We’re Steven E. Wallis, PhD of FAST and Bernadette Wright, PhD of Meaningful Evidence. We recently teamed up to write Practical Mapping for Applied Research and Program Evaluation (SAGE). Based on that textbook, and our teaching experience, this post will talk about options for how to promote a course on evaluation.So you’ve made the bold choice to teach evaluation in order to support the professional community and your career. You’ve decided where to teach and how to teach. Another question emerges, however.
If you build it, will they come?
First, people who could benefit from your class have to hear about it. You will need to use your entire range of marketing resources from social media to word-of-mouth. Wow. Sounds like a lot of work, right? But remember, when you do this, you are not only promoting a class, you are also promoting your field and yourself. The “hidden message” in all your marketing tells the world that evaluation is a worthwhile endeavor; and, you are such a good evaluator that you can also teach. You are a leader in the field. So, it is definitely worth the effort!
If your course is at a college or an association, it will be listed in their course guide and online. Still, your marketing efforts can build on theirs.
For online courses, we like to use social media, email, and a website for attracting people from all over the world. For in-person courses, we also use word-of-mouth among local professionals will help.
Any marketing message should be short and catch the readers’ attention. It should provide critical details and show readers how your course will benefit them. You will need different messages for each marketing strategy, such as email, Twitter, Facebook, your website, and a flyer. AEA’s Evaluation 2019 speaker toolkit provides an example of marketing messages that you can use as inspiration for marketing your course.
If you are hosting your course yourself, creating a webpage where people can register is probably a good idea. If you are teaching a course sponsored by an organization or college, you might want to post an announcement about it on your own website.
- Share information about your course on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on. You can (and might) use any or all of them. However, it is usually best to focus on those platforms where you are known. Post several different messages about your course during the weeks leading up to close of registration.
- Ask colleagues and friends to share/promote/upvote your message.
- Announce your course at your professional meetings – and ask participants to tell their friends and clients.
- Share information about your course with people you know who may be interested.
- Share information about your course on email lists/online groups that you subscribe to (while adhering to the groups’ rules of course).
Are you an evaluation teacher? Are you an evaluation student? What tips do you have for attracting people to take courses on evaluation? Please share your thoughts below.
Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.