1. Don’t waste time writing a press release
You’re running a community event and you want to promote it. You send a press release and sit back waiting for your event to hit the news. Guess how many of their 1000s of viewers, listeners and readers will hear about your event? None. Zero. Why? Because your event is not news.
However, there may be a way around this…
2. Develop a nose for newsworthy
Develop the skill of identifying what is newsworthy. What is quirky, human interest, extraordinary, or “hard news” about your event? It might be the people involved, the neighbourhood, community, or cause. That’s the story! Write a press release and lead with that.
And be clear on what coverage you’d like: pre-event or do you want a reporter to come along on the day.
3. Get free promotion on the radio
Nothing newsworthy about your event? And can’t afford the £££s needed for radio advertising? You might still be able to get promotion, on air, for free!
Some local radio stations actively encourage their listeners to send in event details. You might feature in their events listing or be invited for interview.
Here’s a start: send your event details to BBC Radio Solent, Unity 101 Community Radio or Voice FM community radio.
4. Get free promotion city-wide
Use local What’s On guides. Email your event details to the Communities Team at Southampton City Council for inclusion in their Community News and Events newsletter. It is emailed to subscribers. Subscribe to it too, to keep up to date with what’s going on across the city! You can also head over to Visit Southampton’s website to submit your event into their online What’s On guide.
5. Use the tools you already have
Do not overlook the tools you already have to reach large audiences. Use your organisation’s social media platforms, website and email lists to tell people about your event. Text event details in your organisation’s WhatsApp or messaging groups.
Ask your organisation’s staff, members and supporters like trustees and influencers to share in their networks too. Word-of-mouth works well too!
6. Live coverage on social media
Continue event promotion during and after your event. Take good quality photos and videos of all the action. Cover the event live on your social media platforms. Encourage visitors to do so too. Show people what they’re missing out on, or encourage more people to come along.
You can also Live Tweet the action or stream it live on your social media platforms.
7. Post-event coverage
All those good quality photos and videos you took during your event are really handy for post-event coverage. Pick the ones that best capture the essence and atmosphere. Use them alongside an article on your website and social media.
Plus, if something newsworthy happened during the event, send a press release and photos or video to the local press.