Publicity is very important to a successful public programme of events and it is worth trying places the museum, gallery or site has not previously advertised in. Advertisements in local papers are costly but have proven to work for generating new audiences.


Leaflets are useful but you have to make sure they are distributed well. It is worth taking some to local schools and community centres.


Obvious free places for publicity are: your institution’s website, the local borough’s ‘Events’ site, Friends or local history societies, Culture 24, posters in schools, doctors’ surgeries and community centres.


Social Media has transformed how museums and galleries can advertise events and learning activities. Most institutions now have facebook pages and twitter accounts through which they can distribute news on collections and activities, canvas opinion and engage in conversations. These media need to be monitored and each institution should establish a social media ‘etiquette’.


There could be a whole section on the use of twitter but some tips for setting up an account are: don’t expect results (or large numbers followers) straight away, connect either by naming or hash-tags to larger organisations or occurrences, decide the tone of your tweets beforehand and interact if people mention you. The Museums Association have produced a Social Media issue in Museum Practice and that answers questions about developing a social media strategy and using Facebook, twitter etc Link >> (login required)


However, Facebook, twitter and other social media do not reach everyone and so more traditional methods should be used too, particularly if you are targeting family, older or some hard to reach audiences.


Printed places you can try for free are BBC History Magazine (3 month lead in), other linked magazines, Time Out, Guardian Guide or other newspaper listings (these usually have a 3 week lead in).


Partnerships with other organisations and putting events on around an already existing national theme or commemoration means there are even more ways of advertising.



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