Spacetaker Marketing Workshop Part 1


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Spacetaker Marketing Workshop Series, Part 1: Focusing on Marketing Overview, Basic Online Promotion, and Press Releases in the Houston community

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Spacetaker Marketing Workshop Part 1

  1. 1. Spacetaker Workshop: Part 1, PR & Marketing Overview Press releases, media relations, and basic online promotion
  2. 2. What to expect:  Basic Marketing Theory  Basic Online Promotion  The Details of a Successful Press Release
  3. 3. The Elephant in the Room I shouldn’t need to ‘market’ my art! The act of selling art is business; therefore, by definition, marketing and promotion are necessary to make that business successful.
  4. 4. What exactly is marketing? Many people think “marketing” is an activity—mailing a flyer, printing a poster, placing an advertisement. But… Marketing is actually the decision-making process you use to determine the best way to persuade your customers. -From FAQs (Americans for the Arts)
  5. 5. Basic Marketing Principles  Marketing explores relationship between your customers and your product, taking into account your competition and other factors (such as the economy) that affect how your audience makes purchasing choices.  Marketing tells you what your customers like and dislike, want and need. Then you decide how to adjust your product, price, place, and promotional message (the “4 Ps of Marketing”), as well as public service initiatives, positioning, and branding, to better draw your customers.
  6. 6. For visual & performing arts… Two distinct groups of consumers (differing motivations, numbers, knowledge, and tastes):  Casual attendees: numerous, less interested in the art form per se, and more likely to be attracted to more traditional fare.  Aficionados: enthusiastic fans of the arts; small and select group who are likely to be knowledgeable and interested in a diverse array of content and the aesthetics of the art experience. Kevin F. Mccarthy, Arthur Brooks, Julia Lowell, Laura Zakaras The Performing Arts in a New Era
  7. 7. How do I start marketing myself or my organization?  Start with the big picture—defining your goal (brand). (What are your priorities?)  What are your core values?  What is unique about your or your organization that attracts patrons/customers and keeps them coming back?  Define your market.  What does that tell you about who you should be marketing to and what you should be saying?
  8. 8. Get feedback…  Start by asking your customers (as well as friends and colleagues) what they like and dislike— what makes you or your organization unique.  Understanding how people (customers) connect with your art will help you develop a marketing strategy to attract bigger audiences.
  9. 9. Interesting trend to note: Increasing premium on consumption flexibility:  Art forms are favored which allow audience to determine what they consume, when they consume, and how they consume it— “consumption by appointment.” (Media consumption dominates attendance because it is more amenable to the individual's schedule.)  Art forms which allow individuals to decide exactly what and how much they consume will be more popular than those that do not. (Consistent with trends in live attendance from 1982-1997 in different disciplines. Rate of growth of art museum attendance outstripped that of all the performing arts throughout this period.)
  10. 10. Approaching marketing…  What drives people to buy art?  What drives people to purchase tickets?  What makes people value your work?  How willing are you to diverge from traditional systems for presenting work? (hybrid markets: online, nontraditional spaces, etc.)
  11. 11. Cultural Capital & Scarcity Economics: Social wealth symbolized in art and cultural acquisitions.  Context and perception is everything. (Or is it?)  Symbolic capital: wealth, prestige, social class ownership.  Economics of Scarcity: the rare and unique; high demand and finite supply.  Prices: "To ask if something is worth the price is to ask if it is worth the other things for the same price."  "Economics of disavowal": Art business succeeds (like academia) by pretending not to be doing what it is doing. -Matt Irvine, Georgetown University
  12. 12. So what does this have to do with me? The moral of the story is:  Know your audience.  Know what they like about you or your product.  Shape your marketing strategy with these things in mind (product, price, place, promotional message, public service initiatives, positioning, and branding). These ideas are important in determining how to shape your “story” or pitch to the media…
  13. 13. Thoughts? Comments?
  14. 14. Basic Online Tools & Resources Promoting your work & organization online
  15. 15. Do you… Collect emails & manage a contact list strictly for your art? (Not just your personal email or physical address book!)  How often do you contact your list?  When do you email your list to announce events? Is it far enough in advance?  Are your lists permission-based?  Are you utilizing every opportunity to collect emails? (Art markets, guest books for ALL events, from online ticket sales)  Are you updating your list for accuracy?  Are you tracking click-throughs (via tools like Constant Contact)?  Do you have separate, targeted lists for specialized blasts?  If not utilizing email marketing services, DO NOT send out mass emails without utilizing the blind-copy feature!
  16. 16. Do you… Maintain a website or blog? If the answer is no, it is fairly easy to create a blog by utilizing tools like Wordpress and Blogger.* *Spacetaker is working on a customizable portfolio template for artists. Stay tuned…
  17. 17. Do you… Maintain a Facebook group/page and/or Twitter account? Find the crowds where they already exists.
