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How to Promote Your Event with Paid and Earned Media Placement
Through the use of advertising and public relations, your business can draw attention to just about anything you can imagine. Beyond simply promoting your products or services, a time may come when you need to promote an event that your business is hosting or attending.
Your approach to promoting an event needs to be different than how you might promote products or services. First, an event is time sensitive. You need to carefully map out your promotional timeline. Additionally, your call to action will change. Most commonly for an event, you are promoting people to attend. Here’s a look at our top advice for effectively and efficiently promoting an event with both paid and earned media placement.
Your budget and desired outcomes should align.
First and foremost, you need to establish a baseline for success. What metrics do you plan to measure from your event to determine if you achieved your goals? This could be the number of attendees, number of tickets sold, new business received as a result of the event, or possibly even earned media coverage for your event. Once you know your desired outcomes, you can establish an appropriate budget needed to achieve these outcomes. If the two don’t align, something needs to change! You either need to scale back on your goals, or ramp up your budget.
Timing is everything.
Now with goals and a budget in place, you need to think about the timing of your promotions. Pushing things out early may seem like a great idea to make sure people know about your event well in advance. But there is such a thing as running promotions too early. People may not pay attention to an event that feels long off into the future. Many people don’t even know what they’re eating for dinner in a day! Instead aim to roll out most of your promotions about 6 weeks prior to your event, and continue to increase them up through the event. This will also help to make the most of your budget while yielding the best possible results.
Diversify your strategy.
When it comes to developing your promotional strategy for an event, you want to have diverse tactics that hit people from a lot of different angles. If you only ran billboards, or only promoted your event on the radio, you’d be missing entire markets of people who might not respond well to these single tactics. Instead, look for a variety of ways you can reach your target audience. This includes a blend of TV, radio, digital, social media, and out of home advertising. On the PR side, you should reach out to all types of media for potential coverage, even freelancers, bloggers, and social media influencers! It’s hard to anticipate what will be that one promotion people see for your event, in the right place and at the right time, that will ultimately convince them to attend.
Consider community partnerships.
Promotional partnerships with community organizations are a powerful way to help spread the word about your event, because you now have another entity, with their own list of contacts, actively promoting your event for you. These opportunities could be paid or an even trade. One example is to team up with your local community blood bank. The partnership might provide free tickets to your event for anyone that attempts to donation blood during the month leading up to your event, or they may also choose to simply mail free tickets to their top donor list. The blood bank now has an extra incentive to attract more donors, while helping to drive people to your event. Also look for local businesses, like coffee shops, that might allow you to advertise on their disposable cups or to-go bags. In addition to traditional advertising, tactics like this are effective because they are unique. Hundreds of people will be walking around holding a promo for your event. In return the business may ask you to sponsor the printing of such materials, which they then receive for no cost.
Make it easy for media coverage.
Finally, if you want your best shot at getting media to help promote your event, and even provide live coverage of your event, you need to clearly communicate the details, and make it easy for them to tell your story. First, keep them informed. Issue a media advisory several weeks in advance of your event as well as a press release on or right after your event. The media advisory is a request for live coverage, whereas a press release provides the whole story so that even if the media didn’t show up in person, they may still write about your event. If a ticketed event, consider offering free passes to the media. And most importantly, be sure to clearly communicate what they should care about your event. Is it something of interest to their viewers or readers? Is it tied to a charitable component? Find the angle that will grab the media’s attention!
Do you need help promoting an upcoming event? Let us help you identify your best strategy for earned and paid media placement! Contact us today to learn more.