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Get Ready For BlogPaws 2013!

April 10, 2013 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode
In April 2010, I was a part of something big. Something really, really big -- when I attended a first time pet-blogging and social media conference aptly named, "BlogPaws", (

I don't think I fully realized even then the tsunami effect this conference would create or the impact it would have on the social media world, but I could sense it was huge. Social media was for me still a rather new platform on which I was having an absolute blast.

When I learned this conference was being organized by three pet-loving, social media gurus (friends from three different corners of the US) I was immediately entranced. I had no clue (to be honest) what I could gain or give by attending but I just knew I had to be there. Nobody was doing this at the time - all those 'three' years ago. It was a revolutionary concept.

Not only did I trek five hours by car to the Country of Columbus (Ohio) but I convinced our general manager - a pet 'appreciator', but by no means, 'a crazy pet person' like myself - into attending with me. If I was going to pursue expanding our whole media-related line of pet products, (ie. hosting a pet blog, establishing an annual Pet Expo and the crème de la crème, publishing a pet magazine) I knew it was critical for me to shock-drop my manager feet first into this world.I knew it was going to be like submerging a very Rod-Sterling-like editorial genius into a big vat of 'crazy me's soaked in pet hair' but I also knew that if we, an established media company, were truly committed to jumping on this social media train with all paws on board- as our GM had been - then this was going to be the one event that I did not want to miss.

Some things cannot be explained. They simply must be experienced. "BlogPaws" was one of them.

Boy, was I right. For two days, I was surrounded by 230 like-minded bloggers, writers and companies passionate about pets. That alone was an immensely overwhelming experience. But, the conference dreamers, as I like to call them, took their vision to a whole new dimension.

They simply realized that pet owners were spending significant time researching pet related topics and pet blogs were becoming among the top resources for information. They discovered that beyond the veterinarian, pet bloggers were considered a very important and credible source (higher than store clerk and advertising).

They took years worth of knowledge and experience and created an event that they knew was not only going to be invaluable to a whole new audience of writers - some yet to come - but they were virtually creating the future of social media education right before our eyes.

Now, three years later, May 16-18, "BlogPaws 2013" will take place in Tysons Corner, VA. I finally get to attend again this year after missing the last three conferences due to time restrictions.

I know I'm not going to recognize the event as I remember it, but am hopeful that like an archaeological dig, I will be able to comfortably feel my way around the most basic perimeters of an infrastructure that not only formed the original concept for this event but continues to serve as a indestructible foundation that fosters it's wild-fire growth.

Carol Bryant, PR Manager for "BlogPaws" and a renowned pet blogger and educator herself (, has tried to prepare me, warning that "I will not recognize the event at all from year one."

Now capped at 500 attendees, the organizers still try to maintain a more intimate hands-on experience.

This is also a conference where bringing your pet is encouraged. And, it works. Simply because everyone attending makes their pet the focus of their business. This is a place were people celebrate their pets, says Carol, who will be there with her boy, Dexter. All bases are covered for attendees and companions including on-site doggy day care, on site vet care, and pet friendly accommodations.

From an endless list of seminars geared towards all facets of the growing pet industry, to an impressive list of guest speakers and experts, attendees are guaranteed to leave armed with a bounty of new information, tools and work to keep them busy for the next year.

These (attendees) are the industry influencers, Carol explains. These are the people who are using and writing about and sharing information about pet care, pet products and pet trends with the rest of the pet loving world.

What started as a conference focused on teaching pet enthusiasts how to use social media effectively has expanded into a priceless, three-day educational marathon - with a bunch of fun and fur thrown in!

The conference offers four tracks of learning for beginners to experts from writers to rescuers to readers, attorneys, publishers and pet businesses. BlogPaws has truly become the go-to resource for pet people and brands to partner on projects and campaigns, to be educated on social media, and to arrange face-to-face meetings all over the country. I can confidently say this group has become an amazingly positive resource and catalyst of change for pet lovers, communicators, educators and rescuers.

If you are a pet-lover and have found yourself enveloped in some aspect of social media, writing, creating, fundraising, networking, publishing, promoting, or rescuing, this, my friend, is one event that you do not want to miss. (

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