We just experienced 31 days of pancakes and I need a nap. Oh wait, I mean…I learned some things. Interested? Read on.

Not so interested or don’t have a blog? Recipes will return soon.

People have told me I’ve been really organized during this event, and the truth is organized is a nice way to say psycho, if I wasn’t, I would lose my mind. This was a lot of work!

In keeping with the psycho-ness organization–I’m going to put this post in list format to hopefully make your life easier.

My To-Do List for Before Emailing for Volunteers:
  1. Decide on theme and pick a name and hashtag. Google this name to make sure it isn’t being used or there are no alternate meanings because I live in a bubble and can be clueless about today’s slang. In my case, find a fun SNL video.
  2. Make a list of people I would like to have participate. Locate their email addresses if I do not have them. As they respond to the initial email, form a list in my email account to make emailing easy.
  3. In a survey, participants in my event indicated that they would need at least 2 weeks to one month’s notice. Some participants said they would prefer LESS than 2 months notice. So I’d say shoot between 1-2 months notice.
My To-Do List Once I Started Getting Volunteers:
  1. Set up a spreadsheet. I made a Google Document where everyone could fill in their pancake name. I also put in the permalinks here once I got the post set up. I also collected social media information and links this way.
  2. Contact companies for giveaways. Set up giveaway posts.
  3. Set up pancake posts as they trickle into my email. Email participants confirming when the post will be live and also providing them with a permalink to their post.

Information to be Included in Initial Email:

  1. What? In this case, 31 days of pancakes brought by assorted food bloggers.
  2. When? Dates are important. Include when you would like the post sent to you. Offer a choice of date on a first come, first served basis.
  3. What is required? Recipe, additional text, promotion on social media, linkage, photos. Whatever you want from each participant. I asked for a recipe with some kind of intro text and at least one photo. I also asked for a “teaser” post on their blog which would link to me. I asked for this to include my Pancake Party logo, which I sent the html for. Promotion via social media was optional. I also asked for the title of the recipe somewhat in advance because I wanted to eliminate any duplicates.
  4. What is in it for them? This is what was “in it” for my participants:
    • A month’s worth of fun pancake recipes.
    • Links to their homepage, their “about me” page, and their Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook pages (as applicable). Also links to additional pages on their site to highlight their content.
    • Their recipe and blog would be promoted via Twitter and Facebook.
    • Their recipe would be pinned on a special Pinterest board. (Unless they opted out of this.)
    • They were automatically entered in a special giveaway for participants only. This giveaway came from out of my pocket. (Amazon gift card.)
    • A Pancake Party button to put in their sidebar (optional).

My To-Do List for Each AND EVERY Day During the Event:

  1. Have post scheduled to go live at same time every day.
  2. Check post to make sure everything went live okay.
  3. Check guest poster’s teaser to make sure everything is okay. (Although I didn’t really care too much about this–I was just happy people were participating and was more checking their post to read what they wrote. I also tried to leave a comment on each person’s teaser. Some people didn’t write a teaser. No biggie–again, I was just happy people were participating. I promise I didn’t send any hate mail.)
  4. Tweet the post, making sure to use #pancakeparty hashtag and twitter handle of the person who was posting that day.
  5. Schedule a Facebook post for later in the day promoting the post. Make sure to mention the Facebook page of the person who was posting that day.
  6. Pin the post to a special board devoted to the “party.”
  7. If traffic seemed slow (or for the holiday & weekend posts), I would sometimes mention them again on Facebook or Twitter to ensure they got adequate exposure.
  8. If applicable, promote giveaways or choose giveaway winners.

What My Guest Bloggers Thought of This Event: I gave a short anonymous survey to get some feedback, and overall it seems like people were happy they participated. At least that is what they are telling me!

What I Would Do Differently Next Time:

  1. I would probably make it a Monday through Friday event, taking weekends off. Not only did I get a little burnt out, but I also felt bad about the guest posters that were on the weekends. They didn’t seem to get as much attention, and didn’t get as many comments.
  2. I would do more posts myself. I got a little carried away because I had so many people I wanted to include, but I felt a bit disconnected from my readers and my blog during this month.
  3. I would maybe make it three weeks instead of four, depending on the topic.
  4. This is certainly NOT something I would recommend doing more than once per year. Especially if you do a month-long event. That’s my own personal opinion, but host one of your own and you’ll probably agree!

Any questions? Anything else you’re dying to know?

If you were throwing an “event” on your blog, what would be the theme?

PS: Have you seen my newest project? I’m planning an intimate food blogger celebration in Michigan–Taste of Michigan. Interested? Email me!