  18. 18. Do you… Do you utilize Youtube or Flickr to upload examples of your work? …to reach new audiences on their time?
  19. 19. Strengthen your presence on the web… Search Engine Optimization for Dummies  Utilize free Google Webmaster Tools:  Utilize Google Analytics  Utilize a blog that allows you to track traffic, like Wordpress.
  20. 20. When promoting shows, openings, & events… Find people where they already are! Send info to online resources at least 2-3 weeks in advance & pay close attention to submission instructions on website) Good Resources for General Event Promotion:  Chronicle (  Houston Press Calendar (  Yelp (  City Search (  Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau (  Eventful (  29º95º (; Links to suggest an event or suggest a local artist to be featured.)  Houstonist (Tip Line or email Brittanie Shey at  Upcoming (  Culture Map (Email
  21. 21. Sites that focus on Arts: (Smaller audiences, but more targeted)  Spacetaker (Website, Newsletter, & Blog; what=event)  ArtsHound (Houston Arts Alliance Website & Newsletter;  KUHF Public Radio 88.7 Arts Calendar (; email attention Emily Binetti)  Arts Houston ( ; Recommend posting to community section)  HYPA (Houston Young People for the Arts Newsletter & Blog; Email Heather Pray at  Art Info (; Not local- based in NYC)
  22. 22. Discipline Specific: Be mindful of overlap. These sites will oftentimes post your event if it includes elements of the discipline (for example, dance or theatre included in theatre performance) Visual:  Art Valet (post your events at:  Glasstire (Email; Instructions on website)  Art Blogs: (Contact Rachel Hooper for & email Sean Carroll for Dance:  Dance Houston (  Dance Source Houston ( ; Dance Card listings for members) Music:  The Music Card ( ; Music Card listings for members) Theatre:  Theatreport (
  23. 23. Public Service Announcements Nonprofits, utilize our friends in public radio! 10-15 seconds worth of information: What, Where, When, Why, Where to get more info  KTRU Rice Radio: email Amber Raley at  KUHF 88.7: email Emily Binetti at  KPFT Pacifica: email Ernesto Aguilar San Miguel at Allow at least 3 weeks lead time!
  24. 24. To be continued… Effectively utilizing online resources and social media involves strategy and planning. We will explore these tools in greater depth in Part 4 of Spacetaker’s Arts Marketing Series. Date TBA
  25. 25. Thoughts? Comments?
  26. 26. DEALING WITH PRINT MEDIA With Martin de Vore of Houston Community Newspapers
  27. 27. Who do you target in Press & Media?  Start with Art Editor.  If no Art Editor, contact Feature Editor.  If no Feature Editor, contact Managing Editor. Update your media list at least once a month. Best way to do so is check website first, then pick up phone & call. (Beware of calling understaffed media outlets.)
  28. 28. So, you’ve submitted a release…  Calculated risk!  Submitting press releases do not guarantee their use.  Gamble for better and larger coverage for free versus paying for an ad.
  29. 29. Media Alerts vs. Press Releases  Media Alert is simply informing media sources of upcoming event or happening without much beyond who, what, when, and where.  Media Alerts are generally reserved for special appearances by celebrities.  Press Releases provide more detailed information.
  30. 30. Challenges of writing publicity materials:  Limited news hole- especially as newspapers shrink  Alternative viewpoints possible  Write for many media; editors have different interests, quirks  Varying news value of items  Editors' skepticism
  31. 31. How releases can be used:  As-is (generally limited to event listings & routine, non-controversial news)  As source of information for a story written by a reporter (can use facts, quotes, background information)  As the basis for an interview
  32. 32. Press Release Format  1-2 pages maximum (400-500 words)  Inverted pyramid format  Strong lead (5Ws&H: who, what, when, where, why, how)  E-mail, double spaced, one side of sheet -more- at bottom of pages; identifier (slug) on subsequent pages  -30- or ### at end.
  33. 33. Important Items to Include  Contact Name and Phone (Be available for follow- up inquiries)  Release time (Immediate release or embargo with specified time)  Headline (identifier)  Dateline (If not local)  Date
  34. 34. Headline  In 8-10 words or less, you need to grab the attention of the editor.  The headline should summarize the information in the press release, but in a way that is exciting and dynamic.  Think of it as a billboard along a highway -- you have just a few words to make your release stand out among the many others editors receive on any given day.
  35. 35. Opening Paragraph  Sometimes called a summary lead, your first paragraph is critical. This paragraph should explain "the five Ws and one H" of the story -- the who, what, when, where, why, and how.  This paragraph must summarize the press release, with the following paragraphs providing the detail.  Must contain the hook: the thing that gets your audience interested in reading more -- but remember that the hook has to be relevant to your audience as well as to the news media. (A hook is not a hard sell or a devious promotion -- it's just a factual statement.)
