Tag Archives: outreach programs

“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

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

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

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Filed under Arts, arts advocacy, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

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

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

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Filed under Audience Development

Connecting the dots for arts audience development

I wanted to expand a little bit on my idea that I had last week during the impromptu twitter chat on this topic.  Basically we were chatting about outreach (putting yourself out there) for audience development, and I had this thought:

I think a major problem we have in the #arts is that we are not connecting the dots from opportunities to building audiences.

I gave a few examples:

  • Dance companies having SYTYCD parties to find new audiences in their area
  • Opera companies outreaching at the Met HD events
  • Theatre organizations having Twitter chats during the Tonys

There are many ideas for outreaching to your exact match of potential audience members if you learn to connect the dots.  Connecting the dots means that you connect your outreach program with something happening that makes perfect sense to connect with.

It’s a matter of being aware of what is happening, what is popular or becoming popular, and then formatting a program that will connect in some way to the events that match the best.

Latching onto something bigger than you is a great way to connect the dots to find your best potential audiences.  You simply have to be aware, get creative, and then go for it!

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

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

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

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

2 Comments

Filed under Arts, Audience Development