The Event Organizer’s Guide to Facebook Live

FacebookLive_forEventsFacebook Live can boost event attendance, grow your contacts and engage followers. According to HubSpot, Live videos experience three times the engagement of traditional videos.

It is a powerful tool for event marketing. So why aren’t more event organizers going live?

There’s the shaky camera angles, dull footage, unreliable Wi-Fi and the possibility of capturing something that went woefully “wrong” during the event. It’s embarrassing if done poorly and the possibility of your brand making the Top 10 Social Media Mishaps of the Year goes up.

But don’t let that scare you. Use this guide to going Live.

Before You Facebook Live…

Test out Live on your personal account, a test account or by changing the settings on your video to “only me.”

Make sure your venue will have a reliable wireless connection.

Use a tripod or a selfie stick. If you go Live spur-of-the-moment, brace yourself against a post or tree and hold that hand steady.

Only use Live if you plan to record for at least 10 minutes. The longer your video, the more people will interact with and “react” to it.

Don’t waste a Live video on snoozefests—awkward interviews, dry presentations, fuzzy, glitch videos. Remember, the first rule of content is quality matters. If it’s not up to par, just don’t do it.

Get close. Sit in the press box or in the front row. Before you start your Live video, assess the lighting—does it seem dark and blurry? Can you barely see the stage? Whatever you see now, will likely look worse in the video.

How to Use Facebook Live

Optional: Write a status update that you will do Live coverage of your event at such-and-such time and date. If this is the first time you’re going Live, consider this carefully – the last thing you want to do is promote coverage that you can’t deliver because of a technical glitch.

Here’s an example: We’re broadcasting LIVE at 9:00 PST tomorrow. If you can’t be there in person, tune in to our Facebook to see our #giantbicyclefest.

Steps to going live:

  • Go to the News Feed and tap the red video icon. If you cannot see this graphic, your wireless is not strong enough to go live.
  • Allow Facebook access to both your microphone and your camera.
  • Write the description of your Live video. (You should already have it in mind. Use your event hashtag). Consider capitalizing LIVE so it stands out in notifications.
  • Make sure the camera is pointing the right way before you tap the Go Live button. You will see a 3…2…1 countdown.
  • You may not see many views at first, but then they will begin pouring in, indicated by the number next to the eyeball.
  • Say hi to your followers commenting on your post.
  • Add a silly filter, doodle or mask by tapping the magic wand at the top.

Got questions about going Live? Contact our promo department, they’re happy to consult you on your event promotions.

 

Event Tips >

You’re Invited: Community Radio Volunteer Fair in Seattle

Seattle radio voluneer fairCalling all radio fans in the Emerald City: on August 20, in honor of National Radio Day, we’re co-hosting a volunteer recruitment fair with KEXP. Discover what LPFM stations are near you, what ones are coming soon, and how they could use your help.

WHEN: Sunday, August 20 | 1-4PM

WHERE: The Gathering Space at KEXP | 472 1st Ave N, Seattle

Participating Seattle Radio Stations

Rainier Valley Radio KVRU-LP 105.7 FM*
RainierAvenueRadio.World (online)
KBCS 91.3 FM Bellevue/Seattle (full power)
KBFG-LP 107.3 FM NW Seattle*
Hollow Earth Radio KHUH-LP 100.3 FM*
SPACE 101.1 FM KMGP-LP Magnuson Park*
OneAmerica Radio KQWZ-LP 106.5 FM SeaTac*
Earth On-the-Air Independent Media KODX-LP 96.9 FM*
Valley KAPY-LP 103.1 FM Duvall/Carnation/Redmond Ridge

Please note: * radio stations soon to be on air

This fair is free, just RSVP here.

Read more about our Doer, Sabrina Roach’s efforts working with LPFM community radio and find out about how KEXP plans to celebrate National Radio Week.

