When planning an event, no matter the size, the success or failure can largely depend on promotions. Promotions are the key to making others aware of your event and the value it can bring to the attendees. Behind each promotional tool is also a strategy to reach your target audience. Here are a few ways to reach your audience in a strategic manner.
Everyone tweets about events they are attending or planning. However, generating buzz over the event starts with branding the activity. Regional Activities at Boston University and Drexel University used the hashtags #pradvanced and #bizarrepr respectively to organize their tweets. Whenever anyone had a question or comment about the upcoming event, the hashtag brought it immediately to the attention of the coordinators.
At the beginning of a promotional campaign using Twitter, you should focus on updates about the event including speakers, sponsors and other activities. However, as time goes on, you should transition toward encouraging people to attend the event because of the value it will bring to them personally and professionally. The last phase of the promotions should focus on the excitement and enthusiasm the coordinators and speakers feel. Sharing the number of attendees can also be a great way to generate publicity and encourage the last few stragglers to sign up. After all, you do not want people to miss out on a great experience!
During the event make sure people know your hashtag and are tweeting about the speakers and activities. This simple action will get the attention of people who aren’t at the event and build interest in your future events.
When planning for events, people do not use YouTube well enough. It does not take more than a half hour to shoot a promotional video and more than an hour to edit the video. Promotional videos can be corny or serious but will really get the attention of viewers. Many times it is easier to watch a video explaining the details of an event than reading a long description on a website. Showcase the benefits of the event and why it is a “must attend” for your target audience. Posting the video on YouTube (and then tweeting about it, of course) will get the attention of people around the world.
Facebook events get people’s attention, but you cannot depend on a RSVP list from them. Most people will click “Attending” whether or not they are actually planning on coming. However, it is a way to disseminate information and potentially encourage more people to attend. Message all of the guests (who have clicked attending or not) and give them information about registration, speakers, travel and even special opportunities like discounts and giveaways.
Flier your campus. Post fliers in the central location on campus. Post fliers in bathroom stalls. Post fliers in hallways. Write messages on chalkboards. Put advertisements on bookmarks to insert in textbooks (that idea comes from University of Georgia). Change screen savers to display your flier. Make sure everyone knows that you have a spectacular event or organization, and they must be included. Don’t be shy about it.
Word of mouth
Spread the message to your friends, and encourage them to do the same. When there is buzz around a particular event, people will talk about it before and after the event occurs. Word of mouth is one of the more convincing ways to encourage people to attend the event. Tell people about your experience, and make sure they know what they will be missing if they do not have a part of the event.
These are five ways to promote among many. As public relations students, we can be creative with these promotions and really get the attention of our target audience. How did you first hear about PRSSA? Was it through an advertisement on campus? A friend? An event on campus? Take your past experiences and transform them into the future of your organization or event.
This is a guest post from Vice President of Regional Activities Rachel Sprung.