How to promote an event? (guide)

(note – also see: Tip for organizing events – give participants photos at the end of the conference: Olivian Breda)

Let’s say you have to promote an event; how to do it?

Contents:

Basic tips prior to anything
A. Create a web site / blog (if you don’t have one) and promote it
A1. Create it
A2. Promote it via Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A3. Promote it via Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
B. Be in the press
B1. Create press releases and distribute them via press release web sites
B2. Create press releases and distribute them to interested journalists
B3. Get press coverage
C. Social networks
Solution A: Events on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Upcoming
Solution B: Accounts on social networks
Solution C: Promoting on groups
Solution D: Promotion via different media types
Solution E: Promotion on web sites dedicated to organizing events
Solution F: Get help from others
Solution G: What to do after you create the event / account on a social network?

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Basic tips prior to anything

  • First of all, you should create trust in your event; how can you create trust in an event?
    • Put some videos with the trainers / speakers / presenters at your event; let me, your viewers, see them in action prior to coming to your event; very important step;
    • Let me know how many participants will be there at the event, and update this number daily (if you can also show me a list with the participants, that’s even better);
    • Show me written testimonials (video testimonials are even better) from the participants of past events;
    • Give me money-back guarantee;
  • Make sure things work; always; did the schedule tell me the conference will start at 8:30 AM? Start at 8:30; ends at 10:45? End it there; cover the logistics well; if you promise anything, deliver it;
  • Provide good customer service; answer queries, be there for your prospect participants, fulfill their needs;
  • After the event, make sure you do a follow-up;
  • Create surprises (positive ones); give the persons who arrive on time at your conference a bonus; put a very good presenter at the end of the show, as a surprise bonus for those who stay up until then; offer a small incentive for the people who leave you their business cards;
  • Help the participants with logistics; inform them about parking space at your location; provide them with GPS coordinates of your event; do give them a link to an interactive map; tell them about the dress code; do tell them if you expect the event to take longer than the given time (although this shouldn’t typically happen); remind them a few days prior to the event about the event; allow participants to interact one with another via electronic means (see the social networks section below);

You should focus on the promotion of the event after you made sure that the things above work well;
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A. Create a web site / blog (if you don’t have one) and promote it

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A1. Create it

First of all, you should have a web site or blog for your event; you can easily create both (either site or blog) on WordPress, other CMS are fine also;
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A2. Promote it via Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If it’s a regular event, which takes place each month, you should consider investing in Search Engine Optimization, so that you have good positions in the search engines;
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A3. Promote it via Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

On the other hand, if you have a one-time event, which takes place just once, the better option would be investing in ads, which allows you to have a very good control on when do the ads run;
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B. Be in the press

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B1. Create press releases and distribute them via press release web sites

This is a very simple solution to get media awareness; create the press release, and do a search for press release web sites on the Internet; then submit your press release to those web sites;
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B2. Create press releases and distribute them to interested journalists

The key word here is “interested”; you should target our audience very well, and only send the press release to journalists who are interested in it;
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B3. Get press coverage

This is trickier, but the results are very good; if you appear in the local newspaper / at TV / on the radio you will get a lot of awareness for your event;
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C. Social networks

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Solution A: Events on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Upcoming

On some specific social networks (listed above), you can create an event; my advice for you would be to create such events on those networks, and then to promote them;
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Solution B: Accounts on social networks

In order to promote an event, you can also create accounts on social networks; make sure that the account is specific to your needs; since you have an event, it’s best to have a Facebook page/group, rather than a Facebook user profile, on LinkedIn you can create a group, rather than an account;
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Solution C: Promoting on groups

LinkedIn has groups, Facebook has groups, Yahoo! has groups; you can promote your event in those groups, also;
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Solution D: Promotion via different media types

  • Do you have a lot of photos of past events? Use Flickr (or other photo sharing web sites) to promote your photos;
  • Very nice videos? How about trying YouTube?
  • Presentations? Try SlideShare;
  • Documents? Scribd;

If I were you, I’d put a lot of emphasis on promoting via videos on your own web site, they are very engaging (so post a clip on YouTube/similar web site, then embed the video on your web site for engagement with your viewers);
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Solution E: Promotion on web sites dedicated to organizing events

Sample web sites:

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Solution F: Get help from others

On the web, it’s great to have a good community, from whom to get help in promoting your event;

So, as a tip: involve your community, get their help in promoting your event; you will thus get much better results;
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Solution G: What to do after you create the event / account on a social network?

Naturally, promote it! You can promote it to relevant (another key word) users in your network, you can have the links to the social media accounts at the end of each email you send, and you can also include social media links on your web site;

Also, try to be relevant and not spam; post relevant messages for your account (if you have an event on Facebook, post things which are relevant to that event);

Tip: you can use integration of social networks; you can get a message posted on Twitter to be automatically posted on Facebook also; Google “synchronize A with B” and you should get a solution to this;

Tip #2: It’s best that even after the event ends, you are still active on the social networks that you created for that event; post relevant things only, though.


Note: Also see the Yahoo! Group on which I present similar issues:IMRo. To join, email imro-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and reply to the confirmation email.

I am a Freelancer. My expertise is in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) / UX (user experience) / WordPress. Co-founder of lumeaseoppc.ro (series of events on SEO & PPC) and cetd.ro (Book on branding for MDs). On a personal level, I like self-development - events, sports, healthy living, volunteering, reading. I live in London, and lots of things live in me.

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