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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
This is a repost/rethinking of a post I made about 3 years ago. It still applies today.

INETA asks what they can do to better serve the user groups... well, as a user group leader, here's my suggestion:

Advertising! Small to medium sized groups have little or NO budget for advertising, and it's incredible how many times I meet people in the developer community that have no idea a local user group even exists. This is NOT due to a lack of effort on our part.

So it comes down to advertising... specifically, run a monthly ad in the main .NET related mags, such as CoDe, MSDN, Visual Studio & ASP.NET Pro, that lists all the appearances of speaker bureau members for that month. These speakers are typically scheduled far enough in advance to make the ad timely. (After all, ads can be delivered later than content.)

(Only list the groups that actually have speakers scheduled (INETA or otherwise.) This would prevent the fake groups that never meet, but just collect swag from getting publicized.)

What this would accomplish is getting INETA some exposure and getting the User Groups some exposure. A monthly ad would drive people to the INETA website and their local user group. Let's be realistic, most of the folks who visit the INETA website are already in a user group or at least aware of user groups. Only advertising the speaker appearances there is not very effective.

By listing the upcoming INETA speaker appearances, all participating User Groups will get mentioned at least 2 times per year in magazines that cater to the developer community and user groups. (I include user groups because some of these fine folks send our groups free copies of their magazine.)

Why is that last point relevant? Because, CoDe Magazine has already demonstrated a willingness to cut individual user groups a deal on advertising, but they've never been approached by INETA as a whole. Why not?

Am I totally off on this?  Tell me what you think... is this helpful? Would advertising in trade mags help your group attendance? Do any of you rely on paid advertising elsewhere?

Posted on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 1:38 AM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: How do I promote my user group?

# re: How do I promote my user group?
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Lead time for magazines can be 6-8 weeks. Do most user groups plan tht far in advance? Though its a hell of an incentive to do so if you get free advertising.
Left by Zman on Apr 23, 2008 9:32 AM

# re: How do I promote my user group?
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Oh and furthermore all those magazines have websites - they could at least offer free advertising on those even if print space is too expensive.
Left by Zman on Apr 23, 2008 9:33 AM

# re: How do I promote my user group?
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That's a good question. Considering INETA requires a 6 month lead time on speakers bureau requests, I would say yes.

Some groups do occasionally struggle with finding speakers on a month to month basis, but most of the ones I know prefer to plan 3-4 months in advance when possible.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Apr 23, 2008 9:34 AM

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