Daily Archives: August 22, 2012

Outreach, rinse, repeat for arts audience development

Do you want to get a good lather going for audience development?  I know you have heard me mention outreach before, but I’m not sure everyone has taken action.  There are two ways to develop an audience.  You can throw tons of money into marketing efforts, and if you have the tons of money to advertise everywhere, you might get a big enough percentage to see your audience grow (albeit mostly temporarily if no follow up occurs).  The second way to develop an audience is through sweat equity using audience development programs and outreach efforts.  With outreach efforts, you can put in the time and show up, share, become a part of your community and become recognized to build your audiences.

Many of you do not have the tons of money to throw at a huge enough marketing effort, but you can put in the sweat equity.  It takes time, but you will only need little amounts of money to do outreach properly.  Here is a list of tasks you can take on to help develop your audiences through outreach efforts:

  • Find your local community events – evaluate which ones fit with you and your missionset up a table
    It usually costs $25-150 to table at one of these events.  If you have a program that can provide entertainment, you can get a table for free, and you might get paid as well.  This is the place where you can meet the people that are interested, but are not attending.  I get this question, a lot.  How do we speak with the people that are not attending.  This is one way to do it!
  • Retweet valuable information on Twitter – Find out what your followers are interested in, and retweet content that they would enjoy. This will help you go beyond the marketing tweets (which can turn off followers if that’s all you tweet about).  This means that when you see an article your followers would be interested in, retweet!
  • Become a creative for your community and help to solve problems – I recently saw a presentation where a light artist created an installation to help make the city safer.  Artists can solve problems in creative ways to help their community.
  • Give to others to bring awareness for yourself – People these days admire businesses that also help other people.  Artists and arts organizations can make a huge difference with their art and create positive energy toward awareness and dollars for social causes.  In the process, you will be helping yourself too by bringing in new audiences and energy toward your art.
  • Create events that tie into a bigger picture – If there is a national event that is hosted by a bigger entity, find a way to create a local event to invite fans to connect with you.  You will find a regional audience that would be a good fit for you too.
  • Develop programs to have your audiences do the outreaching for you – People are sharing! Compelling stories, programs, videos, pictures are share worthy. Develop strong content and incentives to get people wanting to share and outreach for you.

I hope you see that all 4 C’s will be represented when you do outreach properly for audience development (Connect, Collaborate, Community, Care).  It does take some time and hard work, but if you really want an audience – outreach, rinse (evaluate), repeat!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists



“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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