This post is by Christy Lorio of Slow Southern Style
I hear a lot of talk on the IFB forums about how to gain followers, engage them, keep them, etc… but there isn't much dialog about promoting blogs on a local level. My blog, Slow Southern Style, solely focuses on just that; building up local and regional connections by interacting with businesses and bloggers residing below the Mason Dixon line with a primary target of New Orleans, Louisiana. Now I know that what I'm doing, my niche if you will, limits me but it has also helped me to figure out what I want to do with the blog and the direction that I am headed in.
To help celebrate our blog anniversaries my partner in the project, Scott Simon of I Heart NOLA, decided to throw a real life party in order to celebrate. Both of our blogs were turning a year old about the same time and we realized that while each other's sites are quite different they are in fact complimentary.
Interested in throwing your blog bash? As long as you stay true to what your blog is all about it will be fun and readers will be interested. I've listed my top 5 essential “how to” points but remember proper planning and organization are really key to throwing a successful event.
1. Know your audience
In our case this was easy. Fashion, photography, comedy, music, and of course booze were the main attractions. We wanted this event to be a real life extension of our blogs, showcasing what we showcase digitally, knd of like going to a concert to hear your favorite band play.
2. Network, network, network
Get the word out. Create a buzz by giving away free tickets on your blog. We had about 150-170 people in attendance mostly due to our social networking efforts.
Send everyone and their momma an invite and plan on 10-20% of those invited to actually attend. We invited about 1500 people on Facebook, in addition to sending press releases to other websites, e-mail newsletters, local magazines and newspapers, and good ol' fashion posters and flyers. Get the word out early, but not so early that people will forget. Two to three weeks is a good amount of time.
3. Keep it cheap
People love cheap, if not free. To cover our expenses, and give ourselves a small financial pat on the back for our hard work we charged $5 in advance, $10 at the door which included free booze and raffle prizes. Scott sold the tickets through his online shop which helped us get people in the door that might not have come otherwise. We also had a representative of a local brewery come out to talk about his craft beer and Mar-Go-ritas, another local company, serving their tasty booze in addition to beer we purchased.
4. Do what you love
If your followers are, well following you they will be interested in your event. Keep true to your blog by sticking with your theme. In this instance I solicited designers and shops that I've featured on the site to either be vendors showcasing and selling their wares or sponsor door prizes. I had a DJ friend of mine come out to spin and Scott had an improv comedy troupe and new band perform their very first show!
5. Have fun
The whole point of throwing the event is to have some fun! Mingle with guests, dance to some good music and enjoy the night. Thank your guests for coming and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Now how's that for engaging your readers?
Image by Julia Pretus