Putting together a great event or conference takes a lot of time, energy and money to achieve. Often, it’s something you are fiercely passionate about, whether it be a business idea, a charity event or something else entirely. The last thing you want then, is to go to all the trouble of organising a great event only for very few people to actually turn up.
Not only will this seriously deflate you in terms of achieving your end goal, but it could also see you lose out financially as well as missing out on crucial outside interest. In order to make sure that doesn't happen, there are a number of things you can do drum up awareness so that your event is a hit, not a miss.
Who do you want to attract?
First thing’s first, you will need to sit down and decide who exactly it is you want at your event. Who will benefit most from it? What kinds of people are most likely to buy into your idea? These are the kinds of things you need to ask yourself in order to create a target audience. Once you have this, you can start exploring different avenues to attract them.
Involve the local media
Getting the local media involved as early as possible is an excellent way of earning yourself some press for the event. As soon as you know where and when you will be holding it, start reaching out to journalists in your area.
If you already have connections in the press, great! If not, don’t worry; they are only an email away. Also, get ready to prepare a press release detailing everything about your event: this is often the best way to get media attention.
If you have the funds, you can enlist the help of a PR professional to help spread the word about your event. These professionals will already have contacts in the press and radio as well as the know-how when it comes to the best way to promote your idea.
Start plugging your event on social media to friends and colleagues on a daily basis. The key here is not to saturate other people’s time lines with generic posts about something they may or may not care about; you need to get creative. Think outside the box with quirky posts, use images and think about how different areas of your target audience will react.
For the last point, it’s also important to think about how you use the different social media platforms and who it will reach. LinkedIn, for example, is great for targeting industry specific persons, particularly in their Groups section. Facebook, meanwhile, is much more general, whereas Twitter can be used to tap into niche audiences as well as the general public.
Posters and leaflets
Create some hard-copy media that you can distribute in places that your target audience is likely to frequent. For example, if you are holding an event on cycling, stop in at all the bike stores and workshops in your area and ask about putting up posters and leaflets. Local cafes are another good place to distribute copy. This is a much more passive way of attracting an audience, but you never know whose eye a snappy poster will catch.