If I could be IRL (in real life) friends with each one of you, I would in a heartbeat. Of course, that’s not quite realistic considering we live on opposite ends of the country and even the globe. My Coast to Coast map revealed far more Ohio bloggers than I realized and I wanted to bring us together in one place.
3 months out
4. Find a venue
Consider an accessible location. I chose Columbus, which was perfect. My hometown is smack dab in the middle of Ohio and many bloggers were willing to travel two hours from Cinci or Cleveland. Make sure the establishment will accommodate the number you plan to invite and will not be a distraction, and vice versaWhat amenities are required? Is there adequate parking? Do they allow outside food? Do they have an open bar or drink specials? If you are on a tighter budget, you can often get free event space if you go with a cash bar. This works well for weekday events where the bar would otherwise have low traffic.
2 months out
- Create a branded event page to manage the RSVP and provide your event details.
- Keep track of the number of attendees and contact info in real time.
- Resend to guests that have not responded to the original invite. That way, you don’t need to re-enter email addresses or send too many emails to guests who are already attending.
- Add to my Calendar button.
- Share buttons. Email to friends, tweet it, share it on LinkedIn, and like it on Facebook
- Automatically schedule a brief reminder email to send to your attendees 48 hours before an event
- Collect Custom Information: ie. guests meal choice or t-shirt size, then exportable to a spreadsheet.
- Generate customized name badge templates for all registered attendees.
1 month out
- Ice Breaker to get people loosened up.
- Keep presentations concise, visual, and interesting.
- Time to fill out Blating Profiles.
- Raffle prizes.
- Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for unique pictures and content.
I put together a few special swag bags and drew random profiles to win them. If you play a game with winners, these work well as prizes.
- Swag bags. I included trial size beauty products, local items, chocolates, stationary. Ask around for sponsors or etsy owners to donate contents of swag bags. (ie. coupons, gift certificates, homemade goodies, samples) or check your Target dollar bins!
- Paper products
The big day
1 week later
Let your guests know that you appreciate them attending and making your event a success (hopefully this is the case). A simple e-mail will do.
2. Ask for feedback
It is always helpful to get an outsiders perspective on what they liked/disliked about your event. Be open to constructive criticism. Even if you never host another meetup, it is nice to know your areas of improvement and to make your guests feel as if their opinion is valued which will only strengthen relationships.
- Business cards are a must!
- At first we had wanted to book a hotel and do an overnight but that may be too big of a commitment and too pricey for some, so decided to hold it at one of our houses.
- I wish I had hired a professional photographer– It was hard to get in photos when I was the one taking them. Plus, it took time away from connecting with my guests.
- Realize planning events take time. A lot of it. (I’d say I spent five 8-hour days) Be sure you have the energy and resources to devote to it before committing. I’m looking at you, BP.
- Bring an open mind and a smile!