Planning a conference or meeting? Hit up these event planning blogs for trends, ideas and some solid advice.
Wear black, run on little sleep, and thrive on the kind of stress that would buckle a sheet of steel? You must be an event planner.
Whether you plan events for an association or non-profit, or you’re slogging it out on your own as an independent conference planner, you’ve probably got copies of magazines like Convene and Associations Now piling up on your desk. But event planning blogs are in a category all of their own. They’re packed with industry insight, honest opinions and an edge of humour. And they often come with heaps of resources, like planning guides or great podcasts, all for free.
As an event planner, your world is constantly changing. There’s increasing pressure from a busy live events market. And you’re expected to be a dab hand in dozens of specialities from experiential marketing to managing peer review for scientific or medical conferences. In the hectic world of events, it’s nice to take a moment to remind yourself that others out there share your joys, and your frustrations.
So we’ve rounded up some of the best event planning blogs out there. So, without further ado, here are the best event planning blogs for 2019.*
(*And some podcasts too.)
1. Velvet Chainsaw
A thought-provoking blog that pushes events professionals towards change.
The Velvet Chainsaw blog is a firm favourite in the event planning space for their own brand of thought-provoking content. The team behind the blog are forensic consultants who help associations and companies review and improve their live events. This event planning blog delves into everything from the physics of conference entropy to our over-reliance on anecdotal evidence that can lead to bad decisions. It’s a trove of solid advice on making change happen in the events space.
And as a handy bonus, Velvet Chainsaw’s Sticky Conference newsletter is monthly brain candy for your inbox. Each edition focuses on a single problem or opportunity facing conference planners, and comes with content that’s been carefully curated to help planners rise to the challenge.
Sample blog post: We Prefer Stories To Stats—The Dark Side of Stories
Best for keeping up-to-date on events trends while on the move.
If you’ve been working in events for long, you’re probably already familiar with the BizBash event planning blog. But did you know BizBash has a new monthly podcast for event professionals called GatherGeeks? Join David Adler, BizBash’s chief exec, and Beth Kormanik, its editor in chief, as they discuss the latest news and trends affecting event marketers and chat to strategists, nonprofit organisers and everyone who’s anyone in between.
The podcast is a place where people who are passionate about live experiences come together and share what they’ve learned along the way. It’s a must-listen for anyone involved in planning events and meetings, from conferences, trade shows and fund-raising galas to product launches, award shows and festivals. And you don’t need to get online to listen – you can access episodes wherever you find your podcasts.
Sample Podcast Episode: The “Dirty Words” of Event Catering, and Other Insights From a Top Canadian Firm (Episode 137)
3. Editor’s blog of AMI
A blog that takes a wide view of trends shaping the events industry.
The conferences and meetings held by associations and nonprofits are a substantial chunk of the live events industry. So it makes sense that blogs pitched at associations come packing the goods. James Lancaster is deputy editor of Association Meetings International (AMI), one of the most widely read magazines in the not-for-profit sector. And his AMI Editor’s Blog doesn’t disappoint.
James is a close observer of trends in the association sector and regularly contributes to panel discussions at industry events and trade shows. Whether it’s the ROI of events or the scientific and medical ambassadors who help destinations win business from huge international meetings, he’s got it covered.
This blog is a must-read for event planners in the nonprofit sector.
Sample post: Buyer beware: calling time on fake meetings
4. Conferences That Work
An event-planning blog that’ll have you rethinking your approach.
If you’re focused on changing the dynamics within your event (or creating a whole new event) Adrian Segar’s Conferences That Work is the blog for you. For more than a quarter of a century, Adrian’s been designing and facilitating attendee-driven events, as well as leading interactive labs on participation techniques that fundamentally improve the experiences of conference delegates.
His reflective blog contains everything from a short meditation on dinner seating layout, to a dialog on helping to bridge divides between people. Adrian’s site isn’t just another event planning blog, it’s about people coming together to exchange knowledge and learn from one another.
Which is what the best events do.
Sample blog post: Improve meetings by de-emphasizing old-school status
A blog about event tech, and some other cool stuff.
Plannerwire is a blog largely about the tech that will help get you from planning your conference to delivering the live experience. Whether you’re a tech junkie in search of the latest trends and hacks, or you’re trying to convince tech-phobic board members on the benefits – and possibilities – that technology can bring to your conference, this blog is for you.
Read it to learn handy lifehacks for event planners for like using Google Assistant to make your life easier, or creating easy time-lapse videos of your events.
Sample post: 10 Ways Conference Planners Can Use Google Assistant
6. Association Chat
A welcoming community of nonprofit event folks.
Association Chat began life in 2009 as the #AssnChat Twitter chat. A decade later, and the blog is a hub for the nonprofit community and those planning the events within it. Association Chat is a weekly livestreamed interview series, an online community and an education portal. Host KiKi L’Italien conducts lively interviews with everyone who’s anyone: from marketing guru Seth Godin to exec Coach Dr Aimee V. Sanchez, and it’s all for free. Got a question about planning your next event, or marketing it to your audience base? Join the community and start learning from others who have walked the walk.
