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How to Market a Writing Retreat

When thinking about marketing and promoting your writing retreat, it’s good to remember that this will be the longest part – even if you already have an audience.

You have to have a way to tell people about your writing retreat and social media alone won’t cut it. In this post you’ll find ideas on how to market a writing retreat that I’ve collected from my decade as an entrepreneur and talking with many writing retreat hosts on how they’re marketing their retreats.

Keep in mind that not every tactic will work for every situation. You may have to test a few out to see what works for you and your audience.

This post will be updated as needed with more tips and ideas, so bookmark it to easily find it when you reach the marketing phase of planning your writing retreat.

Your Email List

  • If you send out regular newsletters to people on your email list, let them know about your writing retreat and how they can check it out and sign up/apply.
  • Add a link to your retreat at the end of every email so even if you don’t mention your retreat specifically, your readers will see the retreat link each time they read one of your newsletters.
  • Engage your email subscribers in your writing retreat planning process by giving them behind the scenes peeks at what you’re doing and asking for input or their thoughts where it makes sense.

Social Media

Types of content to post on social media:

  • Testimonials from your previous retreats or working with clients.
  • Writing tips that showcase your expertise.
  • Pictures from your previous writing retreats or the location/venue for your upcoming one.
  • Sharing other people’s content and commenting where it makes sense.

Online and In Person Groups

  • If you’re a member of online or in person groups where your ideal audience hangs out, talk about your retreat organically.
  • If self promotion posts are allowed, take advantage. If you have weekly self promotion opportunities, change the wording each time so people don’t scroll past your posts each time.

Your Connections

  • If you can hire an instructor/tutor for your writing retreat, ask them to promote it to their email list, on social media, etc.
  • Or you can find someone to co host with you. You’ll have to split the profits, but they could also help promote it.
  • Ask previous attendees to let their fellow writers know about your writing retreat.
  • If you’re a book coach, editor, or have writing clients in some capacity, let them know about your writing retreat. You can email them individually with specific reasons why you think they might like to attend.
  • See if the venue or town you’ll be holding your retreat can add your retreat to their newsletter or website.

Direct Outreach

This is different than asking your connections. I’m talking about emailing, calling or DMing people about your retreat who you think might be interested.This one can be tricky, so position any messages as just letting them know about a resource they might not have seen. If you follow each other on social media, that’s a great way to break the ice.

One retreat host I interviewed emailed MFA programs across the U.S. to ask them to let their students know about her retreat.

Podcasts and Guest Posts

  • If you have a podcast, talk about your writing retreat during episodes where it feels appropriate. You can also record a blurb about your retreat and add it to your episodes in post-production.
  • If you want to be a guest on podcasts to talk about your writing retreat, do your research to find ones that are a good fit and find out how to apply to be a guest.
  • Your own blog is another great way to talk about your writing retreat.
  • Similar to guesting on podcasts, find blogs and ask if they’re looking for guest posters where you can mention your retreat in the post or at the end.

Paid Ads

Paid advertising can help you get the word out more quickly to your exact audience. Whether you decide to use a social media platform or Google Ads, go through the tutorials to make sure you understand exactly how to choose your audience and set your budget.

I recommend starting with a small budget so you can test out the ads and make adjustments before committing a lot of money.

Retreat Directories

There are several retreat directories out there where you can post your writing retreat listing. Some have you pay a flat fee up front to use their Directory, while others let you post for free, but take a percentage of what your attendees pay you.

If you use a retreat directory, make sure to take into account which model makes the most financial sense for your business. A flat fee can help you control your budget better, but a commission model means you only pay when someone pays for your retreat from that directory. Be careful though, because those commission fees you pay can really add up.

Some people create their own directories with writing retreats they’ve found online. Here are the retreat directories I’ve found that are being run as a business where people can post their writing retreats. If you know of any others, leave a comment and I’ll add them to the post.

  • Writing Retreat Directory this site lists only writing retreats. There is a free option and two pay up front options. You get social media promotion and other benefits with the paid options.(Disclaimer, the Writing Retreat Directory is owned by the same company as this Plan A Writing Retreat website.)
  • Book Retreats – This site is mostly for health/wellness/yoga retreats, but they do have some writing retreats on there, so you can see if this would be a good place for you to promote your retreat. This site charges a commission on all bookings, including the costs of extras you provide your guests.
  • The Workshop Finder – This site is a mix of different types of retreats. This is a pay up front model. You can pay to be featured, but they don’t appear to provide any other promotion benefits.

As you can see, each of these has different models and level of benefits you’ll receive, so make sure to compare the total cost of using them.


Your Turn

What other writing retreat marketing ideas and tips would you like me to add to this list?

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