- Typically, Meetup.com is the first place people will visit to learn about your WordPress meetup. Craft an interesting About page! Explain what your meetup is about, who it’s for.
- Potential members want answers to their questions: Are they like me? Will they like me? Use your About page to explain.
- Add a list of documents about the meetup: code of conduct, call for speakers, presentation logistics
- Encourage new members to fill out their Meetup.com profiles completely
- Ask questions when new members join. Nothing too specific, but questions that help members learn more about each other. Examples: What do you want to learn about WordPress? How do you use WordPress?
- Photos are a great way to showcase your meetup. Add photos/videos of presentations, audience members, networking events.
- In your new member welcome email, consider adding information about:
- How the meetups work
- Meeting date/time
- Typical meetup format
- How members can get involved in the meetup
- Encouraging members to RSVP for the next meetup
- Meetup organizers (who they are)
- Contacting organizers with any questions
When Members Arrive
- Welcome members when they arrive! Have an organizing team member introduce new members to other members. Or tap into a member who loves social interaction.
- Make sure no new member leaves without speaking to another member
- Food and beverage are great ways to get people to socialize before the meetup presentation/talk begins. Offer pizza, soda pop, coffee, cake. (Look for a sponsor to cover costs.)
- How to keep your meetup going? Have great organizers! And invite other people to get involved.
- If you want to add to your meetup planning team, look for members who:
- Attend regularly
- Help without asking
- Are enthusiastic
- Contribute by answering questions, offering help
- Are actively involved with the meetup
- Some people might be waiting for organizers to ask them to get involved!
- Contributing to meetup groups takes many forms: finding speakers, marketing/promoting, setup, introductions, photos, note-taking, recaps, take-down
- Tools to help you organize: Trello (map out meetups for the year), Slack (online messaging and chat), Meetup.com, website, Twitter, Facebook (event management, marketing), and Google Hangouts (virtual meetups)
- Build great sponsor relationships, encourage them to get involved with local WordPress community (great for their recruitment!) in exchange for venue or food
- Create a sponsorship document/email message: what you have to offer in exchange for their sponsorship
- Be specific about how you handle branding (logos on your Meetup site, website) and whether sponsors can speak at the meetup (Note: for our Metro Detroit WordPress group, we give sponsors two minutes at the meetup to talk about their company)
- Stay in touch with your sponsors! Send photos to your sponsors of your meetup.
- Keep your sponsorship needs modest
Venues, Meetup Formats, and Speakers
- Where should you hold your meetup? Some options: library (reduced cost), schools, WordPress businesses, restaurants
- Ask your members for suggestions. Many may work at businesses, schools, churches, etc., where space is available
- Change up the format of your meetups. Consider:
- Lightning talks
- Remote speakers
- Networking events
- Co-working days
- WordPress Contributor Days
- Consider outside speakers for your group
- Diversify your speakers. Women, men, people of color, people with disabilities, young, old, designers, developers, business folks, artists, photographers.
Since I’ve been organizing meetups for ten years, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve meetups.
I was glad to learn a few new things from Dee’s talk and how their WordPress Melbourne User Group works. Based on her tips, I’ll be chatting with our Metro Detroit WordPress meetup organizers on how we can improve our meetups.
In addition to getting new tips about growing meetups, two things stood out for me from Dee’s presentation. She:
- Asked questions ahead of time from attendees, via the online conference interface.
Attendees could answer the questions at the beginning of her talk or anytime during her talk. The question area was available throughout the talk, it didn’t scroll up and disappear.
- Reserved ten minutes before the end of her session to answer the questions.
That’s a sign of an experienced speaker, who knows her topic, and wants to interact with attendees!