Bloggers Come Together: How To Organize A Blogger Meet-Up

by Lauren on August 25, 2012

Do you want to know a great way to meet new people who share your same interests, network in an industry that you love, and support local business at the same time?

You plan a meet-up!

I’ve been blogging for a long time now and I can honestly admit that one of the very best aspects of this job is meeting fantastic people who share the exact same passion and love for food, health, and life in general.

I started doing meet-up’s with other bloggers a few years ago and since then, I’ve made some of the most incredible life-long friendships because of them.  Even if you don’t think that there are many local bloggers in your area, I urge you to reach out because I’m sure there are more than you think.

Last year, I initiated a PA Bloggers group and I’ve been working to grow this community ever since.  I planned one meet-up last spring at The Hershey Pantry and ever since, I’ve had requests to do another one. I’m not going to lie, putting these events together takes a lot of work and planning but it’s definitely worth it.

Going into this meet-up, I knew I wanted it to be a success and I also knew I wanted to include the aspect of working within our community.  There are so many great business and restaurants in your area that have no idea what you do, so show them!

After some consideration, I decided to reach out to a newish (one year) restaurant in Camp Hill that I have had the pleasure of forming a great relationship with.  Fusion Fire features Asian Fusion meaning it’s a beautiful collection of authentic Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and even a little Vietnamese. They also highlight Chinese fondue and an incredible sushi bar.

The owners, Vivian and Frank and two of the nicest people I’ve met.  They have such a passion for this business and also for bringing a healthy and authentic perspective to Asian cuisine.

I worked with Vivian a few weeks ahead of time to set up the menu.  Rather than having everyone order from their extensive menu, I thought it would be fun to have them put together a sampling of some of their best dishes for us to try.

We’ll get to the food in a minute though.

Fusion Fire is also BYOB so everyone brought a bottle of their favorite wine.

Our table was set for 8 and around 7:30pm, the group started to arrive.

In attendance:

 

Danielle and Erica 

 

Me, Sara and Jess

Sarah, Me and Karen

Most everyone knew each other but we had a few people in the group who had not been introduced formally.  I put a few “conversation starter” questions in the middle of the table and had everyone go around and answer some of the questions.  It was a great way to open up the group and get the conversation going.

We only got through 2 questions before everyone got off on their own topics. Sometimes all you need is a little push to get the words flowing.

Okay, so let’s talk about the food.

I knew the food was going to be good but I had no idea how above and beyond Frank and Vivian would go to make this an incredible dining experience for us all.

The menu was broken down into three courses, appetizers, entrees from the sushi bar and entrees from the kitchen.

Appetizers were up first.

Summer Rolls: Non-fried spring roll wrapped in rice paper with shrimp, vermicelli, cilantro served with sesame dressing.

I always love a good summer roll, and their’s were right on! I actually think what makes or breaks a summer roll is the peanut sauce they are served with and the sauce for these was excellent!

Spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura: Lightly battered shrimp tempura tossed in a spicy cream sauce.

Quite possibly my favorite dish of the night!

Larb Chicken: Thai Style Chicken Salad with onion, scallion, lemongrass, cilantro in chilli lime dressing.

The flavors in this were outstanding!  The lime and lemongrass really came through which gave this dish a noticeable Thai feel.  I loved it.

Next, on to the sushi.

Tropical Roll: Shrimp tempura, mango, coconut inside topped with spicy tuna, crunchy, avocado.

I didn’t know it was possible to have so many of my favorite sushi flavors in one roll.  Outstanding!

Caterpillar Roll: (Cooked) Eel, Shrimp, Egg inside with shredded crab, avocado outside topped with seaweed.

I didn’t even know what was in this roll until now but I remember really loving it.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a roll with egg but it was fantastic.

Twister Roll: Spicy crab inside, salmon, mango, avocado outside topped with red caviar.

