Press and Marketing
Spreading The Word…
Try to work as a group to spread information about the event as widely as possible by brainstorming ideas and sharing networks of contacts. You might want to consider all or some of the following:
• Word of mouth – tell as many people as possible about your event.
• Leaflets and posters – put them in local shops, cafes, pubs, offices, surgeries, churches, community centres and schools, town notice boards. Do remember that fly posting is an offence and the permission of the owner or person in charge must be sought in advance.
• Signs and banners – put them all around the local area before the date of the event. Bunting can help too.
• News releases – send them to local newspapers, radio and TV stations, local newsletters and guides.
• Get the media involved – news articles, stunts, photo calls and interviews.•Social media – websites, emails, e-flyers, blogs, facebook and twitter.
• Organise a pre-event – drum up publicity by organising an event with local dignitaries, school children or celebrities a week before the main event and invite the local media.
• Personal touch – send out individual invites to people you would really like to attend, ie local dignitaries, sponsors, supporters and press etc.
• Free listings – list your event in local what’s on guides and websites.
When To Publicise Your Event
As highlighted in the Event Planning section, when creating a marketing timeline it is essential to work backwards from the date of your event. Typically you will need to prepare well in advance and consider these important points:
• The best time to release your publicity – too far in advance and people will forget about it or too near to the event and people will probably have made other plans. Generally, aim for around 4 to 6 weeks for small scale events, longer if your event is larger scale.
• What deadlines do local papers, radio and TV stations work to if you send them information? Remember especially that local monthly magazines will have a considerably longer lead time that weekly or daily press.
• How long will it take to produce your promotional materials, including writing, designing, printing and distribution?
• Has the venue and everyone who is involved, eg musicians, dancers, artists etc confirmed in writing that they are taking part?
• Are there any key gatherings or events where people who are potential attendees could receive flyers on your event?
• If your event is ticketed and there is a financial implication or sales target to cover costs, it is even more important that your publicity is out well in advance.
There are relatively inexpensive ways of producing printed flyers and leaflets, using a simple graphics package on your home computer, home printer or photocopying service. Using a graphic designer and professional printing company will obviously cost more. Depending on the size of your event, you may not have a budget for marketing, if so you could focus your energies on securing free editorial coverage in the local media or approach a local printer for sponsorship. The section on Social Media for other cost effective or environmentally friendly ways to publicise your event.
Tips for print based media
• Make sure it has all the vital information for people attending your event, including where, when, the name of the event, entrance fee, directions, public transport, how to get tickets, contact or website address for further details etc.
• Leaflets should be easy to read without too much information – consider use of language, font size and if anything needs to be translated into a different language.
• Good graphics and photographs will help to catch the passer-by’s eye and attract publicity.
• Posters need to be readable from a distance.
• Run a competition in the local school to come up with a poster design
• Work out how many flyers and leaflets you may need and see if those involved in the organising group have home printers and can share production.
• Distributing leaflets can be time consuming – could you distribute through a local newspaper, use the mailing list from a local venue or a distribution service?
• Ask for a team of volunteers to get your posters displayed – splitting the work will get more posters displayed faster.
• Remember to include logos of any organisations or to credit any individuals who are supporting your event, whether this is in kind or by cash funding.
• If you are producing a brochure, consider selling advertising space to local businesses – it may even pay for the cost of printing. Remember to tell them your deadlines for printing.
• If you really want to use print, try to use recycled paper products.
• Get someone to proof read any publicity materials for omissions and errors!
Be sure to invite photographers from your local paper, the radio and the TV to a particular part of your event – having something specific to come and see at a set time helps the press to schedule if they can attend. If you manage to get coverage in a local paper, a good photograph will also give you added column inches and is usually the first thing the reader will be drawn to. If you are sending images or video that you have taken at your community event, always make sure they are sent out with details of the event, who is featured, and who has taken the picture. It is important to get permission for the use and publishing of photographs when people are aware they are being photographed (whether they are children or adults) by completing a model release form. Guidance and templates can be found via The Association of Photographers (AOP)