When I started blogging in 2014, my goal was to create a space to write about travel, lifestyle, and parenting products, while sharing my family’s stories. I never anticipated that writing would help me discover truly rewarding relationships and experiences with other bloggers. Today on Theresa’s Reviews, I’m sharing how I organized an event that brought 14 bloggers together to meet in person, network, and eat delicious food. The #MarylandBlogs event was held in the Maria Room at Turf Valley Resort located in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Alexandra's American Fusion Restaurant offers event space that overlooks the beautiful golf course of Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. - Theresa' Reviews

With the Maria Room at Alexandra’s American Fusion Restaurant, your event space overlooks the beautiful golf course of Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City.

3 Tips For Planning A Blogger Meetup

Although many bloggers share a desire to network, attending trade shows and conferences together can be expensive. Many networking events are left up to sponsors who decide who to invite. Take the initiative to create a meetup group. Arranging a meetup requires some organization, but it is not hard to do. Check out a few tips.

1. Build connections with a local venue.

When you’re thinking about where to hold your event, connect with a place you know well. Be clear about what you can offer the venue. Send over a list of each blogger who is invited, and give details about the promotion your group can offer.

Make sure that everyone in your group can commit to promoting the event. Offer social media posts from your group, and ask that everyone mentions the location in their post. You can print off a sheet of paper with the social media accounts to tag.

#MarylandBlogs Event At Alexandra’s American Fusion Restaurant

Since I have visited Turf Valley Resort and Alexandra’s American Fusion Restaurant several times (and regularly encourage anyone coming in town to stay there), this event space was willing to work with our group. Not only did Turf Valley provide an event space, but they also helped develop a menu that showcased the restaurant’s locally sourced, American fusion dishes.

3 Tips For Planning A Blogger Get Together 1. Build connections with a local venue. - Theresa's Reviews

Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial Stuffed Sliders with Toasted Brioche and Old Bay Glacage at Alexandra’s American Fusion Restaurant

Native Marylander Chef Christopher Vocci made Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial Stuffed Sliders, which were very fitting for the group of bloggers who came in from different parts of central Maryland.

Chef Christopher Vocci serves fresh, local food at Alexandra's American Fusion Restaurant in Ellicott City, Maryland. - Theresa's Reviews

Buffalo Cauliflower with House Made Bacon Lardons and Fresh Chevre at Alexandra’s American Fusion Restaurant

When it comes to the importance of food to your event, Chef Vocci said in his Note From The Chef, “Food is what brings us together; through dining experiences, we can educate, evolve and figuratively break down walls.”

After the guests arrived, everyone paused to photograph the beautiful food. We laughed that only bloggers could relate to photographing the set up of the food, taking a snapshot of it on your plate, and posting to social media before eating it.

Chef Christopher Vocci serves fresh, local food at Alexandra's American Fusion Restaurant in Ellicott City, Maryland. - Theresa's Reviews

Palette of Mediterranean Flavors with Roasted Garlic Hummus, Olive Tapenade, Red Pepper Muhamarra, Summer Tomato Bruschetta, Roasted Eggplant Caponata and Flatbread Chips

Although each blogger had a different niche, the food brought as all together and helped start our conversations. Alexandra’s American Fusion was successful in offering food that everyone enjoyed, while also showcasing the delicious menu they regularly offer in their restaurant. Since I have had wonderful experiences dining there in the past, I knew the restaurant would offer great service, delicious food, and a nice space for bloggers who drove out to the event.

2. Reach out to the local visitor’s bureau.

If you’re having bloggers come in from other counties, connect with your visitor’s bureau. When Howard County Tourism heard about the event, they asked if they could help in anyway. For each blogger, the Tourism office gave a gift bag with information and goodies inside it. Since bloggers came in from Frederick County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, and Montgomery County, I enjoyed showing them some reasons to come back to the area again.

Howard County Tourism offered gift bags to all the bloggers who attended the #MarylandBlogs event. - Theresa's Reviews

Howard County Tourism offered goodie bags to all the bloggers who attended the #MarylandBlogs event.

3. Invite a great group of bloggers.

You can make a blogger meetup as big or small as you like, but I found 14 people to be manageable. We all met in the Maryland Bloggers Facebook group and started an Instagram pod together.

Meeting everyone in person meant that we could share advice. We didn’t have a planned schedule, but the conversations happened very naturally. Get familiar with everyone’s blog in advance. If you know a blogger is stronger in one area, you can ask for tips. Each blogger has unique strengths.

Some discussion topics for an informal get together can include Influencer networks, upcoming local events, and advice on writing pitch letters. We also learned tips for creating an Instastory with a photo that has poor coloring, and we instantly put it into practice. The more you can try out strategies in person, the better. You might forget your ideas when you get home!

Bloggers came from Frederick County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County to attend the #MarylandBlogs event at Turf Valley Resort. - Theresa's Reviews

Bloggers came from Frederick County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County to attend the #MarylandBlogs event at Turf Valley Resort.

Although online networking offers many advantages, meet other bloggers when you can. Hosting a blogger meetup can help you build relationships, learn how to grow your blog, and discover future opportunities.

To discover more things to do in Howard County, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and Twitter.

For more information about Turf Valley, check out Restaurant Review: Alexandra’s American Fusion of Turf Valley Resort in MarylandCloud 9 Living: SpaFinder Gift Card Review, and East Coast Memorial Day Weekend Getaway At Turf Valley Resort.

Disclosure: I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion.

20 Responses

  1. Debbie

    What an awesome meet-up! The food looks incredible. I have to share this post with my local blogger friends! I love the gift bags, too- really nice touch and it shows the bloggers they are valued. I love it!!

    Reply
    • Theresa

      That’s awesome, thanks so much for checking out the article and sharing it! Let me know if you end up hosting a meetup too, and I’d love to hear how it goes.

      Reply
    • Theresa

      That would be awesome to plan one for more people from Maryland! We’ll keep in touch if we plan another one, and hopefully that one will be open to anyone who can come. Yes, the food was delicious!

      Reply
  2. Marcie

    I love your idea to connect to local tourism bureaus! I’ve only been to one blogger meet-up so far, but I think I would go to more if there was a way to connect to tourism bureaus in this way. I’m a family travel blogger and most of my connections are just online rather than in person.

    Reply
  3. Caitlin

    Such great ideas! I thought planning one would be easy, until I actually tried to do it.. haha! Your post will definitely help those who were as naive as I was!

    Reply
  4. Cathy

    I love the idea of organizing a blogger meet up! I really am wanting to do this now. Thank you for such wonderful tips! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Amanda

    The networking aspect is great. I’ve been involved with the planning of some conferences and events. It is a lot of work! You suggestions are on point. It looks like your event was a huge success. Great job!!

    Reply

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