Telling the Same Story a New Way
It happens every year. That recurring event that you’ve promoted a thousand times is coming up again and it is your job to raise new awareness about it. Whether it’s youth camp or the women’s retreat, there has to be a way to breathe new life into repetitive promotion.
There are many types of recurring events that we need to promote. Some come around once a year while others come more often, like the weekly worship gathering. Regardless of the interval, if we don’t keep things fresh, people will tune us out and participation in our ministry events will wane. If we are strategic, however, we can tell the same old story in new ways. Below are a few ideas to help in our endeavor.
Ask, “Does this really need to be promoted?”
People will bust down the doors to attend a remarkable event. If the Men’s Wilderness Retreat is compelling, it will promote itself by word of mouth. It does not need our marketing efforts. If an event is not compelling, we shouldn’t be marketing it either. Instead we should sunset it. Often, an event falls somewhere in between: it has been around for so many years that people have it on their calendar and there is enough awareness around it that only a passing mention is needed. Much of the time the things we promote don’t even need to be promoted.
Approach this year’s event with next year’s promotion in mind.
The best way to be prepared to promote an event is to start planning now. Take photos and make videos at this year’s event so you can more effectively tell the story next year. Also, take notes about what worked and what didn’t work this year so you can eliminate tactics that didn’t work when it’s time to promote next year. Measure your marketing efforts by asking folks how they heard about this year’s event. Keep a record of what generated the most buzz. Use any information you can gather to get a jump start next time. A little effort now can pay big dividends in the future.
It’s all about storytelling.
Ultimately, the best way to promote an event is by telling the story of how it has previously impacted people. Create a way to capture stories of life change and use them the next time it’s promotion time. Show people, through examples, how this event can benefit them. Get creative in explaining the same old details in a new way.
Pay attention to your surroundings.
Develop a habit of personal creativity. Pay attention to how the world around you is doing marketing and be inspired by it. (Disclaimer: please be inspired, but do not do cheap rip-offs.) If you can relate an upcoming event in a relevant way to people’s everyday life, they will begin to see your event anew.
If you are forced to use the same promotional materials, see if you can spin it another way. My friend, Michael Buckingham of Holy Cow Creative, has a document that I use often that helps me look at old things in new ways. In it he asks, “Can we modify, substitute, adapt, minify, rearrange, reverse, or magnify the components in our design compositions to create freshness?” Be sure to download the PDF for more information.
We don’t have to always tell the same old story. With a little effort we can promote something that feels repetitive in a new and compelling way. If the thing we’re marketing really needs to be promoted, start with the end in mind. Pay attention to surroundings, and work on relating the story so that people feel (not see) the benefit to them. Communicate the life change that has happened in the past and cast a vision for how it can create future change. Just because it happens every year doesn’t mean it has to be boring.