  36. 36. The Body  Using a strategy called the inverted pyramid, the body of the press release should be written with the most important information and quotes first.  This inverted pyramid technique is used so that if editors need to cut the story to fit space constraints, they can cut from the end without losing critical information.
  37. 37. The Closing Paragraph  Repeat the critical contact information, including your media contact info, his or her phone number and/or email address.  Include comprehensive contact information: website address, blog address, etc.
  38. 38. Common Problems  No news of interest to editor (usually a misdirected release)  Leads with wrong focus, wordy  Missing information; fail to anticipate basic questions  Excessive commercialism (self-laudatory, excessive adjectives)  Lacks strong angle (Remember key elements of news: Prominence, Drama, Human Interest, Localness, Consequence, Oddity, Topical)
  39. 39. Recommendations  Make your key points near top (first or second paragraph).  Be sure to include standard (ideal) description of organization.  Avoid overstatement; beware of claims as first, only, unique.  Use quotes to incorporate opinion, subjective ideas, explain rationale for actions.  Avoid trite quotes, purge clichés.  Cite the most appropriate spokesperson.  In case of bad news, stress actions being taken to rectify.
  40. 40. Write like a pro!  Use clear, concise, vivid language.  Sentences and paragraphs should be short and to the point.  Utilizing AP Style limits the need for editing and increases your chances for inclusion.  Check for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation .  Provide neat, clean copy.  Distribute on a timely basis; meet deadlines.  Write for the audience, not the client.  Proof, proof, proof!
  41. 41. Don’ts  Don’t treat your press releases like advertising! (Media outlets want to SELL advertising- therefore, you need a special angle or hook.)  Don’t barrage the press with 5 pages. Treat press releases & media alerts as teasers.  Don’t send a mass mailing to media contacts. (Blind copying is acceptable, but personalizing is ideal.)  Don’t send the release as a PDF (making it more difficult to copy, paste, & edit).  Don’t send embedded images.
  42. 42. Do’s  Do focus on any benefit angles.  Do leave some interesting info out of release- so that you can add it while following up with phone call (Example VIP guests, ticket giveaways, receptions, etc.)  Do personalize your message for each media contact  Do know the proper media contact (Be respectful of editor’s vanity.)  Do send releases and alerts as simple text documents  Do consider consulting the AP Stylebook for stylistic and usage questions
  43. 43. Deadlines (Variable)  Print newspapers: 2-3 weeks  Magazines: 6 weeks  Websites: 2-3 weeks Always consult instructions on website. Most publications publish print deadlines.
  44. 44. Perfect Timing?  Submit early.  Send weekly repeatedly leading up to big events.  Possible Pitfall: Beware that, if release is sent early, it could be picked up 4 weeks before ideal time… and not run again.
  45. 45. Avoid Gray Areas!  Print media doesn't like "gray" pages - pages of only text. Every release should have accompanying photos & artwork.  Have at least eight images of yourself and your work that you can send out at a moment's notice: • Two "mugs" of the artist's face: One looking straight at the camera; one facing the camera at a slight angle. • Two "action" shots: One vertical and one horizontal of the artist at work. • Four images of artwork: Two horizontal and two vertical.
  46. 46. Aim for high quality!  Print media requires large, high resolution images. Photos that look fine on the Web at low resolution will degrade in print.  Minimum requirements: • 300dpi (dots per inch) resolution • 800 pixels (4 inches) in width • Color image • JPEG format • NO text on the images - dates, captions, watermarks, etc.  If you can provide print-ready images to the publication, you have a substantially greater chance of getting press coverage than those who don't.
  47. 47. Show, for Show If someone at a publication receives press releases about several events, including YOUR event, they will most likely use the release that has the best accompanying art.
  48. 48. Photographers to document work or performances… Spacetaker’s ARC Services include photo documentation— at a reasonable rate for the general public and at a discount for Artist Members. Photographer: Anthony Rathbun Email: Cell: 713-598-7141 TUESDAYS: May 12 and 26, June 2 3-6:30 p.m. at Spacetaker ARC
  49. 49. Be Creative!  Ticket giveaways  Special Initiatives  Small tokens to get attention or stand out (Keep in small, inexpensive, & pertinent to event; I.e. Mardi Gras masks for a themed party)  Personalized invitations to media created by artist (Paint an invitation!)  Target specific groups with invited previews: - - Invite popular bloggers to attend reception or performance (CAM) - Invite Flickr groups to photograph dress rehearsals (Opera in the Heights)
  50. 50. Thank you! And special thanks to Martin de Vore (Houston Community Newspapers), Mitch Cohen (Art Valet & 1st Saturday Arts Market), Lindsay Peyton (Artist & PR), Katie Laird (Schipul), Grace Rodriguez (AYN Brand), and Nicole Haagenson (SagePR).