How to Build a Meetup

You can learn anything! At least that is the premise around a meetup—a gathering place for people who share and express a common interest.

CO:mmunicate meetup facilitator, Kevin Adelsberger of Adelsberger Marketing, explained his philosophy for meetups. “A meetup is a low-investment opportunity for people to learn more about something they like or find a community of like-minded people. Low investment meaning no cost and little time commitment that will hopefully spark your interest and cause you to dive deeper into the subject.”

The community at theCO has found ways to master the meetup. Here’s how.

Step One: Find a Focus.

Executive Director Lisa Garner explained the concept behind meetups at theCO: “Meetups seemed [to be] the natural way to go as we were planning for programming for theCO early on. We wanted to be the gathering place for people with various interests so it made sense to make a group for each. Creatives, tech enthusiasts, makers, and entrepreneurs—those were the first four groups that we identified. The meetups themselves have adapted several times throughout the past couple of years, but we’re still targeting those four pockets of interest.”

Those early brainstorming sessions gave birth to meetups like theCO’s current lineup: Maker’s CO:llective, CO:mmunicate, CO:de, CO:bots, and A.M. Creative. 

Kevin Adelsberger’s focus for CO:mmunicate is helping local businesses: “With CO:mmunicate in particular, our goal is to help small businesses step up their social media game because we believe that when businesses are going better for someone in Jackson, it helps all of Jackson.

Step Two: Frame the Focus.

After finding a focus, the next step is framing it. theCO has done this by creating names that are easily identifiable but unique to the brand. This step also includes outlining the nature of the event to maximize learning opportunities and/or interaction. 

To frame his focus, Adelsberger creates slideshows to help attendees follow along with his discoveries on social media.  

Sodium Halogen’s Chance Smith has taken theCO’s CO:de meetup to the next level by breaking down coding for all levels of understanding. CO:de allows the expert to fine tune his workflow while still accommodating the novice.

Step Three: Fill the House.

This one’s up to you. This step simply involves getting the word out and finding like-minded people. A free slice of pizza or a chance to win a door prize wouldn’t hurt.

Clint Wren, theCO’s operations intern, has interacted with the full gamut of meetups and has learned a thing or two about meetup culture.

“The common factor most event directors cite is social media and email campaigns,” he explained. “Having your event out there is important! It’s also important to emphasize that the events are free and open to the public.”