CakeWalk is a weekly column by Mary Ann Porch dedicated to every baker who has ever struggled to achieve the right consistency with their icing, unsuccessfully searched for the perfect cupcake topper or just wants to learn something new. Because with a few helpful tips, cupcakes are a cakewalk.
For the past five weeks, we have discussed the initial steps of planning your city's very first CupcakeCamp - laying the groundwork, finding a venue, lining up a graphic designer, recruiting bakers, and signing up volunteers. Now, let's chat about how to publicize your event.
CupcakeCamp NYC used traditional public relations, social media, and grassroots efforts to get the word out. Whether it was me walking to what felt like every bakery in New York City to distribute fliers or building up enough courage to e-mail Florence Fabricant at the New York Times, I thoroughly enjoyed the process of getting the word out about CupcakeCamp.
Social media was the biggest driver behind RSVPs for the event. If you don't already have a Facebook or Twitter account, it's really not negotiable - you have to get one. Both are platforms that lend themselves to the sense of community that CupcakeCamp is all about. Also, both serve as a great way to disseminate information quickly and efficiently.
As far as traditional public relations goes, this can entail anything from outreach to your local newspaper to getting to know local food bloggers in your area and asking them to write about your event. You'll find that most local journalists like the CupcakeCamp story, so feel encouraged to contact them.
You'll also find that word-of-mouth is a strong asset to your event. I mean c'mon - when people hear about free cupcakes, they kind of like to talk about it. In fact, they like to tell everyone they know. Trust me - once the RSVPs starat to roll in, you'll notice themes in the e-mails like "My best friend told me about this event!" and "My sister's boyfriend's mother's brother's grad school teacher told me about CupcakeCamp - can't wait to attend!"
At this point, your event is probably only a couple of weeks away, and you've finally hit the point where you can sit back and relax. Of course you'll probably be nervous - any good event planner is. You want nothing more than your first CupcakeCamp to be successful. But take a breather - you've got a big event to look forward to!
Mary Ann is the founder of the New York City chapter of CupcakeCamp NYC, an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and eat cupcakes in an open environment. She is also the founder of Puff and Choux, a blog dedicated to the pastry and dessert arts. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, ideas or just to chit chat. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MaryAPorch.