Promotion Basics – The 5 W’s (and an ‘H’)

You may or may not be old enough to remember the old Mickey Mouse Club TV show and the series about Gallegher, the newsboy. The theme song for that show had a chorus that went something like:

“Nosing around for who, what, when, where,
Why, what, when, where,
How, what, when, where news …”

When you are putting together a promotion for a downtown event or your business, it is critically important that you include the core information, either explicitly, or by the context. In general, the information that should be covered is:

  • Who – Who should attend? Who should be contacted for more information?
  • What – What will be happening?
  • When – When will the event happen? Make sure you include the month, day, year, time and duration.
  • Where – Where will the event take place?
  • Why – Why is the event happening? Why is the target audience interested in the event?
  • How – How can the target audience get the full benefit of the event?

When the event will have registered participants as well as or instead of the general public, these same questions should be applied to the registration effort:

  • Who – Who should participate? Who is the contact person for participants?
  • What – What is required in order to be a participant?
  • When – When must participants register? When should participants show up to prepare for the event? When can participants clean up and leave?
  • Where – Where should registration materials be submitted? Where should the participants report on the day of the event?
  • Why – Why would anyone want to participate? Are there going to be awards? Prizes? Ribbons?
  • How – How can the participants get the full benefit of the event?

The Gilroy Historical Society provided a good example of this in their January 2013 fund raiser flyer. A condensed version is shown below:

Museum Bowl-A-Thon
Saturday, January 26th 2:00 pm
Gilroy Bowl 7554 Monterey St
Join us for some fun, exercise, snacks, and a chance to raise money for the Museum Endownment Fund.

  • Entry fee includes …
  • Awards for …
  • Everyone receives a token of participation
  • Form a 4-member team or sign up on your own …
  • … Have your friends and family sponsor you.

Deadline: Entry fee and pledge forms are due […] Turn them in to Name 1, Name 2, or the Gilroy Museum, 195 Fifth Street.

For more information contact Name, Phone Number, email address

Every communication that goes out to your target audience should include “Contact Information”. Always review your contact information to make sure it addresses at least the following questions:

  • Who – Who to contact?
  • When – When should they be contacted? Is there a cutoff date? Is it only during business hours?
  • How – How can they be contacted? Telephone or FAX number; mailing address; email address; web page URL or QR code [NOTE: When a QR code is used, ALWAYS include the text for the URL as well. See the example, below.]
If you would like your business included in our directory, please contact:
Rally Round Downtown Gilroy

or go to our web site


So, before the copy goes out the door, review it and check for Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.

One thought on “Promotion Basics – The 5 W’s (and an ‘H’)

  1. I am sad to announce the closure of 9 Lives Music Club. Closure was mainly due to the low attendance. It is very unfortunate to lose such a great resource for musical culture.

    Please HELP in encouraging local residents to attend local events and shop downtown’s locally independent businesses!
    Thank you

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