3. Marketing and PR
Creating a Marketing Plan
You are putting a lot of time, love and effort into producing a project, so you want marketing and PR activities to have maximum effect.
Marketing and PR (Public Relations) are similar but have different aims – Marketing is about distributing information about your project with the specific aim of generating ticket sales. PR is about distributing information with the aim to make as many people as possible (including key figures in the music industry) positively aware of your project. PR and marketing activities often overlap. Both strive for media coverage, for example, which increases general awareness of a project but also results in ticket sales.
Before you carry out any marketing or PR activities, set some time aside to think about: who you want to reach (your target groups), what you want them to do (your aim), your reason for this, and what you are going to do to reach them (action).
The Composer/Producer of the Newt Project might come up with a table like this:
An awareness of who you want to reach and what you want them to do will help you plan activities more effectively.
Generally, activities can include:
• Press release – Press releases should be sent to media platforms including newspapers, magazines, radio stations, bloggers and trade organisations, which have a media department (more about this below)
• Social media – Putting out information through social media (create Facebook page, create a hashtag for Twitter e.g. #newtnoise) can be very effective, but its reach depends on who you are already connected with. Regular snippets of information about how things are coming along might get people more drawn in than just one tweet or post with basic facts about a performance
• Personal letter – Sending individual, personal letters can be a very powerful tool, as it conveys your passion for the project and demonstrates that you have made an extra effort to reach the person you are writing to
• Advertisements – Buying advertising space is expensive, so it’s vital to check how many readers (or hits if it’s online) the publication has and that it reaches people to whom your project is potentially of interest (e.g. if your project features contemporary folk music there is no point in taking out in an ad in a magazine specialising in electronic music, however many people it’s read by). In addition to ads in papers and magazines, you could buy space or a promoted status on websites, social media platforms and on other organisation’s newsletters
• Word of mouth – Create a buzz by telling people about your project in person – you’re the project’s best ambassador and your passion is sure to come across
• Flyers – Printed flyers can be useful for mail-outs, to be handed out in person or to be laid out at strategic points (with permission from the venue)
• Blogs – Write blog about the project and publish it on a microsite (e.g. www.newtnoise.org) specifically created for your project, or on one of your partner’s sites
You then need to research how much each activity costs, how long it will take and when the most effective time is to carry it out. Based on the information, you can then draw up your marketing plan, listing each action and its timing (e.g. send out press release, 6 weeks before first concert) as well as points in the timeline when you measure the success of your activities so far and review your activities.
It is essential to collaborate with the venues, as you want to pool resources and activities rather than double up. It’s a good idea to have a conversation about your project with the marketing department at each venue right at the beginning, to ensure they know what the project is about and that they have all material they would like/need for their purposes. For example, some venues, especially universities are keen on posters, while others no longer use printed material at all, focussing on digital channels instead. If you stay in touch with the marketing departments throughout the preparation phase, you will be able to find out how well each event is selling and which venue, if any, might need some support.
Your marketing activities will depend on how much money you have available, how much time you are able to invest, and what standard/quality you want your activities to be of (as mentioned in Section 1, the trinity of constraints consists of money, time and quality). If you have a more generous amount for marketing within your budget you could look to create a bespoke microsite for your project, which is a great way to feature all information about your project in one easily accessible place, and/or a podcast about the project, featuring soundbites from people involved in the project, snippets of music, images, etc.
For any marketing and PR activities you will need to have the following ready:
• strong images that tell the story of what your project is about; you will already have some images, which you used in the information document you sent out to promoters at the beginning of the project, but as the project has evolved you might like to reassess and add new or different pictures
• logos of your partnering organisations; you are usually required to include logos from your funding organisations on publicity material (always check the organisation’s guidelines regarding what you can and can’t do with the logo) but you should include logos even if their use is optional, as they demonstrate that another organisation has bought into your project
It is useful to have all of the above readily available as a part of a marketing pack. You could store the material on an online cloud, so that all involved in the project, or journalists asking for further information, can have easy access to it.