January 18, 2018

Contact these people to pack the house at your next campus event

It can be hard to get students to come to a speaker-based event – no matter how well you’ve planned it. You’ve got to overcome that fact that they’ve been sitting in class all week and WILL NOT come to another boring lecture. First, don’t pick a boring speaker and secondly, making sure EVERYONE on campus and around town knows about your event can have a huge impact on the attendance.

Contact These People - Photo Copyright 2011 Rick Sherrell

Consider adding these to your Campus Activities Board contact list to help you spread the word.

Student leaders. Contact the leaders in student government and the leaders of  campus clubs and organizations. Ask them to pass the information along their members.

Think majors. Contact all of the majors/departments related to your event/speaker or lecture. Let them know that a topic related to their area of study is being discussed.

Speech! Speech! Invite your speach/public speaking professors and students. If your speaker or lecturer is any good, it’s their chance to see a pro in action. Many speakers will welcome their evaluation and feedback and the students may get some real-world perspective.

Local high schools. Invite high school students to your event. It’s a great way to reach out to the community, while getting prospective students on campus.

Local community organizations. Especially the ones that your school, board or student body support in one way or another. Of course the best match is if the subject-matter is related to or is of interest to the organization. Helping spread the word could be one of the ways they show appreciation for your support.

The school and local newspapers.Write an article or interview with the speaker to be inserted in the school and/or local newspapers or pitch a newsworthy idea to one of their reporters that covers related topics. (business events to a business reporter, social events to an entertainment reporter, etc.) Include the topic, speaker name, date, time and location of the event. Make sure you include a photo of the speaker. Ask for the article to run a few days in advance for optimal results. Using local media is a great way to invite the community, boost attendance and could be great community relations for your school! Check with your school officials on policy.

Campus and local radio stations. Radio is great because of the immediacy. Anyone within earshot could show up NOW if your announcements are timed right! You may not have a budget for local radio commercials, but announcements by the DJ or even a guest appearance by one of the event coordinators is common fare.  Ask them to conduct an interview with the speaker. Most speakers are happy to do an interview and it can even be done over the phone.

Campus and local TV. Hey, we mentioned campus radio but left out the TV monitors all over campus. Post a bulletin, get interviewed, host a show, run a PSA or make it news. Just get on the air! Same goes for your local affiliates or public access cable TV. Pitch a good story, show idea, topic or personality and even TV can’t resist. If you have an on-campus studio or media department you might even be able to make your own video.

School and community bloggers. Bloggers always need something to talk about. You might have a campus blog or event a student activities blog and it’s one you should never forget. Find a local community blog that blogs about local events and activities and it could be a match made in heaven.

The campus social media gurus and addicts. Whether there’s someone assigned to use social media on behalf of your school, activities board or organization – or if you just charge everybody on your CAB to go forth and tweet. Social media is a must. Post it on your individual Facebook pages. Add it to your school or organization’s fan page. Tweet it, tweet it and tweet it again.

Don’t make getting the word out about your speaker or other campus event a one-man show. Keep your contact list up to date, reach out and touch someone and you can pack the house.


This series of posts will help you get better student turnout at all of your campus events and will work especially well for speaker-based events. Remember to always enlist the help your guest speaker or trainer in your promotional efforts. Look for powerful Student Learning Outcomes that lead to immediate or future success.

Series Navigation<< Tell ’em, tell ’em, and tell ’em again for a successful campus event8 Ways – including bribery – to get faculty support for your campus events >>
About the Author: Rick Sherréll (12 Posts)

Rick Sherréll is the Blogitor (Blog Editor) here at CampusTalkBlog and agent for the college speakers at Pro Speakers Bureau. In his entrepreneurial life he has been a writer, editor, speaker, trainer, marketer, coach, IT specialist, consultant, event planner, broadcaster, fundraiser and innovator. Find out more at www.RickSherrell.com and www.ProSpeakersBureau.com/about.

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