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3 Ways You Can Advertise Events for Free

There are more ways than ever to advertise your events these days, from search engine marketing to social media advertising. But advertising costs money. If you’re on a shoestring budget, you have to get creative.

One cost-effective (read: free) way to share events far and wide is by posting them to websites with free event listings. These sites help get your events in front of as many people as possible and using them doesn’t cost a dime.

Which sites should you use to promote your events? That depends on your target audience. Below, we’ll break down free event listings into three categories: National/global platforms, local calendars, and niche sites. Read on to learn about each type and decide which one is right for you.

How to Use National/Global Platforms to Promote Events

These sites are the heavy hitters that you’ve probably heard of, like Facebook Events and Eventbrite. Think of these sites as massive event clearinghouses that aggregate event listings from around the country and the world so that people can find events based on their interests, location, or other factors.

You can also list your events on major sites like Yelp (great for local food, culture, or entertainment events) and BandsInTown (a favorite among musicians).

Pro: It’s easy to create event listings that go live as soon as you hit “submit,” and your event has the potential to be seen by a huge audience.

Con: Your event might be a small fish in a big pond among so many listings competing for people’s attention.

How to Promote Events in Local Community Calendars

Local news and lifestyle publications love filling their calendars with interesting local events. Chances are, your local newspaper has an online event calendar that it populates with user-submitted events. That means anyone—including you—can use it as a resource to promote their events.

But don’t just look to your local paper. If there are other magazines or publications in your community, see if they have a calendar. And don’t forget about Nextdoor, neighborhood Facebook groups, and local lifestyle blogs, which may allow users and readers to share their own local events (but check with the group’s moderator or blog owner before you start self-promoting—you don’t want to get kicked out for violating the rules).

Pro: Local media outlets are a great way to connect with prospective attendees in your own backyard, especially if you’re promoting an event that has broad appeal in your community.

Con: If your event is super niche, local media outlets won’t reach prospective attendees who live further away but would be willing to travel for your event. You may want to augment your efforts by promoting on some additional sites.

How to Promote Events on Niche Sites

These sites are the ones your target audience visits on the regular. Promoting a family event? Find all the local mom blogs and kids calendars you can. Your audience is already there.

Many sites make it easy for users to submit their events to online calendars. Otherwise, you can reach out to the site’s owner and ask if they’d be willing to share your event with their audience.

There are tons of places where niche audiences come together on the internet. If you haven’t found those places for your specific audience, here are a few starting points:

  • Blogs that cover your niche (search by topic, like home renovation, pets, parenting, etc.)
  • Online groups and forums (think alumni networking groups on LinkedIn, mom groups on Facebook, or a sub-Reddit dedicated to amateur boxing)
  • Meetup Groups
  • Industry-specific publications (BirdWatching Magazine, anyone?)

Pro: Niche event calendars have a built-in audience that’s already interested in your event topic.

Con: Niche audiences tend to be smaller; you may not be able to reach as large an audience on a niche site as you would on a general interest site.

Pick an Approach—Or Try All Three—and Start Promoting Events for Free

You may want to use a healthy mix of free event listing sites to promote your events, and you can test out different sites to see which ones drive the most interest in your events. There’s no right or wrong way to do it, and with all of the free options right at your fingertips, you can’t beat the price.


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