How to Advertise an Event in College

Getting Out the Word Brings People in the Door

Female college student standing in front of billboard, rear view
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College campuses are legendary for the high number of programs that take place on campus every day. Whether it's an internationally acclaimed speaker or a local film screening, there's nearly always something happening on campus. If you're the one planning an event, however, you know that getting people to come can be as much of a challenge as coordinating the program itself. So just how can you advertise your event in a way that inspires people to attend?

Answer the Basics: Who, What, When, Where, and Why

You could spend hours painting a poster advertising your event ... but if you forget to write down what date the program is, you'll feel like a chump. Consequently, make sure the basic information is available on each and every piece of advertising you put out. Who is going to be at the event, and who is sponsoring it (or otherwise putting it on)? What will happen at the event, and what can attendees expect? When is the event? (Side note: It's helpful to write both the day and the date. Writing "Tuesday, October 6th" can make sure everyone is clear about when the event is happening.) How long will it last? Where is the event? Do people need to RSVP or buy tickets in advance? If so, how and where? And most important, why will people want to attend? What will they learn/experience/take away/gain from going? What will they miss out on if they don't go?

Know the Best Places to Advertise

Is social media big on your campus? Do people read emails announcing events -- or just delete them? Is the newspaper a good place to put an ad? Will a poster in the quad catch people's attention, or will it just get lost amidst a sea of butcher paper? Know what will stand out on your campus and get creative.

Know Your Audience

If you're advertising something that's, for example, political in nature, make sure you reach out to people on campus who are more likely to be politically involved or interested. When you're planning a political event, posting a flyer in the politics department might be a particularly smart idea -- even if you're not posting flyers in any other academic department. Go to meetings of student clubs and talk to other student leaders to promote your program, too, so that you can personally get the word out and answer any questions people might have.

Advertise Food if You're Going to Have it Available

It's no secret that providing food at a college event can drastically increase attendance. Having food, of course, can be a definite draw -- but it isn't an absolute necessity. If you are providing food, make sure it's done in a way that encourages people to stay for the whole event and not just sneak in and grab a slice of pizza from the back of the room. You want event attendees, after all, not just moochers.

Find Other Student Groups to Cosponsor Your Event

There's a pretty direct correlation between the number of people who know about your program and the number of people who show up. Consequently, if you can work with other student groups in the planning, you can outreach directly to each group's members. On many campuses, too, cosponsorship can lead to increased funding opportunities -- meaning you'll have more resources to promote and advertise your event.

Let Your Professors Know

While it can be scary to figure out how to talk to your professors, it's usually just fine once you try it. Remember: Faculty members were college students at one point, too! They'll likely find your program interesting and may even advertise it in their other classes. They can also mention it to other professors and help get the word around.

Let Administrators Know

The hall director in your residence hall may know you by name, but she may not know that you're super involved in a certain club -- and planning a major event next week. Drop by and let her know what's going on so she can let other residents know when she interacts with them, too. You likely interact with lots of administrators throughout the day; feel free to promote your program to them (and anyone else who will listen) as much as possible!

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Your Citation
Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Advertise an Event in College." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2021, February 16). How to Advertise an Event in College. Retrieved from Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "How to Advertise an Event in College." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).