loosen up, and relax among friends, people who understand me and my love of this particular niche of the blogosphere.

The Blogs of Kiril Kundurazieff:

1. Mad Macedonian

2. The Opinionated Pussycat

3. SMFCB: A 365 Day Project

Day 71: A Long Week Ahead

As readers know I will be attending the Blog Paws Pet Bloggers Social Media Conference, in VA., this week.

A long, busy, week began for me today (well, actually Saturday) and as part of it I am writing and scheduling blog posts for every day, Wednesday through Sunday, on this blog and The Opinionated Pussycat.

I will be taking my laptop and also plan to blog daily on the cat blog and on Mad Macedonian, as well, as time permits.

I will be attending a lot of  presentations, taking pictures and notes, meeting many people I only have known online, and expect to learn a lot.

Day 70: Making Category Titles Appealing on WordPress

As readers of this blog may have noticed the titles of my various Category Archives tended toward the looonnng side.

Having decided to see if I could shorten some of them I first went to my Typepad blogs because, there, when I changed the name of a category I could leave the original url untouched.

Having blogged for 5 years on one blog, and 3 on another changing the url on the categories would be a major hassle so I left them alone.

By running your cursor over titles, to see the url, you can see the differences on the ones I changed:

Musings of a Mad Macedonian

The Opinionated Pussycat

The first thing I noticed about WordPress was that the url changed to match the new name of the one category I tested by changing.

Wanting to learn if that was my only option I posted a question in the support forums and quickly got my answer:

ME: Can Category url remain unchanged when category name is changed?

I made a change to the name of a category. The url changed as well.

I want to change the names on other categories, reducing the name to 1 to 3 words on each.   Let’s say I want to change the name on the “Pinterest” category from what it is now to just “Pinterest”. I do NOT want the current url for that category to change if at all possible.

ANSWER from a fellow member, named timethief, who has a 5 yr. old WordPress Tips, Tools & Tutorials blog:

Category slugs (url’s) cannot be edited; they can only be deleted and re-created.

ME:  I see. That’s different than my blogs on a competitor who shall remain nameless. :-D   Of course, with only 70 blog posts it would be easy for me to change a link in any post where I might have directed people to the category so they don’t go to a blank page.   Thanks!

TIMETHIEF: You’re Welcome.

My next step was to change the names of as many of my categories as I could.

Let this be a lesson to you: Think short right off the bat and you won’t have to do what I did today.

The Blogs of Kiril Kundurazieff:

1. Musings of a Mad Macedonian

2. The Opinionated Pussycat

3. SMFCB: A 365 Day Project

Day 69: So You Have a Facebook Page? What Next?

Thoughts on how to get folks on FB to notice your page.

Thoughts on how to get folks on FB to notice your page.

There you are, with your brand spankin’ new Facebook page about your pet blog, the trick is now to get people to stop playing Farmville long enough to notice. :-D

The folks over at Socially Stacked have their own theories about how to go about this, and made a nifty, thought provoking  PDF one can save for future reference and study.

Their 14 ways to boost visibility and attract shares are a varied lot:

1. I post more than 5 times a week, but there’s no guarantee anyone is reading if I get no feedback.

2. Does what time I post play a role in attracting more shares? I post when I get a chance, not just the same time every day so can’t really say without feedback.

3. Would photos attract more sharing? Hey, Elvira! Come over here, I need you to lay in your patented “sexy” pose, with your food bowl!

4. Would treating your status updates as you do Twitter, and do maybe just 3 lines of text (150 characters) matter?

5. Writing something relevant to your audience might bring more likes and shares, but it still comes down to getting feedback to know.

6. Your fans like what you do so staying true to your brand makes sense if you know what your brand is and how to promote it on Facebook. Something I am still learning how best to do.

7. When it comes to asking readers to share and like how much asking is too much? With asking for comments I have no problem asking when I feel appropriate as I want feedback and am trying to engage readers in discussions of a subject.

8. Not having tried contests and surveys, but having seen others do so, I know the participation level can vary widely.

10. Before posting consider whether readers will find something useful, interesting, or entertaining. As a blogger I like to thing every post meets that standard, and when it comes to posting links to content from elsewhere I try to post things I feel worthy of sharing.

11. “Entertaining” is my middle name…and that of each of my cats, too!

12. Did I mention that we each have TWO middle names? It is “Educational”. :-D

13. Are you a list maker? Do you check it twice? Lists may attract readers who would want to share them.

14. Being seasonable is no problem; I’ve written poems with the themes based on the subjects I blog about quite often, especially during the Christmas season.

With a little time, effort and patience, these ideas may help attract an audience

 

My other 2 blogs:

Musings of a Mad Macedonian

The Opinionated Pussycat

Day 68: More Inspiration

It’s been a tiring, but rewarding, day.

This is a brief follow-up to Day 64′s post on inspiration.

This week I was awarded The Versatile Blogger Award for my cat blogging and, today, had the opportunity to be a guest blogger, writing a post related to my cat blogging.

Versatile Blogger Awardees Guest Post on Pet’s Garden Blog

This makes 3 guest posts this year; the other 2 were at Sopphey Says and Going Veggie.

Day 67: Pet Bloggers and Concern About What Citizen Journalists Post

For those bloggers who write about subjects from A to Z, the question of being taken seriously has evolved over the last decade as the use of various social media tools has evolved.

I’ve read an article, on the website Social Media Today that, while it’s focus is more on covering the news of the day and politics, still is worth a pet bloggers time to read.

Not all pet bloggers write about news, events, and issues related to pets but Chris Measures says there are “three key reasons that we should be wary about what citizen journalists write, publish and upload.”

Sharing videos and photos taken with cameras and cell phones allows even pet bloggers to report a story on their blog before the local newspaper, or TV news, covers it.

Mr. Measures writes that “bias is evident in anything we say, write or do – whether we know it or not.” He claims that journalists are better trained to keep bias out of their reporting than you or me, thus making the work of citizen journalists often unreliable.

I beg to differ on that, often finding citizen journalists, and non-mainstream media outlets covering stories no-one else does; and covering those that the MSM cover in ways they do not, to the benefit of everyone.

As a bike blogger (2003-10) and pet blogger whose blogging has often been of a journalistic bent over my decade of blogging I know of writers in both genres, including myself, who have done legitimate reporting on stories ignored, or not well-covered, by our so-called betters.

He next writes about how laws of libel apply equally to the internet and how “professional journalists are trained to understand libel law and what can and can’t be said”, and that citizen journalists need to be better policed.

There is no doubt being more knowledgeable is beneficial to a citizen journalist, regardless of genre, but to imply that the professionals are all-wise in this regard is not true by a long shot.

His discussion of the issue of copyright is something to take serious:

He writes that “lots of news sites now actively encourage you to upload your pictures, video and text to give added perspective on news and features.” If you are going to do that it is important to understand that while you may still own the copyright on your material there are still things the big boys can legally do with your submission.

Read the whole essay.

I agree with his overall point that “citizen journalists need to understand their own responsibilities when it comes to bias, the law and copyright and act accordingly”, I just wish more of the professionals did the same.

Read = The Rise of Citizen Journalism