Radio >

No Plans for World Roller Derby Week? Make Some

redcross-blooddrives-rollerderbyPut on your party boutfit. Roller derby turns 82 this year and we’re celebrating in a big way during the inaugural World Roller Derby Week (August 13-19). Join us at two exciting events in Chicago or come out in summer and fall to donate at one of our Red Cross roller derby blood drives.

How much do you know about roller derby? Here’s some trivia: Chicago is the birthplace of roller derby and the sport is one of a just handful invented in the U.S.

If you’re in Chicago (or… need a good excuse to visit), celebrate the big 82 and World Roller Derby Week at these two events.

Celebrate Roller Derby’s Birthday and Birthplace

Happy Birthday Roller Derby. Join roller derby skaters from across the Midwest at Coliseum Park for a skate and cake. Junior derby skaters will serve cake to passersby and we’ll honor original players. Athletes, fans and families from roller derby are encouraged to attend. Sunday, August 13, 12:30-2:00 PM, free.

Time Hop. Travel back in time and into the future at Fleetwood Roller Rink. This jam-packed double-header explores the past, present and future of roller derby. Saturday, August 19, 2-6 PM, adults $15, youth $5. Midwest All Stars’ home teams will play the first game under the classic 1970’s rule-set, while wearing commemorative uniforms.

The second game showcases young, emerging talent from the Midwest JRDA member leagues in a regulation level-three junior game. Artistic and speed skaters will put on an action-packed show at halftime.

Can’t be there in person? Be there in social. Catch the action or give a shoutout at #TimeHop2017.

Nationwide Roller Derby Blood Drives

The 4th Annual Make ‘Em Bleed derby blood drives roll out again this year, in partnership with Brown Paper Tickets and The American Red Cross. They will be going on coast-to-coast and for the first time, rocking the Midwest with a blood drive in Chicago (home of our newest office) on October 29.

Roller derby athletes will offer autographs, photo opportunities and more, making these community service events the most popular blood drives of the year in many of the cities they occur.

Summer is a difficult time for the Red Cross to get blood donations and they could really use your help. Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drives have collected more than 900 units of blood over the past four years–enough to have helped save up to 2,700 lives.

To pre-register as a donor visit the Red Cross, tap “Find a Drive,” and enter the sponsor code, Derby.

There’s still time for your league to join this wonderful effort. Email derbyblooddrive(at)gmail(dot)com if you’re interested. And catch all the inspiration at #MakeEmBleed.

Make ’Em Bleed Red Cross Blood Drives 2017

Wednesday, July 26 (Pottstown, Pennsylvania): Rockstar Roller Derby from 2-7 pm at Ringing Hill Fire Company, 815 White Pine Lane.

Saturday, July 29 (San Jose, California): Silicon Valley Roller Derby from 10 am to 4 pm at Silver Creek Sportsplex, 800 Embedded Way.

Saturday, Aug. 5 (St. Petersburg, Florida): Deadly Rival Roller Derby from 5-7 pm at The Slayground, 4033 35th St N. (donors asked to sign-up here.)

Friday, Aug. 11 (Woodbridge, New Jersey): Dirty Jersey Roller Girls at a time to be announced at the VFW Post.

Sunday, Aug. 13 (Chicago, Illinois): Roller derby athletes from across the Midwest for the inaugural World Roller Derby Week, a public skate-and-cake blood donor pledge event at Coliseum Park, commemorating the public debut of the sport at that location in Chicago in 1935.

Friday, Aug. 18 (Santa Cruz, California): Santa Cruz Derby Girls from 9 am to 3 pm at Santa Cruz Strength, 151 Harvey West Blvd Suite D.

Friday, Aug. 18 (Livermore, California): Quad City Derby Bombshells at a time to be announced at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4743 East Ave.

Saturday, Aug. 19 (Chicago, Illinois): Roller derby athletes from across the country for Time Hop at Fleetwood Roller rink. This bout is also a public pledge to donate event where roller derby athletes will skate in the style that the sport made its debut in Chicago 82 years ago, in 1935. A limited number of tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets here.

