There was a really helpful panel session at WordCamp Portsmouth last weekend, during which local group leaders discussed running a local group. The group leaders were:
There was a great discussion with lots of ideas being thrown around. I took copious notes so that any of you, across the world, can benefit from the sage advice.
Tips for Running Your WordPress Group
Fix a regular day every month. It could be the first Wednesday every month, or the fourth Tuesday, or whatever. Just make sure that it is the same every month. This means that people who would like to attend know exactly when it is, forever – if they can’t attend one month they may be able to the next.
When fixing your regular date, be aware of the other geek meet-ups in your area so you can avoid a clash. This doesn’t mean that you should be panicking about potential attendees’ yoga classes, but be aware of things that will affect most of the people in your group.
Use Your Connections
Your local connections can provide a great foundation for your local meetup. If there are people that you already know and like who are working on WordPress then you’ve already got a group – you just need to fix a date. Advertise on Twitter and Facebook and see who wants to sign up.
There are a number of places that you can put information about your WordPress Meetup. Many groups have their own website. WordCamp UK links to WordPress Meetups in the UK – you could contact your local WordCamp to see if they do the same. There’s also the main WordPress meetup website. You could also contact other local meetups and see if they will cross-promote.
Use Google Groups
A Google Group can be a great way for people to continue to interact and help each other outside the group. If you’re meeting once a month this can help to keep the group cohesive while letting people get to know each other better in an online environment.
You can issue tickets without charging for them. The good thing about tickets is that it makes people feel that they should use them. Having a ticket normally means that someone else doesn’t have a ticket. Setting up that sense of commitment will help to ensure that people turn up.
A group of 10 – 15 people is going to feel quite different to a group of 30-40 people. Try to gauge how many people are interested and program your event around that.
What sort of format will suit your group? Some people are happy to just go sit in a pub and chat, others want a meetup that is more structured. Remember that if busy people are going to put in their time they’re going to want something worthwhile.
Have an Agenda
An agenda will help to focus your meetup. It will also tell people beforehand what you have planned. This will help people to make a decision about whether they want to attend that month. And it will also give them an idea of what they need to be prepared for.
Ideas for Things to Do
- Theme your events: Writing, tech, business, theme, plugin etc
- Live troubleshoot problems on people’s site
- Invite external speakers and have a Q&A
- Give everyone in the group 4 minutes to talk about something cool they’re doing with WordPress
- Take on a project for a charity or non-profit and work on it as a group
Not an Organiser but want to Contibute?
There are lots of ways that you can contribute to a meetup:
- Help with advertising on your website, Facebook and Twitter accounts
- Talk and contribute to group discussion
- Travelling? Hook up with other local groups while you’re away from home
- Offer a venue
What about you? Do you run a local groups? Got any tips for people thinking about starting or attending one?
(header image CC Attribution itselea)
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