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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