Thursday, Aug. 25 (Santa Rosa, California): Resurrection Roller Girls and the Sonoma Roller Derby; at a time to be announced at the American Red Cross, 5297 Aero Drive. Both leagues have teamed-up for this blood drive in competition for which league can attract the most blood donor registrants, in competition for the Brown Paper Tickets cup.

Saturday, Sept. 9 (Hollister, California): The Faultline Derby Devilz from 10 am to 4 pm at the shopping center at 580 Tres Pinos Road.

Saturday, Sept. 23 (Poteau, Oklahoma): The Leflore County Maidens of Mayhem from 10 am to 4 pm at the Red Cross Bloodmobile at 1914 N. Broadway St.

Sunday, Oct. 29 (Chicago, Illinois): Roller derby leagues from across the Midwest at from 10 am to 3 pm at The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois, 2200 West Harrison Street Chicago, IL 60612.

Sunday, Oct. 29 (Phoenix, Arizona): Arizona Derby Dames from 10 am to 4 pm at 2517 W. McDowell Road, Suite 118.

Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 (Tulsa, Oklahoma): Tulsa’s Roughneck Roller Derby from 12 to 6 pm at Rhema Bible Church,1025 W Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, OK.

How will you celebrate World Roller Derby Week? Let us know in the comments.

Roller Derby >

How to Write Email Newsletters that Actually Get Opened

EmailNewsletterInvites-Hands-CoffeeEveryone who puts on events shares a terrible fear: what if no one shows up? If you do nothing to promote your event, it’s a real possibility. Email newsletters are a viable promotion channel, especially for those who have fan clubs and mailing lists. Yes, they take a little bit longer to create than the average social media post and (if you have a large mailing list) can be costly.

But a well-designed and well-written newsletter is worth the effort. Increase your open rates and get those RSVPs pouring in. Here’s how:

Grow Your Email List

  • To have a newsletter in the first place, you need a list of email addresses. Check legal requirements in your state for what constitutes spam and follow those rules.
  • At events and trade shows, have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter or a fishbowl for attendees to drop business cards.
  • Place the newsletter sign-up box in the footer of your website’s homepage and if possible, on your Facebook page. Tell potential subscribers what to expect from the list and how often you will email.
  • Include sharing buttons in your invites. That way, your subscribers can easily forward it to friends, which they are more likely to do if there are incentives, such as ticket discounts.
  • If you’re a musician or show producer, give your email subscribers the VIP treatment. Send exclusive access to new music and/or special pricing. DIY Musician recommends that you trade newsletters with another artist or band to grow your list.

Increase Newsletter Open Rates

Confession: my personal email inbox has 2,000 emails and most of those are promotional newsletters. ‘Inbox Zero’ is a losing battle. To get a newsletter invite opened in an inbox as stuffed as mine, you need to use clever copywriting.

  • Include the words, ‘You’re Invited’ in the subject line. It’s clear, simple, direct, and intriguing.
  • Personalize your newsletter invites. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
  • Write something clever, irresistible, the kind of subject line that begs you to open the email.

Not Like This:

GET TICKETS NOW!!!!
Hurry! Discounted Tickets Inside
Don’t Miss This Event This Saturday at 9:00 PM in Everett

Avoid all-caps, exclamation points, and writing that fails to describe what’s inside. Don’t use words that trigger spam filters, such as “free,” “clearance,” and “guarantee.”

More Like This:

Pssst… Your Friends Are Going to This
RSVP for Our Best Show This Year
We Don’t Have Jetpacks. We Do Have This…

Take Us to the Shiny Details

Jim Nelson once said, “Never open a book with weather.”

The equivalent for event promoters and copywriters: “Never open your newsletter with a big block of text that has nothing to do with your event.”

Opening lines matter. It’s 2017, age of the flea-size attention span. Make the most important details stand out. Get right to the time, location, cost, and other key details such as parking and transportation. Include a prominent call-to-action button that takes the potential attendee right to the page to buy tickets.

