So, I did it. I added the DIY Party Community forum for everyone to use - to swap ideas, stories, pictures, and plans about catering, event planning, food and beverages, recipes, and just about anything else that you can think of that's party, wedding reception, and corporate special event related.
Before I added the forum, I thought about it. I stewed over it. I kind of/sort of started making plans for it, driving myself nuts about it. And when I finally started to make it a reality, it took no time at all to get it set up. Isn't that the way it is? Murphy's Law I tell you, plain and simple. I'm just glad that I can now laugh at how I was anxiety ridden I was over it.
I wanted the "Forum Fairy" to show up, make magic happen, and do everything for me. That. Didn't. Happen. Darn it.
So, there's a brand new community forum here for you to take advantage of. Just look underneath the Cater-Hater header (the big logo with the four pictures under it) at the top of the page.
Why add a forum?
Well, I've been wanting to make some changes and thinking about adding some new topic-focused areas for a while now. I also liked the idea of having a place where we could all hang out, swapping party DIY ideas, concepts, and methods. And then, it's almost time for "Spring cleaning". So, I figured that now would be as good a time as any to roll this out. But most importantly, it had to be free. That way, it would be 100% fair and no one would feel excluded.
Oh, and here's something else. Don't freak out when you read the updated "About Author" page. It's been changed, drastically. How so? Well, if you've wanted to know about the "guy" named Carlo - when you read it you'll find out whether or not I really am a guy. If you've wondered where my love for parties comes from and what inspires me to author this blog... those answers are there too.
And, if you've thought to yourself, "I really don't know anything in-depth about the person who writes Cater-Hater", read it - I've spoken from my heart, so now you'll find out more about me. I took it back to the nitty-gritty, y'all. Just hope it doesn't freak you out. But, you know what they say, don't you? "Everybody has a story". And, when you read my "About Author" page - you'll find out that I've finally opened up, let you in, and told you mine.
You'll also find two new pages, "Cater-Love" and "Wedded-Love". Both of these pages are also listed under the header. They're wonderful Amazon aStores (I love Amazon, don't you?). They're available to serve as your "go-to guides", for images of products, so that you can determine exactly what I'm talking about when I'm talking about a particular type of chafer or some new product for brides, when I may not have made myself perfectly clear.
So here's the thing... Whether you're a party maven like I am, a master caterer, or an all-around awesome cook, baker, or bartender - if you're looking to share your expertise, make a name for yourself and get known for being a party expert on Cater-Hater. Just click on the link and join the fifty (50) people who have joined the Cater-Hater DIY Party Community Forum.
In the DIY Party Community Forum you can ask questions, day or night - 24/7, about all aspects of catering and/or parties. And when you have a helpful answer to contribute, please do. *There's always someone out there who could use a little guidance. Your being involved could help someone figure out where to actually go to find the perfect party favor for their BFF's upcoming bridal shower. Or, maybe someone wants to know exactly how you custom created that cool, new recipe that you served to your parents for dinner last weekend. *If you're inspired about and love cooking for people that you love and love planning parties, come on and join us. Because you're at the right place! And, please do comment at the bottom of this post with your own recommendations for encouraging Cater-Hater DIY Party Community Forum interactions.
The DIY Party Community is free! And it's easy!
Just sign up and post something!
You don't need your own blog. This community is the place where you can interact with other like-minded DIY party lovers. Your first step is to get your sign up information taken care of. There are privacy features, so it's cool - you won't get spammed beyond belief.Here's where you can:
- Answer and ask other readers questions
- Read what other members are posting and tweeting
- View the profiles of other like-minded members
- And even more...
But then, there are a couple of decisions for you to make. Listen: Do you want to just hang out on the sidelines, looking in? Or, do you want to take the bull by the horns, help people and get involved?
If you have a full schedule and write your own blog, you'll need to find just a little bit of time to stop by, check in and leave your posts.
I would love it for you to be actively engaged! If that's possible think about joining the Cater-Hater DIY Party Community Forum Support Team and become one of our Community Leaders. Of course, that would require just a little extra time. But you'll be eligible for special offers and freebies that will come with being involved. Sweet!
How do I sign up? You can sign up right here, right inside of the DIY Party Community!
What are the foreseeable common approaches to choose from, to make this work?
- Jump in, fast and furious: You're the type that's not into waiting until "everyone else and their Mother" jumps on board, wanting to get involved. You love the limelight! You like to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time. And, you're probably the type that keeps strange hours, staying up into the wee hours of the morning. The DIY Party Community is perfect for you! You'll be able to blast an announcement out to the rest of the DIY Party Community forum members, announcing that you're available to help someone figure out how a great menu for a party that they're having. Or, that you're available to write a guest post about cooking for large groups of people. Or, you'll simply answer your messages from other forum members. You like to be in charge, so you're the type to apply to be a DIY Party Community Team Leader. Irregardless, you'll be surprised at how popular you'll get. People are desperate for expert advice and camaraderie.
- Show up, slow and methodical: Nice and easy, you're more the type to ease in and take your time. You're very strategic. Sure, you're interested, so you sign up and join. However, you stop by four, maybe five times a month to check in with your forum-mates. You're a "slow roller", keeping your eye on things to do - that you do well, when you're actively engaged. You'll stop and visit here and there, throughout the month. For you, this is a good way to ease into the habit of checking in and writing a few comments on other forum members blog posts. You won't have your "iron in too many fires" at one time, so you won't feel overwhelmed. Although the results will cause you to build up your forum presence more slowly at first - you can increase your presence in the forum substantially, whenever you want to, over time.
