Organising a digital event can seem pretty daunting but if you know what you want to achieve, that’s half the battle. When I published my first post to the YAfictionados blog, I knew I wanted to do something different; something bold and daring and something that the book blogging community had yet to see. I knew I couldn’t do it then because:
- I lacked the knowledge;
- I lacked the contacts and resources and;
- I didn’t know where to begin.
So what did I do?
I collaborated with four other bloggers, editing and writing reviews and securing interviews with authors like Lisa Heathfield, Rachel McIntyre and Michael Grant. And how did I do this? I asked. I asked and if I didn’t secure it, I moved on. We once tried to do an interview with Patrick Ness but the timing wasn’t right and a couple of months later, I was posting an interview with Michael Grant.
From there, I became bolder. I wanted to do something to network with the blogging community as well as authors and readers. At the same time, I wanted to promote diversity in YA literature. I came up with the #DiverseYA hashtag and we chatted monthly on Twitter on different topics such as the LGBT and mental health representations in YA literature. I had a lot of fun organising it and at this time, @booksYAIE approached me and asked if I wanted to host a Twitter interview with Brenna Yovanoff and Samantha Shannon. Amazing! From there, I was participating in @iammariam’s weekly #FeminisminYA chats. And, as all this was going on, I envisioned the #YAtakeover and here are the steps I took to make it happen.
Posting interviews on our site, I realised they were passive and not being engaged with as much as I would have liked. I decided to host a series of Twitter chats and interviews but I still wanted this to be a special and unique event. I started to think about the idea and I realised that I wanted it to be a twenty-four hour, digital event across social media platforms. With the help of other bloggers, I named the event the #YAtakeover and from there, I asked a friend to create the logo.
The #YAtakeover will be the first-ever, digital, book-blogging event to take place across a twenty-four period. The event will begin at 9pm on the 8th January 2016 and conclude on the 9th January at 9pm. The event will run across several blogs, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. There will be tons of giveaways and live Twitter interviews and chats with your favourite YA authors. The full list can be found here. More information can be found at the YAfictionados blog site.
To bring any project to life, I think organisation is key. It gives you a record of everything you have done, everyone that is participating and when it will all happen. Everyone has a different system of organisation. For me, I kept a written list of all of the authors that would be participating. I also kept an Excel file to include more comprehensive information (their publishers, any secured giveaways, host blogger for their interview, any exclusives, such as cover reveals, and so on). Any time I needed a quick reference, I consulted my diary. When I needed more detailed information, I used my phone, my laptop or my iPad to open the Excel file.
There’s no secret to how I acquired over forty YA authors from around the world. I didn’t have any phone numbers and even if I did, that would have been a horrible idea. I jotted down a list of the topics I wanted to highlight and from there, I went on to the contact page of every author. I noted their email addresses in my Excel Master file. I wrote to each author, asking each if they’d like to participate in the event. I received some rejections, which is to be expected. Authors have families and life outside their writing so I knew to respect this.
Maybe marketing is too formal a term but really, I was wondering, how can I share this event with as many people as possible? How can I secure campaign momentum and raise awareness about what we’re trying to do?
I had 40+ YA authors on board with the idea at this point. Instead of announcing these all at once, I released them slowly across November and the beginning of December to increase campaign momentum and raise awareness. I also put together a #PassTheParcel book-tubing series and a Twitter chat on the 17th December, inviting authors to take part in a chat about the importance of literary classics and their impact on YA writers. I also wrote blog posts about the event and posted on Twitter and Instagram. I contacted different media outlets to see if I could write for them about the event and success, I’m now writing for writing.ie!
Measure Your Impact:
This is particularly important if this is the first in a series of digital events or something that you want to replicate in the future. Did you achieve your goals? Is there anything you could have done that would have improved the event? I used the Twitter Analytics and our blog dashboards and looked at our blog views and Twitter engagement in combination with my goals to determine the success of the project as it progressed.
- Start small and test the waters
- Have one or more goals in mind
- Know what you want to do and how you’re going to get there
- Create a list of influencers and potential participants
- Do you have any contacts that might be able to participate and/or help?
- Keep track of everything you achieve (contacts, securing giveaways etc.)
- Just ask. If they don’t know about your event, they can’t say ‘yes’
- Think about how people will find out about your event
- Posting about your event on Twitter? Use pictures, where possible, to grab attention
- Think about hashtags and designs – do you know someone that can help?
- Did you reach your goals? Is there anything you can improve on in the future?
- A second, and even a third, opinion can help you see something that you might have missed
Come and join us on 8th/9th January – put it in your diary now!
(c) Chris Moore