Spread the News
Your local newspaper is always looking for items to fill its pages, so with the right pitch and plenty of time you should be able to get an article in.
Call the editor or a local journalist and try out stories over the phone to see which gets the best response. Send your press release out as far in advance as possible, on letterhead, and include a photograph of the lecturer, which our administration team can provide.
Send your media release to local radio stations as well - to the news desk and also to program hosts. Their email addresses can usually be found on their websites.
'What's on' sections
Most local newspapers and community magazines have a 'What's on' section in the body of the paper or on their websites. Getting your event listed in one of these can be very effective free advertising.
Many people who read these columns are motivated and looking for things to do. Look beyond the local papers too - many cities have weekly free newspapers covering art, music, museums and events as well as pub bands and movie times. These, too, are read by people looking for something to do. Their readership is young and hip, or at least younger and hipper, than that of many of the more mainstream papers, and if this is the market you want, then don't neglect these outlets.
Online ‘what's on’
Many websites have general calendars of events, just like newspapers. Some of these are aimed at particular interest groups.
- Always get your copy to the media in good time. Ring up to check submission deadlines, but in any case be prepared a month in advance (two weeks is the absolute minimum).
- Use the process of promoting your event to build up your media contact list. Record every media contact and its outcomes.
- Review your strategy. All of these methods, even if you do them all at the same time, have gaps and limitations and biases.
- Be prepared. There's no point getting publicity unless you are prepared to take advantage of it. However unlikely it may seem that you will be swamped with callers, you need a plan in place to cover this eventuality. Before you begin contacting broadcasters, make sure that you can meet any potential demand for the event (and for your work) that the publicity may generate.