Share your advice. Comment below with your email invite tips and techniques.

Event Tips >

How to Create FOMO with Your Event Promo

events-promo-fomo Fear of missing out, or FOMO is defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”  It’s that little twinge that convinces you that you could be having the time of your life … if you went somewhere else.

 “My friends are doing something amazing and I am just sitting here.”
“Why am I not dancing … so and so is out dancing.”
 “I can’t believe I am missing That Band.”

In 2013, Mashable reported that 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO and we’re sure that number is a lot higher now. Tap into FOMO for your event promotions and get more attendees.

 

Creatively Name Your Events

The event name is the first thing your potential attendees will see on their newsfeeds. It’s important. Have a namestorming session. Write a list of words associated with your event and go two steps beyond what’s there. Create a double-entendre. Smush two words together into a memorable portmanteau. Make it rhyme or make it alliterative. If you get stuck, use the thesaurus.

If you’re promoting a reading with a new memoir author, instead of an “Evening with Elisa,” strive to stand out. Make it playful. “Elisa Shares Embarrassing Childhood Stories,” “Elisa Reads Her Diary to Strangers,” “Who the Heck is Elisa? Find Out.”

Use a creative hashtag from the beginning of your promotions. Put it on the fliers and in your event copy. That way, people may use it before your event to talk about it.

Facebook Event Promotion

The FOMO first step is getting your fans’ friends to go. Create a public Facebook event page and invite all of your fans and/or friends to RSVP and get tickets. For maximum success, start your Facebook FOMO promo 4-6 weeks out. That person’s friends will see that they clicked “interested,” or “going” and BOOM! the event is not only on their radars, it stays there.

• Tag the venue so that the venue can share your event too.
• Include a link to buy tickets in the copy.
• Experiment with targeted Facebook ads or boost the update, so more followers see it.

Go Live

Use Facebook Live to get potential attendees off the couch and to your event or to make them see that they’re missing out so they go to the next one. Go Live during one of your speaker’s presentations or send out an Instagram story of your band’s rehearsal.

Live video can be tricky. Make sure you’re in a well-lit spot close to the action and keep it steady with a phone tripod.

Photo/Video Promotion

In general, high-quality photos work better than graphics for your event pages. Nothing incites FOMO better than a photo or video, as it helps your visitors see themselves at your event. Don’t just focus on performers; take snaps of the crowd laughing, dancing and having a grand time. Use these to promote your next event.

Word to the wise: Ask permission before you use your attendees’ photos or include language in your event’s terms and conditions regarding photography usage.

What strikes your FOMO and gets you to an event? Comment below and share your event promotion ideas.

Event Tips >

10 Event Trends that Will Prevail in 2017

2017-event-trends-picture-jumbo A new year, a new beginning. We hope the year delivers all of the promises it holds right now. You try on 2017, see how it fits and we’ll sail ahead to spot event trends coming your way.

1. Hello, Hygge

Events take on hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”). Expect to see the Danish happiness trend’s influence on events. Hygge is all about simplicity and spending time with friends and family; it’s only natural that events will adopt all of the warm and cozy elements: roasted chicken, knits, candlelight, flickering fireplaces, pillowy pastries, you get the idea.

2. Pairings Beyond the Plate

The forecast shows that combo events will be a big trend in 2017. One example is Seattle Pacific Science Center’s “Science and a Movie” series. The museum partners with a local theater to give science lectures along with movie showings— for instance, the audience views Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and then neuroscientists explain the science behind the movie.

Get those synapses firing and start thinking of the next combo. Cider and crossfit. Whiskey and whirleyball. Truffles and tennis.

3. Inclusion is In

Three cheers for diversity. Inclusion is too significant to be considered an event “trend”; it’s a movement … in the right direction. Attendees are demanding more diversity on panels and trade shows and conferences are stepping up to deliver. “It elevates the profession of event planners from mere executors of tasks to agents of change. 2017 is the year when diversity will be a given, not a luxury, ” writes Julius Solaris, Editor of EventMB.

