University Housing

Creating Effective Advertising Material

Advertising is an important part of event planning. If no one knows of the event, then no one is going to show up. This blog post is geared towards University Housing type events and roles but this can also be easily adapted to other events. Check out “How to Plan an Event” to incorporate what you learn to the larger scheme of planning an event. Your advertisement and effectiveness are going to vary event by event — so take advantage of the various ways you can bring attention to your amazing event!

Physical fliers and signs

Taking it old school, physical fliers are a great way to advertise in and around the hall. You can make some really cool looking free prints on online platforms. Print them out and put them up around the community in parts of heavy foot traffic – bulletin boards, bathroom doors, social lounges, etc. Be sure to recycle these when you take them down. Printing is not very environmentally friendly, but it’s super effective! If you need a sign-up sheet for whatever purpose, make sure your attendees know where it is (online or physical copy) and the last date to RSVP. This information can be included directly on the flier. QR codes are a great efficient way to include these on the fliers without taking up too much space.

Here is all the information you should include in the flier:

  • Name of event
  • Date/Time
  • Location
  • (Optional) Small description if the title is not that descriptive
  • (Optional) Sign up/ RSVP information

That’s it! This is all you need. Keep it brief and with all the vital information.

Some things I like adding to my flier to make it stand out are:

  • Colorful images or icons
  • Background image (made translucent) 
  • Borders
  • Funky fonts to make the important stuff stand out

It’s important to always proofread your fliers and double-check the time/date. (Make sure if you include a date and day of the week that it matches!!!) Make sure the colors do not contrast. When you zoom out, check that it is still visually appealing!

For the past six years, I’ve used Canva extensively for all of my marketing material. It’s an amazing platform that covers most marketing needs for all the main social media platforms and anything you might need such as posters, banners, etc. I’ve even used Canva to make my resumes and powerpoints as well! The possibilities are endless! 

Here’s a great article to get some inspiration.

Online platforms

This wasn’t as utilized in our residence hall, per se — but we had a very active Facebook group that would post event updates, along with similar online platforms such as weekly newsletter and Instagram pages. In hindsight, social media should have been more utilized than print, but it is a skill that takes a little while to perfect — and by then the group of housing staff would have reset.

A great hack is to just take a screenshot of your already perfected flier and use it as an image on whichever post. It already has all the necessary information and looks great! No extra work is needed. But if you need to make personalized prints for each of the social media channels, Canva again is where I would go. (no, I am not getting paid to advertise Canva this much haha! It has just made my life so much easier). The best thing about Canva is that they have predetermined templates which are great and also customized to the size of which platform you want to post to. Of course, in this internet age, most of us know how to make some good posts so I will not dwell on this much. Just make sure all the needed information is available to the viewers whether in the image or the caption. 

Word of mouth

As always, there is always the option of word of mouth. This should only be used as a complementary option and not the main channel. As a ResLife employee, I am sure you interact or at least cross paths with some residents every day. Let them know about your upcoming event when you do. A simple ‘Hey I’m hosting a ping pong tournament on Sat, tell your friends and sign up in the office.” can go a long way. Tell your fellow employees to tell their residents too. 

However, you choose to advertise, make sure you are using more than one method to be most effective! If you’ve had tremendous success advertising for an event, please share below!!

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