Tag Archives: Arts

Press releases the audience development way

I believe I have written about this topic before, but I wanted to reiterate the reasons behind sending out your releases the audience development way.  This means that you are building relationships with the members of the press instead of treating your release as a mass marketing effort.  Here is a list of tips:

  • Send out one at a time with a message.  It does take more time, but this will increase the likelihood that your release will be seen and read.
  • If you can’t send out one at a time, at least blind copy your list.  I happened to be on a press list once due to being an Examiner writer for my area.  I was being sent a one-size fits all release with the entire list showing.  How do you think the receivers feel receiving this format?  Well, they may just think that someone else might cover it so why bother.  They might also ruffle at seeing their competition listed. 
  • Input their names into your email contact base.  It was shocking to see “no name listed” beside some of the emails.
  • Offer exclusive stories for special events.  This means you will need to build relationships first, but I ended up getting some fantastic television coverage doing a few exclusives with a particular news outlet.  It fit their news format best, and the right audiences watch their news program, so it made a lot of sense.
  • Make sure a teaser and basic information is in the body of the email.  They may not have time to click on the attachment, which means it can get “shuffled” in their inbox and forgotten about.  Having the important details up front to get their attention right away is the way to go.
  • Send the releases in a timely manner.  Most outlets appreciate 3-4 weeks before as the sweet spot.  Enough time ahead, but not too much ahead for them to forget about it.
  • Follow up 2 weeks before the event with a fresh update.  This is also a good way to build the relationship with them.
  • Take the time to update your lists regularly and build relationships with the new people.  Press jobs seem to rotate consistently.  Emailing the new people as an introduction is always a good idea.
  • Cater the release to the media outlet.  One-size does not fit all, and this step will increase the likelihood of getting covered.
  • Go out to coffee with the local editors.  This really worked for me.
  • Give your releases personality.  Aside from catering to their specific outlet, make sure the release has some personality. Add a quote or testimonial from a key person.  Relate a story to get them hooked. Attach a fun small file photo and offer to send more upon their request. 
  • Only send attachment files that are 1 MB or less (in total).  Jamming their email program is not going to help you get coverage.
  • Create an online press kit if you have events all the time and email the press when another segment is up on the website. 
  • Hire someone to help you if you are having trouble getting results.  They can steer you in the right direction by guiding you to create templates that will work for you. 
  • If you have the funds, hire someone fabulous who already does publicity with an audience development angle.

Sending out press releases the audience development way has been extremely successful for me, and it can be for you too!

-Shoshana

The How of Audience Development for the Arts

 

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Collective voice for arts advocacy?

I have voiced this before – is it possible to find a way to have a bigger collective voice for arts advocacy rather than smaller private efforts? I think we all come from the same place of wanting the arts to be a part of our shared human culture, to be fully valued and funded. All across America I see so many separate efforts. Maybe as artists, it might not be possible to be collective since we mainly are unique individuals that enjoy creating. Perhaps all the smaller efforts will help the entire movement, or would it be better to find a way to build something bigger we can all be a part of? I know there are plenty of groups doing something in regard to advocacy. Who would champion a bigger effort? What would this effort look like? Or is it simply better to have people do their own efforts? What are your thoughts?

-Shoshana

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Apathy will not help audience development

I hope you had a nice weekend!  I ended up participating in the Open Studios tour and scored some really great gifts for myself and my family.  One of the artists said to me, “I’m so grateful when people like you will come and pay for art right away.”  I know it sometimes takes time to decide on purchasing a piece of art, however, I think artists these days are seeing more lookers instead of buyers.  Even the people that like art are not valuing art enough to buy from artists.  Buying a print at a big box store is not going to help your local artist.  This story brings me to my main objective:

ap·a·thy (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

noun \ˈa-pə-thē\

: the feeling of not having much emotion or interest : an apathetic state

 Full Definition of APATHY
1
:  lack of feeling or emotion :  impassiveness
2
:  lack of interest or concern:indifference
I think people still feel something for the arts.  The reason we are having such a challenging time is the number two definition of lack of interest or concern.


Apathy is becoming a concern for a slew of social issues, not just the arts.  People are not speaking up and spreading the word about what they care about.  Consider the U.S. government shutdown.  If the majority of Americans wanted healthcare, why have we allowed the minority to shutdown the government?


