Do you have a great event planned to welcome back birds in your community? Here is a handy checklist of steps you can take to promote it! (Trying to fundraise for your event? We have tips for that too.)
Who’s Your Audience?
Before you start promoting your event, think about which audiences you want to reach. Concentrate your outreach efforts on those audiences you most want to attend – families, young people, business leaders, politicians, activists, serious birders or casual nature enthusiasts? Perhaps you want to focus on recent arrivals to Canada or New Canadians, or cultural groups that are under-represented in your organization. Birds are an excellent medium to reach these audiences.
What’s Your Message?
Think about how to best describe your event. What do you want the world to know about your event? What’s the main takeaway message? Consider linking your event to the annual theme of this year’s Bird Day, to make it part of “the big picture.” This year’s theme is “Why Birds Matter.” Read Scott Weidensaul’s excellent essay on the Environment for the Americas website to get your thoughts flowing.
Tell us about it!
Now that you’ve thought about who you want to reach, and what you want to say, tell us about it! Nature Canada can help spread the word on this web site and through social media. We will post details of your event on our Map so others can find out about it. After your event is over, share a story and a picture with us, and we will share it with the rest of Canada!
Word of Mouth
Promote your event with your members and supporters. Use your meetings, newsletters and other regular communications to let them know, and encourage them to tell their friends and family.
Post details about your event on your web site, so that people have somewhere to go to learn more – like time of the event, parking information, directions, and list of activities.
Social media and bloggers
Use your Facebook page to make regular announcements and build excitement. Twitter can also be a great way of reaching people who share your interests in birds. It’s easy to search Twitter for people in your target audience and send them direct invitations to attend your event, or help promote it.
Identify bloggers who focus on local events in your area, or who write about nature or bird themes. They might write about your event, or invite you to write a guest post.
Schools and local clubs
Volunteer parent associations often look for event ideas – make sure to contact any schools near your event location and invite them to participate! You may also be able to include an ad in the school newspaper or be permitted to post flyers at the school.
Contact like-minded clubs and associations in your community – bird clubs, youth clubs, seniors groups. See if you can make a personal announcement at one of their meetings, or advertise in their newsletter. You may even find an organizing partner who can make your event even bigger and better!
Newsletters, local newspapers, magazines and community radio
Remember: organizations taking part in your event, including sponsors if you have any, often have newsletters or other internal ways of communicating to their members or employees. Don’t forget to explore these opportunities.
Advertise in your local newspapers. You may choose to run a paid announcement, or submit an event listing to a community calendar, or a classified section. You can write a letter to the editor, or in some cases submit an article. Local tourism-related magazines may want to profile your event; remember lead times for magazines may be months in advance.
Many community radio stations are keen to support local organizations, and will run free public service announcements or community calendar listings. They may also have online event calendars. Try inviting the radio station to visit your event; they could provide same-day on-air promotion to bring in visitors.
We submitted regular “bird migration traffic reports” to one of our local radio station’s traffic reporter for morning broadcasting during the week of our Bird Day event. The “bird traffic” reports were a hit, and raised awareness of International Migratory Bird Day.
Ask local businesses if you can post posters in display windows, on counters or on bulletin boards – coffee shops and grocery stores almost always have these. Also try nature shops, restaurants, and libraries. Don’t forget areas where pedestrians congregate, like bus stops. Consider asking local businesses to sponsor, or more actively promote, your event in exchange for recognition or a chance to advertise at your event.