Here are some top tips for all venues trying to promote Museums at Night events: there are some simple mistakes we’ve seen in the last few days, which you should avoid; and some promotional opportunities worth making the most of!
1) Does your own website have a listing for your Museums at Night event?
If any details of your event have changed, have you updated them on your site? It sounds obvious but at the very least you need to list the date, event times and ticket price, along with contact details for potential visitors to make a booking or find out more.
2) Is your Museums at Night event listing registered in Culture24’s database?
Simply use the orange Event Search box, which is at the top of every page on this website, to double check that we’ve got your listing: www.museumsatnight.org.uk.
3) Most importantly, if we don’t have your event listing, please register it ASAP, or you’ll miss out on all of our regional marketing; and neither the public nor the media will know that there’s an event taking place in their area. Here’s how to register your Museums at Night event.
4) Is your listing correct?
If details of your event listing have changed, please log in here and update your event record: http://update.culture24.org.uk/dashboard – the changes will be visible the next time we publish the site, which usually happens twice a day.
If tickets to your event have sold out, congratulations! Please log in and change the Status field of your event listing from Confirmed to Fully Booked. This will show on your listing so you don’t have to turn people away on the night. If you’re not clear how to do this, email [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help.
5) Chase your local media
If you’ve already sent out press releases, that’s great – but now’s the time to follow up with a phone call. Your local newspapers and radio stations are looking for content – so could you offer them an interview and photos about the Museums at Night excitement you’re planning?
Will they be sending a reporter or photographer along on the night? Phone them now to find out!
Have you reached out to local bloggers, social media influencers, Facebook groups or forums? Here are my tips on blogger outreach, and you may also find these recommendations useful about taking a strategic approach to online PR.
6) Use your social media channels
Reach out to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, Instagram and any other social media channels you use. Share your excitement as you get ready – we’ve already seen some great behind-the-scenes photos and teasers, like this:
— Rugby Gallery/Museum (@RugbyGallery) May 5, 2016
Tweets and Facebook updates that include an attractive image are much more likely to be shared!
However, in your messages, be sure to include a link to your event listing online, or to the site where people can find out more and book tickets. Rather than just broadcasting, if you want your followers to take action, make it easy for them by giving them a link to click rather than forcing them to Google for more details.
Don’t forget, the Twitter hashtag for Museums at Night 2016 is #museumsatnight – if you use it, or if you include @MuseumsAtNight in your tweets, we’ll retweet you to our audience of over 11,000 people.
7) Send an email about your event
Send a quick newsflash reminder to your mailing list about your Museums at Night event – this is their last chance to book tickets! Bonus points if you have a good image to include, ideally showing people from your target audience demographic having a good time.
8) Guerrilla marketing on the night
Hopefully you’ve already distributed posters, flyers and leaflets around your area – if not, you’ll find customisable poster and flyer templates with the Museums at Night branding free to download..
However, you’ll want to attract new audiences on the night too – but if you don’t have enough staff to stand outside welcoming potential visitors, how can you grab their attention?
Good signage can make a big difference: if your venue’s on a side street that doesn’t get much passing traffic, use pop-up A-frame signs to catch people’s eye.
Don’t have signs? Simply chalk on the pavements! During Museums at Night over the last couple of years, several venues chalked a trail of arrows to direct passers-by to their front doors, and were delighted to report that this drew in curious new visitors.
9) Keep us updated!
If your tickets are selling slowly or quickly, if you’re appearing on the radio or TV, or arranging another PR moment you’d like us to be aware of, and particularly if you may have to cancel or if your event’s now fully booked – please update us! Call 01273 623266, email [email protected] or tweet @MuseumsAtNight.
And for bonus points:
If you’re not running an event at your venue, you can still support the festival!
a) Why not share a link with your social media followers to a Museums at Night event in your area they night like to go to? The hashtag is #museumsatnight.
b) If you’re free during the evening when the festival is on, why not pop along to a Museums at Night event with your friends or family?
Best of luck – this will be a fabulous few days!