The key to the success of any event is promotion. When you get attention for your event, you’ll improve volunteer participation, increase turnout and encourage media coverage.
Do your research
It’s a smart move to do some research before you start promoting. You don't want to waste time and effort on an audience that may not be interested in your cause. Ask yourself:
- What's your event is about?
- Which groups of people would be likely to attend?
- Are there similar events that have been successful? Why?
- What will be the most appealing parts of your event for different audiences?
Print your materials
With all printed ads and promotions make sure to check the rules about putting them up and obtain permits if necessary. For some tips on poster design and an easy-to-use poster creation tool, check out the Spread the word page on the Victorian Electoral Commission's Passport to Democracy website.
Posters or flyers
Before spreading posters and flyers through your school, university or local community, make sure all the essential information is on them. Include:
- Event title and description
- Key performers or speakers
- Name of the organisation (and some brief background if relevant)
- Contact details
- When (time and date)
- Where it will be held: (think about giving Melways or Google Map references)
A brochure gives you more room to talk about your group and what they are trying to achieve by holding this event.
If the event is:
- At school, ask a staff member to display the brochures where there’s a lot of student traffic.
- At uni, ask the student union or other on campus organisations to hand them out or display them somewhere visible to the general public.
Usually you’ll only make one or two of these, as they can be a bit of effort. You need to pick a suitable location to hang them so as many people see it as possible. Make sure you have permission first so it doesn’t get taken down.
Send personal invitations
Reach the people you really want by sending them a personal invitation.
Decide on the format
Email is the most cost-effective way to invite a large group. But letters have a very personal touch, and are a good approach for contacting a smaller set of people when you’ve got other strategies for mass promotion.
Contact your contacts
If you’ve got an existing contact list, this is a great place to start. Your existing contacts can also suggest other people to invite. Make sure that those who have been generous with past support (financial or otherwise) are contacted.
Associated clubs or community groups would probably also appreciate formal invitations. Let them know why you’re specifically seeking their participation and support.
Approach some special guests
There may be some VIPs to invite, from government or business. It’s worth checking with their support staff about availability or the best way to send an invite.
Make use of the media
Media coverage is one of the easiest ways to get your message out to a large group of people. Media coverage of your event can reach more people than the actual event itself. Good publicity before the event will usually increase the number of people attending on the day. Don't just think about one type of media, explore all your options.
Talk on radio or TV
Some community radio stations will let you advertise for free or come on to give a quick presentation about your event. Visit our speak on radio or TV page for more information.
Write a media release
A media or press release is like a cross between a news story and an advertisement. Businesses, government departments and activist groups all use media releases as an effective and controlled way to get your message directly to the media.
Newspapers and magazines often use media releases as a source for stories. You should also publish them on your website so people can access them before, during and after the event. Visit our Write a media release page for advice about how to structure and distribute this information.
Contact the editors at your local newspapers and ask them to write a story either before or on the day of your event. If your event is at school or university, contact the staff in charge of publications.
- Give as much detail as you can beforehand
- Get the key facts 100% correct (date, time, location)
- Offer to make your group available for interviews and photographs
- Think about your 'pitch' - or why it would make a good story
- Provide contact details for follow up information
You could also find out how much advertising costs, although this can be outside the budget for many smaller events.
Don't limit yourself to email. There are plenty of other ways to promote your event online.
Spread the word with social media
Set up a Facebook, twitter or other account and use it publish comments, photographs and even videos. For more information, visit our Get support online section.
Advertise on a free events calendar
Check for opportunities to list your event on an organisation’s website, for example with:
Use your website
If you have a site or blog dedicated to your group or event, make use of it to give updates on the progress of the event, how to get tickets, who is performing and where it has been covered in the media.
Promote it in person
Sometimes a good old face-to-face can move people to action in a way that phone or messaging just can't.
Speak in public
There may be an opportunity to give a presentation at a related event or meeting. Get some tips on preparing in advance from our Speak in public page.
Make a class announcement
Ask your teacher, tutor or lecturer if you can make a short announcement at the beginning or end of a class. Visit our Recruit people to your cause page for more information.
Walk and talk
Why not get a group together and let people know during your lunch times and break times. Take some brochures or other promo material with you. Also keep a sheet handy for email or other contact details for people who might want to help out or join your group.