I had mentioned before how a small percentage of arts folks wrote to Congress regarding the NEA cuts that were on the table.  If we want the arts to thrive, instead of merely survive, we are going to have to address this apathy.


Not having time is an excuse.  With social media’s ability to share something within seconds, that is no longer a factor.  Writing a letter to the editor does take time, but writing a quick email does not.  Technology has made it easy to speak your mind and share information that will advocate for the arts.  Why are the #arts not trending on Twitter?  Why isn’t #artsadvoc?  Mainly due to apathy.


I will say that apathy may not be preconceived.  I don’t think people set out to be apathetic when it comes to the arts.  We simply are going about our lives.  For any issue that matters, it will take people to come out of this state of mind, this state of not minding.


I hear so many complaints.  Not enough funding.  People not understanding the value of the arts.  The fact that grantors continue to ask us to prove ourselves.  Well, we might have created this for ourselves do to our apathetic state.  If we had continued to promote, advocate, spread the word, speak our minds about the arts, we probably would not have such a big uphill battle to deal with now.


We talk about how challenging it is, yet, I am not seeing enough action.  The other “A” word, “action,” is what will get rid of apathy.  It will only work if the majority decides to take action.


Again, a quick, short list of what you can do:
  1. Retweet arts education, arts advocacy and arts news that matters.
  2. Share pro-arts stories on Facebook and other social media outlets.
  3. Send a quick email to your favorite media outlets.
  4. Tweet at your congress representatives about the arts.
  5. Buy from artists you know (or local artists) instead of big box for gifts.
  6. Join arts advocacy organizations like Americans for the Arts and add your voice during calls for action!
  7. Sign up and go to local business of arts workshops.
  8. Become more involved with your arts council or alliance.
  9. Wear arts gear to start conversations with people.
  10. Be a verb!

We can get the arts trending again.  We can put to bed this apathetic state.  It will take a big wave of action.  The bigger picture is worth working on.  It will make the smaller day to day a great deal easier.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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“People don’t come because they don’t care.”

An article hit me in the face this morning.  Wham!

Arts: Misreading the declining audience problem

I needed it too.  Despite all the attempts to change the experiences to fit new audiences’ preferences, we do have an underlying problem that we should be focusing on.  Here are a few quotes from this article:

With the turning of the calendar now to September, orchestras and opera companies begin their new seasons and a simmering anxiety about declining audiences bedevils executives and their boards.

Inevitably some organizations act on the widespread but generally erroneous assumption that people don’t attend orchestra concerts because of the formalities of the concert hall, the ways in which patrons dress or behave or because the concert experience itself isn’t “diverse” enough.

Change of attitude

It’s not, however, the experience of attending an orchestra concert that needs modification, as if encouraging patrons to cheer and whistle between the movements of a symphony is all that’s needed for sell-outs. Rather, it’s the public attitude toward orchestral music that needs to be cultivated.

The decline comes not from the formalities of the concert hall experience, but from the erosion of the idea that classical music is worth knowing. People don’t come because they don’t care.

…It will require much more [than pop cross-overs and informal dress and presentation]. It will take a strong conviction that the effort is worth it and the courage to explain the ways in which orchestral music is more richly rewarding than some other musical forms. Such conviction however, is increasingly difficult in today’s egalitarian culture that insists all art forms are of equal value.

Absent that conviction, only the music that’s most aggressively and shamelessly marketed will get into the ears of children. And then not only orchestras will be the losers.

The article sites two instances of audience development efforts being executed successfully to outreach and connect with potential, new audience members.

The underlying issue is that people do not have the benchmark arts as part of their everyday lives anymore, and this is why they don’t care about us.  In order to get people to care, we need to care about taking the time and effort to outreach and show them why our arts matter, and why the arts would matter to them personally.

I have always felt that shifting the experiences and experimenting with new presentations can be used as a gateway to an art form.  As mentioned before, it could be time to evolve in several ways since our world is changing.  I do agree though that informal this and that may not do the trick if the underlying problem of apathy is still there.

This is one of the many reasons why audience development is crucial for today.  It’s not about the spin, it’s about getting people to care again, to realize that the arts can open them to a knew way of thinking and feeling.  It’s about the good stuff of why we are artists in the first place.  Sharing what really matters and outreaching to people that are ripe for this sharing is the way to go.

