Events size and publicity
There are a range of different ways you can publicise your event to get the numbers you would like.
LEAF, working with our PR agency Ceres, do a lot of work to promote the event nationally and drive people to this website to find out what farms are opening in their area. So your first priorities are to make sure you are listed on the website and that your entry is as informative as possible!
Here are 3 different sized events and ways to help attract the audience size you would like:
Small - The ‘closed group’ event for a known group of people, generally less than 50. Contact a local interest group such as Ramblers, CPRE, RSPB or even the church congregation. Invite them for a farm walk (say 1 ½ hours) and a ‘bring your own’ picnic lunch. This way you can limit numbers, but remember to tick the option on your entry on the website so that your event is not listed on the website.
The most effective way to publicise a small event is to invite your visitors personally, by phone, email or by using the A5 flyers from the resource pack and print your event details on the reverse. If you ask people to RSVP you will get an idea of numbers, but don't rely on people to reply - they may still just turn up!
Medium – This may be up to 200-300 people. You could include a guided farm walk (2 hours max) for your village and neighbours, which you may plan to repeat at set times on the day. You may be keen that children from the local school come with their families.
Use the Open Farm Sunday A5 flyers to invite your friends, family and neighbours by putting one through each household letter box. Personalise the Open Farm Sunday A4 posters and put them up in the village shop etc. Arrange to drop into the school to hand out flyers. The local church or village newsletter is a great way to let people know about your event, but plan well in advance, as these are often written months before they are published.
Large - The ‘open’ event for a large number of people, typically starting at 11am with hourly farm guided tours running until 3pm. Other activities may include a nature trail, tractor & trailer rides, pond dipping, mini farmers market, picnics and activities for children. You will need to involve as many people to help you as possible and think about a variety of activities.
To publicise your event you will need to use all the publicity materials in your Open Farm Sunday pack. The banner is a very effective tool - the longer you put it up before the event, and the busier the road it goes next to, the more people you will attract, but be mindful of local planning restrictions.
Make good use of the local press, too - find out who the right correspondents are in your local papers and send them a press release or call them. Contact your local radio station, and perhaps even take in a basket of your produce for them to taste on air! There's a press release for you to adapt here. A good quality photograph will raise your chances of coverage and getting noticed. There's more tips on making the most of the media here.
Use local groups with email lists, such as ramblers, cyclists or local RSPB. Also do get in touch with local representatives of some of the OFS sponsors - contact the LEAF office if you would like details. Many are keen to be involved in events and can offer help with activities or resources. A number of retailers sponsor OFS, and some stores will promote local events. Again, planning well ahead of your event is vital, and don't underestimate just how hard you have to work at publicity to bring in big numbers!