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BlogPaws Report, Part 3

Saturday at BlogPaws was another whirlwind. Here is an overview of the sessions I attended.

Andrea Arden, Animal Planet’s Underdog to Wonderdog

Andrea gave the breakfast keynote, and she was a total hoot. Even though she’s on TV, she claims to have serious fears of public speaking. Her main message was about creating “intentional communities” through our blogging and other online efforts. And, while she has a broader reach thanks to TV, she reminded us that if we can educate one person, change one pet’s life, or help one animal cause, then all the time and attention and worry we spend on our blogs is worth it.

Blog to Book

For each block of courses, BlogPaws attendees could choose from three topics featuring three panelists each. I’ve said from the beginning of our blog (which by the way celebrated its THIRD anniversary yesterday) that my goal was to collect content for a book.

So, I went to hear ideas from:

Janiss Garza, Blog: Sparkle the Cat, Books: many, many titles

Edie Jarolim, Blog: Will My Dog Hate Me, Book: Am I boring my dog?

Penny Sansevieri, Site: Author Marketing Experts, Book: Red Hot Internet Publicity

And, the biggest message from the session I want to share is that bloggers may seriously want to consider some form of self-publishing, rather than going the traditional route with agents, acquisition editors, and publishers.

Edie and I have some mutual writer friends, and we’ve confabbed on Twitter and such, so it was super fun to hear her ideas, attend sessions together, and laugh a WHOLE lot at the Saturday night party … along with Penny and others.

Sponsorships & Advertising

At this session, Anita Campbell from Small Business Trends, Christina Kwan from DogTime Media, Paris Permenter from and Jane Couto from explained how ad networks work, where essentially bloggers band together and share advertisers and sponsors.

I have some confusion, to be honest, about all this, so stay tuned on the issue. I think perhaps as a journalist I have a strong ethical response to hearing that some bloggers get $250-$500 to write blog posts about some product or service. In my “day job,” friends, that gets a girl FIRED.

So, maybe that makes me an old, old lady in a new, new biz model, but there you have it. My initial response. I need to figure a bunch of things out before I seek ads or sponsors for ye olde blog.

And, yet, if I’m to continue to blog at this level, it’d be nice for it to make a little $$$.

I got to have lunch with Jane, after the session. We had a nice chat about how pet bloggers should consider themselves a part of the HUGE mommy blogger contingent. That’s her contention. Yet, I told her how in my various groups of blogger friends there is still a bit weirdness when they find out I write about dogs.

Dr. Larry McDaniel, Confessions of a Corporate Blogger

First let me say that the luncheon, sponsored by I Love Dogs, was really, really good. Seriously tasty food, including a huge slice of cheesecake.

Dr. Larry used to be on staff at Purina. He has since retired but continues to blog for PurinaCares. His message, which I’m pretty sure all my regular readers know is that there is POWER in narrative infused blog content. For example, I could write more technical, academic posts about fearful dogs or agility training or whatever, but there is much more community and strength and interest in a more literary form. Story lines, characters, drama, humor, etc.

Dear sweet Dr. Larry got a little misty when he told the story of one dog he’d written about with a bad, bad spinal disease. The dog had recently died.

It took him a few seconds to regain his composure. He even joked that he needed to think about something else for a second to get back on track.

And, all I could think of was that scene from an Austin Powers movie where he distracts himself (in a totally R-rated context) by shouting, “Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day” over and over.

See where my mind goes when I’m not sleeping?

Anyway …

Contests, Sweepstakes, and Promotions

Since I’d won my trip to BlogPaws via a contest, I thought it might be fun to learn how to do that too. I heard some great ideas from Donna DeClemente from Social Sweeps, Hollis Thomases from Webadvantage, and Jenny Cisney from Kodak 100o Words Blog.

Jenny told some very funny stories about hooking cameras to her dogs to see what they look at and shoot, and her best advice is that still cameras work much better than video … because the video requires motion sickness meds. (I share that tip primarily for KB ;O)

When it comes to contests, they said that frequent ones with smaller prizes are better for your blog traffic and community than rare ones with big prizes.

They suggested these online contest, drawing, and sweepstakes apps: Wildfire, Votigo, and

Elisa Camahort Page, Co-Founder of BlogHer

Elisa spoke about how online communities are transforming our history, how we survive, how we make a living, and how we take action. During this session, I came up with a BIG idea. I cannot say yet what it is, but stay tuned because it’s really something. I’ll likely need your help.

