Now that you have a rad calendar, full of great events, and a process to get a steady stream of rich, reliable events flowing directly to your calendar – it is time to get your calendar known..
Here are 5 ways to do it:
Step 1 – Newsletters
You can automatically funnel your events to a MailChimp account… build your lists based on location, segment (ie. seniors, music, etc), or anything else you can think of.
People like getting a weekly or monthly email/newsletter for what’s happening and it keeps you top of mind.
Building a Newsletter list
Make it easy for people to add themselves to your lists. Put a signup form on your site and if you want to turbo-boost your list size, use prizes.
Best practices have shown that you’ll get more signups if you have few bigger prizes than if you have lots of little ones. This might sound counterintuitive, but it is exactly what the state lotteries have discovered. More people play if they have 1 chance to win $300 million, than if 300 people can win $1 million.
Use this psychology and bundle up big prizes… maybe not $300 million.. but a $100 voucher for dinner + good seats at a concert + a night in a hotel = a long way in getting your newsletter subscriber numbers up. Bundle up donated prizes (you give the PR) and consider a monthly prize set. Make sure you promote the winners and have them tweet, mention, etc as their enjoying their prizes.
Step 2 – Use an itinerary builder (save & share)
Once people start actively building their days based on your calendar of events, you have them hooked. Consider a mom planning what to do next Saturday – if she can start piecing together what to do from your calendar and sharing them with her family & friends, you’ve got a loyal fan.
Step 3 – Social Media
- A total must. Don’t be shy on the mentions and retweets. Twitter is one of the quickest ways to build relationships among venues, sponsors, advertisers and other partners. Mention them if you’re promoting any of their events.
- Create hashtags around campaigns – ie. #burgersinchicago – and quickly spin up a Burger sub-calendar for meal deals around town.
- Make sure you use the Twitter feature to tweet out your events automatically before they happen. Nice way of systematically adding content to your Twitter roll.
- There is the internet, then there’s Facebook. Difficult to monetize and it is getting harder to be seen in that world without paying – but it is important to have a presence there nonetheless. Use Facebook to help build your community – but always drive people back to your website. Do regular postings to stay on people’s radar and have them engage enough that you muster up a few comments per post. Like mentions in Twitter, don’t be shy to tag people if you want them to see your post.
Other – Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pintrest, etc.
- Get creative in where your audience’s attention lives and how to best reach them. People expect you to go to them nowadays.
- In rural communities especially, I’ve seen Instagram being used well where locals regularly post community happenings.
- Likewise, Pintrest can be used effectively – in the arts in particular. Consider setting up a board of your favourite event images from your calendar. Not only a good way to reach an audience in a different way, but raise the bar in the images people choose when posting to your site. Better images = better calendar. Maybe host a monthly prize for the best image.
Step 4 – Have a launch party
Your calendar is about events – make an event around your events! Even if you’ve been running your calendar for years, launch (or re-launch) parties are a great way to create buzz.
The actual event can be as simple as hosting an event at your favourite venue and getting some prizes to drive attendance – but the build up is where get the biggest bang for your buck. Give a reason to promote your new calendar. Invite partners, stakeholders and influencers.
Step 5 – Partnerships
It’s hard to do it alone. Think of other influencers who can help get your word out. In today’s world, individuals can have have a bigger influence than companies. Research who can reach the most people and get them onside. They might help promote you for fun, maybe you need to work out a deal of some kind.
If you’re the source of your area’s coolest event – it shouldn’t be too difficult in finding good people to reference you.
I don’t take promotion lightly.. it is an ongoing activity to build relationships and keep your site top of mind.