Picture is illustrative. Photo by Yonghyun Lee on Unsplash

What is promotion?

In medieval Europe, the main way people got their news was through the Town Crier. A man who read out to the assembled townspeople the important news and announcements of the day. In the days before widespread literacy this would be the Twitter/Facebook/BBC News of its day! 

In effect, it was a (very basic) way of promotion. Promoting local news and events. These days, thankfully, we have more sophisticated channels for promotion, but in essence its purpose remains the same: raising awareness amongst key audiences. 


Promotion takes multiple forms. Here are just some examples: 

Promotion amplifies an organisation’s work, its mission and its activities. Depending on the specific purpose of your promotion activities, it can be a way of raising awareness of a certain issue, calling for volunteers, participants or, even, attracting funding.


Why do it?

Put most simply, without promoting your work, activities, events, training, calls etc., the people you want to reach (i.e. your key audience) will not hear about what you are doing. 


We all want to have an impact. If our work/activities/events/programmes are not well known enough, then they will not have the right and/or enough people taking part and, therefore, not have the desired impact.  They will not  represent good value for money for those funding the programmes. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to get the word out there and to reach the right people. 


How to promote your organisation or activities?

Promotion has to be done through the right channels. It’s rarely the most important thing to reach the highest number of people possible, it’s about reaching the right people. For example, you could spend thousands of euros advertising your programme/event on the side of buses or on TV. Hundreds of thousands of people could potentially be reached by this information, but if these are not your target audience, then this kind of promotion would not be efficient or necessarily effective. 


Take it step by step 

Promotion is generally part of a wider communications campaign , as part of which, you or your organisation will have identified the key audiences that you want to reach, these might be:

  • Young people (or more sub-divided groups of young people, e.g. – “harder to reach” young people, those from specific geographic areas, socio-economic groups, students etc.)
  • Schools / colleges / universities 
  • Teachers
  • Parents
  • Local youth groups
  • NGOs/not-for-profits


Next, you should select the best channel for promotion to these selected audiences. To do this, you need to know where these people are most likely to get their information. It could be as simple as from their teacher or their friend. Or it may be that you want to reach a very specific group who are already signed up to your newsletter. Maybe the young people you are targeting follow a certain “influencer” on TikTok or Instagram – having that person promote your event would have a very strong impact. 


Create content 

The final piece in the promotion puzzle is the content you want to promote. Making sure that you have eye-catching, relevant content – whether that is in the form of video, images, text etc. will help ensure that your promotion is successful.


Photo of Sarah Farndale
Sarah Farndale

Sarah is a communications specialist with 15 years' experience working in-house for a wide range of organisations and institutions, from international NGOs to EU associations and institutions. More recently, she has been advising clients as a freelance communications consultant - based in Brussels - working with organisations on enhancing their communications.