Good marketing lies at the heart of running a successful event, project or exhibition. After all, you can put on the best show in the world but if nobody hears about it, no-one will come! Here’s some great advice to get the crowds flocking to your event.

Marketing your event is a key part of it’s success.  Before you read any further, we recommend looking at our page on marketing essentials which will provide you with some core principles to apply to your marketing plan.

Why should people share your event?

What makes people want to share a story? You may have a great art exhibition lined up but alongside the actual artwork, people may be really interested in the stories behind the event: why the artists are inspired to get into the arts, what their studios look like, what it’s like to plan an exhibition, top tips for other people looking to start their own event, an interview with an artist. You can use these really interesting and relevant stories to help promote the exhibition.

What does your audience want to know?

As always in everything you do with marketing, consider what your audience will want to know. If you go to an event, there will automatically be a few key questions you will ask yourself: what is it, where is it, when is it and will I enjoy it? A classic mistake is to focus too much on what you want to tell your audience rather than answering what they will want to know.

These two examples show how a single event can be promoted in different ways (firstly from the viewpoint of the artist and then considering the audience more closely):

Artist Jill Smith presents her latest exhibition of “Landscape River Paintings”. Jill reflects on our metaphysical relationship with nature through bioscopic acrylic paintings of the River Tamar, which have been highly acclaimed by critic Sue Young. Jill will talk about her interesting arts practice on the opening night at 6pm, Friday 1st May at the River Gallery.

“Stunning, enigmatic and visually breath-taking” Sue Young, the Art Paper.

“Landscape River Paintings” is nationally renowned artist Jill Smith’s newest exhibition. You are warmly invited to join us in the River Gallery at 6pm, Friday 1st May at the River Gallery to view her incredible artwork. A discussion with wonderfully entertaining artist will start at 7pm where you can learn about Jill’s fascinating life and work. A show not to be missed!

Although Jill feels passionately about her bioscopic paintings, her casual use of ‘art speak’ could alienate some people. She focuses too much on what she wants to tell people about her work, rather than highlighting the excellent review which validates the high quality of her artwork.


This version is much more enticing. The high quality of Jill’s work, backed by an independent review, is evident. The focus shifts more to Jill as an interesting person, rather than her views of her artwork. From the viewpoint of someone reading about this exhibition for the first time, it seems like a warm, welcoming and enjoyable event.

People find out about events from lots of different sources

You might have a brilliant Twitter profile with new tweets about your event going up every hour, but if you haven’t contacted the local press about your event you may be missing a whole bunch of people who don’t use social media. Consider what sources you think people will find out about your event from and create great content for these sources.

Essential sources

Social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram)

Local press

Word of mouth

Relevant networks

Other sources to consider



Local radio

Other networks


Local/regional TV


Online Advertising (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords)

Print Advertising (e.g. newspapers, magazines)


Use your networks

Use your contacts at other organisations and ask them to help share your social media posts. You’ll be surprised just how far your social media posts can go! We are always happy to help share the word about creative and cultural events through @MadeInPlymouth.

People in your networks may also be happy to help share your news and stories in other ways – one of the most effective forms of marketing is having someone promote your story for you because it’s just that good and interesting! Never underestimate the power of word of mouth.

Make a plan

Don’t leave marketing until the last minute. Think about when it will be most effective for your messages to go out – you might want a feature in a local paper a few days before your event starts, but you’ll need to make a contact at the paper and share your project idea with them in advance of this. With social media, you’d like a build a good following long before your event begins.

When you have your plan, consider what stories will be best used to help share your event. Early on in the plan, more human-interest stories may be the most effective: e.g. “Local graduates build on early success with plans for a new art exhibition to promote local creative talent”. When you are nearing your event, stories with a behind-the-scenes angle may be widely shared: e.g. “Graduate artists give us a behind the scenes glimpse of their new exhibition”.