Promoting a Film Festival in 3 weeks!

ReelAbilities ATL Film Festival

“Hi,” my friend said. “Do you have any extra time? I could really use some PR help promoting our upcoming film festival, ReelAbilities ATL. The only problem is that the film festival is in three weeks!”

Well, believe it or not, we met the challenge. A small but dedicated staff and a real commitment to get the message out lead to a successful launch.

Although I would never advocate waiting so late to promote an event, it happens. So, here’s my suggestion on how to proceed:

Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm

  • Bring new voices to the table.
  • Explore new ways to engage partners.
  • Identify possible ways to distribute the message and outlets to approach.
  • Look for the story within the story. 

Make sure that the event website is functioning properly.

  • Ask someone who doesn’t know how it is supposed to function to navigate the site.
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  •  Do all the links work?
  •  Are the messages clear?
  •  Do the links make it easy to buy tickets to the film festival and/or make a donation?
  •  Is it easy to find contact information?

Launch a Facebook page.

  • Send messages to all your personal friends to “Like” the page.
  • Invite your organizational partners to Like and share the site.
  • Keep the posts fresh with photos from films, updated press releases, new volunteer opportunities, etc.

Use a news distribution service with social media capabilities.

  • Send a link of your html press release to all your partners and ask that they in turn distribute to their media contacts.
  •  Be sure to send a link, not a PDF copy of the release.
  • Make sure that your news distribution has the capability to add Social Media Links such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to your release.
  • Confirm that the service enhances your release by Tweeting and/or blogging about your festival.

Send personalized email to your media contacts

  • Paste the release to the body of the email.
  • Send a link to PDF and JPEG files housed on your website instead of sending attachments.
  • Make personal phone calls to media contacts.

Monitor Your Progress

It is never too late to promote your events. If you would like a copy of my film festival PR template, please contact me at

Cheers! Now enjoy the film festival.