How To Start A Local Event Series

Starting A Networking Event

I’m a graphic designer. I’m a content creator—a blogger, a crafter, a photographer. I had no experience in event design or planning until I created The Made In Mind Social a year and a half ago. Now, every other month, I plan a meet-up for creatives of all kinds to gather, meet, mingle, connect and collaborate.

In the beginning, I faced a million questions and more than a few challenges. The good news? I learned a lot about how to plan and host a successful event—and I’m ready to share that knowledge with others who hope to do the same! Like many strategies, you need to start with the 5 W’s (and 1 H) – Who, What, When, Why, Where and How.

 

WHY: Purpose, Passion, Goals

It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. By creating a vision and setting goals upfront, you will be able to maintain a focus throughout the planning process and more easily define the event itself. A clear vision will set you up for success—and concrete goals will allow you to measure that success.

WHO: Partners, Attendees, Marketing

This process—planning and executing—is not a solitary one. Of course, you’ll want to think about attendees, who you’ll be inviting. But you’ll also want to consider who you want to work with.

WHAT: Event Format, Branding and Design

Now it’s time to get started on designing the event itself. This part of the process involves two aspects: deciding what type of event you want to host and developing the branding.

WHEN: Date and Time, Frequency, Planning Timeline

The type of event may dictate when or how often it happens. Or, if it doesn’t, your next step is to select when the event will take place and how often it will occur.

HOW: Budgeting, Securing Sponsors

Next think about the components that will make your event possible—your budget and your sponsors. Managing money and getting sponsors on board may seem intimidating, but with a little organization and a professional demeanor, you’ll be able to make things happen!

WHERE: Venue, Vendors, and All the Details

Now, you’ll want to nail down the very important question of “where” (the venue!) and make sure you plan for all the elements of the event itself—the décor, entertainment, food, photography, or anything else you want to include.

 

If you want to start your own local event, you don’t need to start from scratch. This list is just a taste of the insights and information I’ve collected in my e-book, The Meetup Guide: How to Create, Plan, and Host Your Own Local Event Series. It’s 60 pages of actionable advice and tried-and-true tips, including 10 worksheets to help you get organized and make things happen. Simply put, if you’re looking for a resource to guide you through the process, this is it! You’ll learn your own lessons along the way, but the great part about hosting an event series is that you have a chance to improve the event each time.

Still too overwhelming? Here’s the good news: The Made In Mind Social is now accepting chapter applications! Our one-time chapter fee includes use of The Made In Mind Social name, logo, website template, design elements and more.

The Most Popular Fonts of 2014

Before I start sharing some new favorite fonts this year, I though it would be fun to show y’all the most popular fonts of 2014 (according to MyFonts). I have already featured a few of them here over the past year as some of my personal favorites. Did you have a favorite font in 2014?

Popular Fonts and Specimens

Brandon Printed

Brandon Printed font sample

Glober

Glober font sample

Quickpen

Quickpen font sample

Campton

Campton font sample

Adorn

Adorn font sample

Selfie

Selfie font sample

Microbrew

Microbrew font sample

Showcase

Showcase font sample

Choplin

Choplin font sample

Nexa Rust

Nexa Rust font sample

The Carpenter

The Carpenter font sample

Texta

Texta font sample

True North

True North font sample

Brix Sans

Brix Sans font sample

Eveleth

Eveleth font sample

P.S. Check out the most popular fonts from 2013!

Made In Mind Holiday Party Recap

We wrapped up the 2014 Made In Mind event series with a fabulous cooking demo thanks to the talented folks at Palate New Orleans! They served us delicious butternut squash and goat cheese toast, fall cous cous salad, spiced apple rum fizz and Walker, their Chef de Cuisine, showed us all how to make chocolate truffles. It was a blast and as always SO great meeting new people and seeing all of our creative friends! Can’t wait to get our 2015 events rolling, our first one is actually this Thursday!

The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP42The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP03The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP08The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP02The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP11The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP35 The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP30The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP28The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP38 The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP39 The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP40The-Made-In-Mind-Social-Creatives-Meet-Up_TMP45

The Made in Mind Social is a local group of creative types that gather every other month to meet other like minded creatives, learn about other local businesses and collaborate on future projects. Interested in sponsoring an event? Find details hereNot in New Orleans but want to hold awesome events like this one? Start a Made In Mind chapter in your city! OR start your own from scratch with the help of The Meetup Guide.