(for some reason, I don’t seem to have this photo but I remember taking a picture of it.  I think my camera may have ate it)

Fusion Fire has some of the best sushi I’ve had in our area.  The rolls are so unique, fresh and so filling to sustain an entire meal.

We were all pretty full at this point and probably would have been entirely content just stopping here, but our main entrees were still on deck.

After a short break, we were presented with more food!

Mango Shrimp: Fresh mango, bell pepper, onion in spicy mango sauce.

Not only was this dish beautiful, but it was delicious!  I can’t speak highly enough about this spicy mango sauce.

Pad Thai Veggie and Tofu: Gluten free thai rice noodle with eggs, tofu, veggies, bean sprouts topped with crushed peanuts.

Pad Thai is the signature Thai dish and I’ve had some really good Pad Thai’s but I’ve also had some bad experiences.  Usually the bad ones were derived from a over greased noodles and heavy sauce.  This dish was right on.  Perfectly light and seasoned and everything a Pad Thai should be.

We all ended in a food coma.

The entire event was a great success.  I’ll admit, I was feeling a bit discouraged going into it after spending months planning and then having more than half of the attendees back out, but you have to expect that when coordinating any type of event.

Overall, I was so happy to meet some new faces and nurture the ones I’ve developed in the past years. It was great to connect, laugh, eat, and just celebrate our passions.

If you are thinking of planning a meet-up or have questions, please feel free to contact me.  I would love to help you get started.  Oh and if you are a local (South Central) PA blogger and you haven’t reached out yet, SPEAK UP and email me.  I would love to include you in our group contact list.

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!

Have you ever been or organized a meet-up in your community? What are some things you’ve done? 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 25 comments }

Katie @ Talk Less, Say More August 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm

What a fun event and it looks like you guys had some AMAZING food!

Erica { EricaDHouse.com } August 25, 2012 at 1:56 pm

What a great idea! I think I”ll have to coordinate one soon in my area!

Erica @ For the Sake of Cake August 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Yay! So fun; everything was delicious!

Miranda @ Biting Life August 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Yum! All of those meals look delicious. Sushi is my favorite thing ever :) I’ve always wanted to plan/be a part of a blogger meet-up, but I haven’t yet. Hopefully soon! It always looks like so much fun when I read posts about other people’s experiences.

Jessica August 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Had a great time! Can’t wait to go back to Fusion Fire again, love finding good BYOB spots :)

Danielle @ clean food creative fitness August 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

That restaurant looks amazing! I’d love to organize a blogger meet up in Boston! I think it would be really fun to meet all the other bloggers in my community!

Stephanie @ The Travelling Tastebuds August 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Meet ups are wonderful for meeting new faces :) I’d love to organize a blogger meet up right here in Hong Kong! OK… so now I’ve gotta be a stickler for the deetz. The title of your post is ‘How to Organize a Blogger Meet Up.’ The post’s content gave me the impression that choosing the restaurant & dishes are all that’s needed to organize a meet up. That can be done within a day. Taking dietary issues into consideration… a week max. But you mentioned that it took months to organize the meet up. Can you please clarify what exactly you did to warrant the months of preparation? How did you market the meet up? What was the response rate? What can bloggers hoping to organize a meet up expect? What were some of the pitfalls (besides lack of attendance)? Breaking down this ‘how to’ post into a series of steps may help.

P.S. I apologize in advance if I sound… um… how do I put this lightly… like a biatch :) I’m very detail oriented & a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to informational topics so these ‘VERY minor’ issues do bug me from time to time.

