Get Publicity for Your Event
It's not as hard as you might think!
Perhaps you volunteered to publicize your church's annual holiday fair, or your PTA's upcoming food drive. Or maybe you're hosting an event at work that's open to the public. How do you let the public know they're invited? And how do you make sure everyone who might want to know about your event actually does know?
The Key Is Publicity!
Of course, you knew that. But think about what "publicity" means. The word "publicity" comes from "public" -- that group of people you want lining up for your event! So the key to a successful publicity campaign is to get the word out to the public as broadly and as deeply as you can.
The Press Release
Before we think about what broad and deep coverage mean, we need to think about the press release. This written tool will be the basis of your publicity campaign.
Let's say you want to publicize a pasta dinner your PTA is sponsoring to raise money for a scholarship program at the school. The dinner will be held in the school cafeteria on a weeknight, and students from the school will be serving. Parents will be cooking. The scholarship program helps fund the fifth graders' yearly trip to a week-long nature camp. Tickets to the dinner are $5 each and can be purchased by contacting the PTA's fundraising chairman.
That's your basic information. You've written your press release, and you know you want lots of people to come to the event so that the scholarship fund gets fattened up. You want broad coverage of this event: you want to let as many people as possible know about the event so that they will want to attend it.
Broad coverage can be achieved by finding out who edits the calendar of events in your local paper and sending your release to that person. It doesn't hurt to ask if maybe the calendar editor might consider running the whole release in the paper, like a little news briefin addition to listing it in the calendar. Calendar listings tend to be more bare-bones than news briefs. If you have an appropriate photograph, maybe the editor will run that with the news brief. Just ask.
Make sure you know when the paper's deadline is. For weekly papers, the deadline might be a week or more in advance. Daily papers often have long lead times as well.
More About Broad Coverage
If you or someone on your publicity committee has a bit of artistic talent, consider making a flyer to post on community bulletin boards around town. Think about where members of your potential audience might congregate. For the pasta dinner folks, think about parents and kids -- how about the bulletin board at the public library? Or in that popular toy shop in town, or the video rental store? Any place you see a community bulletin board, ask if you might post your flyer. Paper the town! You want to layer the details of your event onto the public's consciousness.
And Now...Deep Coverage
If you get your event into the local paper's calendar section and perhaps it also runs as a news brief, you're doing well. And if on top of that you manage to post a flyer all over town, you are in good shape. Your event should draw an audience.
What if you want to achieve more than just drawing an audience? What if you are also interested in making a statement about your organization, in letting the community know something about your organization they might not have known? This is where some in-depth coverage might be in order.
It's An Image Thing
Let's think again about that pasta dinner. Maybe you'd like the town to know more about your school -- that the kids and parents there are willing to work hard together to achieve their goals. If you'd like to shine a light on your school and how special it is, you could try to interest a reporter in interviewing some of the folks who are planning the dinner and writing a story about the dinner and what it's all about. The story might run before the dinner takes place, and it would do double duty: not only would it let people know about the upcoming event, it would also tell them something about your school.
When you seek in-depth coverage for your event, be sure YOU know why it would make a great story for the newspaper to cover. If you can pitch your story to an editor or reporter and convince him or her that your event is worthy of a feature story or news story, you should be able to gain all the coverage you need for your event.