Nine months ago I wrote a guest post for Sarah called How To Start a Blogger Meetup in Your City about 7 steps I took to create a blogger meetup group in Philadelphia. I am proud to say that PHLBloggers is still going strong and we’ve had 15+ events to date. Many events have been education-driven, and in order to get the most up-to-date information to share I have reached out to the Philadelphia community to find speakers who know their stuff. They’ve been able to provide invaluable insight that we never would have gotten otherwise.
Today I’m back to share 7 people you should invite to your own blogger meetup group:
1. The Accountant
An accountant can tell you all about small business taxes. She knows what to can claim as a business expense, how to get an EIN number, exactly which numbers go on your annual taxes, and all about quarterly taxes. She can help you keep all your financials in line.
2. The Lawyer
A copyrighting & trademark lawyer is the next person I want to bring into an event. We all have questions like am I really allowed to do this, how do I make sure nobody steals my work, am I supposed to trademark my business questions, and what do I need to include in my contract. Go straight to the source to find out for sure.
3. The Photographer
Understanding the basic principles of photographer such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and the rule of thirds is incredibly useful to bloggers looking to create a specific image and visual brand. Many bloggers have invested in a DSLR camera, but have not learned to use all the manual settings yet. Learning these is a great way to kick it up a notch.
4. The PR Specialist
According to Google, public relations is “the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person,” which is exactly what bloggers want to do. They can help write great copy, about pages, and press releases to get your information out there in the best way possible.
5. The Personal Brander
PR Specialists help us show ourselves in the best light, personal branders and creative coaches help us to brand ourselves consistently across all platforms. One of the fastest ways to build a blog audience is to have a strong brand people recognize quickly, and branding is the place to start!
6. The SEO Specialist
Great SEO helps our posts get to the top of the search engines, but can seem daunting if you’re unfamiliar with it. SEO experts know about finding the best key words, linking back to your pages, and setting up alerts. They also know all of the best resources to make it quick & easy.
7. The Graphic Designer
A graphic designer can explain the dos and don’ts of blog design, show examples of the good and the ugly, and guide you to find your own style. Their training can open you to new ideas and help you understand what elements on your own site might attract and deter visitors.
Now you might be thinking, “Great, Chrystina, now where the heck do I find those people?”
Start with your networkfriends, people you went to school with, and your co-workers. Do a little LinkedIn browsing. There is always somebody trying to make a name for themselves that would love the experience. Talk to a small business looking for clients or a startup with a great blog that is already giving away information for free. Find somebody who started out as a blogger (or still is!) who might want to give back to the community.
Once you decide who to reach out to, send an email or make a phone call to get in touch approximately two months before the event. Here is an example of a script to follow:
- Introduce yourself
- Say how you met or discovered the person
- Introduce your group & its purpose
- Brief them on the basics of the event including topics, compensation (if applicable), duration, time, location, and why they’re a good fit
- Thank them for their time
- Close with “Please let me know if you are interested in this opportunity.”
- Follow-up, if necessary
At this time, PHLBloggers does not have a budget to pay speakers, but I always mention why it would be beneficial for the speaker whether they’re looking for new clients, to expand their reach, or to give back. Also, even though we don’t have a budget, the fact that we have 30+ bloggers on our distribution list with a good reach in the Philadelphia area counts for something.
Our group meets at different locations around Philadelphia including cafes, speakers’ studios, and locations at our 9-to-5 jobs. The key is to find a location that won’t be too loud, has space to facilitate good conversation, and has reasonably priced food and beverages (because you don’t want to commit anyone to needing to buy a full dinner to come to an event).
Once the speaker agrees to the event, we solidify the outline of topics to be discussed and determine how the topic will be taught via presentation, PowerPoint, or working session. Then I update the event information on our website, post an event in our Google Plus group, and include the information in a monthly email to the group (the sooner the better!).
The week of the event I coordinate with the speaker to ensure all necessary technology is in place, meet them at the venue about 30 minutes before the event starts, and introduce them before they start speaking. From there, the floor is theirs. After the event we give the speaker a round of applause, I plug the speaker’s blog or brand one more time, and I announce upcoming PHLBlogger events. Later that week I send them a thank you note in the mail as well. And that’s it!
While it may sound like a lot, most of the to-dos involve being respectful of the speaker’s time and the energy they are putting into your event, as well as making sure you and the speaker are both onboard with what will be discussed so nobody is disappointed in the end.
Good luck on your own blogging meetup adventure, and if you want to brainstorm (I love to brainstorm) or connect you can find me at Chrystina Noel.