Lauren August 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hey Stephanie! How cool that you want to plan a meet-up internationally! That sounds fantastic!
To answer your questions, the reason why it took me a few months is because the hardest part is working with several other schedules to find one date that works for most people. It was a lot of emailing back and forth, waiting on people’s responses, etc. Once you have the date, the rest falls into place in a few weeks.
I marketed the meet-up primarily through Twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth. I invited other local bloggers to reach out to any bloggers that they knew and who might be interested. I also used the HLB (healthy living blogs) website to see if I had missed any bloggers around my area.
The response rate is always good as so many bloggers LOVE this idea and are willing to participate.
Some of the pitfalls would be that it takes a detailed oriented person and one that is good at organizing. I put together a form for bloggers to fill out with their contact info so that I could keep it all on hand. Also, it’s good to find a local restaurant who is willing to work with you. There doesn’t have to be a special menu, but make sure the place will be accommodating to a large group of food bloggers, taking photos, etc. Most places will jump on the opportunity and some may even work with you to give discounts, special perks, etc.
Hope that helps you and good luck!

Sana August 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I love going to blogger meet-ups and going to blogger conferences :)

Sara August 26, 2012 at 8:10 am

It was a truly lovely dinner, Lauren. Thank you so much for setting it up!

Jordan @ Whimsical Desperation August 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

The food looks delicious!

I might email you as well, but can you say something about how you went about finding other bloggers in the area to meet up with?

Lauren August 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Hey Jordan! Oh goodness, it was! ;)
And to answer your question, I actually search the Healthy Living Blogs website to see local bloggers in my area and sent out a few tweets. I also advertised it on my blog and asked local bloggers to contact me. I then had other locals reach out to bloggers that they knew and we started to build a group. I would suggest putting out a few tweets and see what you get and then doing a little deeper research for other local bloggers in your area. Trust me, they’re out there! :)

Amanda @ Let Me Be What's Underneath August 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Looks like you guys had fun! Kudos to you for organizing it all! :)

Nicole @ Simply Nicole August 27, 2012 at 7:06 am

This looks like so much fun! I really need to get rolling with setting up a Philly area blogger meet up. Thanks for the tips, Lauren :)

Lauren August 27, 2012 at 8:16 am

We were talking about doing one closer to Philly! I will definitely keep you updated. :)

CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com August 27, 2012 at 10:08 am

I am so bummed I missed this but you guys looked like you had a fabulous time and delicious food!!! I was following along via twitter :-) Happy Monday!

Bethany @ Accidental Intentions August 27, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I went to my first ever blogger meet-up yesterday, and it was so cool to hang out with people whose blogs I read in real life. We had a “book club” (where, of course, we talked about the book for approximately three minutes and everything else under the sun for three hours haha), but it was a great time. I’m new to my city, and having something like this really showed me that blogging can be a great way to meet people in your area.

Lauren August 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

That’s so great Bethany! I’m so glad you were able to experience that and what a wonderful way to connect with people in your area who share the same interests as you!

Karen August 28, 2012 at 5:52 am

Lauren you did a fabulous job of organizing such a great night!!! Sorry I had to cut out early, hopefully next time I won’t have any commitments the next day : ) It was really great to see you again!

Heather August 28, 2012 at 9:23 am

how fun! I only know of a couple bloggers within an hour of me, I wish there were more. I need to have a meet up!

Pavement Runner August 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Love meeting fellow bloggers and runners…great list and great photos.

Danielle September 2, 2012 at 1:27 am

Love your outfit here!!!!

Lauren September 2, 2012 at 7:07 am

Thanks!! :)

Meaghan September 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I actually searched “find bloggers in my area” and came across your blog. I am trying to do this in my area, but having little luck locating more bloggers in Saint Augustine, FL. Any tips to FINDING other bloggers?

Lauren September 4, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Hey Meaghan! So glad you found me. :) Have you checked out Healthy Living Blogs (www.healthylivingblogs.com)? There is a huge database of bloggers that are all categorized by country/state/ It’s a great place to start searching for people that live in your area. You can then put out a few requests on your own site asking for local bloggers to contact you. Also, search the internet for blogs and type in your city. There may be a few that pop up that way.

If that doesn’t work, try to search the next largest city near you. We have bloggers in our network from several surrounding cities/towns. They too might know of a few other local bloggers that they can reach out to.

Good luck and let me know if I can answer any more questions!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: