I’m sure it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite things about the blogosphere is the community. I think we’ve all said it, it’s been a surprise at one time or another how this blogging community works. No matter what you blog about, you can find a group for you to connect to. Once you get out of college, it’s hard to make real connections so I have loved building genuine connections through this little space of mine.
What I have loved is being able to also meet fellow bloggers in real life! It’s almost guaranteed that there are at least a few local bloggers in your area and if you’ve always wanted to try to put together an event for the bloggers in your area, here is your guide for making that happen!
Planning a blog event may sound intimidating, but it’s not as difficult as it may seem. There are similar logistics as there would be for planning any event, but the logistics are well worth the pay off for getting to meet with like-minded people who are also bloggers!
The first ever meetup I planned was back in May. I teamed up with another blogger and we were able to spend the morning with a great group of other bloggers, may who I still keep in touch with six months later! What was so fun was to go around and hear the natural conversations about blogging. Natural only after I did an awkward introduction of myself and tried to remember everyone’s names.
Anyways, so you want to plan a meetup… how do you get started?
Find local bloggers
Before you go and plan a huge shindig, find a few bloggers who are in your area and would be interested in attending an event. It could even be one blogger, but the more the merrier to help spread the word about your event!
If you’re not sure where to begin searching for local bloggers, you can try a regional blogging community like Southern Girl Blogging Community, Northeast Bloggers Network, or Southern Blog Society. You can also check non-regional groups like The Peony Project. They may have a document of where the members live or you can simply post on the group and ask if there are any bloggers in your area. If all else fails try searching “Your Region Blogger” on Google and your bound to come up with a few!
After finding some other local bloggers, decide whether you want to host the event alone or with a cohost!
I would say even before choosing a venue, you’ll want to decide how casual your event will be. Is it going to be structured or unstructured? Will it be networking or educational (like a book study)? Start there as that will dictate where you can host the event.
Once you’ve settled on a type of event, contact locations to figure out if there is one available. Many places have a private room that can be rented. Try to negotiate using your blog for exposure for the company in lieu of a rental fee- just make sure to follow up with this at the end of the event. You can also just go to somewhere casual and save a big table if that’s an option. You could even host an event at your house (though you may want to wait until you’ve met the people first!). Some ideas of locations include: local restaurants, coffee shops, a dessert place, or another event center.
You’ll also need to decide whether to charge for this event or not. The first event I did, we charged $5 to ensure people who were signing up would actually show up and to help cover some administrative costs like swag bags and paying for our speakers lunch! Decide this up front and make sure it is clear to the attendees. They will not be happy showing up and finding out there’s a cover charge.
Decide whether you’ll want to have swag bags or any sort of gift for the attendees. The last meetup I went to we did a mug swap which was a really fun and inexpensive way to have each person take a little something with them from the event! If you’re going to do swagbags, consider asking for sponsors to cover the items in your goodie bag. For tips on getting sponsors for this type of goodie bag, check out this guide from Feast and West!
In those same places where you looked for local bloggers, advertise your event there! Ask those local bloggers to help spread the word and to bring a friend with them. You may even consider posting something online through a local newspaper or radio, depending on your area. Create a hashtag for your event to start getting people excited about the upcoming event and maybe even draw in other people.
Show up to your event early, so someone else isn’t the first one there! Make sure to introduce yourself to any managers or event coordinators, if applicable. Don’t forget to bring those blog business cards to hand out to your blog friends (blogger fail: the first three events I went to, I didn’t have my cards yet)! Be sure to bring any materials with you if you planned any games or ice breakers. I am more of the free spirit when it comes to those types of things, I just let people talk out the awkwardness instead of planning any sort of conversation topics.
You are the host, so be sure to try to mingle and especially make sure no one is sitting in a corner alone. It’s all about making connections! Some people may not be as willing to jump in and start conversation (you may not normally be either!) but take advantage of your role as the host and try to make the most out of your connections.
After the event be sure to post a recap on your blog, that way if any other local bloggers see it but didn’t know about it you can connect that way! Also the next time someone Googles a blogger in their area, you might show up on the search!
So, have you ever planned a blogger meetup? Tell me about it!
If you have any other questions about planning a meetup, comment below so I can try to help!
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