Your route is selected, your dates are set, your funding is secured and your permits are submitted…now you just need to get the word out! We have seen Open Streets programs take anywhere from one month to two years to put together. It can depend on many factors. It is important to note, however, that more time is not always a good thing. It can lead to unnecessary frills and expenses.
While there are many important factors involved in delivering a successful Open Streets program, it is important to remember these two rules:
Keeping these in mind throughout your planning process will help you prioritize your actions. Would it be nice to organize a giant flash-mob with your volunteers? Yes, that would be cool. Have you issued a press release yet or setup a webpage? No? Okay, get on that. Hold on the flash-mob.
To help you in rolling out your Open Streets program we have provided the following helpful tips related to marketing and promotion
Identify supporters and challengers. Begin connecting with people, pitch your basic idea and getting a sense of the appetite for the program.
Yes! Open Streets is finally here! Now get out there and let other people see your success.
Your traditional flyers and posters will be the workhorses of your promotional materials until your budget is large enough to afford radio or TV ads. Here are some helpful tips and examples to review when creating your own:
In the early years of your program, marketing is key. You need to focus time and energy on getting the word out–but that doesn’t mean it has to break the bank. Some of the most effective marketing tools are low-cost, like social media, grassroots networking, earned media, and partnerships with radio stations or newspapers. Focus on getting the best bang for your buck. Keep in mind that if you are working towards a best practice Open Streets program–one that happens with predictable regularity–your marketing efforts and related costs will decrease as participants, residents, and businesses begin to see your program as part of their city and build it into their routine.
The media can play a big role in promoting your program and can help you frame the conversation around what Open Streets are and why your city needs them. Here the most common questions you’ll be asked and some tips to help you frame your responses.
What are Open Streets?
Why does your city need Open Streets?
Why close the streets if we have so many parks?
Why does it have to be a main road?
Won’t this just make our already bad gridlock worse?
What about church access? Little old ladies?
How can Open Streets have a positive impact on businesses if cars can’t get to them?
Who is paying for it? How much does it cost?
Do you want the city to pay for it?
Do you have support from the city? XX says he/she doesn’t support the program. How do you respond to that?
XX is opposed to the idea. What are your comments?
How many people are you expecting?
Tips for Social Media
The use of social media is an integral part of developing an audience for your open streets program. Social media can…
This section has introductions on how to build different social media platforms as well as tips on how to make the most of each of them. The Open Streets Project is happy to help with evaluating your use of social media, developing content, or teaching you how to use specific platforms or websites mentioned in this toolkit, please just ask!
Instagram and Pinterest
These are valuable and popular social media platforms. However, you must first decide on where you intend to drive traffic. Do you have a dedicated webpage where the photos you pin will live? Do you have somebody on your team who will be out in the community taking photos on a regular basis? If not, these platforms might not necessarily be worth your effort at this time.