When HubPages asked for volunteers to host HubMeets for writers to socialize in their local areas, Glenn leaped at the opportunity.
In January 2011 HubPages asked for volunteers to organize Local HubMeets, allowing anyone to organize their own local group where writers can meet and socialize.
I knew several other Hubbers (writers on HubPages) in my area so I decided to organize meetings in a local venue. It was a great experience, meeting other writers on a personal level and sharing methods for success with content publishing.
I will explain how you can run your own group using a platform similar to meetup.com that is less costly and even free in some cases.
Why Build a Community of Local Writers?
It's constructive to get writers together face to face where they can share what they know about publishing online articles.
A group for writers brings local authors together as a niche community for sharing what they have experienced. It allows members to learn from one another with a positive approach to improving their success with online writing.
Everyone benefits when writers can share knowledge of search engine optimization, rules of the various platforms they might be writing on, and sharing individual success stories.
Bring People Together Locally Who Want to Write Online
I discovered something interesting in my very first meeting. Writers definitely have loads of things to talk about, and they don’t hesitate to share their feelings.
Writers are not only creative people, but they are also knowledgeable in their area of expertise. No matter what it is, they like to contribute to the discussion and help one another achieve the same success. It can be fiction stories, educational essays, professional literature, or whatever. It’s all a means of sharing one's knowledge and intellect.
What Do Members Expect From a Writer’s Group?
Think about the experience you want to create for your members. When I began to organize my local group, I decided to let our discussions be brainstorming sessions on ideas to write about. Everyone was eager to participate. However, as time went on, we got more into the business side of it.
One member spoke about his first article on HubPages and explained how difficult it was for him to complete other articles. That's something most writers deal with. Everyone offered his or her tricks that help avoid procrastination.
Another member told us about his interest in research and writing about his ideas. I found that he likes to ask questions that make people think. We all reinforced the notion that he should write articles with that concept.
We quickly discovered that a new member, who never published anything yet, had a lot to offer in our discussions. She came up with ideas that I knew would attract Google traffic, and that is one of the important things that every writer should consider.
I discovered that our members simply expected to share, and share they did.
Create a Local Writer’s Group on the Groups Place
Since meetup.com was taken over by WeWork in 2018, changes to the platform have caused many organizers to discontinue their groups. However, there is another platform now that was created for organizing groups of any relevance. It’s very similar to meetup.com but less costly for organizers, and I discovered that they have more features as well as superior support. It’s called Groups Place and the URL is "groups.place" (Not dot com).
You can register and create a profile on Groups Place free and join groups free. It’s always free for members.
Groups Place lets you organize groups of ten members or less at no cost. If you have more than ten people, the cost of hosting your group and events is USD $5.95 per month or $59.95 per year.
Once you create a group, you can make it public so anyone can find it in a search, or make it private so only those who know the URL can find it.
As an organizer, you have complete control of all features of your group:
- You can set member requirements.
- You can schedule group events.
- You can define and select venues.
- You can create a description of your group to introduce people to what it’s about.
- You can hide event details from non-members.
- You can also make pages look different for members and non-members.
Scheduling Your First Meeting
I’ve listed my HubMeets in local newspapers. Many tabloids and weeklies allow social announcements at no charge, but you have to plan it well in advance since ad space is usually limited. You can also post announcements on Facebook or Twitter.
Finding The Right Venue for Meetings
It’s important to have Wi-Fi available so members can have online access with their laptops or smartphones.
I chose a place for our meetings that sold food too, so we could have lunch during our meetings. Whole Foods and Panera Bread are two venues that are perfect for this.
Promoting Your Writer’s Group
When you set up your group on Groups Place, it’s important to include a description on the group’s home page that people will see when they visit. You can specify what non-members see and what logged-in members see, so the description should be made visible to all.
Once you completed setting up your group and listed your first HubMeet, it’s time to let others know about it.
If you know of Hubbers who are near you, reach out to them via the “contact author” link on their articles. Just do it once so you don’t spam them. If they are not interested, just leave them along. You’ll get other interested people from your other announcements. Even if they don’t write on HubPages, you might indoctrinate new writers or if nothing else, make new friends who also have an interest in writing.
Get Your Members Talking
After several months, we had 16 members, but only four or five attend any single meeting. Nevertheless, we always had so much to discuss that keeping it small was helpful. Otherwise, the discussions can quickly get out of hand. Everyone usually has something to share that the others can put to good use.
There is so much information on the Internet about successfully writing content online that it’s hard to keep up. HubMeets provide a way to add all our collective knowledge together so that we all benefit from it.
