One of the key challenges for any event is attracting an audience. Consider involving potential members of your audience at the planning stage. Understanding what would get this group interested in your activity will not only help you attract an audience but will also help you develop a more interesting activity.

Practical issues

When you begin planning your event, think about any practical issues that may affect audience participation - try to identify potential barriers and remove them. These might include:

  • Timing - for example, think about what day of the week or time of day suits your audience best.
  • Choosing a venue - make sure your venue is accessible, or take your activity to a place the audience already uses (such as a community centre).
  • Choosing activities - develop an activity your participants can engage with (for example an activity that takes account of disability issues).
  • Cost of participation - including travel costs, ticket prices and entry fees.

Marketing your event

  • Consider how you can market your event and whether you can tap into existing groups or networks.
  • Allow plenty of time to carry out promotional activities, including planning and developing material.
  • Consider what materials you will need to promote your event. These might include leaflets, invitations and even advertising.
  • Ensure you have sufficient time and budget to create professional promotional materials.
  • Use group newsletters to promote your event, but bear in mind that many organisations only have quarterly newsletters.
  • Use media coverage, such as local newspapers, to generate awareness.
  • Use direct mail, email and existing electronic news groups to reach audiences.
  • Ask whether the venue can help promote your event - for example they may have a mailing list you could use.

For further guidance, see the events section.

Involving your audience

Any activity requires thinking as to how to engage and involve your audience.

  • If you are working with an established group, such as a local community group, ask the group coordinator for information and advice on what works to attract local community members to events.
  • If the group you are seeking to engage has a newsletter then contact the editor to find out more about the group and their interests.
  • Involve key audience participants in the project development. These participants can guide the project development and also act as project champions helping to recruit the audience.
  • For public engagement activities involving a series of events, run a pilot event and ask participants how they heard about (or would expect to hear about) the activity.
  • Do you know someone else who has run events for your target group? They may have insights on how best to attract an audience.