This post is Part 2 in Leading a WordPress Meetup Group. Be sure to read Part 1, as well.

In my last post, I talked about some of the things that my local WordPress Developer meetup did last year and what we’re looking to do this year. As much as I dig meeting other local developers, my own group didn’t start until just last year.

I think they can be an invaluable resource for a lot of people and I think it’s pretty stellar to see people putting together their own groups. But if you’re new to the whole meetup scene, there’s a couple of things you need to get started.

Here, I’ll outline a few things that you can do to get your WordPress Developer Meetup started using stuff that we’ve found successful.

1. Use

If you’re a designer or a developer, one of the funnest parts of putting together a meetup may actually be designing or building a site for it, right?

Fight that urge!

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Again.

Go ahead and use For the most part, the site as become the de fact standard for organizing meetup groups for meetings of all types. It already features calendaring, photo albums, message boards, and email capabilities.

Sure, you could create a front page for your meetup, but go ahead and use what Meetup has provided. It saves a lot of time, and, odds are, most of your visitors will already be on the service.

And if not, it’s really easy to sign up.

The bottom line is that it makes managing the overhead of a meetup significantly easier than if you used some other solution.

2. Get a Twitter Account

Tweet WordPress News

Tweet that WordPress News!

Since the majority of people that you’re looking to include in a meetup are tech-savvy, the odds that they are on Twitter is pretty high. This gives both regular and potential visitors a way to engage with the organizer(s) in order to chat about upcoming events.

The account can also act as a resource for the attendees as it can be a way not only to share information about the meetup itself, but about topics that are relevant to the meetup.

For example, our local meetup group Twitter account often shares news and tweets from others in the community. This helps keep everyone in the loop as to what’s going on with WordPress-in-general.

3. Have a Consistent Schedule

One of the hardest parts of holding a meetup group is to make sure everyone can come at the same time, so make sure that the schedule is predictable.

For instance, this is what we’ve been doing:

  • The third Thursday fo every month
  • Summer’s off
  • Resume in August (or September depending on what works for your community)
  • End the meetups in November with a party (just like in elementary school :). We even had a killer WordPres cake (beat that!)

This helps people keep their calendar organized and know what’s what. Furthermore, if you keep this stuff organized in Meetup, then they’ll receive emails with reminders about the event.

A little organization goes a long way in coordinating a lot of people and their day-to-day lives.

4. Plan Your Meetings

In addition, to keeping a consistent schedule, we’ve found it best to make sure the meetings have an agenda that’s usually relatively similar each time.

This sets a consistent expectation for all visitors. Additionally, it allows you to throw an outline up on the display (or the computer) at the start of the meeting so users know what to expect whenever the meeting starts.

An example meeting might go something like this:

  • Introduce yourselves, what you do, and what you’re looking to get out of the group or the meeting
  • Recent news in the WordPress Community
  • The core discussion of the night (such as Plugin Development)
  • Sharing any projects people have been working on
  • Question and Answer
  • End the event

And you know what? All of the above can generally be covered in an hour. Sure, it’s tight and you may want to leave room for some overflow, but it’s nothing bad.

5. On Venues, Food, and The Rest

The Ultimate Meetup Venue

Only the best for WordPress, am I right?

Most meetups have some type of venue – sometimes it’s held at a local library, sometimes at a local design or development firm, and sometimes it could be even held in someone’s home depending on the room available.

Regardless, don’t get hung up on this. All you need is WiFi and a place for people to circle up and chat. And granted, snacks may be made available, but there’s nothing wrong with providing the basics – water, coke, and chips and dip.

No one’s looking for a steak dinner (though I doubt anyone would reject it).

But really, that’s all that’s needed for a successful meetup. Easy enough, right?

Finally, one of the things that we’re going to look to do on WP Daily is to begin having people who attend local meetups share their experiences, pictures, notes, and other information but we’ll have more on that later.

In the mean time, hopefully this helps provide a guide for getting started with your first meetup. If you’ve got other tips and strategies or questions, let me know in the comments.

And good luck with your meetup :).