The art of free event advertising?

Jo knew that events could be advertised in the Trade Magazines linked to her company’s line of business but, as a newcomer to event organization, with a non-existent advertising budget and with no marketing expert at her elbow; where should she begin?

Some of the best advertising you can get is editorial written about your event or your company. Print media like trade journals, magazines and newspapers are often looking to fill their pages and you may have noticed that articles about companies and their activities are often surrounded by advertising for related businesses. Most print media is paid for by the advertising, so this type of article has benefits both ways. If the topic of your workshop or roadshow is a controversial, exciting or popular subject, it is more likely that an article about it will be printed however you have little control over the timing. The article might be included in any month and will be driven more by space than by your deadline.

To get an article printed, all you might have to do is lift the telephone and talk to the editorial staff of your chosen publications. If you are a persuasive person they may send someone to interview you and your colleagues. They will then write the article without further reference and the next you will see is the printed word.

Press Releases

You may be in the position where you need to contact a large number of publications to let them know about your event, you may also want to get noticed by current affairs or business programs on television and radio. To ensure consistency and as much accuracy as possible, it is worth producing a Press Release that explains what the event is all about, who it is aimed at and all of the details about venue and timing.

A press release should be produced in a certain way. It ought to be written in the third person (he, she, it and they), it should have an introductory paragraph that more or less tells the whole story, it must not extend to much more than a single page and, where possible, include quotes from specific people. Make sure the people are happy to be quoted in print and try, where possible, to use unambiguous wording to avoid embarrassment. The release should finish with the contact details of the person to be approached if further information is needed.

A good journalist can produce a 750 word article from a well written press release without any reference back to the company. Some trade publications devote several pages to listings of industry specific events. Your press release will, at least, improve your chances of being included in those lists.

Producing a press release and Emailing or posting it is only the beginning of your promotional activity. Follow up with as many phone calls as you can program in to get your story to the top of the pile as often as possible.

Jo was amazed at how easy it was to compile a press release by getting ideas from everyone involved in the event. She pulled them together in one document and circulated copies to every relevant magazine, paper and even local radio. The response was surprising; local and national newspapers picked up the story, one television production company has even signed them up for a documentary show. Starting from a situation where Jo thought no sane person would be interested in their event, the publicity seemed to take on a life of its own and they were soon booking repeat sessions to meet the demand.

© 2011-

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