Looking Back at 2014: The Year In Review

Girl in Rain By Big Oak Tree

Crazy how quickly 2014 has gone by! It’s been an amazing year both personally and professionally and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Having this blog is a really special way for me to look back at the year and see all that I have accomplished and what y’alls favorite posts were. Before I move forward I wanted to take a look back and bring you with me on the journey that was 2014.

 

Things I’m Proud of & Excited About

 

Your Favorite Posts from 2014

So you guys didn’t actually vote on the top posts of the year, but I did a little digging into my Google Analytics and discovered the most popular posts of 2014. Take a look back at your favorites below.

Best Design Related Posts

Best Business and Blogging Posts

Best Food & Drink Posts

Best DIYs and Printables

 

If you want a look back in even more detail, check out my That’s A Wrap posts that I wrote at the end of each month! For the next month posting will be a little on the lighter side – I really want to reflect on 2014 before I jump right into content for 2015. In the meantime, please let me know what you’d like to see more of in 2015 and THANKS A MILLION for reading and all of your support this year!

Photo of me by Hannah Hudson Photography

Blue and Silver Snowflake Christmas Decor

Hey friends, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and a happy holiday season! My mom makes an amazing brunch each year for Christmas day and she always outdoes herself with the food and the decor. This year she did a gorgeous blue and silver theme. She cooked quiche, ham & egg cups, Grand Marnier French toast, mushroom/potato/chorizo fry-up, French onion soup,  berries with creme anglaise, peach and blueberry clafouti and cracked pepper & brown sugar bacon (y’all, this bacon was legit)! My dad smoked a turkey on the BBQ pit and for drinks we had fresh squeezed orange juice from my dads orange tree and blackberry thyme sparklers. It was all unbelievable and such a great day spent with family, I don’t want Christmas to be over!

Blue Silver Christmas Presents Blue Silver Christmas Table Setting Blue Snowflake Christmas Tree PresentsBlue Glassware Bar CartBlue Silver Snowflake Christmas Tree Presents   Christmas Mantle Silver Deer Blue Silver Snowflake Christmas TreeChristmas Table Setting Fraiser Fur Blue Silver Christmas Ornaments Fraiser Fur Christmas Mantle LaMarca Prosecco Chrismas Snowflake Christmas Tree

La Marca sent me a bottle of their prosecco and I just had to bring it to my mom since it matched the decor perfectly! I’m going to take the next week off to enjoy time with family in town but you’ll be able to find me on Instagram in the meantime.

A 9 Step Guide To SEO

At the end of every year, I really try to evaluate my business, this blog and my website to see what improvements I can make. This year, SEO is something I want to improve so today I have a special guest post and infographic from Jeanette at Create The Bridge. Remember that each person will have to find the right balance for them, your focus should always be your readers and then SEO. Take it away Jeanette!

Any website or blog owner must understand that if you are doing SEO (search engine optimization) the right way, it is not instant and there’s actually no guarantee. But if you do it wrong, you may get quicker results, but your blog will look spammy while attempting to maneuver the search engine traffic.

To make an optimized blog, focus on the main category or theme of your blog. The topic you promote will, to a massive scale, dictate your ranking. There are high competitions when it comes to SEO for say “real estate” or “weight loss”. Focusing on your geographical location in addition (for example, “real estate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida”) can really help. This is only one part of creating an optimized blog for search engines, check out the infographic to see how you can do more.

9-Step Guide to Creating an Optimized Blog for Search Engines

Let’s wrap this up with a little overview shall we…

Your blog post should be long, containing at least 2,000 words. According to Serpiq, the longer the content, the higher you rank. Your title tag makes all the difference. If the right keywords are missing from the title tag, how will your targeted audience find you? Second to the title, the content in your blog is KING. You should write quality content and post often using long-tail keywords. Research shows that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. Simply put: it’s all about the images. Having a powerful social media strategy and having a presence on all major social media sites will also affect, positively, your search engine rankings. Pay attention to design. A well-structured site is a crucial element when it comes to building a SEO friendly website. The design of a website is important because it affects how quickly visitors can find what they are looking for. Last, but definitely not least, your blog must not contain misspelled words or grammar errors!

