Ideally, a single person should be in charge of publicity: someone who is able to dedicate a lot of time to it.
The more information people have, the more their interest is likely to be raised. A good publicity officer could increase your number of attendees by as much as a couple of hundred. And that may mean the difference between the convention making money and losing it.
You can use the internet to keep up a steady drip feed of information. The more often you can post useful information the better... up to a point! You can make useful news out of acts that you book, evening shows that you are organising, interesting workshops, announcing the pre-reg prices, asking people for their input on workshops, or asking for volunteers. If nothing interesting is happening, find something interesting and make it happen.
- Make sure your event is on all the relevant events listings that you can find, such as the juggling convention listings on Juggling Edge. As well as advertising your event, this also reduces the possibility of other people accidentally organising a clashing event.
- Make sure your website is kept up to date with the latest news. Ideally, the publicity officer should have the access and ability to update the website themselves.
- Post your news to all the forums: Juggling Edge, rec.juggling, UK_Jugglers, diabolo.ca, home of poi, Contactjuggling.org, reddit and as many other sites as you think may be relevant. Don't spam, but increase your post frequency as the convention draws nearer. Answer as many questions as you can, as fully as you can. Just having a link to your event in your forum signature will get you a little bit more exposure.
- You should probably have a Facebook page (with an "event"), but not as your primary source of information: believe it or not, lots of your potential customers are not on Facebook, or have Facebook blocked at work (60% of UK population do not use Facebook ). If you do put your event on Facebook make sure its status is set to Public, BJC 2008 and BJC 2010 Facebook pages were public so anyone could see them, whereas BJC 2009 Facebook page was not public so only people logged in to Facebook could see it. (to make Facebook events visible to everyone you need to first create a Facebook page then create the event from this page (method correct Nov 2011)). You can also have a Facebook group as well as an event, the BJC 2012 Facebook group had close to a thousand members, which was almost as many as paid to go to the convention.
- There are two established Facebook Groups with a large userbase BJC: British Juggling Convention and The British Juggling Convention - BJC, as well as an Instagram account Instagram.com/BritishJugglingConvention
- Post information on every possible social networking site you can, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram etc with updates and information from your website.
- Do bear in mind that not all people have internet access (or use the internet)(only 70% of households in UK had internet access in 2009 ) so make sure you do not advertise exclusively via the internet.
This thread on rec.juggling has some thoughts about how to do internet publicity in the days of social media.
As soon as your venue and dates are confirmed, the publicity officer should go to every regional convention (wearing your logoed convention t-shirt) in the run up to the BJC, spreading fliers, posters, pre-reg forms and the latest news about how great YOUR BJC is going to be. If you don't have any new news, just be enthusiastic. MAKE people write the BJC dates in their paper/electronic diary while you watch them do it. (If they can't come for some good reason, then fine. But if they don't come because they temporarily forgot the dates, you just lost some money). If the publicity officer is not able to go to a regional convention for any reason, it is their job to make sure another member of the organising crew goes in their stead. Oh and have pre-reg forms to hand as soon as it is open, and remind people how much money they save themselves by pre-regging, and how much it helps out the BJC.
Traders and Wholesalers
If you send flyers to traders in plenty of time, they will often be happy to include them in their outgoing parcels for free.
If your show venue is big enough to have spare seating for MGPs, then it's worth your while to promote the show to local non-jugglers. You can:
- Contact the local paper, radio & tv stations.
- Contact the council publicity officer who can get your BJC listed on the council website, in the council newsletter etc, particularly if the council are co-operating on the event.
- Distribute flyers in local shops, cafés, libraries, etc.
- Contact any local events listings or bloggers.
You probably want to use separate publicity material to market the show to non-jugglers, compared to what you use for the BJC itself.
Make sure that the money you stand to make on extra ticket sales is more than what you are spending on local marketing.