Whether you're just starting on an upcoming event or wrapping up the details on another, how you promote your event can make the difference between a room full of empty seats or a standing room only crowd. Here are some steps you won't want to forget:
1. Set your goals.
Who are you targeting? Do you want to reach students, faculty, staff, the community or some combination? Are you interested in a media presence there? Is your event more appropriate for a campus audience or a public one? Think about who would be interested in the subject matter.
What is your event’s purpose? Do you want to raise awareness about a project or topic, encourage attendance, get people to take action (such as applying or raising funds) or garner media coverage? Identifying a goal will help you decide where and how to promote your event.
How many people do you want to attend? How large is your venue? Will your event set up reduce capacity? Having a goal for attendance will help you decide how widely you need to promote your event. Also consider your venue’s parking situation. If you plan to reserve spaces for your speakers or guests, then you will have to pay for them.
What is your promotional budget? Knowing how much that you can spend on promoting your event will help you determine which channels to pursue. Many promotional avenues are free of charge; some, such as traditional advertising, require payment.
2. Gather all of your event information.
Compile an information packet. Depending on your event, your needs may vary, but think about including photos, bios of speakers, descriptions of the event or content, titles of lectures, location information, cost and contact information in a packet that can easily be shared electronically.
3. Contact your campus communicator.
Your unit’s or college’s communicator can help spread your message through departmental listservs and other internal audiences, through cross-promotion at other events and through social media.
4. Add your event to the UofSC web calendar.
The UofSC web calendar serves as a central location for events hosted or sponsored by university departments. Events that are added to the calendar also are submitted for consideration for the @UofSC Today daily faculty/staff e-news. To submit an event for consideration, you must request through the calendar and space reservation system 25Live. If you do not yet have access to the system, you can also fill out a Submit an Event Form.
5. Assess need for external media relations.
If you would like to explore external media options, contact us. We can advise you about whether your event is appropriate for inclusion in media advisories, press releases or the UofSC Daybook, which is a daily email sent to regional media.
6. Create marketing collateral for your event.
In the university’s Marketing Toolbox, you will find templates for flyers, posters, information sheets, PowerPoint slides and more. Use these to create collateral for your event that you may then distribute in various ways across campus and the community.
7. Contact digital board managers.
Digital boards serve as a way to “post” digital flyers in advance of events. Digital boards appear in many unit and college buildings, as well as buildings with high foot traffic. Contact us for a list of digital board managers.
8. Distribute fliers and posters on campus.
The brick wall along Greene Street — from the Woodrow Residence Hall to the end of the wall on the east end by the Melton Observatory — is available for posting flyers. You must register with the Russell House Information Center prior to posting. You also may reserve space for person-to-person flyer distribution in several locations, including Greene Street, Pickens Street Bridge and the Coliseum walkway. These spaces must be reserved in advance through the Division of Student Life.
9. Contact related organizations and interest groups.
If you are interested in inviting the public to your event, consider contacting related community organizations and interest groups, which may help boost attendance. Also consider promoting your event to faculty at other higher education institutions, in community church bulletins or association newsletters.
10. If budget permits, consider paid advertising.
This step may be cost-prohibitive for events that do not have an entrance fee; however, if paid advertising is in your plan, contact us for advice about advertising channels and costs.
The University’s official writing style is AP Style. Get tips and guidance in our Writing Style Guide.
To submit a story idea, faculty and staff note or campus announcement to @UofSC Today and What’s New @UofSC visit Submit an Idea.
To submit information to The Daily Gamecock or other student-run media, contact Student Run Media.
For event and conference planning services, contact Continuing Education and Conferences.
For printing, visit Printing Services.
To request the president to speak at your event, fill out the Remarks Request Form [pdf].
The Office of Special Events can answer questions and provide guidance for planning successful events, though the office’s primary focus is planning and executing events sponsored by the Office of the President.
Parking Services can assist with reserving spaces and can advise you about parking options for various venues.