Sample chat: Experiential Marketing and Engagement for Events
7. EventMB (trends and news)
An event planning blog focusing on trends and news.
Julius Solaris is, by all accounts, the voice of the 21st century events industry. As an international speaker, author and trend-watcher, he founded EventMB in 2007, and the events space hasn’t quite been the same since. Now EventMB is a solid event planning blog to go to for the latest on industry trends, tech, innovation and education. The blog has an ever-scrolling feel, with content on everything from experience design to using face recognition as part of your registration process. It also contains lively videos on topics like the nine circles of planner hell and tactics for selling out your next event.
Compounding EventMB’s position as a thought leader in the field, the blog also hosts a ton of highly-detailed event planning guides and resources, all of which are free.
Sample resource: Event Pricing Strategy: The 2019 Guide
8. ASAE Resource Centre
A hub for learning new skills – or boosting existing ones.
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) represents associations and the professionals who work within them. But even if you’re an event-planner working outside of the associations space, ASAE has content for you. ASAE has a fantastic resource centre on meeting and event planning, with tons of goodies, like tips for taking your conference networking to the next level, and managing the meetings data deluge.
While some of the content is hidden behind a member paywall, there’s a generous amount available to read for free. So get learning.
Sample resource: Manage the Meetings Data Deluge
9. Hello Endless
If you want to offer great onsite experiences at your next event, this blog’s for you.
Endless Events are the guys quietly revolutionising the AV and event production scene in the US. Founder, Will Curran, began as a backyard events DJ in 2007, and has spent the last 12 years building an AV and production company that puts the human element front and centre.
Their event planning blog, Hello Endless, covers everything from how in-house AV commissions work (because working with AV suppliers isn’t always clear-cut), to using gamification to boost delegates’ energy. They also have a freshly launched Event Tech Podcast that’ll catch you up on the latest in cybersecurity risks and so much more.
Sample podcast episode: Event Cybersecurity Risks Every Event Prof Should Know
10. Smooth the Path
A blog from an expert on the ground.
Smooth the Path is the blog of Amanda Kaiser, a consultant working with non-profits to help them unlock what their communities want from events. Amanda’s a thought leader who regularly speaks at event industry events and writes for lots of the blogs on this list. So it makes sense to go straight to the source, right?
“Can’t shake the feeling that your association could be doing more?” writes Amanda. “Are you serving members well enough? Are you solving their problems?” Reading her blog will help you begin to map out the tough questions you should be asking about your events and how they benefit your delegates.
Sample blog post: Show Business and Association Conference Business
11. The Meeting Pool
A blog about event tech education.
Meeting professionals are enthusiastic early adopters who love to know what’s next and bring it to their delegates. The Meeting Pool is your event planning blog on all things technology-related.
The Meeting Pool follows the tech news for you. They also have a handy event tech directory and have created a space where you can explore, discuss and review new tech tools and devices to make your events more efficient, engaging and productive. From trade show booth creativity to tech to keep your event committee organised, they cover it all.
Jump in, explore, and get comfortable with the next generation of meeting technology.
Sample blog post: How to Use Video to Increase Your Event’s Value
12. Association Brain Food Weekly
A repository of free educational events and resources for event planners.
Association Brain Food Weekly is association tech and management specialist Deirdre Reid’s roundup of all things educational. A new list is published weekly, and gives a detailed breakdown of upcoming free educational webinars and events, as well as resources for the association community. So whether you want to get to legal grips with partnering with suppliers or learn how to navigate the necessary data for event personalisation, this blog is a fantastic portal for finding learning opportunities.
Sample post: Brain Food Weekly 5 April
A blog and podcast of all things event tech.
techsytalk is a blog and podcast run by Liz King, an NYC-based event planner, that serves up regular interviews with industry-leading events professionals, with a heavy focus on tech. The blog covers everything from planning an event on a tight budget to getting the most from social media and it’s a must-read for event professionals who yearn for change.
techsytalk has also recently set up a community of collaborative innovators in the form of its new Facebook group, Event Hustlers. Subscribe, join, and start collaborating.
14. Honourable mention: 18 Useful Tips for Organizing a Conference:
This author doesn’t write an event planning blog, but his post about planning a conference is unmissable.
“Below is the world’s most useful advice on organizing a conference — organized as best I could into 18 tips. If you’re an event organizer, I think you’ll find it valuable — even if your conference has nothing to do with user experience.” So writes author Louis Rosenfeld, who was asked to help plan a conference on user experience in 2015.
User experience describes the overall experience of using a website or a computer app, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use. It’s the kind of thing that software companies sweat over, which is why you’d expect that the organisers of a user experience conference would put a lot of thought into sweating the details. Which they did.
Louis’ post is a must-read for anyone planning a big event in 2019: How to Organize a Conference: 18 Amazingly Useful Tips