How to Host an Event to Promote Your Blog

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

46 Responses

  1. Mallory

    Having participated as a vendor at Christy’s event, I’ve got to say it was very successful! I’m a big fan of engaging with local audiences through in person networking and events!

    Reply
  2. L of Avid Accents

    Great tips. I need to organize a Kentucky event ASAP. KY bloggers contact me 🙂

    Reply
  3. ann

    this is a great post. i did a party during NYFW with Deanne from Dream Sequins not to promote by blog but just as a little get together to thank people that had supported me/the blog, and it was awesome!

    party planning isn’t easy but i learned so much from that experience (wish i had seen this post first…) and it was fun to see everyone in another dimension – literally!

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      “party planning isn’t easy but i learned so much from that experience”

      You are so right about that! We took two months to plan this out and met almost once a week, a good time frame if you really want to do it right.

      Reply
  4. bambilarue

    Great tips!!!!!i loved it.We have been thinking about how do we promote our blog which is not a job but our baby and our passion!!!!!So thanks for the tips which I will use in the future!!!

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      I think a blog can be a business but no matter what you have to be passionate about anything you do or you won’t be successful at it.

      Reply
  5. Gemma

    I’m thinking of holding a small event possibly a bit of mad hatters tea party and this has given me a lot of ideas. Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Laura Connell

    I recently hosted a lauch party for my blog which was quite successful. One thing I would add is to promote your blog during the party. I kind of missed that opportunity and didn’t really gain more than a couple of followers even though people were talking about the party for days after.

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      All of our online promotions linked back to our sites, either from an actual link of the flyer that had our sites on it. Neither of us rammed our URL down people’s throats at the event but I did gather e-mail addresses to put attendees on my mailing list.

      Reply
  7. Emily

    This is such a great idea; people love to feel as though they aren’t just following a some screen of digital pixels. It makes them feel a part of a real-life community. Props to you!

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      Thank you! I actually just played part in a fashion show as well. I think it is important to stay local and meet the people that are reading what you write.

      Reply
  8. Fashnlvr

    I’m curious – WHERE was this party held? Would you do this in your home or do you also have a boutique or something to host a party? I only do blogging as a hobby at this point but I would love to do something like this in the future. So what type of venue did you use to bring people and vendors together?
    Great idea though!!

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      A local business owner supplied us with the venue. We paid a nominal fee to the landlord and in return my partner and I essentially gave the business free advertising by featuring his shop on three websites.

      Reply
  9. Kelsi (Dedicated)

    I did this almost a year ago for Los Angeles bloggers…little did I know what would happen! We now have a full local contingency of 100 local fashion bloggers (Two Point Oh! LA) who meet up at least once a month.

    Taking it offline (or putting the “social into social media”) was really the point but it’s grown exponentially and we’ll be launching a Two Point Oh! Chicago next year!

    What the community has done for me and each other is beyond awesome – it’s a great to have a local support network p I *really* recommend it!

    Kelsi xx

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      Thats sounds like a great event Kelsi! I’ve been trying to do more local things like that for the Louisiana gals even though there are way less of us here than say in L.A.

      Reply
    • Christy L.

      Thanks! My target audience is local/regional followers so this party was a no brainer. I also have several other events in the works now, including one coming up in January.

      Reply
  10. The Passionista Playbook

    This was a great piece because I host a monthly reading series but don’t integrate it with my blog enough. Also– I love that you charge. My event is free. Thanks for the advice. xoxo

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      Charging was really a necessity, even if we didn’t make money off of it. We had some expenses that needed to be covered and didn’t want to lose money on our little venture.

      Reply
  11. Fashion Limbo

    Great post. An event is something I’ve been wanting to do for a good time, and this article has a few interesting tips. I really need to do a party or something!

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      Even if you are just meeting a few people for happy hour I think human interaction is always a good thing to put a name to the digital face.

      Reply
  12. Rich Girl

    Really great idea about organizing an actual event to promote your blog and engage with your audience!! I would definitely think about it. Maybe invite all my followers and readers to my birthday party?! Just a thought! Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Haute

    I was thinking of having an event once I reached 100 followers. I will make sure I keep this in mind when I start planning….

    After reading this, I may opt to an anniversay party instead. 🙂

    Reply
    • Christy L.

      I think an anniversary party is the better idea. Wait until you’ve figured out exactly what you want to do and when you’ve got people really curious about what you are doing. It will help you gauge the interest level of your readers.

      Reply
    • Christy L.

      It was a lot of fun! I think we can all get so wrapped up in our digital worlds that sometimes we forget that what we are doing is connecting to other people. It was really nice to translate that into a real, live event.

      Reply
  14. Ashley

    This is a great idea from the planning and strategy down to the execution. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to actually integrate our online personas with our offline lives and this is the perfect way to do so! Glad to see your event was a success. Like most of the comments above, I’m thinking about hosting an event myself. Awesome post!

    Reply
    • Christy

      Thanks! I view what I do online as a way to get involved with the community and it is a great segway into some really cool offline projects that I have in the works.

      Reply
  15. Rachel Beau

    I LOVE THIS IDEA! I’ve never thought to host an event.. I think I will take this into great consideration.

    Reply