Special occasions can be wonderful self-promotion vehicles, because they give us a reason to communicate. Whether you’ve moved your office, hired new staff, won awards or given birth to a child, you have an excuse to initiate contact with those people you have on your list. Other less intimate special occasions such as Thanksgiving or other holidays also provide us with a handy “theme” that any other communications would not have.
The most important guideline in special event promotions is to be timely. We’ve all received Christmas cards after the new year has begun, and we generally are left with the impression that the sender is unorganized. Likewise, an announcement that you’ve won awards or achieved some other success should come relatively soon after the fact.
If your announcement is to be combined with an event, you’ll need to plan advance notice to allow the people receiving your invitation to make plans to attend. Depending on the type of event and the time of year, up to three weeks notice is appropriate. The invitation will set the tone for the event itself, so take time to think through how you want the event to be perceived. Will it be fun and casual? Businesslike and serious? The invitation should tip off the recipient as to what to expect.
If your event is a public one —and you’re willing to allow people other than those on an established list to attend—you might consider sending an announcement to the media. If the event is not public, you still might want to send out a press release after the fact.
The event itself will also require a bit of forethought in order to make it as beneficial promotionally as possible. Details such as where guests will put their coats, providing nametages, and greeting people as they enter determine the success of an event. It might also be in your best interest to consider some sort of brief presentation about your company, or perhaps have “giveaways” or promo pieces on hand for guests to take away with them.