So you've created this amazing show. And it's got everything - talented performers and crew, exciting staging, great production values. It's a must-see. Congratulations!However, your work has just begun, as all of that means nothing unless you tell the world about it. After all, prospective audiences have to hear about your show in order to attend.
And that's where great PR and marketing enter the picture.
It's essential that your audiences and media targets be able to find and track your work and accomplishments, so make sure your basic marketing tools are well in place:
- Launch (or update) a vibrant and dynamic website. It doesn't have to be too fancy, and in fact too many bells and whistles can be distracting. Just make sure it introduces you, showcases your past successes, clearly lists your upcoming season, offers a way to buy tickets (or show financial support) online and off, and tells people how to contact you by all available methods. And don't forget to include your location along with a simple map of how to find you!
- Send out regular newsletters and e-blasts on your productions, rave reviews, notable people or accomplishments, patrons, volunteer efforts, and more.
- Purchase or trade out for advertising space in notable local newspapers and weeklies. (Many of these are often willing to 'trade out' for ad space in return for visibility in your playbills and programs, too.)
Launching a PR Campaign
Implementing some PR is something anyone can do. You just need to be willing to research and maintain some basic lists, materials, and approaches.
- If you haven't already done so, build a terrific and inclusive press list, or media list, of recipients who will receive your news, and (hopefully) write about it. This media list should include such vital media contacts as local and regional newspapers, weeklies, magazines, TV stations, radio stations, arts and events bloggers.
- Be sure to target calendar editors and performing arts editors by name, as well as the primary newsroom contacts, and use both e-mail as well as U.S. mail, keeping track of any news contacts who express preference for one form of contact over the other.
- Write dynamic press releases promoting your production, with the most important information (who, what, where, when, how much) up front.
- Start promoting your news and events immediately, intensifying efforts in the 4-6 weeks before opening. Make sure you're always professional and respectful in all approaches to the media.
- Track your media mentions through simple tools like Google Alerts - and don't forget to link to (and promote) all rave reviews!