4. Events Shrink

No more nosebleed seats. One of our community outreach team members says, “I believe folks will be looking for more and more intimate experiences, to build community, and connect much more deeply, so smaller settings will be more appealing.”

Popular author Dave Sedaris is “on-trend.” Though he packed Seattle’s Benaroya hall last year and could do it again, he chose to host his Thief of Finding workshop series in a smaller venue. ” Audiences will have the opportunity to be up-close-and-personal with David as he polishes the final draft of a new book,” the event description reads. That’s a pretty big selling point for any Sedaris fan.

Food and Beverage Event Trends

In general, as small events are on the rise, look for more intimate wine-driven dinners, “undiscovered” neighborhood food tours, and cook-off competitions. And…

5. Wild Game, Local Grains

Last year was the year of the ugly vegetable (which continues); this year delivers wild game and less “popular” meats, such as duck, rabbit, quail, and venison. Also expect to see more fresh veggies at your local produce stand, as heirloom vegetables and rare varieties become more available. More people will start to cook at home with an uptick in made-to-cook meal delivery companies, such as Blue Apron.

And look out local grain. Our food specialists report a renaissance in local grain industries.

6. Dumplings

The dish du your Instagram feed? Dumplings. Fresh from the steamer basket, they’re tasty, adorable and come in a range of sizes. Check out this GrubStreet article and learn all about the different dumplings, how to properly eat a soup dumpling (hint: wait until it cools), and the various shapes and pleats.

7. Healthy Fast-Casual

We all know that sinking feeling. You pull up to a fast food restaurant, hangrily scanning the menu for fresh and green. All you find is fried and greasy. Healthy, fast and fresh is (thankfully) happening. Grab and go with no regrets.

8. Milk that Isn’t Actually Milk

The dairy aisle is about to get nutty. Milk made from nuts, plants or even insects is on the table to meet the demand for milk alternatives. Avocado seed milk, anyone? It’s not as out there as it sounds. Our specialists report increased awareness of food waste, resulting in food waste dinners, more juicing and composting.

9. Fizzy Fermentation

Kombucha, shrubs, brines and other fizzy beverages will continue to gain popularity. In 2017, you’ll see kombucha in more mainstream places and even on tap. And more and more, families are fermenting and engaging in DIY food preservation at home.

10. Big Things in Booze

Natural will be the 2017 buzzword when it comes to wine. Wikipedia defines natural wine as “made without chemical and minimum technological intervention in growing grapes and making them into wine.”

Cider and mead continue to grow in popularity, and so will sugary adult beverages, like boozy milkshakes and rootbeer. Opposite of that, there’s an uptick in going booze-free with the “mocktail madness” trend we reported on last year’s event trends list getting even stronger in 2017.

What trends have you noticed? Ring in the New Year by ringing in below.

Event Tips >

7 Seriously Cool Winter Festivals to Attend

Movement Arts Festival Sure, summer has a well-earned reputation as “festival season,” but winter is an excellent time to gear up and go out. Tickets tend to be cheaper, crowds aren’t as sweaty, and nothing chases away post-holiday winter doldrums like live events. Plus, cocoa.

1. San Francisco Movement Arts Festival

It’s back, it’s bigger and features new work and an additional venue. This year, the Movement Arts Festival takes place at the Cathedral St. Mary of the Assumption on January 13 and at the Grace Cathedral on January 20. Stations will feature movement choirs, spoken word, chanting and of course, dance.

Why we picked it: Instead of a traditional arts festival where all attendees watch the same performance, SMAF is farmer’s-market style. Visitors walk around at their leisure to catch the various performances. The festival’s unique format lends the opportunity for audience members to connect to (and be moved by) movement arts. How often, in this rapid-paced world, do we get to experience dance and theater in our own way, at our own pace? Get tickets for both events or one.

