Guidelines for Effective Publicity
Attendance at your event—and its overall success—will depend on the publicity that precedes and supports it.
Here are some basic guidelines to assist you in creating an effective publicity campaign.
STEP 1: Form a Publicity Committee
If you are the organizer of this event, much of the responsibility for logistics falls on your shoulders. We recommend that you form a publicity committee—composed of yourself and at least two other people—to assist you. Many parishes and schools already have a publicity committee in place. By all means, utilize their skills and experience for your OCP event. If you do not have such a committee established, these guidelines will help you get one started.
STEP 2: Develop a Plan
What kind of event are you planning? Each type of OCP event requires a different approach to publicity.
This event has a specific target audience, usually liturgical ministers. One of the most effective ways to fill the hall is for the pastor (or liturgy coordinator) to send a personal letter of invitation to the liturgical ministers of the host parish as well as the parishes within the deanery or region. Experience has shown that it is a good idea to go through proper channels first and clear such an invitation with each parish’s pastor and/or liturgy coordinator.
This type of event is for the general public and requires a more comprehensive publicity campaign than the targeted workshop event. It’s best to use as many levels of publicity as possible.
This event takes place at one particular parish over a number of days. A personal letter of invitation to all registered members of the parish from the pastor is an effective way to get the word out.
Many parishes choose to do a Concert/ Workshop combination, with the concert for the general public on Friday night and the workshop for liturgical ministers on Saturday. Whichever event format you choose, please be aware of the following publicity principles.
STEP 3: Implement Levels of Publicity
Personal Letter Of Invitation And Follow-Up: This is used especially for workshops.
Flyer: OCP will provide flyers at no cost. If you wish to create your own we can provide a black and white photograph and a biography for the clinician in the confirmation packet.
Parish Bulletin: A brief bulletin announcement should appear regularly in the weeks preceding your event.
Announcements At Weekend Liturgies: This is especially important on the two weekends preceding your event.
Parish Newsletter: These are usually published monthly or quarterly, with deadlines far in advance of publication. Be sure to take advantage of this valuable in-house resource.
Parish Web Site: You can use the article that was generated for the parish newsletter and expand on it by including an interview with the organizer or liturgy coordinator and a biography of the composer/clinician.
Deanery Newsletter: Use the material you generated for the parish newsletter/web site.
Diocesan Mailings and Newsletters: Again, use the article from the parish newsletter/web site. Include the flyer.
Diocesan Newspaper: First, make personal contact with a particular editor or reporter, introducing them to your event and the planning behind it. Mail or fax a news release to that editor or reporter. The purpose of the news release is to convince the reporter or editor that your event is indeed newsworthy. It helps to emphasize the human-interest angle. Sometimes diocesan newspapers find liturgical renewal itself to be newsworthy. The reporter or editor will then use your news release as a starting point for an article, with possible interviews and follow-ups. The editor might recommend an advertisement instead of an article. A quarter page ad can be an effective way to raise awareness of your event. The ads cost money, of course, but the payoff will be in the increased attendance of people from around the diocese. Newspapers usually want to supplement articles with photographs. OCP has file photographs of our composers/clinicians. Please call the Workshop department for assistance. Newspapers work on very tight deadlines. As soon as you book our composer/clinician, call the diocesan newspaper to inquire into their deadlines.
Secular Newspaper: All the principles outlined for diocesan newspapers above apply to secular papers. However, please be aware of this difference. There is more competition for news space in a secular newspaper. Most likely, your event will be relegated to the religion section that typically appears in the Saturday edition. Study that section and make note of who the religion editors and reporters are. See if they do articles on events like yours. Unless there is a great human-interest angle (for example, "Hymn Composer’s Concert Enables Local Youth to See Pope at World Youth Day"), religion sections usually just mention workshops and concerts in an "upcoming events" column. Be prepared to explain why your event might be newsworthy and deserving of an article.
Radio: Is there a Catholic radio station in your area? They are always looking for a good local story. If you don’t have a Catholic station check your local "talk radio" stations and see if they have a Sunday Catholic or Christian show, typically hosted by a local personality. You could have your event mentioned on such shows. Even better, arrange for an interview with our composer when he or she arrives in your town. Their CD could be played on the program, too. Always clear such activities with our Workshop department to ensure that the composer does indeed have time on the schedule for this.
Television: Many major cities have at least one Catholic interview TV show, usually early on Sunday morning. Check with your diocesan communications department. These shows are usually taped in advance so the window of opportunity for getting our composer/clinician interviewed might be very slim, but it’s worth looking into.
STEP 4: Create a Timeline and Stick to It
A sample event timeline has been enclosed in your workshop kit. Please be sure to include deadlines for any of the levels of publicity outlined above. Meet regularly with your publicity committee and event committee to ensure that tasks are being accomplished and supported.
The OCP Workshop department stands ready to assist you in preparing for your event. Please feel free to call us at any time. We look forward to a wonderful and dynamic event with you!
It is our sincere hope that we can assist you in planning special events and liturgical celebrations and in developing your music and parish programs.