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How to Publicize Events?

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13 replies to this topic

#1 Durkinphd

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 06:07 PM

For several years now, the Marin Stargazers have been hosting "pop-up" events in local parks. We find that being spontaneous and flexible works best to catch decent conditions. We're not an "official" club and don't have a website - just a band of sidewalk astronomers.

 

We're always asked by attendees how they can find out about future events. We have a Facebook page and a Nextdoor group, but it's surprising  (refreshing?) how many people aren't on those, and I think those platforms are increasingly alienating users.

 

So I'm wondering, how can we notify interested people about our events, short of shining green lasers into the sky?

 

Thank you for any advice you offer. We appreciate it!


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#2 Couder

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 06:12 PM

There is a place here on CN, and Sky & Tel



#3 ShaulaB

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 06:24 PM

Unfortunately, you might need one of your members to be a social media "guru," advising of your spontaneous viewing events on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Threads, Tribel, Mastodon, TikTok, and other outlets.  Local parent groups that you can search out are looking for free family-friendly activities like this.

 

If your pop-up events are consistently at the same park, people might get the idea to check the park on clear nights.

 

As you know, this was John Dobson's way to spread astronomy joy to the public, with nothing in the way of social media back then.


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#4 Jlex

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 07:37 PM

I can't think of anything more spontaneous and flexible than collecting phone numbers and/or email addy's.  We've come too dependent on social media to spread the word on various "events".  For example, a car show on social media platforms is likely to reach a broader audience that anything "star gazing".  The smaller the audience, the more nose to nose and toes to toes might work better.


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#5 Phil Cowell

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 05:15 PM

Use Social Media its got a huge reach. It’s far from alienating. Theres your local newspaper. Post on your local school and university Facebook pages. Your local NPR will give a mention and your local TV channel (talk to your weather man).

 

 

For several years now, the Marin Stargazers have been hosting "pop-up" events in local parks. We find that being spontaneous and flexible works best to catch decent conditions. We're not an "official" club and don't have a website - just a band of sidewalk astronomers.

 

We're always asked by attendees how they can find out about future events. We have a Facebook page and a Nextdoor group, but it's surprising  (refreshing?) how many people aren't on those, and I think those platforms are increasingly alienating users.

 

So I'm wondering, how can we notify interested people about our events, short of shining green lasers into the sky?

 

Thank you for any advice you offer. We appreciate it!


Edited by Phil Cowell, 24 September 2023 - 05:18 PM.


#6 havasman

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Posted 24 September 2023 - 08:56 PM

When I ran the club's outreach program we tried to piggyback on community events: Japan-America Society's annual lunar celebration drew thousands to a downtown park and we had @ 10 scopes busy all night, school science nights always had families attending, gated communities had social nights we'd become part of periodically and the word spread as they were always looking for something to offer their residents, local science museums had events, local community colleges were always good for sponsoring/allowing lunar eclipse events, scouting events were always well attended, suburban city parks were engaged to set up observing events 2 to 4 times a year, libraries would set up solar events during their hours, etc.

 

That way all the media and publicity before and during the events was taken care of and all we had to do was show up ready to put on whatever show was appropriate to the event. We had to communicate well with those putting on the event what we needed and what we'd do to make everything go smoothly.


Edited by havasman, 24 September 2023 - 08:59 PM.


#7 DSOGabe

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Posted 27 September 2023 - 10:58 AM

Your club is similar to our club.

For outreach we've teamed up with a local state park when it does ranger led star gazing events. We also get invited to local schools and libraries when they do their science events. We kind of rely on them for the bulk of advertising for us. We do let people know at those events that we have a page of FB and always tell people at events about that as a way to track our activities with fairly good success; several do start to follow the club there for our events


Edited by DSOGabe, 27 September 2023 - 11:08 AM.

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#8 StarAlert

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 12:38 PM

When the planets are up, I do sidewalk astronomy on a regular basis... at least once a week when the weather and skies cooperate. I actually set the TEC140 up three nights in the past week.

