"Nosing" our way into BlogPaws

Have you ever felt your heart flutter with excitement when you see an email resting in your inbox? Your breath starts to quicken, your fingers don’t quite listen as you try to navigate to the “open” option, you can hear your heartbeat behind your temple. When I received the “You’re a Finalist,” email, I began to feel all the feels! What’s that, you don’t know what a Nose-to-Nose award is? That’s okay, neither did I until not that long ago. Let me tell you what it is, why it’s important, and the amazing company I keep!

Blog Paws Nose to Nose Award Finalist Badge

First, let’s talk about BlogPaws as an entity. Imagine entering into the pet industry either through starting a blog about how much you love your dog, taking obsessive amounts of photos of your beloved pet and posting them on Instagram, or happening upon a blog after doing research for your own animal and being inspired to contribute in some way. These are all examples of gateways that lead to your involvement with the pet industry. Many times, the intention isn’t to use the world wide web as a money making medium for these pet loving ventures, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could?

Now, imagine trying to figure everything out on your own. It’s hard feeling lost, and lonely, without knowing if you’re on the right track and without a network of support. BlogPaws is a “home,” for lack of a better term, for those who have entered into the pet industry either intentionally or by chance. The organization helps to provide educational support, informative insight, feedback, and networking opportunities for your work and efforts. They also help to serve as a liaison between bloggers, writers, photographers, and micro-bloggers and the businesses that are seeking positive word-of-mouth in relation to their goods or services. It’s a match made in heaven!

I literally fell into BlogPaws last year. Up to that point, I was the obsessive photo taker and Instagram user. I had entered a lot of photo contests, and had won a lot of photo contests. On a whim, I entered a contest hosted by BlogPaws called “BlogPaws or Bust,” which depicted Bean ready for a road trip adventure. I received an email stating that I had the grand prize last year, and “did I accept?” I honestly didn’t understand why the question was posed, because I didn’t connect the dots that the prize included a trip (duh, Bryn!) So, a year ago today, I hopped on a plane with my manpanion and parents, flew to Nashville, checked into an amazing hotel that was already infiltrated with a gaggle of amazing pets, and dove into the sessions offered at the annual conference! I attended sessions on subjects I had never heard of, took diligent notes, networked, met with brand representatives, and realized the true scope of both the BlogPaws network and the Pet Industry as a whole! Holy guacamole, what a powerhouse of brands and bloggers! And I didn’t even have a blog!

Biker Bean as the BlogPaws or Bust Photo Winner 2015

I went home, and realized...it was time to roll up my sleeves and come up with a plan. As a person who has her Masters in Business Administration and a Bachelors in Public Relations, I realized the importance of having an established business plan and strategic messaging. I just didn’t know what the plan, and my point were. So, the blog idea sat and festered for months as I agonized over my niche. In an effort to relax, we went to a local brewery, and saw many patrons in line with their dogs. I realized that so many dog lovers are also beer (and other adult beverage) lovers and “A Dog Walks into a Bar” was born! Now, we have written a mixture of dog and beer related posts with more exciting content coming down the line!

So, what’s a Nose-to-Nose award? I’m glad you asked! BlogPaws has instituted these awards to honor the “best of the pet bloggers and influencers.” Nearly fifty finalists in a total of twelve categories are selected, with the winner from each category to be announced at the red carpet gala on the last evening of the BlogPaws annual conference.

Even though I’m proud of my site, being a finalist for the BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose award for “Best New Pet Blog,” has helped me to realize that there’s legitimacy to my site. I now know that I’m reaching an intended audience and that my content is being well received. This nomination and finalist selection will help me to have more influence when I’m speaking with brands and networking at the upcoming BlogPaws conference in Phoenix, Arizona. More importantly, it has helped me to have more confidence in my work and my purpose. Perhaps, one day soon, I will no longer be operating at a financial loss so I can begin donating the additional funds to our local shelter, like we do with all of our contest prize winnings!

Yoda's interpretation of BlogPaws or Bust

I am in amazing company in my category! To be in their midst really is an honor in and of itself! I will introduce my fellow “Best New Pet Blog” finalists below but I plan on writing a follow-up post with details about their sites and why you should be checking them out at the beginning of next week!

The fellow finalists in our Nose-to-Nose category includes:

Bodie on the Road

Three Chatty Cats

Little Dog Tips

Please take a moment to visit their sites and to show them some love! I look forward to sharing more details about these great blogs next week!

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