Playground Sustainability 101: Promoting Your Playground
Your Playground Needs a Publicist
Now that your playground is ready and your programs are scheduled, it’s time to talk about it! Marketing your playground will help increase attendance, generate excitement and potentially increase revenues if you charge fees for any of your services.
There are great marketing tools you can use like advertisements, brochures, public service announcements, flyers, email, newsletters, and social media to get the word out. Whichever marketing strategy you use, make sure you target key audiences and remain consistent to ensure community engagement and successful outcomes. Another idea to get the word out about your upcoming events is to partner with health, media, banking, public utilities, schools, or other organizations. You should also have an annual calendar that includes all of your events and makes it available to the community online. Here are some questions to keep in mind when considering your marketing strategy:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the best season/date/time for the event?
- What type of signage, promotional items, food and giveaways will be provided?
- How will participants register?
- Will there be an admission fee?
- Will there be sponsors for the event?
- How will you continue to market the event afterwards?
Creative marketing with clear, simple, and consistent information is often the most effective way to promote events. You should also consider marketing to different generations, as young families and teenagers hear about events differently from seniors. Also, don’t be afraid to embrace social media! Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube offer great methods to reach out to the community and invite their input. Here are some additional marketing strategies to consider using:
- Local newspapers
- Letters sent home from school
- Community bulletin boards
- Promotional items
Once you have all of your programs up and running, you’ll want to make sure you continually document and evaluate outcomes, monitor before and after measurement, and understand their overall impact and effectiveness. Have different types of people evaluate your programs to ensure you get a wide range of feedback and suggestions for future adjustments. These evaluators could include children, families, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders. Programs can be evaluated through registration data, participant surveys, observation, or other indicators. You may want to consider using one or a combination of the following evaluation strategies to collect the data you need to report outcomes:
- Surveys (online, paper)
- Program observations
- Focus groups
- Before-after measurements
- Partnering with local university/college for evaluation design and/or implementation
That's a wrap, folks. Sustaining your playground will help make sure your playground is a valued and meaningful part of your community for years to come. You now know how to maintain your equipment, hire supervision, plan successful programs and events, choose activity options that everyone will love, and market your space to ensure the whole community comes out to see it.
Now get out there and go play!
This post (and all of our posts from the Playground 101 series) is based on information found in Blueprint for Play, a comprehensive guide to Planning, Funding, Designing, Building and Sustaining a playground. Learn more and request your copy today.