2. Winterfest Theater Competition

Get out of your sit-at-home Netflix snooze fest and see live theater. Held at the Hudson Guild Theater, Winterfest in New York caters to nascent playwrights, actors, and producers and offers a buffet of indie theater, along with a dose of friendly competition. Buy tickets for one or all of the performances.

Why we picked it: Part festival, part theater competition, Winterfest gives away prize money to best play, best actor/actress, best musical score, and so on. Plus, there’s certain magic to catching independent New York productions while snow swirls outside.

3. Stately City Psychic Fair

It will be cold, it will be very cold (ahem…. Buffalo, NY in Feb). But who cares? The $5 fair includes a chance to get up-close with well-recognized psychic mediums and talk to vendors. (Private readings are available at an additional cost.)

Why we picked it: It’s a psychic fest, early in 2017, ideal timing for those who want a look into the year ahead.

4.Chandler International Film Festival

The Chandler International Film Festival offers a year-round award competition and an annual festival featuring over 100 “unique, creative, and diverse” international films. The goal of CIFF is to “support creative, emerging filmmakers from all over the world and their projects.”

Why we picked it: Arizona isn’t exactly winter wonderland, but January is the ideal time to get a healthy dose of sunshine and see as many movies as you can stuff into a weekend.

5. Fort Bragg Whale Festival

Chow down on chowder, sip wines and microbrews, watch waves roll in on the California coast. During the whale festival, chefs will have “a chowder off” where the crowd gets to vote on best chowder.

Why we picked it: Winter at the beach is woefully underrated.

6. Frostival

When cold weather strikes, rather than shutting inside; bundle up and get out there. That’s what Fargo, ND decided to do with the Frostival, a two-day festival with all kinds of winter activities, including sleigh rides, a snowman toss, snowga and competitive, cold-weather tournaments, such as snow volleyball.

Why we picked it: We admire the spirit of this whole thing. If you can’t beat frosty weather, play in it.

7. Belgian Fest

Rain, rain won’t go away, for another two months in Seattle. How to deal with the gray days? Beer is best and those who prefer Belgian brews should head to this fest, which highlights over 100 beers crafted by Washington breweries. There will be Tripels, Dubbels, Saisons, Wits, Abbeys and Lambics; all beers brewed with Belgian yeast.

Why we picked it: Beer.

Photo credit. Dancer: Ms. Lucy Chen
Video/photo: 2nd20 Productions

Arts >

The Event Organizer’s Guide to Instagram

Instagram_Birds-EventOrganizersWhen it comes to Instagram, event organizers have it easy. By nature, events are interesting and photogenic—ideal subjects for this visual platform. The creativity is endless: focus your phone camera on the stage or the crowd, feature dressed-to-kill festival attendees, publish short videos of a rehearsal or head backstage for pics of performers getting all glammed up.

Who Uses Instagram
Millennial users are flocking to Instagram (90% of users are under 35).  This generation responds to authenticity and prefers to spend money on experiences rather than material goods.

In other words, Instagram is a useful marketing tool for reaching an event-going audience. So yes, if you’re an event organizer, Instagram is worth investing time in. And it’s growing fast. According to Brandwatch.com, use has doubled in the last two years.

What to Post
Whatever you do, be real. While it’s OK to post your event flyer once in awhile, to gain followers, keep most of your content non-promotional.

corn-peppers-grillUpdate no more than once a day, no less than once a month. If you update too often, you’ll clog your followers’ feeds. Think of social media as one big party—if you talk too much, people will back away slowly. If you don’t talk enough, you’re the awkward, forgotten-about one in the corner (been there).

According to BufferSocial, “Major brands post an average of 1.5 times per day to Instagram. There’s no drop-off in engagement for posting more, provided you can keep up the rate of posting.” That said, once-to-twice a week is a good, manageable posting schedule. Monday and Thursday are the days with the most user engagement.

If you don’t have “enough” going on to post regularly, show off your personality. Create a #throwbackthursday once in awhile, or post your crew in zany holiday costumes. Or give a behind-the-scenes tour of your sponsor’s facilities.

