Forty years ago, we waited eagerly for our Kingdom newsletter to arrive so we could plan our event-going for the next month, and the calendar was full of choices. (I remember a time in Storvik, where I started, when we actually voted to limit ourselves to two events a month in the Barony.) We had collating parties for the local newsletters, and phone trees kept everyone updated with breaking news. Then a new age dawned in the 80s with a revolutionary computer breakthrough – the Rialto – a Usenet Newsgroup found at rec.org.sca. Suddenly you could keep in touch with old friends, make new ones, and share cat pictures (well, not really – we were still a long way from internet graphics) (actually, we were still a long way away from the internet).
Today, we are faced with an SCA media bombardment on everything from garb to armor to upcoming events. We can purchase the kit of our dreams with a few keystrokes, and share memes with SCAdians in Lochac. And we can market our events online. In fact, in today’s world of dwindling event attendance, savvy social media use is a necessity.
Paid membership in Æthelmearc in 2015 ranged from 1703 to 1840 people during 2015. Unpaid participants likely account for at least half that number again. That means there is a potential in-Kingdom audience of around 3000 people for everything we do.
The days when you could depend on a single blurb in the newsletter to populate your event are long gone. Luckily, the days when you can reach thousands in our Kingdom and beyond with event news, items for sale, or crash space requests are here (albeit at times overwhelming). To help you get the word out, here is a list of Æthelmearc-specific media and marketing venues that are generally open to postings by individuals.
For an event to be official (an official event is one at which official business such as courts can be held; see Chronicler policy for publication requirements for insurance for local events with no official business), it must appear on both the Kingdom calendar and in the Æstel before the event. To register your event, go here. Æstel deadline is the first of the previous month for the next month’s issue, so make sure you submit your event flier in plenty of time. Make sure your flier contains the necessary 6 points to make it an official event announcement.
Most groups also have an official website, and the event announcement should go up there in great detail and as a matter of course.
THE LARGER UNOFFICIAL VENUES:
The two largest unofficial media venues in Æthelmearc are the Gazette and the AE mailing lists. The Kingdom also maintains a Facebook page, where you can make visitor posts in the left column.
The Æthelmearc Gazette publishes event announcements (and we love to have pictures to go with them!), officer reports, after-event reports, research articles and news in general. The Gazette has become the most-seen unofficial media source in the Kingdom with 3-400 page views on average per day in 2015 and growing. As an autocrat, you are welcome to submit not only your event announcements, but also last-minute changes, menus and more. Go to the Submissions page at the top of this blog, and send us your news! You can also follow us on Facebook.
Information on subscribing to the unofficial Æthelmearc mailing lists can be found here. The lists have just over 600 subscribers, so they are a great way to reach a portion of the populace, especially those who are not on Facebook. Any subscriber may post to both the discussion and the announcement list.
• Group Facebook Pages
Most local groups have a Facebook presence – join them to keep up with happenings at groups near you. Most are also fine with you posting your events from near-by areas.
Region 1 (West Virginia)
Barony of Blackstone Mountain – South Central WV
Shire of Misty Highlands – North Central WV
Shire of Port Oasis – Huntington WV
Shire of Sylvan Glen – Eastern Panhandle WV
Shire of Ballachlagan – Wheeling WV
Region 2 (Western PA)
Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands – Greater Pittsburgh
Canton of Steltonwald – Beaver County
Shire of Gryffyns Keep – Fayette & Westmoreland Counties
Shire of King’s Crossing – Washington & Greene Counties
Shire of Stormsport – Erie
Shire of Riversedge – Crawford County
Shire of Sunderoak – Butler & Armstrong Counties
Region 3 – Eastern PA
Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais – Clinton, Lycoming, Snyder Counties
Barony of Endless Hills – Northeastern PA
Shire of Hornwood – Clarion, DuBois, Punxsutawney Counties
Shire of Nithgaard – State College
Barony of St. Swithin’s Bog – Cambria, Somerset, Bedfors, Westmoreland Counties
Region 4 – Western NY
Shire of Hartstone – Allegany & Steuben Counties
Shire of Heronter – Jamestown/Chautauqua Region
Shire of Blackwater – Cattaraugus & Allegany Counties
Barony of the Rhydderich Hael – Buffalo, Niagara Frontier
Barony of Thescorre – Rochester
Region 5 – Eastern NY
Shire of Angel’s Keep – Auburn
Shire of Coppertree – Rome & Utica
Shire of Courtlandtslot – Cortland County
Barony of Delftwood – Syracuse
The Dominion of Myrkfaelinn – Ithaca
Shire of Sterlynge Vayle – Binghanton
Shire of Wynterset – Watertown and Ft. Drum
Most of these groups also have several adjunct pages or groups for special interests like fighting or A&S – just do a FB search with the group name to see what comes up – if you have an embroidery event, then a local group’s A&S page might be a good place to market that.
• Æthelmearc Special Interest Facebook Pages
There are many special interest pages where it might be appropriate to market your event or items. Here are a few:
Æthelmearc Yard Sale/Swap Meet has for sale and wanted postings from members. Garb, books, supplies, and armor are just some of the things you can find here. There is also a curated list of merchants.
Æthelmearc Crash Space is a clearing house for crash space requests and offers for events.
Æthelmearc Equestrian is for events and things of interest to the equestrian community.
Æthelmearc History is self explanatory.
Æthelmearc Scribes is for the scribal community.
Æthelmearc Rapier Army is for the fencing community.
Æthelmearc Marshals is for the heavy fighting marshal community.
A FB search with the keyword Æthelmearc, and then clicking on groups and pages at the top will bring up many more special interest pages, all of which can act as marketing venues.
Event web pages hosted on an official group website, or independently but acting as an official page, fall under the purview of the Kingdom and local webministers. You can find the Webminister policies here.
Facebook event pages are an extremely effective way to invite friends (and have them invite friends in turn) to your event. The SCA has a good tipsheet on using Facebook to promote your event, which you can find here. Use of a Facebook Event Page has become virtually de rigueur in today’s social media marketing world.
In most cases, Facebook Event Pages will fall under the purview of the SCA social media policies. You can find them, along with other helpful social media guides here.
OTHER ONLINE MARKETING RESOURCES:
Most groups still have local yahoo groups and mailing lists. Email the appropriate group seneschal to see if they will post your information on these. Local chroniclers are usually happy to have content for their newsletters as well – you will find that listing in each issue of the Æstel or by contacting the Kingdom Chronicler.
Today’s SCAdian has ways to spread the word we could only have dreamt of when we started this wonderful adventure – go out and use them!
~compiled by Tiercelin