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Creating a Promotion Plan for Your Communities Talk to Prevent Underage Drinking Activity

Designing a Communities Talk activity is a great way to advance messages of prevention. But who do you want to participate, and how will you let them and others—including the media—know about it?

Creating a promotion plan helps you think about how to spread the news and attract participation in your activity. It also can be a great guide for tracking outreach, engagement, and media coverage. As you prepare the plan, be sure to think in two directions: "before" and "after." How can you promote the activity in a way that encourages people to attend or cover it? After it's over, how can you recap the activity so that the community stays engaged with underage drinking and other substance use prevention? Gather the following information to start your promotion plan:

  • Identify your intended audience (e.g., college students, parents, local business owners, school administrators, local health care providers, faith-based organizations, local leaders, etc.). Audiences vary, which means they will respond to a variety of different approaches and messages. Defining your audience will tell you which marketing activities will be most effective in reaching them.
  • What are your activity objectives or call to action items? In other words, why should the audience(s) participate in your activity, what do you want them to learn, and what do you want them to do in response to their participation? Identifying the "why" helps you shape your offerings and determine how best to promote your activity.
  • What key messages will your activity present to drive home your objectives or call to action? Key messages serve as the foundation for all communications as well as a focus for the topic of your activity (e.g., "Underage drinking can affect brain function," "Underage drinking can lead to other substance use").
  • Determine how you will reach your intended audience(s). Identify which communication channels are best to reach your desired audience. Channels can include your organization's email distribution lists and website; print, radio, or broadcast media; social media; schools and parent groups; youth sports leagues; local businesses; the faith community; and civic organizations that work with youth and young adults.

Next, read Implementing Your Promotion Plan.