An Introduction to… Marketing & PR

Missed out on the Marketing Workshop? Well, fear not. Here are a few 'top tips' from last week’s workshop led by Ed Hine and Laura Matthews.

Probably the next most important skill after making great art is selling it. In the performing arts this means getting ‘bums on seats’. They key to getting as many bums on seats as possible is marketing, so understanding the various forms this takes is an essential part of your artists’ toolkit.

Ed and Laura talked through the main forms of marketing used in the arts from the perspective of a venue which books in work by visiting and touring companies. Artists therefore need to be able to provide information about their work in a variety of forms including:

•    Copy – a short blurb describing the work and the artist / company for use by venues in their season brochures and websites.
•    Photos – simple, clear, strong images that give a good flavour of the work.
•    Videos – increasingly venues now want a trailer or video clips to use on their websites or for screens in the foyer.
•    Sample Press Release – essentially this is a ‘ready written’ article about the production and company which the venue sends to papers and magazines for publication. (see links at end for an example of a press release)

Laura provided a handout of Cambridge Junction’s marketing questionnaire which all visiting companies have to complete. She has annotated it with notes explaining what each question means and what is considered good practice in each area. (see links at end for a copy of this)

Some companies produce a marketing pack which contains all of the above in one document, plus useful background material such as the artist or company biography, selling points for the show, press quotes etc. (There is a sample marketing pack attached to the article from Avant Garde Dance who are coming to the Junction on 10th May.)

We also discussed what makes bad marketing copy – things to avoid are;

–    Huge biographies – We don't need to know too much about the company, it’s the show that we are selling so the more content regarding the show is best

–    Lots of 'art' talk – always keep in mind your target audience, avoid using language that will confuse or isolate your audience. If you can read your marketing copy and you think a 10 year old and your granny would both understand what you're talking about you're onto a winner.

–    Omitting vital information – Don't forget to include any important event information like age suitability, graphic content, strobe effects, etc.

Increasingly social media is being used to generate publicity and audiences, and Laura explained how useful a tool it is given that it’s often free (or very cheap) to upload stories and information.

Social media top tips

•    The top three social media platforms are; Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
•    The post formats that get the most engagement are questions & images.
•    Short text posts work best on Facebook (50 characters gets the most interaction).
•    Facebook isn't a place for reading but a place for engaging.
•    Videos that are embedded (rather than linked from YouTube/Vimeo) get six times more engagement.
•    Posts without hashtags (on Facebook) get more engagement.
•    Posts published between 10pm & midnight and late Sunday evenings get more audience reach (but this may be because there's less competition – also, keep in mind who your target audience are – when are they most likely to be on Facebook?)
•    Posting images via Instagram appear to provide a 23% increase in engagement.

If you have any specific marketing questions please email Cath who will pass your queries on to the marketing team.

We are also planning a future workshop specifically on social media, so if you have any specific social media questions or topics you would like covered in this feel free to email Cath.

Ed Hine (Marketing & Communications Manager) has worked at Cambridge Junction for 8 years. Ed mainly deals with PR, print, budgets and other traditional forms of marketing.
Laura Matthews has been working as the Marketing & Communications Officer for nearly two years. Laura deals with the digital side of marketing, keeping the website up to date with listings and managing the social media platforms.