Which approach you choose will determine whether you receive the perks that we're planning for eligible Community Team Leaders, so choose wisely.
How To Build Your Cater-Hater DIY Party Community presence
If you choose to go the slow and methodical way, then when it comes to all around communicating (participating in discussions - adding ideas and suggestions, offering constructive feedback, commenting and guest posting on blogs), it’s helpful when you build your reputation with the forum members who are here, that you hope to get to know and make online friends with before you ask them for anything. The best way to do this is to engage in conversation with them in the forum, start following them on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and interact with them there.
Here are some other things for you to consider:
- Comments: Start to leave thoughtful comments where you are possibly asking questions and engaging with the forum members on their sites. But don’t ignore everyone else! Answer the questions that other members ask you. Busy forum members (and Team Leaders) will love it when you come along and start answering questions, allowing them more free time - with no pressure that would cause them to worry about following up on every comment.
- Email: At some point you should directly email members who inspire you and those who have a POV (point of view) that strikes a cord with you, resonating a style that you can relate to. Or, it could be just to ask a legitimate question. For example: you could compliment them on their creative party decorating ideas or ask them about specific stores where they like to shop. I think when we want to build our online party "relationships" this is a good way to start.
- Again... Join us in the forum: There is a Party Community Forum here for you to join, so why not join? Subscribe to any forum members newsletters that appeal to you, too. Did you know that, occasionally, it’s a good idea to reply to an email newsletter? Do it from your inbox so he or she will see your email signature, which should have your blog address on it. Hopefully they’ll take the time to check out your blog (if you have one). And you never know... there's a good chance you'll be invited to write guest posts for them after exchanging a few email messages.
Of course, some blogs like Cater-Hater have guest posting guidelines that you can follow and skip the above process, but most don’t. So don’t think of this as a waste of time or something to do just to get a guest posting opportunity. This is really about building long-term relationships, so it helps to actively participate whether there's a policy in place or not.
Master the components of getting the most that you can, easier
Should I become a Team Leader? And, is being a member different than being a DIY Party Community Team Leader? The answer is yes. See, when you're helping others in the community by posting your ideas and comments, you'll be putting your Team Leader best foot forward. This will likely generate some subscribers to your own blog (if you have one), and it will keep you out front in the forum - getting you noticed and recognized for your effort, so that you can cash in on some of those special offers and freebies that were previously mentioned. This could put you at the top of your DIY Party Community forum game!
Here are some things to think about:
- Links: If you're a blogger or website owner, you probably want them or need quality backlinks. Forum members (many who are bloggers) like it when you write a post that has links in it, both incoming links and outgoing links. For instance, when you create a blog post in the DIY Party Community forum that links to another member's content - it shows that you’ve done your homework. She or he will appreciate the external link because that helps them build their credibility. And... you've just set yourself up to be noticed by the forum administration. Always remember those special offers and freebies I talked. Because just like in life - nothing's free. When you hang out in the DIY Party Community you'll have fun talking to people, kicking around great ideas you have about parties, wedding receptions, and corporate events while you earn perks.
- Community blog posts: The jury is still out about whether you should share your best articles or not in the Community forum. But, we believe that you should write a doggone good forum post no matter what. Then, you're giving the other forum members something to think about, that's unique to your personal insight. This won't work if you've decided to take it slow and easy (if you're not a Team Leader), because writing Community forum blog posts takes added time.
- Create a conversation with fellow members: You can write about whatever you want (just keep it nice and keep it clean). But, does your community blog post answer a question relevant to the community at large… not just yours?
- Your chance to demonstrate that you're an authority: If you are, don’t be afraid to ask to become a Team Leader. Especially when you "know your stuff" and have years of education or OJT (on the job training ) experience, which is a great reason why the audience should listen to you in the first place. Right? You won’t be bragging if it’s true, you're a Team Leader, and your input is helpful and part of the conversation.
- Have headlines that "hook": Although there is a chance Community Administration may change your headline (for SEO purposes), give us your best one. Then, give us two or three more to choose from at the bottom of your post. And remember, a great headline is useful, urgent, unique, and speaks right to the heart of the post, so it should be ultra-specific.
That's about it...
It's pretty simple and straightforward, actually.
First, figure out what position you feel most comfortable playing; Team Leader or DIY Party Community forum member. Then join. Follow the steps, and you'll be on your way to making new friends from all over the world (that you may not have met, otherwise) who are passionate about parties, weddings and corporate events, just like you.
Next, post your first DIY Party Community forum recipe, question, answer, or whatever you choose. All you have to do is sign in with Facebook and get started.
Don't get discouraged if you ask a question and it takes a few days to get a response. When you're pitching your idea or question and you have a deadline, let everyone know from the start.
Play the numbers game! Join the DIY Party Community and make yourself some new "party alliances" while increasing your online visibility (links, remember?). Sign up and be active on the Cater-Hater DIY Party Community forum!
And write and tell us in the "View Comments" area below... what tips do you have for the forum, the Team Leader position, and Cater-Hater in general.