Often times, small businesses fail to see events as a way to promote their company. Coordinating special events is a great way to promote a small business, but what comes as a challenge to most businesses is getting people there. Although most small businesses do not have a public relations department, it is not difficult to generate publicity for an event.
There are two ways you should promote your event: traditional media and new/social media.
Traditional media is the “old media,” the traditional means of communication that were in existence before the Internet age. Traditional media includes:
New/Social media is interactive digital media that began in the later part of the 20th century. New/Social media includes:
- Internet: Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Defining what type of medium to use is essential when deciding how to promote an event. Using traditional media is the most common but new media has become very popular as well. However; everyone does not use social media. A company would want to find a good way to use conventional media such as newspapers, radio and television, in addition to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Using Internet outlets for publicity is an important complement to publicity in more traditional media.
A few ways to use traditional media as a way to publicize an event include:
- Sending out news releases
- Writing and sending a media advisory (contains the 5 W’s and H) to newspapers, radio and television stations
- Sending the event specifics to be added to the “calendar of events” section in the newspaper
- Sending the information about the event to specialized magazines
Some good ways to use the Internet as a way to publicize an event include:
- Tweeting about the event in advance
- Starting a Facebook or LinkedIn event
- Keeping the Web site updated with event happenings (A calendar is good to have on Web sites because the viewer can see about the event months before it happens)
- Uploading a video promoting the event onto YouTube
- Blog about it
Some strong tactics that individuals could do to promote an upcoming event is to attend networking socials and meet up groups regarding the specific event. Having a spokesperson is always good to have. This will give the media a “go-to” person if any questions arise. The spokesperson needs to be extremely articulate and know the ends and outs of the event. Word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of getting information out and is also very strong.
Conventional media, new/social media and word of mouth, is how the public finds out about any and every event. Although some forms of medium may cost or may be harder to attain without the proper connections; such as traditional media, new media makes it possible to promote an event without being to costly.
Some people ask why even use traditional media if social media is so much cheaper but cutting out traditional media cuts out a whole audience. Some reasons why it is not beneficial to publicize an event by using only social media include:
- Not everyone uses the Internet
- Not everyone uses social media
- Traditional media spreads to the masses faster and broader
- It is hard to gain brand recognition on social media networks
- Traditional media builds awareness while new/social media builds trust
Always remember that repetition is key. Do not let the public forget about your event by publicizing it so far in advance that people forget about it. Keeping blogs, Web sites and event pages up to date as well as continuously tweeting and talking about it will help to maintain a buzz until the actual event takes place.