It’s about getting to know people again, building relationships, and sharing what truly matters, the arts!  So, although I feel it is time to experiment and potentially find some new rhythms of producing arts, it is more crucially important to reach and connect with people again.  This will make all the difference in the world because these efforts will bring care back into the equation.  We certainly want people to care about the arts again.  Right?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

 

 

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YouTube Kinda Mood: New Arts Advocacy Videos!

Today I will be discussing arts advocacy with some of my colleagues.  Since I was in a YouTube kinda mood, why not share some new (fairly new) videos!  Have a fantastic weekend!

 

 

 

 

My favorite in this set (of course, it’s from my Alma Mater!):

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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How to make “free” work now and use the “it” factor later

It

There were two articles that have me thinking more this morning.  The first one, Hidden costs of free tickets by Deborah Stone.

Giving away freebies may not be the best way to grow your audiences but how do you set the right discount?

UK Arts economist Tim Baker told arts marketing professionals at the Australia Council Marketing Summit that they needed to be strategic about the incentives they offered.

Baker, who is Director of leading UK-based arts consultancy, Baker Richards, and Vice-President of its US sister company, The Pricing Institute, was speaking about pricing strategies for arts marketing.

He said free entry was often less valuable than strategic discounting because people took the freebies but didn’t come back. If they paid something –even very low – they were more likely to see the service as something worth paying for and would return and pay more.

Discounts and freebies do have to be handled carefully.  There is a chance that the audience will get too used to discounted prices and take your art for granted.  The fact that free does not guarantee that people will come back is also a consideration.  I recommend reading the entire article since it highlights some of the best ways to promote discounts.

My thoughts after reading this was the simple thought I have had before, free could work if you have a follow up program in place.  Free should not be just about getting people to come and sample, but also for you to build a relationship with them.  Make them feel important by following up and offering them a way to stay connected to you and your art.  I do not see the majority of artists and arts organizations using follow up programs to convert these free (or discounted) audience members into future loyal members.

Also, free could be a fabulous way (I agree with the 2-for-1 strategies) to get your current audience involved in bringing new audience members.  This works on so many levels since your audience becomes more involved (deepening their experience with you) and you end up broadening and potentially diversifying your audience as well (similar and different people will attend).

So, I agree that free can be undervaluing your worth, but if used in the right way, it could bring exactly what you were hoping it would.

The second article that caught my eye this morning was Jade Simmons: Elvis, Meryl & Michael at the Cliburn: The Intangibles of “It”.

The audience didn’t even know this kid, but they loved him, from his stride to his stringendos, even with only one prelim recital under his belt and a long grueling road ahead in the Fourteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. So how come he made them swoon so? Because he had “it,” that thing that makes you like music you once ignored, that makes you cheer when that’s not usually your way of behaving.

She goes on to compare three different performers of the Cliburn Competition, their special qualities, to Elvis’, Meryl Streep’s and Michael Jordan’s “it” factors.

There are a couple reasons why her thoughts have sparked a few of my own.  First, I applaud her ability to connect the dots from pop culture to classical music.  We need more of this mentality to create the relevancy that is missing today.  Secondly, it made me consider the “it” factor further.  It’s not just about individuals with this special quality.  Organizations can also have an “it” factor that makes them hook you.  These organizations stand out from the crowd and apply their “it” to everything that they do.  You feel fantastic working with them!

Perhaps we need to consider what our “it” factor is or how to reveal the hidden “it” factors we possess, bring them out, and make them shine.

Once we are using our “it,” we might not need to discount or give tickets away any longer since we will attract the right people that love our “it.”   Free can open the door for them, and the “it” will have them coming back for more!

Feel “free” to comment about your “it” to share…

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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Hakuna Matata On A Sunday Afternoon

Well worth reading!  An audience member’s perspective at the autism-friendly performance of The Lion King.

Hakuna Matata On A Sunday Afternoon.

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Random thoughts III for arts audience development

Carwash1

At least, I think I am on number 3 for my random thoughts posts.  I had a nice weekend to stew on a few thoughts that I wish to share with you.

