Event Promotion on the Web
Using the web to promote your event starts at home - on your own website - with an "event page." Once you have crafted and posted your event page, all remaining efforts are used to drive traffic to it.
The "event page"
An event page is a single page about a single event with a single URL on the sponsoring organization's website. With it, you can drive traffic to it from other websites, calendars, email, social media, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have this single source of definitive information about an event. With it, all additional online promotion flows relatively easily. Without it, you're missing opportunities.
Before you begin, note that some events have multiple sponsors. In these cases, you should coordinate with the website managers of the other sponsors to determine which website will host the event page. The other websites will then simply link to it.
If your website uses Drupal, you can have a calendar installed that makes adding event pages easy. But even if you don't insall a calendar, you can still create an event page. Just create it like an ordinary page.
Make sure that your event page has at least the following...
- Event title
- Date and time. Make sure to include the year.
If applicable, specify these things, too...
- Location. Link to an online map, where possible.
- Cost. If there isn't any admission charge, specify "Free."
- Is the event open to the public or is it restricted to a smaller audience - eg. faculty only?
- Event sponsor(s)
- Contact email and/or telephone number for miscellaneouos user questions
Don't skimp on the information. If the event involves a lecturer or speaker, post a short biography with the speaker's picture. If the event is a film, post the year, running time and an image of the film's official one-sheet. If the event is part of a series - eg. the Visiting Writers Series - post a teaser for the series itself and link it to the series' URL. Include attractive imagery where possible. Make people want to attend. Make them curious about the other events that you offer, too.
Once you have added the event page, you can begin driving traffic to it.
University events calendar
The first place to add your event (after you have added it to your own website) is Appalachian's events calendar at http://events.appstate.edu. University faculty and staff members may request an account and use it to add their events. I recommend that each website manager have one account and that this manager handles adding and maintaining all events that pertain to that website. Having too many hands in the pie can create a mess, especially confusion caused by duplicate events.
In order to drive traffic to the event page on your own website, I recommend that you enter that page's URL directly into the calendar when adding your event. Here's how to do that...
- Go to http://events.appstate.edu and click "Submit an Event" in the lefthand column. Enter your university username and password.
- On the "Create Event" form, fill in the "Title", "Event date", "Sponsor", "Contact name", "Contact email" and "Contact telephone".
- Find and click the "Appalachian calendar service" link.
- Copy and paste your event page's URL into "Source URL".
- Click "Save".
If you do this, people clicking on your event on the university calendar will be automatically whisked away to your event page on your own website.
What if you don't have a website or an event page of your own? You can create your event page directly on the university calendar. Just follow the same procedure above, but instead of steps 3 and 4, put your event's complete description in the "Body" field.
Got a Facebook or Twitter presence? Drive traffic to your event page with statuses and tweets. And if your social media accounts are listed on Connect with Appalachian State University, the university's primary Facebook and Twitter accounts might share and retweet you.
On-campus linking opportunities
Get your event in front of as many eyes as you can. Here's are some good on-campus websites that might provide links to your event...
Events appearing on appstate.edu (the university's primary website, which includes sub-pages for Arts, Athletics and Research) are hand-picked by University Communications. Space is limited. Listing your event in the university events calendar is the best thing that you can do to bring it to our attention. We also welcome suggestions, so feel free to email your event page URL to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
If your event deals with environmental sustainability, contact the Office of University Sustainability and suggest that they include it in their Green Events.
Search out other websites on campus (and elsewhere), contact those website managers and request that they link to your event from their calendars.