I get to manage a lot of calendars as part of my life and there’s something I see people doing consistently to really hurt attendance of their events. From car shows to community events, people are truly limiting how effective their messaging is to the people they’d like to attend those events. But how do you spread the word about community events so that people will find them in the first place?
Let’s face it - there are so many ways to deliver messaging nowadays that telling the world about your event is something that can very easily get lost. Even if you get to the right people, it’s still entirely possible that they will forget about your event when it rolls around.
I’ve noticed that Facebook is getting more and more capable when it comes to spreading the news and then reminding people about events. Other services, like Eventbrite, are working on the nanny factor in that they want to remind you of an event as well. So what is the best way to get the word out about an event?
One of the things I see in managing several events calendars including possibly the most popular car show calendar in the US is that people provide very, very little information about their events to us. So often I see people submit events to the Curbside Car Show Calendar and the first thing listed is all the stuff you can’t do or can’t bring. Usually there is very little after this although somewhere in there is information that would actually attract people to the event. Sometimes.
This is also the case on several local calendar resources that I see. There is so little information and the main point is often buried in the listing, if it’s made at all.
So my first piece of advice is to find the local or relevant calendars to your event and then submit as much information as you are allowed to and start with the reason someone would want to come to your event. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to even create a boilerplate document in your favorite word processor with things that won’t change, such as your website, contact information and things like that.
If you’re listing a car show, maybe the fun things the public can enjoy like food trucks, beverages, bands, the number of vehicles anticipated, any raffles or giveaways and that sort of thing should be the first things in the listing.
When I went to journalism school we were taught to lead with the “five ‘w’s and an ‘h’” - who, what, when, why and how. In a calendar listing I would say lead with what will be of most interest to people.
In your listing don’t forget information about how and where to get tickets, if possible, and whom to contact for more information. You should also very, very clearly put where the event is going to be held.
As you know, you should always have a website and the listing should include a link to your website where the event in question is easily found. On Curbside we have thousands of listings of car shows so when I share the link on social media I always link directly to the event listing.
This is also true of the social media I manage for destinations. The events we share on social have direct links back to the specific event listings on our websites. And we put as much information about those events as possible with the top of the text being details that would attract someone to the event.
If you don’t have a website yet, I hope you at least have a Facebook Business Page specifically for your organization. In that case, you can create an event on that medium and add a link to that. From there spend a few bucks and pay to have the event appear in your fans’ news feeds - you’ll find that it absolutely generates attention.
You’ll also find that Facebook is becoming really good about reminding people that they have expressed interest in an event. If they indicate that they’re going, Facebook is really persistent about reminding them about the fact and can even integrate with their calendars on their smart phones so that reminders pop up.
Again, no matter where you list the event please be sure to provide as much information as the vehicle you’re using will allow. From the car show calendar to the community event calendars that I manage I find that people are very brief in their descriptions. Considering that words are still what scores the highest for Google in terms of search as well as tells the story of your events, feel free to use as many as you can.
What I do with an event is I have a checklist of all the local and community and newspaper calendars around. I then write up a press release with a single link (preferably my own website) and then share that.
If you don’t have a website and are using Facebook please use a link shortener like Bitly to create a short link that people can easily type into their browsers. A side benefit of this is that you can also track the number of times people used your link.
Of course if your event is not so much a local draw but has appeal to a specific group, such as with the car shows, then see if there are groups or clubs that area affiliated with the interest and if you can get them to help publicize the event.
I’ve found that people are killing their own message with very little description in the body of the text about their events. Another common thing I’ve found is that people put multiple events on multiple Pages and Groups on Facebook. This is a great way to lose control over your message.
And, of course, if you’ve been fish bowling you also have your mailing list.
I hope this helps you. It’s an ever-present challenge to rise to the top of the heap in terms of getting the word out about your events. With so many fun things always happening and our lives being so busy I wish you the best in telling the story of your events.
Facebook's events page