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Event promotion

A successful event needs a suitable, engaged audience, so promoting your event beforehand is vital. There are a number of internal and external ways to promote your event, listed below. You may find our promotion checklist useful.

Start publicising your event at least six weeks in advance, but, depending on the profile and audience of your event, two to three months may be more appropriate. Before promoting your event, you need to be clear about your chosen format, the date, time and venue of your event, and your target audience. Read the Why and who and Logistics pages for help with this. 

Website and events calendar

  • Firstly, create an event page on the Birkbeck Events system (using the event how-to guide). Please do not use Eventbrite, as it is not GDPR-compliant. When creating your events, consider whether: 
    • the information is accurate
    • the date/time/venue information is clear and prominent 
    • the event image is likely to draw your audience in. 
  • Within your event, you can specify who your audience is. This will decide whether your event is public or not, and even target the right groups of students within My Birkbeck.
  • Top tips:
    • Check if there is already an entry for your event, added by another staff member.
    • For paid events, please see the Logistics page for details of using the College's events system.

Event directories

  • Online event directories can widen your promotional reach further. They allow you to create a public-facing advert with information about your event, but some target more specific audiences. (Please note: internal events and those only for Birkbeck staff/students should not be posted on event directories.)  
  • Our top general events directory recommendations are: 
  • There may also be subject/topic-specific event listings that you can access. 
  • Events directories are very popular, so make sure your event is relevant to the directory and enquire at least eight weeks in advance of your event. 

Contacting current and prospective students

  • You can promote your event to current and past Birkbeck students in various ways: 
    • Current students can also be invited to your event via Moodle. Word of mouth via staff, including administrators and tutors, is also very effective. 
    • You can contact alumni by making a request to the  to send an email on your behalf, and contact prospective students via your School's allocated business partner in the Home Marketing and Recruitment team in External Relations. 
    • You can email marketing teams or academic departments at other universities, if relevant. 
    • Discuss promoting your event via social media with the communications contact for your school. 
  • If you hope to reach out to the wider community, consider advertising your event with the Birkbeck Access and Engagement team, who work with colleges, communities, charities and local councils to provide opportunities, information and guidance to young people and adults who are under-represented in higher education. 

'Interest' mailing lists

  • For public audiences, you can set up a mailing list that relates to a particular 'interest' by logging a request on Ask within My Birkbeck for Staff and providing relevant details.

Social media

  • Social media is a great way to engage with large numbers of people - it is free and can be very effective. People using social media often 'follow' institutions and groups (on Facebook) or explore hashtags (on Twitter) that interest them, so you can effectively target potential attendees. 
  • It is also worth encouraging speakers/facilitators to share social media posts about the event. 
  • You might consider paying for a sponsored post, which is a type of advert that targets specific audiences. This can ensure that your event is promoted to more people, which is especially useful if your event is a large one. (Please note: internal and Birkbeck staff/student only events should not be promoted via social media.) 
  • Each social media channel is orientated towards a certain audience: LinkedIn, for example, is used by working professionals; while Facebook and Twitter are social engagement platforms, where it is very easy to reach a wider, targeted audience. 
  • Birkbeck's schools and departments are present on a range of social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Find out who runs these accounts in your school/department and discuss with them how best to promote your event.

Blogs

  • A blog is a website or web page ('weblog'), usually published by one person or by a small group, which is written in an informal or conversational style. 
  • A blog is a fantastic way of promoting and discussing your event. 
  • Birkbeck Blogs is the College's blogs network, where events, research and news are showcased and where blogs for research centres are prominently displayed. Contact the  about Birkbeck Blogs. 
  • Blog posts written by current students are more likely to be read and shared, so it's worth asking for a student to volunteer as a blogger. Many students enjoy blogging as a means of honing their writing skills, getting their work published and promoting themselves.

Images, Photography, filming and podcasts 

  • When considering photography, filming and podcasting, it is vital to first secure the consent of your audience and speaker(s). Incorporate a disclaimer into your promotional material as soon as possible, with a few lines on the event page and on the invitation. 
  • Pre-event 
    • Add a relevant, attractive image to your promotional material to catch the audience’s attention. 
    • If you do not have a suitable image, contact your school about images on file or request access to the central Birkbeck Image Library or Birkbeck Media Services on Flickr. 
    • Alternatively, you can look for free images on sites such as Unsplash and Pixabay
  • During the event
    • Film and photography are a great way of showcasing your event. You can capture images and film yourself, using your smartphone or camera, or you can contact the Birkbeck Media Services Team to arrange somebody to take photos or film. Some schools/departments may have a camera they can lend out.
    • Ensure that you post disclaimer notices to advise attendees that you are filming or taking photographs.
    • For external audiences, consider creating a podcast with Birkbeck Voices, which features interviews with our academics, students, alumni and the wider community. Birkbeck Voices covers the latest research and inspiring events taking place at the College.
    • Make sure you get at least three images from your event: one of the audience; a staged image of the key speakers and organisers; and one of a smaller group. Please see the legacy content section of the promotion checklist for further advice. 

Print promotional materials

  • Birkbeck has a visual identity to ensure that marketing and promotional materials are instantly recognisable as coming from Birkbeck. Read the guide to using Birkbeck’s visual identity in promotional materials
  • A range of simple online templates is now available, via a site called CorePrint, enabling you to create and print a range of double-sided leaflets and posters. To set up an account to use these templates, please contact the Creative Design and Visual Identity Officer
  • All other design requests for print work - eg multi-page documents, banners and pop-ups - should be made through the central online request form
  • Please be aware that it may take four to six weeks to complete your request, depending on the time of year. The form will also ask:
    • Who is your audience?
    • What's the purpose of the material? 
    • What is the call to action - ie what do you want the recipient to do next? 
    • What's the budget for this project? 
    • What's the cost code for the project?
  • You may be able to avoid printing costs by producing promotional materials as PDF documents, which can be easily emailed to potential attendees.

Press releases

Content and proofing

  • It's important to write an appealing and engaging blurb for your event, to give potential attendees a good impression and encourage them to book. 
  • A high-quality blurb will include: 
    • a title
    • the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker(s) 
    • the date, time, venue and format of the event
    • 250 words of lively, engaging and informative description 
    • contact details of the organiser for further information and queries.
  • Ask a colleague to proofread your blurb - it's easy to miss small errors.

The legacy 

  • Materials used to promote your event can be reused to promote future events, while photographs and film can be used by your school to attract new students and promote research and life at Birkbeck. Some schools pool content, providing a really useful central database for everybody to use.
  • Some examples of legacy materials are:
  • A debriefing meeting can be really useful for considering feedback from attendees and organisers. 
  • Send out thank yous via email and follow up any issues, if required.

Next step: Evaluation