GRIT column: Engage in a little tactful bragging
One of the most awkward and downright awful things that I can think of socially is to hold an event and have no one show up.
I’m sure that most of us have seen some movie or another where a main character organizes a party. It’s a fantastic party, with good atmosphere and food and activities. But aside from the host, no one is there.
Heck, maybe this has even happened to you in real life. When my parents first moved into my childhood home, despite being prepared, no trick-or-treaters showed up that first Halloween. My mom said the whole situation was rather depressing. Afterward, she was able to eat all the candy by herself, but that only cheered her up a little.
Last month we went over the economic vitality portion of the Greater Rifle Improvement Team (GRIT). This month we’ll expand on the promotions aspect.
The Latin origin of promote means to move forward, which is extremely fitting in this instance. We’re trying to move Rifle forward by better supporting and encouraging the main leads of the city’s events.
Through events, especially signature ones, we can rightly display Rifle in an exciting and enjoyable way to out-of-towners. These visitors will see the city for themselves, come to fall in love with it just as much as those of us who live here, and then they’ll come back. They’ll tell their family, their friends, maybe even stop strangers on the street and rave about us. Hey, dream big.
The first half of this is events. We’ve got some pretty fantastic ones. The signature events in Rifle identified by GRIT for 2016 are the Rifle Rendezvous (May 13-15), the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo (Aug. 1-7), ‘Fall Fest’ including the Chili Cook-off (Oct. 13-16), and Hometown Holidays (Dec. 2-4).
Save for the up and coming Fall Fest, all the rest of these events last year saw a variety of activities over a spread of many days with very good attendance. There also are smaller, more localized events all over the city, including First Fridays led by the Bookcliffs Arts Center, various events at the New Ute Events Center, and opportunities put on by local businesses.
There always is room to grow and improve, but I don’t believe that hosting events is our main issue. I’ve seen events with poor attendance, but correlation does not equal causation, meaning low attendance at an event doesn’t equate to a low quality of said event.
Sometimes it’s really just about letting people know what’s going on. It doesn’t matter how amazing a party is, if you forget to send out the invites, no one is coming. We all know that what goes on in Rifle is amazing, so it’s time to share that info with the rest of the world.
It’s kind of like bragging. Heck, it is bragging, but with a little more tact. A good way to do this is through social media; that interactive platform is for more than just cat pictures. Whether you agree with it or not, social media is creating rapid changes in the way we interact with each other.
There is massive potential in cyberspace. Think about it, I have daily, in-depth conversations with people nearly 2,000 miles away without ever using my voice. Thirty years ago that sentence wouldn’t have even made sense.
All sorts of people all over the world are branching out digitally, and this creates a great way to connect to each other for very little cost.
We can market and promote Rifle in so many different ways, but one source we need to thoroughly employ is the Internet. It’s cheaper, it’s creative, and it can be targeted to specific audiences we think will most enjoy what Rifle has to offer them. I wouldn’t call this advertising, more like self-promotion. We know we’re awesome, so let’s celebrate — loudly.
This can simply mean posting a picture on any social media platform you have and labeling it with the hashtag #RifleColorado. Hashtags can link topics all over the world. Thanks to this identification and organization technique, connections can be made simply by searching for the term. For widespread examples, try looking up #ThrowbackThursday, or my personal favorite, #Caturday.
Shameless plug for the accounts I manage: check out Visit Rifle Colorado on Facebook and visit_rifle_colorado on Instagram. Tag Rifle in your social media posts about your adventures. Send us things that display the heart of Rifle. A super successful social media account is not run by a single person, but by many who contribute.
As with many other coordinated efforts, it takes a village to help something grow. Share things with your family and friends. Be that guy who stops a stranger on the street to talk about our city. Let’s not end up with a lot of candy and no one to share it with. Where’s the fun in that?
Cathleen Anthony is a member of the AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America branch and the assistant for the Greater Rifle Improvement Team. She can be reached at 970-665-6496 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Garfield County is seeking to qualify its four west-end communities for Colorado’s Rural Jump Start program, providing tax breaks for new businesses.