The first rule of events is to market yourself

Curt Yeomans

Curt Yeomans

There’s been a lot of talk in Clayton County lately about the need to re-brand itself, but there is one key rule that isn’t always being followed.

It’s the first rule for any county, whether it’s Clayton County, Henry County or whatever county. It is such an essential rule that is kinda half-heartedly done depending on which group you’re talking about.

You must market yourself and what you’ve got going on.

You need to let a lot of people know your event is taking place and you need to draw a crowd from more than just your very small corner of the state. How are you going to draw tourists from other parts of the state if you don’t step outside your own community to promote an event?

One of the best ways to do that is to get on a website that is available to let the public know what events are taking place in the area.

That’s sometimes done better than other times.

Let’s take the dueling light displays of Clayton and Henry counties for example. I’m referring to the Gift of Lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Festival of Trees and Lights at Clayton County International Park.

OK, they are not in a duel, per se, but they compete for the same market.

You can find The Gift of Lights when you do a search for Christmas activities on the state’s tourism website, exploregeorgia.org. You cannot find the Festival of Trees and Lights, though.

That’s not to complain about either event needing newspaper coverage to get people in the door. You need a multi-faceted marketing plan for events, and that includes these traditional things made of paper that have newsy stuff in them.

What are they called? Oh yeah, newspapers.

But, it doesn’t hurt to go modern and promote yourself on a website devoted to promoting tourism in Georgia. The exploregeorgia.org website is run by Georgia’s official tourism department.

That means your local conventional and visitors bureau would smile if you posted your events on that website.

Of course, it’s not as if there are no Christmas-related activities listed on exploregeorgia.org. Arts Clayton’s Mistletoe Market is listed.

Listen, I’m not one to tell people they must do something. If they don’t want to put their events on exploregeorgia.org, then they don’t have to do it. I just think it would be beneficial to the community if that marketing resource was taken advantage of more often in the Southern Crescent.

Whether it’s the McDonough’s Geranium Festival, Morrow’s FreedomFest, any of Riverdale’s numerous events, Hampton’s Yellow Pollen Street Festival or Jonesboro’s springtime jazz concert, there is no reason for any event in these two counties to not be listed on that website months in advance.

It is a resource to help promote communities in Georgia and it should be taken advantage of more by Clayton and Henry counties.

Of course, I will give credit where credit is due. I do see more Henry County events than Clayton County events on the website throughout the year.

In fact, you can actually see that there is some life in Henry County because of the events posted on there, while Clayton County looks like it hardly has any events ever.

There’s always room for improvement, Henry County, but good job on letting people see you as a vibrant community.

But Clayton County?

If you want to re-brand yourself, you have to let people around the state know there is a reason to come here. you have to make sure people outside your small corner of the state know there are festivals, parades and concerts going on down here.

If you’re not going to do that, then don’t complain when the rest of Georgia thinks your community is nothing more than crime and corruption.