BlogPaws is almost here and it is coming to our own backyard!

The past few weeks we have been busy searching for a new home, while simultaneously getting all of our BlogPaws gear together. Finding a new pet friendly rental has proved to be quite difficult and a bit stressful, but we will let you in on the details of that after BlogPaws.

As a new pet blogger and first timer to the pet blogging conference world, Luna and I have been investigating all the best tips and tricks for attending a blogging conference. Lucky for us, we live locally so we have not had to focus much on the travel aspect of attending a conference. With an upcoming move, I was happy to be spared from intense packing (my least favorite part of any kind of travel.) Even though the hotel is only a short drive away, we still have done quite a bit to get ourselves prepared. I hope we are ready!

Here are some of the tips we learned.

What to bring

logoA wearable logo or twitter handle.
Many of your fellow blogger friends may only initially recognize you from your twitter handle, logo, pet’s photo, or anything else that makes your blog distinguishable. I will be wearing a t-shirt with our brand new logo on it. Luna may even have one too! I would recommend bringing something wearable like a shirt, button, or bag. Although I have not yet been to a conference, I can just imagine how much stuff I will be carrying. I love the idea of flat pets, pet trading cards, and pets on a stick, but I do not know if I could carry it all! Plus, you will not even have to think about showing off your logo or photo if you are already wearing it.

Business cards. Lots and lots of business cards.
You never know how many you will need. You will want them for fellow bloggers and for exhibitors, so it is better to have more than enough! Many businesses prefer matte cards, so that they can write notes on them. Some businesses may also require your address and phone number. I made two different business cards. One has the basic information and the other has more detailed contact information.

A camera.
Figure out what works best for you. I love my DSLR, but they can be really heavy and bulky. I never want to miss a photographic moment, so I will be bringing a smaller snapshot camera and my new smart phone in addition to my DSLR. Remember to use your camera to take pictures especially if you plan to blog about it later.

Extra memory cards and extension cords.
You never know how many photos you will take or when you might need to recharge.

A bag big enough to carry it all.
Again, this is personal preference. Do you like outside pockets or inside pockets? Do you prefer a backpack or a tote? I went shopping this weekend and took advantage of a Mother’s Day sale at a Vera Bradley Outlet. I picked up this cute tote bag for only about $40! I also found an adorable dog keychain that I will be sporting at BlogPaws. I personally loved this bag because it is big enough to hold my laptop, DSLR camera, a notepad, a folder, my wallet, my phone, Luna’s accessories, and a water bottle with room to spare. Because the bag itself is made of fabric, it is light and will not add too much weight. I think that is important when I will be carrying it all day. It also has pockets both on the inside and outside for easy access.


What to do

Read the program in advance.
This can help you figure out what sessions you really want to attend. If any have limited seating, then you can prioritize getting to those sessions a little earlier. There are so many great sounding sessions. I still cannot decide which ones we will be going to at BlogPaws!

Dress comfortably, but professionally.
Since you will be up and about for most of the day, wearing your most uncomfortable high heels may not be the best idea. You are representing yourself and your blog, so you do still want to look presentable and professional, but you will always represent yourself better if you feel comfortable in what you are wearing. I am doing laundry as I type to make sure my favorite outfits are clean and ready to go for BlogPaws.


I thought you said UNpack…

Meet new people.
One of the great things about conferences is the networking. You can learn so much from a fellow blogger or make a great connection with a business by just starting a conversation. I love meeting new people, but I usually do not initialize the conversations. This will be a challenge for me at BlogPaws.

Take notes.
I can imagine that conferences are filled with overwhelming amounts of information. Taking notes can help you remember who you spoke to and what you learned. Some people still prefer taking notes on pen and paper (like me). If that is you, do not feel embarrassed if the rest of the room is full of others on their tablets, computers, and smart phones. Any form of note taking will be helpful.

Talk to others who went to different sessions.
Unfortunately at most conferences you cannot always make it to all the sessions you want. Teaming up with other bloggers will help build relationships and will also help you all get the latest tips in important topics.

We will probably be in the Beginner or Intermediate track. Anyone interested in note sharing?

Follow up with the new people you meet.
When you reach out to bloggers and businesses within 24 hours after you first met them, you express that the meeting was influential and important to you. This is great way to continue to build relationships.

We are so excited to attend an amazing pet blogging conference. See you there!

Jessica Shipman
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