Psst – want free publicity for your event?
I publish details on dochara.com of upcoming events that I believe may be of interest to people visiting Ireland. In so doing I am providing, albeit in a small way, free publicity to these events.
I’m very far from the only one doing this – all over Ireland there are people working on travel websites, local websites or ones aimed at people with particular interests who also offer free publicity to any festival or event that is relevant to their readers. Many print publications do the same thing.
All those running events work with very restricted resources, so taking full advantage of what free publicity is going should be a no-brainer. In spite of this I cannot begin to count the hours I’ve spent looking for dates, information, images, logos and programme details on websites that either did not include them or made them really hard to find.
So, my question to the people organising events is this: Why do you make it so hard? We want to give you publicity, could you not make it a bit easier?
This is a list of 10 things that very event website should include or that event organisers can do to maximise their free publicity – if even half were done for most events it would be wonderful for everyone involved.
1. Have a website, ONE website
If you’ve none at all – hello, wake up!!
If you have a url like ‘mygreatevent2011.com’ -rethink things. This may work for the Olympics but there are many reasons why it is not the optimum way of doing things for everybody.
Consolidate. Having a wordpress.com blog, a blogger blog, a personal page at your ISP, a Posterous site etc etc in addition to your main website is just confusing (a recent event I tried to write about had five sites, all with bits and pieces of information). Certainly use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or any other means possible to publicise, but keep one central point to which all of these lead and where all information is gathered.
2. Have a clearly linked media page
This is not where you put all your great reviews, it is where you make as much information as you can available to people who want to give you publicity. Much of what follows belongs on that page, or at least should be within a click of it.
3. Write a brief description of your event
Not a 1000 word essay on its history, not ‘We are back again bigger and better than ever’. What is needed is a short paragraph or two that clearly summarises the event for a person who knows nothing at all about it.
4. Include an overview of this year’s highlights
Yes, I know the whole programme is up there in minute detail, but a page or a few paragraphs briefly outlining the main programme highlights would be really useful. Bear in mind that a person happy to give you publicity may know little or nothing about the broad topic of your event and so is not in a position to know what to highlight.
5. Make a logo and/or images available for download
Provide these in various sizes and formats, suitable for print and for the web. Make sure it is quite clear that there are no licensing restrictions with these images.
6. Have a mailing list
Provide a sign up form so that updates on your programme can be emailed to those interested – this isn’t just good for media folk but for anyone who might attend your event.
7. Provide RSS feeds
If your website supports it (and really it should) make an rss feed of news and updated programme details available.
8. Confirm dates of next year’s event early
Not a month before it happens, but as soon as possible after the end of this year’s event. A couple of notable festivals do this during or even before the current event, which is ideal – it means that people who enjoyed themselves this year have a date for next year’s diary.
9. If a website has a ‘submit an event’ page, use it
Not to copy and paste a press release though – write clear coherent information about your event in a way that suits the site you are submitting to. Make it really easy for people to help get the word out.
10. Share the love
That isn’t a plea for free tickets or any sort of goodies, just a suggestion that you reciprocate and support, in some small way, other people’s efforts.
This could be as simple a thing as linking to a site that has given you publicity or acknowledging the support of someone who has provided accommodation, printing, transport, advice, or assistance of any kind – even if they are not official sponsors. It could mean giving a mention to events similar to yours or held in the same locality.
It creates good Karma and will come back to you!
Free hugs by senekin