These HubMeets are a good way for newcomers to learn the ropes and discover the world of writing online. Many of our members never joined HubPages, and some dropped out when they couldn’t keep up with the tough requirements.
Those who stayed knew the reason why HubPages has had so many rules. We always discussed what was necessary to succeed by using proper grammar, considering SEO, and giving the reader what they expect.
Keep the Focus
Over the years our group started becoming a social get together rather than a place to discuss new trends with online writing or sharing lessons learned to help one another with their hubs. Therefore, I decided to discontinue the events. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable while it lasted and many of us remained good friends.
Since 2012 when I first ran local HubMeets with the Meetup platform, few other Hubbers attempted to organize these events. Meetup was not user-friendly for our purpose and HubPages eventually stopped promoting it.
Now in 2018, with the new Groups.Place platform, I'm planning on establishing a new group again. I recommend you give it a try. You might just meet some nice HubPages writers who are in your local or nearby vicinity.
© 2011 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on November 19, 2018:
Jim, Thanks for your review of the past and the present for writers's groups. I think the main focus if we get started again, is to review the latest changes with the sale of HubPages. Maven has brought a lot of progressive opportunities for increased ad revenue. And HubPages has implemented many new features that need to be understood to use correctly. I'm sure this will be an enlightening subject to be discussed.
James Bowden from Long Island, New York on November 19, 2018:
Thank you for sharing your updated article about organizing writer groups. Some good points and additional ideas to inspire others to start similar groups like our original one back in 2012. It certainly brought back some fond memories. But it was a shame that the original group lost focus on writing and similar related topics. I think right fro my the start of our new group that this is not a group for meeting new people, but one where we will only concentrate on writing essays, short stories and fiction for starters. And keep on the topic of writing and that this is not a group dating meetup per say. Where others in the past may have been seeking just that. So this way a line can be drawn for those serious about writing and those who are mainly interested in finding a soul mate!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 04, 2014:
thelyricwriter - Since I wrote about these Social Meetups, it seems that HubPages had dropped the idea. I noticed they removed their blogs that were written about it. I think it's because there was not much interest among the HubPages community to get together in person. Many Hubbers had tried and failed to get others to join. Thanks for your comment and the vote. It's nice to see someone still has an interest.
Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on May 04, 2014:
I never knew this even existed. This is pretty cool. I've been using MeetUp for years now and it is a great tool to use. Very cool, thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and awesome.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 17, 2013:
Hi Sue - I'm glad you stopped by. I remember when you came to one of our local HubMeets in Smithtown. We stopped having those meetings when Meetup.com started sending repeated emails to our vendors, inundating their inbox. I was thinking that someday I may try using a Google Hangout for our meetings. But not too many of us are on Google Plus yet. Hope you've been well. Good to hear from you.
Sue B. on April 17, 2013:
I almost forgot about meetups! I found them useful and interesting just to see what other hubbers in the area are doing and why. Hubpages is an interesting community with many subcommunities!
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 16, 2013:
B. Leekley - Thanks for checking this out. I haven't been getting much attention here lately since HubPages is no longer pushing the local meetups. I may actually consider doing it with a Google Hangout someday.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on April 16, 2013:
Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on April 14, 2012:
Skarlet, Yes we can. It's been proven already at most of out meetups. We seem to go on for hours and no one gets tired. We all have so much to share to help one another. Look for a local HubPages group in your area or start one yourself. It's a great way to meet fellow writers and learn from one another. Welcome to HubPages.
Skarlet from California on April 14, 2012:
Thank you for this hub. I have only been here for a few weeks and have been wondering if there are any events that bring people together. It seems like fun. I can imagine that all these writers could talk to each other for hours on a variety of subjects.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 07, 2011:
Melbel, You can talk about anything you want. If you lead your own group, you decide how you want to run it. You can let the people guide the show or you can plan an agenda. I like to make a plan of things to discuss based on latest Forum conversations. But it really all up to you.
I saw your post in the Local Meetup Forum. Good luck with it. I wish you much success.
Melanie Shebel from Midwest, USA on August 07, 2011:
Hey Glenn, how does this work? Do you talk about a specific topic? Is there a person who leads the group? I am starting a meetup simply because I think it would be fun, but I am really introverted with new people and, quite frankly, scared to death of my first meetup.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on March 31, 2011:
Thanks Robin. And thank you for making HubMeet a reality. I do plan another for sometime in May. That should give it time for more members to join.
Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on March 31, 2011:
Your HubMeet sounded like a great success! What a great recount of events! It sounds like you all bonded and I hope you are able to meet again!