Promoting Events

Tips on Publicizing Your Speaking Engagement

Some groups will want to promote their Carolina Speakers engagement to attract the largest possible audience.

There are a number of tools to help you do this.

Not every technique works in every area, but some of them may be appropriate for your region. Here are some basic principles that apply to all localities:

  • Nothing substitutes for personal contact
  • Use as many avenues of communication as possible
  • Your greatest asset is that you speak for a local organization

The following are suggested techniques for attracting an audience.

Newspapers

Perhaps the best way to promote your program is through a press release from you about the program arranged through Carolina Speakers. The press release should be sent to your local papers in time to alert your potential audience. You can increase the impact of the story by calling the editors of your local papers and telling them how important this story is and why their readers will enjoy hearing the speaker. Ask editors to give the story a prominent place in the paper. This is called “pitching the story.” A local request always improves chances that an article will be published or given more prominent placement in the newspaper.

Radio Public Service Announcements

Many local radio stations like to help nonprofit organizations by announcing their events. It is a good idea to provide a copy of the press release to your local radio news directors with a note asking them to announce it at a time when they know many people will be listening. Commuting time at the beginning and end of the day is almost always the best time to get listeners. However, it may be different in your area. Call your local news directors, pitch the story and ask them to play it when they think it will reach the most people. A local request always improves chances that a radio station will carry an announcement. Carolina Speakers are usually happy to conduct telephone interviews about an upcoming talk.

Television

Do you have community access TV or a local news program? Send the station news directors a copy of the press release and ask them to feature it. Pitch the story. While television favors stories with accompanying video, a request by a local person may motivate them to run the story without it.

Need Help Pitching the Story?

It’s natural to feel shy about asking an editor or news director to use a story or to give it greater prominence, especially if you’ve never done it before. However, most editors and news directors expect to be asked and respond well to “pitching” from a local person.

If you want some coaching in pitching the story, call us, write us or email us. We’ll try to answer your questions, and help you pinpoint the important things to say.

Reaching Special Audiences

You can communicate to new audiences and reach other audiences a second or third time by using several avenues of communication. Generally, the more times one hears a message, the more likely it is to sink in. You can use this principle to promote your Carolina Speakers engagement.

Newsletters

Many religious and civic organizations have newsletters. Send them the press release and ask if they will publish the information or announce it at their next regular meeting.

Bulletin Boards

Are there central meeting places with bulletin boards? Do you have a way of converting the press announcement into a simple poster? Post it wherever people congregate to read notices: churches, libraries, schools, community centers, outdoor kiosks, or supermarket bulletin boards.

Telephone Trees

Some groups have telephone trees to alert their membership. In some areas use of the telephone tree may be a highly effective way to get the word out about a Carolina Speakers engagement, offer carpooling, and drum up enthusiasm.

Email Lists

Many organizations have developed email lists or listservs to communicate with members. You might take advantage of this electronic form of announcing your program.

Suggestions? What have we overlooked?

E-mail us with your suggestions for publicizing Carolina Speakers. Tell us what works and what doesn’t. You may be able to help other groups attract audiences.