I jumped into the final quarter of 2011 by indulging in a new experience and making a bunch of new friends in the process. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the pet loving community at BarkWorld, what an experience! First, I have to personally thank Women Intelligently Networking via TarynP for sponsoring my ticket. I had no idea what I was getting into, but if you know anything about Taryn and Denise Quashie, founder of BarkWorld™, you know they know marketing and social media, so you just go with it!
What is BarkWorld?
According to the website “BarkWorld is THE social media conference covering ALL facets of social media, pet lifestyle & business education for all pet lovers.” This is EXACTLY what the conference is all about! Even though I’ve owned a dog for most of the last 14 years, this was my first pet-based event. This was a different experience for me, and I had soooo much fun!
The cross-section of attendees made for interesting conversations at every turn. There were those of us that work in marketing/social media (like me), pet bloggers, pet owners, pet-based product and service providers, and plenty of pets. Yes, there were dogs walking around enjoying themselves just as much as us humans, and we were too happy to indulge them. The conference was all business, yet there was a completely different energy from the typical business conference, and the depth of conversation and networking was just as unique. There was even a doggie daycare on site – this conference had it all!
Select Tips and Highlights
Just in case you missed it, I’m sharing some nuggets of advice you can put to use in your business, whether or not you own a pet. Here are just a few conference highlights and tips shared:
- When pitching your blog to a brand, go to the brand and be ready to ask for what you want. When approaching a brand via a third-party (agency), confidently convey three things: your idea, what you think it’s worth, and your plan to work with the brand. This will reduce the burden on the agency of trying to figure out what you want, which in turn makes your blog easier to pitch.
- All the dog trainers that are licensed under Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training have been personally assessed by Victoria Stilwell. Yes, Victoria from It’s Me or the Dog was there! Victoria is so committed to making sure your dog has the most rewarding dog training experience that she hand picks trainers all across the country to take part in her trainer network. In other words, own your brand!
- Paid advertising is great for converting traffic, therefore you do not want to direct a paid ad link to your home page. You want to specify a landing page so the viewer knows exactly what you want them to do. We learned about SEO directly from Bing, what more can you ask for?
- When enabling links, you want your anchor text to be the best keywords for your business, which is not necessarily your company name.
- When hiring a copywriter and/or designer, give them a creative brief as a guideline. Meet with them often and make sure they understand your vision. Crowd sourcing your creative design can be tricky, particularly as it relates to original designs. Use crowd sourcing with extreme caution.
- Book authors: if you are fortunate enough to be picked up by a publishing house, the marketing of your book will likely remain your responsibility. If you want to sell books, you must learn the art of public speaking. Bookstore sales alone will not make you a star!
- You cannot profit from YouTube videos using copyrighted music, so if this is your goal do a search for royalty-free music. If you currently have a popular video using copyrighted music, consider doing an audio swap with royalty-free music.
- Once your videos get popular, YouTube will invite you to take part in revenue sharing. Becoming a YouTube star may make you popular, but it will not make you rich.
- Flash mobs are freakin awesome! At the close of the first full day of events, right before the evening festivities, I got to witness my very first flash mob, and yes they are as cool and as fun as they look on YouTube!
- Ooh la la the swag bag… it was filled to the top with pet goodies! Yes that’s a picture of the swag bag; I tried but I couldn’t possibly show everything that was included in the bag.
This year marked the second annual event; it was SOLD OUT and I see why! Visit the BarkWorld conference website to find out more, and visit all their social media sites to get different perspectives from the attendees. We’re all talking about it!
I just have one final comment: If your business has anything to do with social media, blogging and/or the pet community, this is an event to add to your calendar!