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  • Writer's pictureJackie Bradbury

How To Advertise Your Martial Arts Event

With COVID letting up, and with more events both virtually and in-person being scheduled, I'm seeing a lot of flyers/images/events in my social media feed advertising those occasions.

Dunno about y'all, but I am ITCHING to get out and train.

What's frustrating me is that I'll see something I'm interested in, and to find out the necessary details to decide if I can go or not is WAY harder than it should be! I have to go several links deep to figure out the date, or the cost, or where it is...

This image is a fake I created, but I copied it stylistically from an actual ad I saw on Facebook. It wasn't for karate and it wasn't in Michigan, but that is literally all the info I had for the real ad (generic event, generic school name and state). I had to figure out who posted it, and since there was no additional information, I googled the school and state and STILL didn't find exactly all the info I needed to consider attending the seminar or not.

It shouldn't be this difficult, y'all. It really shouldn't.

So today's post is about how we can all do a better job advertising our martial arts events so people can, y'know, attend.


Here's the very basics of what each flyer/social media graphic for your event should have. This comes from the classic "5 W's and H" of journalism:

1) WHO - who's teaching. This does NOT require the entire resume/bio of the instructor (s). Just their name (and title at most) will do for the ad. A nice, attractive, picture of the individual teaching should be included.

2) WHAT - a short description of the topic of the seminar. Literally just a few words, like "XYZ Kata Deep Dive" or "Panantuken Drills". If the content isn't 100% decided, you can just say something like "STYLE" with "INSTRUCTOR" (example: "Modern Arnis with Datu Dieter Knüttel".

3) WHEN - date(s) and time(s) of the event. Include the year because some things stay forever on the internet. I have run across flyers in my Facebook news feed that are literally years old.

4) WHERE - location name & address (at LEAST city & state). You don't have to put the full address if you don't have room, but location, city, state is a MUST. This is skipped much of the time and it drive me absolutely crazy (as if I'll know where "generic name dojo" is located...?)

Knowing where the event is helps me decide if it's an event I can even entertain attending (unless it's super local, I'll have to decide if travel time/costs, where to stay, etc. is doable). If it's virtual, say what platform (Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, Facebook Live, etc.).

5) WHY - why should I attend this event? A SHORT sentence like "Sharpen up your kicks" or "Learn More About Kata XYZ" or even something like "Don't Miss This Opportunity To Train With This Instructor" will do.

6) HOW - how to learn more and/or to attend, including cost. An email address & phone number at a bare minimum has to be there. If it's a virtual event, be ready to tell people how to 1) pay (if it isn't free) and 2) how they will get the link to attend. I also strongly advise being able to do a test of equipment prior to the event - some folks aren't computer savvy and need help or more time to figure out if it's going to work for them or not.

Sometimes pricing can be complicated, so it's not 100% necessary to have it all detailed in the flyer or social media graphic/post. You could say "X to attend, discounts available for groups and early bird registration, email for details" if your event has a more complicated pricing structure. You could have that all written up in a graphic/pdf to share/send ready to go for inquiries like that.

Note that a flyer you plan to print out and post in public places is *different* than what you should post on social media. Here's an example of one vs. the other.

This is the flyer we used last year when we hosted Bruce Chiu of Arnis International. There was a yellow version but we used the white for printing (easier, cheaper, cleaner to read from a distance).

Literally everything you needed to know about our seminar is in this graphic. This we printed and posted in schools as well as saved as a .pdf to share to people who inquired about the seminar that they could print themselves.

This is the social media image we used on Facebook and Instagram and other places:

We used yellow here because we wanted it to stand out in social media feeds (we use this a lot for Kindred Protective Arts for the same reason). We saved this as a .png file type (could have been .jpg too).

You want to make sure your images are appropriate for the medium. You can't easily share PDFs on Facebook and Instagram - create social media images (use Canva - it's free, y'all, and SUPER EASY).

On social media you can remove a lot of the details I mentioned above if it is in the post where you share the graphic or flyer.

If you use Facebook, CREATE AN EVENT FOR YOUR SEMINAR/CAMP. That makes it sharable, you can post more details, updates, and even attach flyers and images for people to use/share, and people can RSVP to it. You can do it as an event you host as an individual, or as an event hosted by your group/school if you have an existing Facebook page for that.

Some folks set up groups or pages for the event, and while that's certainly an option, it's harder to get it out there for people to see, because you have to get people to join/follow the page, and Facebook discriminates against you in the news feed unless you buy advertising. So instead of making it even harder to get seen, create an event and share that to existing groups and pages (and don't be afraid to tag friends to let them know about the event).

You can see how we set up our event for Bruce Chiu on Facebook HERE. Events should have a header - you can use that header image to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of who, when, where...

There are other platforms you can use - MeWe has events and groups and pages, too, for example. Instagram can be very effective if you are very good at using hashtags to get discovered. Meetup is great if you have an existing Meetup. You can even set up your seminar on Eventbrite, and of course, advertise it on your own web page if you have one. Any groups or discussion boards you are involved in that are martial arts related are great places to post your event (as long as it isn't against group/board rules).

To show how to do it right, check out this real image being used by an actual event:

Beauty, y'all.

YOU do not have to have badass design skills like the person who did this image obviously has, but note it has all of the important elements. Who? GM Taboada. What? Open Balintawak seminar & testing. When? Jul 31. Where? New York City. Why? Balintawak & testing. How? email them and the cost is right there in the image.

Perfecto. Well done, Balintawak New York, well done.

I hope this posts helps you do a great job in communicating your event and getting people the the info they need to attend. The more people we have training and cross training, the better it is for our community.

Let's make it easy!

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