  • We could use more adult education classes to get adults appreciating the arts again.  I see a slow trend toward developing these types of classes, but they can’t come soon enough.  If adults can see how the arts apply to them too, we will all be better off.  One slight problem is when the community centers are the only places offering “adult” classes, and they typically start at 13 or 16 years of age.  This can be quite off-putting to adults that do want to learn, but without being lumped in with teenagers.
  • Speaking of education, I’ve been amazed at the low attendance figures for business of arts workshops in general.  These workshops are mainly an inexpensive way to learn what we need to know, however, not many people are signing up for these opportunities.  These workshops/classes should be bursting at the seams!
  • Audience development can promote a show and it can be used for current and future shows.   This simply means that you are researching for the best audiences and working with your current audiences to build bigger and better audiences for your current and future shows.  It’s a momentum game to keep up!  I hope this makes sense.
  • Be the change you wish to see, specifically for the help you need.  Sometimes I am amazed at people asking for favors of another person when it has been a long time since they have helped that other person themselves.  We all need support.  Instead of out of the blue asking someone to help you, why not help that other person first to get the ball rolling?
  • When you have someone new follow you on a social media network, do not slam them with a marketing message at first.  Take the time to get to know them as a person first, then share a bit about what you have to offer them.   Otherwise, it simply is what I call a distasteful direct spam message.
  • This one might get me in trouble, but I feel the U.S. has it backwards.  Audience Development should not be put under the umbrella of marketing.  We would all function better if Audience Development as a department would oversee marketing and development, or at least be an EQUAL department in and of itself.  It’s too important to have it shoved under a different department.  Audience Development should not be an additional or after thought.  It really needs to be front and center.  If we can change this mentality, there is huge hope for finally getting our audiences fully involved again.
  • Customer service rules!  Or at least it should.  I had two restaurant experiences which I will talk about more later, but in a nutshell, both places were asking questions to find the best service for their customers.  These questions were asked before the customer could ask them, meaning the restaurants took the initiative to get it right in the first place!
  • If you post an email on your website, and people use it to contact you, try to get back to them sooner than later (or sooner than never).  I have contacted a few organizations and artists about their work, and they never got back to me.  You never know if one of these people that contact you, regardless of what they were seeking from you in the first place, will be the next super supporter for you.
  • Recharging your batteries once in a while is important!  I finally had a weekend of laziness where I could just be.  I’m thinking I might need a little bit more of this type of time out and time off to charge myself for another phase of being.  Stay tuned on this one.

Did you have any random thoughts come to you this past weekend?  Please feel free to share with everyone by replying. 

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

Please consider supporting ADS so we can continue our work.  Donate here! 

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

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‘SEE’ the power of music for arts audience development!

We are leading up to the Classical Music Webinar on Friday! Today we have a guest post by Catherine Starek.  Catherine is a graduate student with the desire to promote the arts to younger audiences.  She came across a particular type of program, symphonic photochoreography, that is being used by some orchestras with great results.  The following is her personal experience and opinions about this presentation and how it might be one answer for reaching out to new and younger audiences.  Enjoy!

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Do you ever wish you could ‘SEE’ the power of music?
bv Catherine Starek

If you answered yes, you aren’t alone. Some symphony orchestras are exploring innovative audio-visual performance options, such as James Westwater‘s symphonic photochoreography.

What is symphonic photochoreography? James Westwater explains: “Symphonic photochoreography is an innovative art form that engages audiences worldwide with evocative, multi-image photographic essays choreographed and performed live to selected works of classical music.” Learn more>>

bso_WestwaterKCC_grid

Baltimore Symphony performs a Westwater KCC piece.

I have attended two such performances, combining video and live orchestra.  The first was a performance of the Wizard of Oz by the North Carolina Symphony.

Every summer, the NC Symphony performs in Cary’s beautiful Koka Booth Amphitheatre. It is a lovely space with an expansive lawn, acres of surrounding forest, and a uniquely designed wooden stage situated next to Symphony Lake.  Members of the NCS staff roamed throughout the crowd, dressed as various Oz characters for the concert and screening of the Wizard of Oz.  The children’s  faces lit up with glee at the opportunity to meet Glinda the good witch, participate in the pre-concert “instrument zoo,” and stretch out on the lawn with their family for a picnic.  It was absolutely delightful.

North Carolina Symphony at Koka Booth (or Emerald City), July 10, 2010

Once the concert began, familiar sights and sounds flooded my senses. Hearing the music live was so exciting and the North Carolina Symphony performed with excellent precision and dynamic passion. The music coordinated perfectly with the moving images on the screen (sound track removed, of course). This was not only one of the most memorable concert experiences I have ever had, it made me appreciate the great talent, musical expression, and dynamism of the North Carolina Symphony musicians even more.

