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