A Beautiful Holiday Mess & Clean Up

This story on holiday crafting and clean up has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser but all opinions and experiences are mine alone. #EurekaPower #CollectiveBias

Gold Glitter, Ribbon, Bows and Craft Supplies

Who else seems to have a house covered in glitter, Christmas tree needles, tinsel and confetti after the holidays?? Then throw in some DIY, whew, so pretty, but so messy! We got our tree up last week and finished decorating it yesterday. I decided I wanted to get my craft on and make my own tags from a bunch of craft supplies that have been laying around. I busted out hole punches, glue, string, glitter and all kinds of stuff!

Christmas Wrapping Items Under the Tree

I love DIYs and crafting but then when it comes time to clean that epic mess… womp, wooomp. It’s usually such a pain, but this time it wasn’t bad at all with some help from my new Eureka vacuum! This thing is a vacuuming master. I have a feeling that all of my crafty friends are going to want one of these bad boys! Quick, add it to your Christmas wish list!

Vacuuming up Gold Glitter

Clean up from decorating the tree and wrapping presents was super quick and painless which means more time spent to appreciate our pretty tree!

DIY Tags and Presents Under Christmas Tree

So this Eureka is known for it’s SuctionSeal (plates that raise and lower against the surface maintaining suction and seal without scattering debris). It also uses Air Speed technology (a wide tube of air with minimal bends and twists that allows air to move freely across a shorter and more direct path). It’s originally priced at $148.88 but is currently on Rollback for $129 at Walmart (where I got mine)! It’s all the way on the right in the photo below! Learn more and check it out in action!

Vacuum Aisle at Walmart

Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you.

A White Thanksgiving

If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I went to Maine again this Thanksgiving. It was a White Thanksgiving in more ways than one. It was Zander’s family, The White’s and it was super snowy! (I’m just realizing this, but next Thanksgiving I’ll officially be a White too since we are getting married in October, whoa!) The snow was actually so heavy that it caused the power to go out for two days while we were there! Luckily the house is set up with a generator because I guess it happens a lot. Although we had some power from that, we had to be careful and couldn’t run too many things at one time. We attempted to cook a few things in a makeshift oven over the fire but luckily the normal oven didn’t fail us, we somehow managed a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, even on generator power. We did turn it off at night and curled up to sleep by the fire to stay warm! Of course we had to take advantage of the snow as it was falling, then came right back in the stay warm!

Snowy Maine Woodpile
Snowy Maine Banks and Sailboat
Snowy Tree Maine
Family Maine Home Covered in Snow
Sun shinning through snowy trees in Maine
Snowy Maine Outhouse
Sheepscot River Banks Covered in Snow
Playing in Maine Snow
baking biscuits over the fire
Sun Setting Over Sheepscot River Banks Covered in Snow
Snowy Maine Dock Light
Snowy Maine Dock and Sailboat
Snowy Tree in Maine

P.S. I tag all photos on Instagram from Zander’s Grandma’s house with #GramsHouseMaine and have tons of Maine posts if you want to check them out!

That’s A Wrap: November

Lot’s of great stuff happened in the studio, on the blog and around the web in November with a nice little break for Thanksgiving which I spent in Maine, those photos are coming to the blog later this week!

Ciera-Design-Blog-Posts-NOV

 

On The Blog & In The Studio

P.S. My Gold Animal Toppers DIY kit is coming to an end, so grab one while you can!

 

Elsewhere

 

Sponsor the Ciera Design Blog

Nexa Rust Font by Fontfabric

I love a good, thick, script font, don’t you? What’s even better is that Nexa Rust from Fontfabric Type Foundry is SO versatile and has SO many variations. It’s multifaceted font system consisting of sub-families of sans, slab, script, handmade AND extras. Each of these sub-families contains a number of font weights which have a characteristic warm, rough look. Nexa Rust is a rough version of the already popular Nexa and Nexa Slab families with added new matching Nexa Script and Nexa Handmade fonts. Along with all of this, you will also discover added groups of extras which could serve as a foundation or add that extra “cherry on the top” to your designs.

Nexa Rust Font by Fontfabric

Some other current font favorites are Adorn (a modern and sometimes quirky script perfect for invitations) and Harman (includes seven fonts and their inline forms that have different styles from each other but at the same time compatible when used together).