When promoting your hackathon, it’s useful to keep in mind that most events have a 50 to 30 percent drop-off in attendance. Given these stats, it’s your goal to over-market and overbook!
Marketing your hackathon is another one of the major areas of focus one has while planning it out. The aim here is to reach as many people as possible with the focus on the right audience meant for the event. But before that, it is necessary to evaluate your target community and region as the focus of marketing. You can have a hackathon in your local community, city and extend it to your state, country and even abroad. Written below are certain strategies that might help you promote your event.
Tell Your Hackathon’s Story
What’s your hackathon’s "brand?" How is it unique? Why would you want to attend?
The more tailored your message, the better. Make it school-specific.
Use the same messaging to stay consistent and build momentum
Highlight hackathon benefits perks and the ease of attending: it’s free of cost, transportation will be provided, etc.
It would be great to include a short case study or example "about us" page from a successful hackathon here to show, rather than just tell, organizers how effective branding works.
Hackathon Marketing Strategies
Invite students from other schools to attend
Look at schools that have previously hosted MLH hackathons
Look at other schools in your area/region. We suggest at least 3 schools within 6 hours of your campus
Don’t overlook community colleges — they’re often full of eager and promising participants
Reach out to student groups and departments on all campuses
Groups: ACM & IEEE, SWE, SHPE, etc.
Departments: Computer Science, Design, Engineering, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Business Studies
Professors and Resource Hubs on campus may be willing to share things out to their students. Some may even offer extra credit to their students for attending your event!
Think of other clubs or departments that may hold students interested in the other side of hacking (i.e. project management, design, UX, etc) such as entrepreneurship, communication, graphic design, and many more!
Speak in-person during the first 5 minutes of relevant classes and student group meetings on your campus.
Explain what it is, why they should care, when and where it’s being held, and how they can get more info.
Launch a Social Media campaign
Make a Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit & LinkedIn account.
Consider having targeted Facebook or Instagram Ads. These are cheap and effective!