Let Me Check My Calendar

Getting Down to Business

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By Cathy Yen

Executive Director OPRF Chamber of Commerce

Consider this a public service announcement or simply a personal plea to help keep me organized: when you decide to hold an event, please put it on an online community calendar.  Immediately.

We are a busy, active community with great causes and something going on practically every day.  Plenty of events organized by good people doing good, important work.  We need to get better about promoting these events. People won't go if they don't know.  There are free online tools at our disposal, including community calendars.  I am startled by how many people don't use them.

It's noisy out there and difficult to get your message heard.  Relying on your own website, paper invitations or a flyer hung outside George's Restaurant is not enough anymore.  You need to promote through multiple channels.  The good news is, with free technology at our disposal, you have terrific options to spread your news. 

Start your event planning by checking the internet for possible schedule conflicts.  Once you have settled on your date, claim that date by adding the event to the various community calendars.

We are partial to the Chamber's online calendar and event pages.  It is free and available to the public (members get additional benefits such as pictures and logos in their postings).  There are other options, too.  Wednesday Journal and oakpark.com maintain a community calendar as does the Chicago Tribune / Oak Leaves through Metromix.  Visit Oak Park will post member events on its calendar.  Around Oak Park's calendar is growing.  In addition to calendars, promote through Eventbrite, Facebook, Twitter and "mommail."

Depending on the event, it might make sense to use all of these free tools or just a few.  For example, if you are targeting professionals in the community, maybe you'll just use the Chamber calendar.  Family-oriented events might do best on oakpark.com or mommail.  Working moms will probably see a Facebook event before a Metromix event.

We cannot escape inevitable schedule conflicts and double-bookings.  But what a shame if your attendance is down because people simply didn't know.  Don't let that happen – put it on the calendar! 

Email: cyen@oprfchamber.org Twitter: @OPRFChamber

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