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How to promote an event: 4 festival marketing tips that work

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Community is more than a business buzzword–in fact, for many companies, local shops, industries, families and organizations are an extended family. These are the people with whom you interact both inside and outside of work on a daily basis. It’s understandable why many companies choose to give back to their communities on a regular basis–but sometimes, giving back calls for something more than just the usual charity.

Putting together a festival–whether on your own or with the help of some other local businesses–is a great way to say thanks and give back, especially if you organize it around a local charity fundraiser or to fund parks development in your company’s hometown. With plenty of fun and games plus the right level of festival marketing, residents will flock to the event. You’ll be able to raise an unprecedented amount of money, and in turn you’ll also gain some great press for your enterprise.

But actually getting the festival off the ground is the hard part. If you’re wondering how to promote an event, rather than throw away the idea because it feels too overwhelming, consider this start’s guide. It won’t lead you through the nitty​-gritty of every step, but it can help you gauge just how big your company festival will be, what you’ll be promoting – beyond your own business – and where to look for what you need.

Get ready to throw the biggest party of your career!

  1. Develop your event promotion angle. All essential planning begins with a paper and pen. Get together with your company heads and begin brainstorming exactly what you want this event to be. Is there a theme? What charity or cause do you want to champion? What kind of budget are you looking at? This is also the stage at which you’ll want to put out feelers for co-hosts or sponsors who will help you get the festival off the ground financially or provide man hours, volunteers, food services and other essentials. Local coffee shops may set up stands. Food trucks may want to come in. Brainstorm with businesses big and small about what they have to offer, and don’t forget to remind them how much they’ve got to gain: You won’t be the only one benefiting from all the goodwill and free press the festival will bring. Consider holding a design contest to come up with a festival logo. It can be printed on custom T-shirts bearing sponsor and host names on the back. A stylish mock-up could help convince hesitant local businesses to join up!
  2. Speak with the city or town board. Once you’ve got a team of sponsors assembled, you can begin to plan out a budget and assemble everything you need to pitch the idea to the city or town board. Your charity angle will help here, plus a festival is great for local business. Chances are, they’ll be willing to grant the use of public space if you ask for it. City assistance can also be key for rounding up volunteers and festival workers and assisting with festival promotion.
  3. Advertise with local and regional media sources. You probably know a thing or two about marketing already–companies rarely get big enough to throw a festival without some clever advertising acumen. Luckily, your experience with promotion should come in handy here. Spread word about the event far in advance. Have all your sponsors and other local shops or businesses post information about the upcoming festival. Consider how cool viral items like personalized stickers might get the word out and drum up interest, especially if you’re drawing in a younger crowd or families with kids.
  4. Assign festival promotion duties. This is where the time-intensive work begins. You need to orchestrate and organize every corner of your festival, down to the Ferris wheel, games, corn maze, craft show, dance contest, musical acts, food vendors, alcohol license, roadblocks, ticket booths and just about everything else! Assign and coordinate with a festival manager if your schedule doesn’t allow for complete control, but stay involved. Remember that something as small as a great emcee or popular food truck could make an enormous impact. And don’t forget to invest in numerous summer promotional items that can help you build up your own reputation!

The Odds and Ends of Professional Festival Promotion

Of course, you’ll also need to assign smaller positions, from a treasurer to head to volunteers and staff, but take one step as it comes. Your festival is sure to be a hit–and who knows, it may just end up being an annual event!

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