 

tec140

 

I get the "When are you going to do this again?" question a lot. The problem I see with this is that I don't make the decision until right before I start packing my gear into the truck. There are just too many decision variables. And even if I did make an announcement, I already get a steady stream of passersby. I really don't need more people standing in line waiting to look through the eyepiece. I guess I'd rather just let luck/chance work everything out.


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#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 10:09 PM

Back in the 1990s I did publicity for one of the clubs to which I belong.  I put up flyers on bulletin boards and sent information on public events to various local advertising papers, newspapers, and radio stations for some five years.

About six or seven years ago, I volunteered to publicize club events once again.  In addition to posting flyers, etc., I began advertising on numerous local community Facebook pages.  We started getting crowds that were too big to handle at our observatory, so I was told to halt my efforts.  Now notices of our events appear only on our website and the observatory's Facebook page. 


Edited by Dave Mitsky, 30 September 2023 - 04:13 PM.

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#10 Durkinphd

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Posted 30 September 2023 - 02:18 PM

Thank you for everyone's comments.

 

To recount, The Marin Stargazers situation is that we primarily do spontaneous "pop-up" events to catch decent conditions, so there's often only a couple days notice. Yes, we have a Facebook page and a Nextdoor group, and those have some reach, but we're encountering many guests who are avoiding those platforms (and I think for good reason). 

 

We have also partnered on events with the Marin County Park's (ranger Gabe is awesome) and with local libraries (in conjunction with the Library Telescope program). Yes, it is wonderful to have these partnerships, because they often take care of publicity and crowd management; we just bring the scopes. BUT, because these events have to be planned more than a month out, we encounter our share of canceling clouds. 

 

The local newspaper, the Marin IJ, has stared following our events and we have been featured as best "cheap thing to do" for the week. (Again, this is for events that we have scheduled well in advance.)

 

I think Jlex above has the best piece of advice: create our own email list. This is what we are now doing. Thank you, Jlex!

 

We created a gmail account: marinstargazers@gmail  com. At events, we will have "business cards" with our email address to give out; interested people can send us an email to be added to our list. 

 

Thank you everyone - and special thanks for sharing the cosmos with the public!


Edited by Durkinphd, 30 September 2023 - 11:53 PM.

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#11 Chris K

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Posted 16 November 2023 - 08:40 PM

Back in the 1990s I did publicity for one of the clubs to which I belong.  I put up flyers on bulletin boards and sent information on public events to various local advertising papers, newspapers, and radio stations for some five years.

About six or seven years ago, I volunteered to publicize club events once again.  In addition to posting flyers, etc., I began advertising on numerous local community Facebook pages.  We started getting crowds that were too big to handle at our observatory, so I was told to halt my efforts.  Now notices of our events appear only on our website and the observatory's Facebook page. 

Too darn effective Dave!

 

Cool side story... I asked our club President Emeritus, "how did people find out about the club before the internet". She said the original President put "Come join our astronomy club" notes in all the astronomy books at the area libraries. What a great idea.


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#12 No N in collimation

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Posted 18 November 2023 - 10:03 AM

I began advertising on numerous local community Facebook pages.

 

Good idea



#13 bobclark86

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Posted 22 February 2024 - 10:54 AM

Here's a quick list of places I would go to get a notice out: Newspaper (daily, weekly and alternative publications -- basically everybody except the poorly-xeroxed crackpot socialist/religious/conspiracy theorist newsletter); locally-owned radio stations, Facebook (nobody really looks on Instagram or TikTok for local events in many areas); bulletin boards at the library, grocery stores, nearby churches, schools and universities, museums, etc.; local civic groups like the Rotary or Lions Club; and the Chamber of Commerce or local tourism board invariably has a list of events on their websites.



#14 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 12:50 PM

Our City’s visitor bureau keeps a community calendar, I’d also consider beyond the previous recommendation university clubs/departmental listservs. 




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