If you live in Chicago, you know street festivals in the summer are HUGE here. Almost every weekend you can visit a different neighborhood's festival, hear good music, drink cold beverages and just enjoy being outside.
This weekend (June 14th) is Wrigleyville Summerfest, the festival that my church puts on every year. The weather can really determine the attendance and this year it looks like we are again are going to blessed with great weather. So for all you Chicagoans that have cabin fever from the long winter we had, come out and enjoy the activities, which can all be found on the website here. I am especially excited to hear Too White Crew, one my favorite local Chicago cover bands.
For the last 3 years, since joining the church, I have headed up the marketing efforts for the festival. It is amazing how the festival is marketed has changed in such a short period of time.
The first year, we hardly had a website worth promoting. I sat at a fax machine for an hour and sent out all of the press releases, who knows if the right people ever got them? We made flyers and distributed them door-to-door in the neighborhood. And we took an ad in the newspaper (a paper targeted at our audience). We had a large sign up sheet posted in hall for volunteers.
The second year, the website got better, we actually starting referencing it on the press release. I sent all of the press releases via email or submissions through a website. I believe we got a little better pick up because the editors could just cut and paste want they needed verses having to retype everything. We still ran the newspaper ad, but not so much for the ad but also because by doing the ad, we got better exposure on their website.
This year, the marketing plan has seen the most dramatic changes with the advent of social networking and web 2.0 principles. Facebook was a big play for us this year, where we created an event profile and had people post this to their personal profiles and from there their entire network could see an event they were endorsing. We also created a widget you could include on our Facebook page as a way to virally get people to sign up for events and know who was coming. A similar strategy was applied on Yelp.com, where an event record was created and community members could talk about it or let others know they would be attending. Our website also continued to advance, although it still stands for improvement, to include transactional functions such as now being able to sign up for events like the bags tournament. The website will also serve as a follow up mechanism when we post the results and party pics. This year, the volunteer sign up is still in the hall, but the master copy resides in a folder in a Yahoo groups page that anyone can edit. The sign up was also sent via an Evite.
I am thinking next year about doing a blog describing the progress as planning for this starts months out. It obviously would be a big boost in SEO for us.
So if you are in the Chicago area this weekend, please stop by! It will be a great time!
For more information about this event, please visit www.WrigleyvilleSummerfest.com.
Click HERE to find out about other festival happening in the city the rest of the summer.