You want your project to have high visibility in your community. How do you do that? Here are some helpful hints.
Publicizing Your Event — Before and After
- Ask permission to display flyers, posters or postcards at coffee shops, libraries, malls and local businesses. Invite local businesses to participate with you (as collaborators or co-sponsors).
Reach out to local media with a public service announcement (PSA)
- Many local newspapers, magazines, community guides, and radio and TV stations run PSAs on a range of events and projects. Your grassroots community betterment project is a perfect candidate for this type of mention, and the local press welcomes information about community events. Many media outlets have online forms on their websites to simplify event promotion.
- Develop a list of local editors and reporters with their names, phone numbers and email addresses. Most newspapers and radio and television stations will list newsroom contact information on their websites. The reporters most interested in your announcement will be community editors.
- Journalists love a touching personal story. Shape your story to focus on the people in your community, and try to find an example of a person or small groups of people who will benefit from your effort.
- When emailing event details, use plain text without fancy graphics and include key logistics (who, what, when and where). Put the event’s date in the subject line. See below for a sample press release.
- Contact news outlets at least two weeks before the event.
- Follow up with reporters a few days before your event to push them to cover it. Reporters are always on the lookout for news, so don’t be shy. The worst that can happen is they say no. After your event, contact reporters to report your success. You will probably have fresh stories of how your project helped people. Offer to connect reporters with people you helped (provided those people are willing to talk to the press).
- Use email networks and newsletters to get the word out.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers announcing your event. Try to tie your project to a recent, relevant news item to increase the likelihood it will get published.
- Create flyers or poster-board notices and place them in locations with high traffic for better visibility.