Promotion and Publicity
Things to consider regarding event promotion, publicity and advertising planning:
- Determine your audience
- Establish a timeline for implementation
- Ensure advertising strategies fit within the budget
- Does the marketing include unique attributes and details the viewer will want to know about the event?
- Determine best marketing vehicles (social media, posters, handbills, etc.) to reach intended target audience
Attendance at your event is directly related to marketing and promotions plan and implementation prior to your event. Depending upon the goals of your event, the marketing strategies will be different. For example, if your event is meant for group members only, an e-mail to your member listserv or a social media posting and a few meeting announcements will probably do the trick. If you are hoping for a larger audience, you will need to engage in more large scale practices to ensure that the message gets out.
Remember: your student group promotion team is acting on behalf of your group. If members and volunteers don’t follow posting policies, your group is held accountable. Make sure your promotion volunteers know the policies before they go out postering and chalking.
Before you begin promoting your event, you should consider who your audience is, or the people who you would like to reach, regarding your student group information.
Throughout the planning process, ask yourself:
- Who do we want to reach?
- Students (undergraduate, graduate etc)
- Staff or Faculty (from a specific department?)
- General public
- What do we want our audience to know?
- What do we want our audience to feel?
- What do we want our audience to do?
Asking these questions through the planning process will help guide you in reaching your intended audience with the information they need.
Posting Policies & Distributing Flyers
Hanging signs or posters on campus is one of the most popular ways to get the message out. The University allows posting for student groups in approved locations. Any posting that is not displayed in an approved location may be removed. Any damages to buildings incurred due to inappropriate posting will be assessed to the student group and its officers. Academic buildings and off-campus businesses have different policies on posting. Make sure you ask for permission and get specific procedures at each building. We recommend dividing campus locations and businesses so that your members don’t all poster in the same areas. We also recommend keeping a list of the locations and businesses that allow you to poster for future use.
The Student Unions & Activities and Residence Halls both have an approval process for poster/flyer distribution highlighted below:
- All posters or flyers must be approved through the SUA Information Desk, bearing the original stamp of SUA approval.
- SUA staff will be responsible for placement of all posters
- Posters or flyers are allowed at designated posting areas only. No posters or flyers shall be put on any glass, carpeted, paneled, papered, painted, or wood surfaces.
Distributing Publications (handouts and flyers):
- Publications may be distributed outside of SUA facilities provided the distribution is not disrupting traffic or blocking any SUA facility entrance and distribution is 25 feet from any building entrance.
- This activity is subject to all of the rules and regulations as defined under the University Wide Policy on Distributing Publications and Installing Banners at the University.
- Distribution of publications inside of SUA facilities is allowed only at a reserved contact table.
The approval process for posting information for Residence Halls can be reviewed on the Housing and Residential Life website.
Digital Sign Event Advertising in Student Unions
There are 5 digital screens in Coffman Union, 2 located on the Second Floor, and 3 located on the Ground Floor. All Student Group screens run the same continuous loop. Space is limited and will be given on a first come, first served basis. Please see Student Group Digital Signage Guidelines for more information.
Chalking is allowed throughout campus in accordance with the chalking policy. Please see Chalking on Campus for more information.
If your group has developed an email or direct mail or distribution list for its members, determine how you want to use this information to promote your event. You can email or mail members information about the event or drive them to a website or social media platform where they can get more information.
Consider advertising in on-campus publications like the Minnesota Daily or The Wake, as many students are frequent readers. Costs vary depending on the size. We recommend contacting each paper to inquire on costs for student groups.
You can also submit a press release which details the “who, what, where, when and why” of your event to attract media coverage at your event. Make sure to highlight why your event is newsworthy, especially to those who may have no affiliation to your group. Local papers, web sites and on-campus newsletters accept press releases. Please note, this is not a guarantee they will cover your event, but it does increase your chances of receiving publicity. We recommend sending your press release at least 5 days in advance for a daily publication or two weeks prior for a weekly publication. Visit the publication’s web site for contact information for press releases.
Social Media and Networking
Social media platforms are a great way to get the word out about your events and engage with your student group members and potential future members, as well as other student groups. Here are a few general guidelines that may help you determine which social media platform makes sense for your group:
- Facebook- great way to engage with followers and get a conversation going. Facebook is meant to be more visual so make sure you are posting photos regularly and responding to questions and feedback.
- Twitter- is typically used for more “news” related information. You may tweet about upcoming deadlines or events, live tweet at your group’s event or an interesting article your group just read. Just remember Twitter is meant to be more informative and get a conversation going among your followers.
- Pinterest- is a visual platform. Pinterest can be used to show what your group is interested in (DIY crafts, projects your group is working on, books you are reading etc). Pinterest can be used to help people get to know your group, however, it may be difficult to communicate current happenings with your group, so you may want to consider Pinterst only if you are using Facebook or Twitter to start a conversation with your followers.
- YouTube- can be used to keep potential and current members up to date with what your group is doing and tell the story of who your group is. You can also post event re-cap videos.
Once you have decided on which social media platforms will work for your student group, don’t forget to drive people to your new pages! You can include the handles and site information on your Paint the Bridge panel, hand out information at the Activities Fair and include on all your event information.
University Events Calendar
Visit the University of Minnesota events calendar to see the campus wide events calendar. Student groups can request access to post events by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Requests must be submitted by an officer of the group as listed in the Student Groups Directory.
The groups that are creative in their marketing tend to benefit from the extra effort. Use guerilla marketing tactics like handing out promotional items, handbills, or fliers. Be sure to consider where you are handing out your items. Certain buildings or areas on campus may be more likely to have your target audience in the area than others. Team up with interested student groups and ask them to help you promote your event if you help them promote their upcoming events.