5 Tips for organising Bloggers Meet ups*
I have been lucky to attend a few bloggers meet ups. Some were very good, some disasters and some great. It wasn't always the biggest that was the best. Meet ups are great for networking and having fun. They put faces to names, people you know in a virtual world become real. How do you organise a successful meet up? What if no-one turns up? What are the pitfalls? What makes a great event? You are probably reading this because you want to meet up with some like minded people but do not know where to start, 5 Tips For Organising Bloggers Meet Ups is for you.
One way to solve a problem is to use the 5Ws. Who, Where, What, Why, When. This is one of the easiest ways to make sure that you have thought of everything. This guide is for blogger meet ups but could easily be used for organising any event.
5 Tips for organising Bloggers meet ups
1. Who are you going to invite?Before planning anything think carefully about who, and how many, you are going to invite. It is easiest to choose a niche and plan the meet up around that. Beauty bloggers would have different expectations than travel bloggers or parenting bloggers.
For your first event keep the numbers small, this will help with the logistics. Once the group is defined set up a Facebook page, or similar, and invite everyone who is attending to join. It is easy for all to get to know each other before the event and for you to share information.
2. Where to have the meet up?
Location, location, location. We have all heard Phil and Kirsty tell us that this is the most important factor and when organising any event this needs serious consideration. Once you know who you are going to invite and how many then the venue is next. The best meet up can fail due to people just not being able to attend. The venue needs to be accessible to all, with decent public transport and pleasant surroundings. For a small gathering a local coffee shop or attraction would be ideal especially if you know one that can cater for you all. It is especially difficult if you are planning an event in an unfamiliar location.
Things to consider are;
- size of venue
- ease of transport/parking
If you are not sure of the perfect venue then one of the easiest ways is to use a Venue Finding Service such as Venue Finder. It's simple to use, free and all that is needed is your preferences and they do all the hard work. Venue Finder is also great if you are looking for a wedding or party venue!
3. What are you offering?
Once you have chosen the niche decide what you are going to offer. The simplest meet up is very informal just a coffee or lunch and a chat. Decide whether there will be a goody bag or a guest speaker. If you are having speakers consider having a theme. Some ideas would be
- improving photography
- growing social media followers
- understanding SEO
If you want social shares then be honest up front. Don't email everyone afterwards looking for their blog post if you didn't agree one in advance. Have a hashtag. Make it easy to remember, relevant to the brand and not used by someone else.
To avoid people from dropping out or not turning up on the day decide whether it will be ticketed with full payment in advance, or charge a deposit. This is especially important if you are hiring a venue. People are more likely to attend if they pay but spell out clearly what they are getting for their money.
4. Why have an event?
We all have busy lives and spending time travelling and meeting up needs to have a pay off. Maybe you are a group of virtual friends that just want to meet in real life. If this is the case then the why is sorted and numbers need to be small and the event very informal.
If the purpose is to promote a brand or to offer training then bloggers want value for money. They are happy to pay to attend but expect experts to give sessions, not your friend who is new at it but has agreed to do it for free. If you are promoting a brand then goody bags are essential, with clear guidelines on what the expectations are upfront.
5. When are you going to hold it?
Timing has caused problems with some of the big blogging events. Some have changed the day to a Sunday and many people can't travel because of reduced public transport services. They also often have long distances to travel and need to be back home on Monday for work or children's schooling.
If it's a parenting bloggers meet up for coffee, then a weekday morning may be best, when their children are in school. Otherwise choose a Saturday. It allows people to travel and stay over, or use public transport. Many people do not mind having a late finish if they have a day to recover!
If this is your first meet up then start small, give yourself lots of time to plan and ask for help. Watch your finances and expect at least half not to turn up!
*Collaborative post - all opinions are honest and my own