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Wild Abandon with Perfect Precision

While agency life will often demand a fast-paced working style, sometimes it's important to set aside a few more minutes to prevent typos and ensure a stronger finished product.

Morgan Hughley

When Likes Disappear

While eliminating the Like feature on social media may be a step in the right direction for everyday individual use, companies will now need to reevaluate their social media marketing plans.

Morgan Hughley

Boston Conferences Every Marketer Needs to Attend

When immersed in client work and glued to a desk for long periods of time, it’s possible to become stuck in a pattern of delivering projects that may meet client expectations, but lack the true innovation needed to push the work to the next level. Sometimes it’s not only beneficial to step away from the office for a moment but absolutely necessary in order to refresh the mind and deliver better ideas. Conferences and tradeshows are great opportunities to leave your desk for a few days while still remaining engaged with the marketing world.

Morgan Hughley

The Multitasking Myth (Part One)

I can’t multitask. Well… neither can you.

Dan Zarzycki

Access Your Data Archive

It’s no surprise that the real conglomerate of our personal data is Google. But did you know you can download the data archive? Learn how to access your data.

Morgan Hughley

Influence the Right Way

Companies are relying more and more on influencers to spearhead conversations with their audiences in order to spark interest in their brands. However, in order for an influencer marketing campaign to be successful, it has to be planned out correctly.

Morgan Hughley

How to Go Off the Grid for Two Weeks. For Real.

In modern agency life, it seems impossible to take a vacation without taking work with you, but it can be done. Here’s how I did it.

Meghan Gardner

Flexbox

As a back-end developer, it can be hard to style a web page. CSS is not very intuitive and around every corner there’s a “gotcha.” Flexbox is a fairly new CSS technology that once mastered, can be much easier to use.

Dan Sudenfield

How to (Successfully) Lead Your First Tech Meetup

There are a number of reasons you might want to start a technology meetup. In order to narrow the focus a bit, we’re going to approach this from the standpoint that you work for (or run) a company that is interested in the idea of hosting a meetup.

Brendan Butts

How Do You Fix a $75,000 Mistake?

As a new marketing manager for a practice group within a consulting firm, I had a lot to learn. And a few of those things, I had to learn the hard way, like making an error that cost the company many tens of thousands of dollars.

Meghan Gardner

How to (Successfully) Lead Your First Tech Meetup

There are a number of reasons you might want to start a technology meetup. In order to narrow the focus a bit, we’re going to approach this from the standpoint that you work for (or run) a company that is interested in the idea of hosting a meetup. This could partly be to expose people to your cool office space, partly to network and promote interest in your company, and partly to place you and the company as a whole in a thought leadership role within the tech community.

These are all excellent reasons to start a meetup. Next you’re going to have to figure out what your meetup is all about. You can pick a broad topic or a narrower focus, both have advantages and disadvantages.

Broad focus topics are umbrellas under which many smaller topics can fall. They are a catch all. You can draw a bunch of different folks to a meetup like this, from a vast range of technological and non-technological backgrounds. While you’ve got more mass appeal with this type of topic, you may miss out on folks who are looking to attend a meetup on a very specific topic.

Broad Focus:

  • Web Technology
  • Digital Marketing
  • Web Developer
  • Web Designer

Narrow focus topics really drill down on a specific topic, drawing only those with that specific interest. This will commonly be those working with, or interested in a specific technology. The less well known the technology, the smaller the pool that will be drawn to your meetup. This might be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on the goals you have for your meetup.

Narrow Focus:

  • React
  • Laravel
  • Wordpress
  • MySQL
  • PostgreSQL

After you’ve spitballed a few ideas for potential meetups, it’s important to do some market research. Get on Meetup.com and see if there are already meetups in your area catering to the specific topic you’re interested in hosting a meetup for. If there are, you have a few choices:

  1. You can go full steam ahead, and just host a competing meetup.
  2. You can rethink your topic and go back to the drawing board.
  3. You can reach out to the meetup you found and try to join the leadership team.
  4. If you have a space for a meetup, you can offer it to that meetup.

Once you’ve got your topic squared away, there are some logistical concerns to be aware of. If you’re going to run your meetup through Meetup.com, you need to create an account and go through the process of setting up your meetup.

First, you’ll need a space for your meetup. The space needs to be able to hold the maximum amount of people you’re willing to have attend your meetup. That means lots of chairs or couches.

Next, you need to pick a time for your meetup. Depending on how centrally located your office is, you want to set a start time that gives the attendees enough time to get to your meetup after work.

Lastly, you’ll need to decide on the format of your meetup. Is it purely social? If so, you might consider having it at a bar. If it’s going to have presenters, you’ll want to have it somewhere with a projector or large TV so that any presenters can utilize that for slides.

Here’s an example agenda for a technology meetup:

  • 6:30-7:00PM - Networking
  • 7:00-7:30PM - Web Development in the 21 Century (John Doe, Owner, John Doe Inc.)
  • 7:30-8:00PM - Back-end security in Rust (Jason Jasonson, Security Expert, BestSec Inc.)
  • 8:00-8:30PM - Questions and Networking

Another thing to consider is finding a sponsor (or sponsors) for your meetup. A sponsor is going to get their name mentioned at the meetup, they might donate the space for the meetup, and they will (hopefully) buy the refreshments (usually pizza and beer).

If your meetup is focused around a specific technology, you might reach out to the company that provides that technology and let them know what you are doing. Ask them if they are interested in sponsoring. It’s inexpensive marketing for them.

If you’ve got a space and sponsors locked in the next thing you want to do is find some presenters. If you’ve already gotten interest on your Meetup.com page you can put out the call there, asking for presentation submissions. If you’ve got good social channels, you can send the call out there as well.

If you’re not getting the responses you’d hoped for, or you want to control the message of the first meetup more thoroughly, make a presentation yourself (or approach someone from your social network directly). It’s also a worthwhile practice to ask your sponsors if they would like to make a presentation. This is especially effective and informative if your meetup focuses around a specific product or service.

Pick a date for your first meetup. Make sure to do your market research here too, and confirm there aren’t any other major technology meetups on the same day. Try to give your attendees at least two weeks notice so they can get your meetup on their calendar.

Marketing your meetup requires a multipronged approach. Meetup.com will do a good job of getting people interested but you should also reach out via your company newsletter, your LinkedIn network, and your personal and professional network. It’s important that you fill the seats at your first meetup–that can mean stacking the deck with company employees and friends in related fields.

On the day of your meetup, send out a reminder on your meetup page. Depending on how easy your location is to find, you should put up signs and post detailed directions in your meetup. If it’s really difficult, you might also include a cell number for attendees to call as a last resort.

Don’t forget to order the food, and pick up the drinks. If you’re having it delivered, you may want to call and confirm your delivery is incoming. You don’t want a room full of hungry people grumbling about the lack of food instead of networking and taking in the presentations.

Make sure you stick around to the very end, hand out (and collect) business cards, and thank everyone for coming. Help with the cleanup, especially if you’re in a sponsors space.

In the days following your meetup you should post a recap on your meetup page, along with a thank you to everyone that attended, and a shout out to your sponsors. It’s also a good practice to email your sponsors, and thank them for their contributions.

Follow these steps and you’ve just run a successful technology meetup. Great job.

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