She made a very funny analogy about blogging and the South Park underwear gnomes. Her point is that many bloggers go from collecting (in this case content, not underwear) straight to “profit” with no intermediate steps or any plan for how that “profit” will come about.

The Last Night Party

Cute trolley buses ferried us in droves to the A&R Music Hall Saturday night. It was a warm night, so we sat out on the patio.

Jenna Stegowski (’s dog expert) & Edie Jarolim (Will my dog hate me?)

Eric Goebelbecker (Dog Spelled Foward and contributor to Dog Star Daily), who earlier this week coached me at length via email to do some very scary blog coding work to fix my RSS feed, which he told me “was as mess.” I love the clever name of his dog training biz and blog.

And, last but not least, Deborah Flick (BoulderDog), who happens to be a local dog training friend who got a sponsorship from the Pedigree Adoption Drive to attend, and me. (Even though this is a hideous photo of me, I’m posting it so that no one can say “OMG” about me posting photos of them.)

Could I look any more tired?

Anyway, I have to tell a little tale about when the BlogPaws minivan picked us up on Friday. I know Deborah is mortified, but I think it’s super funny.

You see, I got to the minvan first, so we circled the airport looking for others to grab. When I saw Deborah standing on the curb, I jumped out of the van and began hopping around and hugging her in excitement.

Here’s the thing. She did NOT recognize me from our classes with Gigi.

That, folks, just goes to show just how NOT glamorous I typically look at dog training class … the ponytail, the hat, the grubby clothes.

Stay Tuned!

I have much more to share from BlogPaws, so stay tuned.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Maery Rose - April 19, 2010

In the writing class I took, the instructor also recommended self publishing as it has become extremely difficult to get anything published nowadays and self publishing is not looked down on the way it used to be. Either way, you have to do most of you marketing anyway. The hard part is getting self published books into major book stores. You need to be on Ingram database and need to sell about 5000 books to get on Ingram.

This all sounds so interesting. I really like the idea of building pet/animal communities.

KB - April 15, 2010

$250-$500 for a blog post about a product? Holy s$#@! I’ll read those posts with a critical eye, that’s for sure.

And, it’s too funny that Deborah didn’t recognize you. That happens all the time with us bikers. We only recognize each other in a helmet and bike gear… but it hasn’t happened yet with a dog training buddy!

Roxanne Hawn - April 15, 2010

I thought so too (re: self-publishing). I’m going to read her book and see what more I can find out.

MarthaAndMe - April 15, 2010

I think the advice about self-publishing is particularly interesing.

Roxanne Hawn - April 14, 2010

That is a VERY good idea (photos of dogs on name tag). It’s so true. I remember the dogs’ names much faster and easier than people names.

One of the odd/interesting things about some of the biz cards I collected? They say the name of the blog (or whatever), but NOT the name of the person behind the work.

It’s hard to “remember” people when their promo materials don’t remind you who they are.

AC - April 14, 2010

Lots of stuff here! Looking forward to hearing more details/your thoughts on some of the ideas that came up.

@Deborah and Roxanne: I went to a cocktail party not long ago to celebrate our trainer’s new facility opening. One couple showed up with lanyards around their necks with a picture of theirs dogs/dogs’ names. We all realized that we all should have made something similar-we knew each others dogs, but not each other. Even those of us who had taken classes together for months had to do a double takes and sheepishly ask for the other person’s name.

Roxanne Hawn - April 14, 2010

Oh, Deborah! I’m equally mortified that I was hopping & hugging and being a generally extroverted SPAZ. I think it’s funny and sweet and … ALL too real.

It simply proves that we are practically dressed, mindful dog handlers when we are at class with our girls … who as we all know now are doing their post-docs together. :o)

Deborah Flick - April 14, 2010

Oh! How could you! I am so embarrassed that I didn’t recognize you at first. And, you were SO gracious in giving me an excuse—that in cold Colorado we are so focused on our own dogs and so bundled up at our outdoor classes with Gigi that we don’t know what each other looks like in “civilian” attire. You are very kind 🙂

Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell - April 14, 2010

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Roxanne! So sorry you’re sick though.

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