I blog therefore I shop: Event Organizing part 1
Hello there it´s me again, with another series, at least part one of three blogs post about events and how to have a nice issue free event, the first part being about organizing, the second about publicizing and the third and final one about setting up.
So let´s start with organizing: So you want to start an event, first stop and think are there any other events like this? I mean there´s never issues with making discounted events, because it is a simple concept, or even monthly ones, but when we enter the big annual events area, you should seriously ask yourself, are there any other similar events already out there?
How many, skin, hair, shoes fairs are people willing to shop at? And I´m gonna be very honest here, i don´t believe anyone is willing to go to more than one per year, so if you´re planning something big, look for a theme that is interesting and different.
Second thing you should ask yourself is: do I have a couple of shops I know will be interested? Do have a few friends that are willing to join? And that should be the first action, IM a few people, ask if their interested if you know them well enough, they don´t have to be too many, but have a few shops already willing to be in it before you approach the rest of the SL community.
Set a date for you event, and this is extremely important, whatever date you pick, will define a lot of things, if it´s a weekly or a monthly you should probably look at the calendar for that whole year, make sure most of all that there aren´t 15 other events on that same date, and if it´s a annual event make sure it doesn´t fall in the same week as other big events happening that month. remember we here keep two calendars of events Major Events Within Second Life and Minor Events Within Second Life, have a look thru those before picking that date, or ask, most people forget to simply ask.
You now have an idea, a couple of stores behind you and a date, so what´s next? Get your event a inworld group, a blog and a flickr group. these are not mandatory of course, but they will help you have full control of what info is out there about your event, that includes dates, locations, press, and all the little info people will be looking for as soon as they know you have an event planned. And remember that info should always come from you and no one else.
Next after you set up all these things it´s time to make sure all your rules are setup, your blog lists them as well as all the forms you need for applications, and be ready to revise all of these aspects, until your satisfied with them, my best advise is, go to other events blogs and learn, see how they do it and learn. Make sure you blog is presentable, it will be the face of your event, have a friend spellcheck it, make sure it´s pleasant, and that you have permission to use every image or text in it.
And congrats you´re now ready to start putting your info out there, and taking applications from creators, and the best way to do it is, DON`T SPAM THEM, seriously, don´t start sending those blind notecards inworld, or those flickr group invites, go to plurk, seriously we love plurk, we replurk a lot of things, and everyone there will help you get the word out, use your inworld groups, without spamming people, and trust me if your idea is good enough, they will come.
Suddenly you´ll be flooding with applications and finally the idea seems to be taking off, now is the time to be organized, I personally prefer Google docs for organizing anything, so be ready to use spreadsheets and sharing them with others organizing with you, because yes you will need help, and don´t be afraid to ask for it.
Answer to people who apply as you can, give them updates if you have, most of all be polite and professional, it´s your event, you are the face behind it, it can still be a professional and fun experience for everyone involved.
Once you have a good organized list of creators make sure you have a waiting list also, remember rl happens, sl happens and sometimes people sign up and don´t show up, be ready for it. And if you´re a creator on a waiting list at the first spots, be ready to be in the event, because there is always someone who won´t be able to make it.
Congrats you´re almost done, now the final step approach bloggers, because you will need them, and they are usually pretty easy to approach, like creators we love plurk and will tell our fellow bloggers of upcoming events and you can also, fill in the application here Event Coordinators Looking For Bloggers, and a inworld group notice is usually sent out when there are updates to that list, reaching a huge number of bloggers. Just make sure you have a good screening process for these applications, again google docs is amazing for making simple applications, and organizing the results, I usually use a colour code, to highlight those approved non approved, and ones i have doubts about, a list that get´s revised and checked often.
And those are the first steps, congratulations, you have a group filled with people willing to do their best for the event, and it now stops being yours alone, every person in that group is now a part of a team, and you´re managing that team, and with that comes a huge responsibility.
Never forget you´re the person behind the rules, be consistent, be respectful, be approachable but most of all be professional, and the ride will be a smooth one.
That´s all for now folks, see you soon with another post about publicizing that event.