To encourage engagement, make visual contests—if you’re hosting a pop-up dinner at a mystery locale for example, zoom in on one detail of the venue and have attendees guess where it is. Or have a caption contest, where you ask your followers to caption your pics.

Always ask your attendees’ permission before you take/use their photo.

Instagram’s new “Story” feature works similar to Snapchat – share stories with your followers using images that disappear after 24 hours. Use Story to capture your event’s “essence” on the day-of or to give a sneak preview of your event.

Make Every Shot Count

instagrambpt

Did you know we’re on Instagram? Follow us, we’re goofballs.

Don’t settle for bad lighting or grainy pics from far away. Consider getting a DLSR to create high-quality images.

But phone photography doesn’t mean bad photography. For the love of Leibovitz: Get close. Fill the frame. Change your perspective. Strive for a clean, uncluttered background. Remember the composition rule of thirds (don’t place your subject directly in the center).

If you’re shooting outdoors, target “magic” hour, (aka nature’s photoshop)–the hour before sunset or sunrise, when light is soft.

Instagram isn’t just photography; it’s design. Consult a designer about using filters, collages or creating graphics. Start with an overall vision of what you want your account to express and the type of pictures you want to feature. All black and white? All with the same, super-flattering “Valencia” filter?

Consistency goes a long way in attracting followers.

Instagram Ads
Instagram allows sponsored ads—photo ads, short video ads and swipe-through image carousels. Consider an ad to boost event registration—the cost varies if you’re paying per impression (CPM) (view, likes, comments) or click (CPC). Instagram ads can be useful if you’re trying to lead potential attendees to your event registration page. Just like with Facebook ad targeting, you can target by location, demographics, interests or actions.

Photo credit: photo of birds, Amanda Halm; photo of grilled corn and peppers @FoodInField

Event Tips >

Is It Time to Hire a Publicist?

Hiring-PublicistEveryone has a friend who “made it.” Maybe it’s your band’s former drummer, who’s in a new band that’s taking off. Or your MFA classmate whose novel sits in the recommended section of every indie bookstore you frequent. Or the person in your improv class who’s already selling out shows.

Sure, your friend is talented, hardworking and deserving. They also have a tenacious publicist … and you don’t. So you start to wonder if you should hire one too.

Publicists do more than write press releases—they frame your story just the right way. They develop relationships with journalists and know who will cover your project. A good publicist handles hard-hitting questions or crisis management if something goes wrong. And then there’s the most laborious part–crafting pitch after pitch after pitch.

When you reach a certain point with your events, band, book or any venture, hiring a publicist may make sense. Remember there’s only so much a publicist can do—your project should be ready to promote. If you lack concrete goals or a strong following, handle your own PR for a bit and see what happens. If the buzz becomes too much to manage on your own, it may be time to consider outside help.

Signs It’s Time

  • You don’t have time to correspond with media or you have a day job that does not allow you to do outside work.
  • You put on more events than you alone can handle.
  • Your event includes controversial or political material and you think you may be fielding tough questions by the media.
  • You’ve dealt with negative media in the past.
  • You’ve hit a roadblock or a lot of dead ends managing your own publicity.

Pros of Hiring a PR Pro

  • They are trained to reach out to media using the best tactics and practices.
  • They have existing relationships with media members.
  • Since they’re focused on publicity, they’ll be able to promptly reply to media inquiries and take a giant chunk of responsibilities off your endless to-do list.
  • If you have a mid-to-high-profile guests, performer, etc. for your event, a publicist will know the strategies to get them an interview.

How to Find a Publicist

If you organize long-running or frequent events, consider a PR agency, but be wary—agencies are costly. Before you start setting up meetings, have a solid budget and expectations in place. Know how the agency measures success and who they’ve worked with before.

In the entertainment industry, freelance publicists are easy to find. Check out LinkedIn or Facebook PR groups or contact a local university—you might be able to find an entry level publicist who’s willing to work at a flexible rate.

