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We’re shifting gears today. Today, we’re going to talk about the business side of pet blogging. Last week we hosted the inaugural Pet Blogger Retreat. Here’s our story.
We’ll return to our regular puppy posts shortly.
Mr. Peabody, what famous place shall we go to this time?
Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to June 23rd 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah!
That was the first year I attended the BlogPaws Conference. That same year I also attended BarkWorld Expo.
These were pet blogging conferences that helped bloggers, influencers, and content creators learn from industry experts to help grow their online businesses.
It was also a time to meet sponsors outside your network and build relationships for future projects.
These conferences were not only a great time to learn how to grow an online business but it gave everyone a chance to meet people they’d only known through their computer screens.
The End Of Pet Blogging Conferences
I attended BarkWorld Expo in Atlanta, GA in 2012. Their last conference to my knowledge was held in 2016.
I last attended the BlogPaws Conference in Phoenix, AZ in 2016. The last BlogPaws conference was held in 2018 in Kansas City, MO.
Jump forward 5 years…
Enter the Pet Blogger Retreat 2023!
Pet Blogger Retreat 2023
In 2019, I was lucky enough to attend the Mediavine Conference in Austin, TX. It was a great experience reminiscent of the pet blogging conferences I attended in the past.
The keynotes and educational sessions were great but the real value was in networking with fellow content creators. Talking and learning from other attendees was worth it’s weight in gold.
Without a dedicated pet blogging conference, I wanted to create a scaled down version of the Mediavine Conference composed of a small group of pro bloggers, creators, and influencers from the pet niche.
The tipping point was when I published my Pet Bloggers Journey 2023 post and heard others were interested in an in-person pet blogging event.
We decided the perfect time and place to hold this retreat would be before North America’s largest pet retail event, SuperZoo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!
I’m not sure if any of the attendees noticed but some of the gift cards I handed out had the following quote:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Step 1 – Book A Location
My first step was booking the conference room. It’s funny how taking that first step really got the ball rolling.
Step 2 – Get Some Help
Next, I contacted my good friend and blogging accountability partner, Jessica from You Did What With Your Weiner to see if she would co-host with me.
Check and Check! Let’s GO!
Oops, sorry that was two steps.
I reached out to several companies I’ve worked closely with over the past few years and they stepped up big time to help cover the cost of PBR2023.
Please visit our sponsors:
Mighty Paw – A company dedicated to designing a full range of high-quality, affordable products that make it easier (and more fun) than ever to do things with your pup.
Mediavine – helps content creators build sustainable businesses. From educational tools and cutting-edge plugins to ad technology that maximizes earnings without slowing down your site, our motivation is ensuring your brand and business grow in every respect.
Calmeroos – Calmeroos products are designed to appeal to your pet’s natural instincts by recreating the experience of cuddling up to their mama and littermates when there wasn’t a care in the world! Your pet will feel at ease and comforted when they cuddle up next to Calmeroos!
- Conference Room ☑
- Sponsors ☑
- Attendees ☐
We wanted to keep the inaugural Pet Blogger Retreat to a small group and sent out personal invitations to our network of bloggers.
It was our hope to have an all live (in-person) event but as always things change and we decided to offer a virtual option as well
We ended up with a group of 10 dedicated professional pet bloggers and content creators in our group: 6 in-person and 4 virtual.
Pet Blogger Retreat Goes Live!
The planning began in January 2023. However, the vision became a reality on August 14th, 2023.
That was the day I hopped in my car and roared “VEGAS BABY!”
Well, not really…I was anxious, excited, nervous…pretty much all emotions rolled into one, so it was more of a quiet whisper “vegas baby.”
The good news was I had some helping hands waiting for me at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Our tech support guy, Larry (actually a good friend of mine who agreed to help) and Jessica from YDWWYW.
With their help we set up the conference room to broadcast virtually and made sure everything ran smoothly before our first guests arrived.
We had two in-depth educational sessions during the retreat:
- Advanced Affiliate Marketing – Sharing tips and tricks learned over the past 16 years as a blogger.
- After a complete overhaul of over 600 articles. Sharing the why, how, and results of blog inventory.
Yep, I got some love and attention between sessions from Summit 🙂
Every attendee had their own short “lightning” session.
Lightning Sessions gave each attendee fifteen minutes (10 minute presentation, 5 minutes for questions) to share their top tips for growing their business!
During our lightning sessions we covered:
- How to build a community around your blog, create loyal readers that will share, promote, and advertise your brand and blog to a wider audience. Covering the importance of old school, in-person community building.
- Increasing organic traffic by using SEMRush. Discussing how to use SEMRush for her keyword research & more.
- Discussing the Google EEAT algorithm, content pillars and how it increased organic search traffic on a newer website by 97% in 30 days.
- Sharing about growing social media presence, what has worked, what hasn’t, tips for growing and connecting with your audience and tying in with blog posts.
- The art of the pivot – how to stay relevant and bring in the dollars. From social media to niching down, multiple revenue streams and owning your skill set, sharing tips from experiences as an influential pet blogger.
- Hit by the most recent Google Algorithm update. A discussion on what she’s working on to bring back organic traffic and the challenges she faces.
- A talk about how social media has helped business in unexpected ways.
- Talk about images and how they connect to page speed and SEO – understanding compression/sizing, new web formats, original photography vs. stock images.
- After falling into a fantastic affiliate partnership, sharing how to drive stats up with successful SEO. How in less than three years, referred $1.3 million in sales.
- Working on improving email lists of over 65,000 email subscribers. Sharing what’s working, what’s not working, and the challenges faced.
Our Mediavine guest speaker covered tips and tricks for increasing advertising revenue. The Mediavine team also reviewed our blogs and sent us tips on how we could improve our sites.
Networking & Dinners
It’s been a long time since we (pet bloggers) had an in-person meet up as a group. It was wonderful to see some of the faces that I’ve only seen on my laptop screen over the past few years.
We had a great time chatting and chomping on food at different restaurants at Mandalay Bay.
The Pet Blogger Retreat 2023 was a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of organizing, and a lot of fun.
I’m so happy we were able to congregate and collaborate before SuperZoo 2023.
I had a awesome time and the initial feedback from the other attendees was that they also had a great time learning and collaborating as well.
Are we doing it again in 2024?
Would you be interested in attending a retreat for pet content creators?
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Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.