Timing Communications for your Festival
By Lisa Gullette, CreatiVisibility, January 2011
Getting the public interested in attending your festival is dependant a successful branding strategy. The beginning of your 12 month planning cycle is the time to work with your graphic designer on your new theme for the next festival. A new tag line and graphic theme will be utilized to launch excitement in your communications.
Use that new theme in your festival communications starting 9 months ahead of your event. The communications should be spaced out, beginning with general branding, working towards overall exposure and ending by immersing the public with the advertising of specific attractions at your event. Use the following communication's timeline:
- Announce your new theme and post your new graphic on your Web site and Facebook page.
Time frame: about 9-10 months from event.
- Send a short press release announcing the date and new theme to your area Chamber of Commerce, local community center, tourism organizations requesting to post "Save the Date" on their Web site, newsletter and email blasts. Give an inspiring message in your press release that sets this festival or event apart from those in the past.
Time frame: 6-9 months ahead.
- Send a "Save the Date" postcard or email postcard to everyone on your mailing list or purchase a local mailing list. Advertise your festival date and graphics on billboards on freeways near your town. Request email addresses through your Web site to build lists for future updates on the event. If the public needs to register for your event, post or mail information on how to register. Make online registration available on the festival Web site and by mail. Begin running advertising using only the festival theme and branding imagery.
Time frame: 4-8 months before the event.
- Schedule a media conference and invite the media. Send press releases and story ideas to newspapers and publications. Post an online media kit to your Web site and update as details are firm. Designate a spokesperson to be available for interviews. Keep a notebook of all publicity published.
Time frame: 1-3 months ahead.
- Distribute window-front posters to local merchants, community centers, libraries and chambers of commerce showing your festival date/times and theme. Simple is better; save the attraction details for closer to the date, consider one main attraction to highlight initially. Consider posting in other nearby towns. Post a Facebook "invitation" to all "friends" of your Facebook page.
Time frame: 6 weeks - 2 months before the event.
- Send press releases about special features, attractions and acts of your event to media outlets. Start running your advertising daily or weekly in newspapers, television, and on Web banners/calendars.
Time frame: 3-6 weeks before the event.
- Post feature/event specific posters and flyers throughout your town. Send color flyers to community centers, libraries, local merchants, chambers of commerce, etc. Post acts and special attractions on your Web site and Facebook with times those features will be taking place. Distribute maps and event schedule of the festival events to merchants in your festival area to give to consumers.
Timeline: 10-14 days before event.
- Sell promotional products at your event. T-shirts provide year-round advertising for your festival. Select one or two times during the festival to speak to the public and provide media time to interview your spokesperson. Tell media outlets where and when your earliest press conference will occur so your news will be aired before the event has closed for the day. Use this time to speak about exciting attractions in time for the media to get coverage of people having a good time. Use media interviews to acknowledge volunteers or to profile a sponsor to encourage future participation. Take photos for future use of popular attractions. Make schedules and maps available at entry points to your venue.
Timeline: Day of event.
CreatiVisibility takes a creative, marketing-faceted approach to print and Web site design, and produces print and Web communications products. CreatiVisibility is a small business focused on providing turn-key solutions for festival and conference event visibility. For more information contact CreatiVisibility at (919) 661-8124 or visit us on the Web at www.creativisibility.com