Brown Paper Tickets offers free promotion advice and resources. Email our promo team at promo[at]brownpapertickets[dot]com. They won’t manage your publicity, but they have a wealth of information on how to do it yourself.

Did you hire a publicist? How did you know it was time? Comment below.

Event Tips >

How to Write Simply Amazing Social Media Posts for Events

SocialMedia_EventsSocial media. Everyone is doing it, but a lot of people are doing it wrong.

Well-written, engaging (simply amazing) social media posts can boost the visibility and attendance of your event, but poorly written, over-tagged, spammy updates can lead to potential attendees unfollowing and unfriending.

Be a Friend
Build a following before your event. Just like with life, you have to be a friend to make friends. Like, share, comment on your friends’ and followers’ content—keep it lighthearted, fun, positive. Or if it matches your voice, be a bit irreverent and witty.

Take a look at the profiles of your attendees or commenters. What are their interests, hobbies, passions? If a lot of your attendees snowboard, and it happens to snow, post something like this: It’s official, snow is falling. Have a grand time on the mountain.

Hashtag That
Create a short hashtag that your attendees can use to talk about your event. If it’s a large conference, use several hashtags and promote them on your event signage and event page.

Use no more than two hashtags per tweet. With Instagram, you can get away with many more.

Hashtags encourage and organize conversations. If your attendees think something needs to be improved (for example, if there is a bad parking situation or you’re running out of water), they’ll often begin chattering about it using the hashtag. Delegate social media monitoring to at least one person. That way, if something needs to be fixed, you’ll catch it.

Carefully research hashtags before you put them out there. Check out who else is using the hashtag and for what purpose. Never use sensitive hashtags to promote your event.

Use handles and tags to mention your performers or the venue.

Make It Pretty

It’s poor etiquette to delete Twitter posts, so make sure that what you have is spelled correctly and polished.

You can edit Instagram captions and Facebook posts after they go live, but triple check all of the handles and hashtags before you tap publish. Avoid sloppy updates that use “ur” for your or “4” for “for.” Write updates in a word processing program first to smooth out your content.

Use a tool such as Grammarly to check your grammar—Grammarly is a browser plug-in that “green lines” grammar errors— ones that even an eagle-eyed editor would miss.

Use Tweetdeck or a similar tool to schedule out posts, so that you can make sure you have the right handles and hashtags. But proceed with caution—when tragedy in the news strikes, it takes social media by storm and can make your previously scheduled tweets seem insensitive.

Short, short, short. Yes, it’s tempting to include all the information about your event into one little tweet (along with five exclamation points), but shorter works better. Two things to include are links to where to buy tickets and the event hashtag.

Did we mention there would be pizza? RSVP for a slice of the action: [event link]

The ideal character count for tweets is 71-100, according to this AdWeek infographic, although Twitter allows 140.

Even though it’s convenient and faster to link your Instagram to your Facebook and Twitter, it’s best to write individual posts for each account.

Include images or links to videos. Create a highlight reel of your past events or a photo montage of your performers.

Tie It Together
People love facts and trivia. Tie your event in with fun facts.

Can you guess the most widely produced wine in the world? Hint: it’s going to be at tomorrow’s wine festival: [event link]

If something loosely related to theme of your event happened in the news, re-post it.

Let your performers takeover your social media as part of a planned influence marketing campaign.

Interact with your audience. Respond to comments and questions, but avoid angrily responding to random haters. You can damage your reputation by acting impulsively or defensively. If something goes wrong, step away from the screen and come up with a plan of action before you post.

There’s no need to be humble. Share all of the press you get. Use the publication’s handle so they get some love.

Does the venue have more going on than the performance, such as drink or food specials, VIP rooms, pool tables/video games? Share it.

Pro tip: Need free guidance or social media love? Ask our expert promotion team. Email promo[at]brownpapertickets[dot]com.

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