Video Games Live was another spectacular audio-visual performance experience. The Music Center at Strathmore located in North Bethesda, MD presented Video Games Live during their 2010-2011 concert season.  The multi-media extravaganza featured renowned video game composer, Tommy Tallarico, and incorporated members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale.  This too was an interactive audience experience.  Some of the highlights included Guitar Hero play-offs, an audience costume contest — although this time, instead of mini Dorothy’s and flying monkeys, Nintendo characters such as the Mario Bros and even Tingle from the Legend of Zelda co-mingled in the hall — and a Video Games Live soundtrack and poster raffle.

Tingle, missing his balloon – Strathmore presents Video Games Live on April 7, 2012

The concert itself incorporated dynamic, rock concert lighting, video game screen shots projected on three enormous screens on stage, and the National Philharmonic performing video game music live.  Members of the audience ranged across all generations and people young and old found common ground with video games they had grown up with and loved.  I felt like I was in a sports stadium.  As the concert progressed, the audience would interact with the performance onstage (without the fear that normally accompanies the interruption of an orchestra).  People would laugh, cheer, clap and outright holler with approval. You could tell everyone was having a great time.  It was another exciting concert that I will never forget. (Read about the entire experience here>>)

What does this mean in terms of audience development,especially among younger audiences?

The themes running throughout the majority of comments about this type of format run from interactive and intergenerational, to dynamic, exciting, and more.  Concerts that stimulate both the visual and audio senses, at least in my opinion, seem stickier.  Highly memorable and interactive.  Finding common ground with so many members of your community is exciting in itself and I think these concerts provide a forum that makes this possible.  It’s not just music, it’s a concert experience...a shared concert experience that becomes a story that audiences want to share with their family and friends.

With innovative partnerships, dynamic multimedia, and exciting, multi-sensory audience experiences such as these, I encourage symphony orchestras to continue thinking outside of tradition, push their creative boundaries, and connect with their audiences in a variety of ways that are relevant and interesting to them.  This means you have to know your audience, which takes time and stems from strong relationships.  With audio-visual performances to facilitate social interaction and common ground, and enthusiastic, dedicated arts organizations, I think symphony orchestras in the U.S. and abroad have a lot to look forward to on the audience development horizon.

As Ms. Fanizza of Audience Development Specialists would say:“Cheers to happy and loyal audiences!”

What do you think of these “unconventional” performances? Do you think multi-sensory performances are distracting or enhancing to the symphony orchestra experience?

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Recommended Reading

More than Meets the Ear: Orchestras dive into the wide, wide world of multimedia performance.This issue of SYMPHONY Magazine “highlights how orchestras utilize and benefit from multimedia, such as Westwater’s photochoreography (article cover photo).”

The League of American Orchestra’s SYMPHONY magazine.

To read the article, click here>>

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Catherine Starek holds a bachelor’s of music education degree from UNC-Wilmington and is pursuing a master’s of arts management at American University in Washington, DC. She is completing her graduate research on the Millennial generation, and effective strategies for engaging younger audiences and donors in the U.S. symphony orchestra experience. [:O)]
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Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

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

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When was the last time for arts audience development?

When was the last time you went to an arts event?

When was the last time you invited someone to an arts event?

When was the last time you shared a piece of music with someone in your life?

When was the last time you created a work of art?

When was the last time you searched for a fun arts event for the weekend?

When was the last time you shared an arts event on your social media feed?

When was the last time you wore a piece of art?

When was the last time you bought a button, bumper sticker or t-shirt to support the arts?

When was the last time you donated to the arts?

When was the last time you spread the word about an arts fundraiser?

When was the last time you read about the arts in the local newspapers?

When was the last time you volunteered for the arts?

When was the last time you listened to music?

When was the last time you sang, danced, wrote, painted, illustrated, doodled?

When was the last time you bought a piece of art?

When was the last time you purchased music?

When was the last time you watched an actor on the stage?

When was the last time you went to see live music?

When was the last time you saw someone dance?

When was the last time you went to a museum or gallery?

When was the last time you realized that film and television are comprised of the arts?

When was the last time you discovered that the arts make marketing creative?

When was the last time you realized that photography is art?

When was the last time you appreciated that design of a piece of furniture, appliance or other home utility?

When was the last time you read a good book?

When was the last time you took your kids to an arts event?

When was the last time you created art with your kids?

When was the last time you were moved by the arts?

Supporting the arts starts with each one of us with everyday interactions.  When was the last time you supported the arts?

-Shoshana

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