I’m sure you are all hard at work planning your upcoming summer living history events. Don’t overlook marketing your event when jotting your to-do list! I am already hard at work getting the word out about the Mill’s first events of the summer – which are scheduled for May. Below are some tips on which publications to hit when:5-6 months out: Approach your quarterly and bi-monthly community magazines about doing a feature story about your upcoming event. Let the editors know you have photos from previous events you can provide for publication. Some publications will assign a writer to write about your event. If they say they are understaffed, offer to write it yourself! It’s important that they do a preview piece, so people can make a note to attend. A wrap-up piece published after the event can get you publicity, but it won’t help to drive your ticket sales or attendance.
3-4 months out: Hit your monthly publications. If they can’t give you an article, ask about being included on their event calendar (and their website!).
2 months out: Post your event on every community calendar website you can find. In the Baltimore area, I have a list of over 40. This can be time-consuming, but it is important. Include the date, time, location, and a link back to your website for more information. These web listings not only help get your event in front of new audiences, but they can help drive traffic back to your website! Many of these sites also send out monthly email newsletters, so make sure you enter your information in time to meet those email deadlines.
1 month out: Talk to the daily newspapers in the area, as well as television and radio stations. Finding a radio station to sponsor your event, talk about it on their show, and/or broadcast live from the event can have a tremendous impact on your attendance! Also, let your supporters know about the event — send out direct mail and email to drum up interest! And if your event occurs during the school year, send information to local history teachers too. At the Mill’s last event, two teachers made attendance extra credit for their students!
Bottom line: Work as hard to promote your event as you do to plan it — your hard work planning will be wasted if there is no one there to enjoy it!