Leather Press Series: Promoting leather events and news

Second in a four-part series

So you have an event or news item you want to get out. You put it in a Facebook post. Done, right?

Oh hell no.

First, simply creating an event and making a post will not get attention. I have 1,023 followers of the Great Lakes Den. I have about seven original posts a day going onto the GLD Facebook page. With more than 1,000 followers, an unpromoted post will get 20 views. Out of 1,023. Just because you put it up does not mean people will see it. Oh, it could go viral, but don’t bet on it. That happens because a nerve has been struck. You can’t predict it.

So, you have to be pro-active. That can, sometimes, mean spending some money for a Facebook or Twitter ad. That can also get expensive real quick. But there are ways to do it without money. They will just cost you time.

First, like your own post. Yeah, it’s stupid, but that actually does help. That will help get the algorithms to push it higher in feeds. Basically, the program will go “Hey, this is getting attention. Let’s give it more.”

Then get friends to like and share it. Nag them. Use guilt. Get the other people organizing the event to share it. That will keep making it look more important to the algorithms. It will take time, but it does help. If you can, tag other pages and people in the post or event. The more links and connections you get, the better it will do. Each like and share you get, can add at least another 20 people who will see it. And then keep sharing it, again and again. Yeah, it’s annoying, but unless you’re willing to pay for an ad, that’s what it will take.

Next, the good, old-fashioned press release. Yeah, social media is king. But some of the biggest users of social media are those old-fashioned media outlets. It can also widen your reach. Believe it or not, not everyone is on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or check either every day. You will need to use other outlets to promote.

So email or submit the information to outlets. The Great Lakes Den, Illinois Eagle and Leather Journal all have forms where you can copy and paste articles in and have it in line to get published:

Great Lakes Denhttp://www.greatlakesden.net/post-submissions/

Illinois Eaglehttp://illinoiseagle.com/post-submissions/

The Leather Journalhttps://www.theleatherjournal.com/contact-the-leather-journal/submit-an-article

For local leather columnists and Leatherati, you’ll need to email them directly.

Some tips – Do NOT use Facebook Messenger or Twitter direct message to send the press releases, at least not to individuals. It WILL get lost in the shuffle. It will just be background noise with everything else going on. Same with inviting individuals to event pages. I have, with no exaggeration, about 80 events on my events list. I try to include as much as I can, but, again, there’s only so much time in the day. I’ve spent entire weekends simply planning content and social media, trying to work ahead so I can actually have some downtime. Rarely works. Again. It. Will. Get. Lost.

That’s why you must either email or actively submit information to any publication. With web publications, deadlines aren’t as hard. Space out a few releases leading up to an event. The bigger the event, the more releases. Work up some interest. But keep an eye out for deadlines. For example, the Den as a weekly newsletter each Thursday evening. By Wednesday, unless there is massive breaking news, the top story for that week’s newsletter is already set. For print publications, you want to get your information in at least a week before the publishing date. Find out the deadlines for the publications you want to reach.

Be sure to include some kind of graphic. Contest or organization logo. A photo from last year’s event. Picture of the club president. Content that includes a picture or (if you’re REALLY ambitions) video is a lot more likely to get noticed both by publishers and the public.

Actively look for outlets. There’s the GLD, Illinois Eagle, Leather Journal, Leatherati, Midwest Kink Alliance, Master Calendar. There are outlets that want to help promote. But you have to reach out to them. Just hoping they catch it is 50/50 at best.

And research to make sure the outlets you send stuff to are actually ones you want to get. For example, with the Great Lakes Den, I don’t do much with events outside of the region. Unless it’s a really major event like MAL, IMsL or International Master/slave or the like, it’s not really in my focus. It’s not that I don’t want to support the events, it’s just not where my focus is and, again, I only have so much bandwidth.

Also, don’t publish everything on the event page THEN send it to a publication. Most will see that and think “You’ve already published everything, why should I?” While they want to support you, they’re also trying to support at least 10 other events going on as well. They won’t have the time and energy to chase you while dealing with everything else.

After the event, don’t wait to send updates or announcements. I once got offered an event report a full month after it had happened. When it had already been discussed and dissected and all the information distributed. It was no longer news. It was history and not really of any use. So do not wait to send stuff in.

Don’t expect us to chase you down. Unless the publication is an active co-sponsor of an event, they won’t. We do not have time to do that. Hell, I barely have energy to make myself dinner some nights. You need to, basically, nag and remind them. It’s nothing personal, but we only have so much bandwidth and by necessity focus on the immediate.

And if, God forbid, something happens at an event, react to it. In the world of social media, news will not wait. It won’t, so let go of that now. It will already be flying through the internet and with every publication having a website and social media, they publish pretty much constantly. Even print publications. They break news online then go into the details in print. So if something happens, get ahead of it. Contact the publications you know. Talk with the people with your event who are active on social media. Get SOMETHING out, even if only to say “We’re still getting information and working on getting things fixed.” Do NOT simply ignore it. And the bigger the issue, the bigger the event, the more involved you need to be. Do not think people will simply wait for information. They won’t. They’ll hear rumor and that travels at warp speed. Have someone who can speak for the event ready to respond.

Will all of these always work? No. This isn’t an exact science. It’s actually changing daily. But this will give you something to work from and with. If you want people to know, it’s up to you to let them know.

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