Thursday, April 09, 2009

Orlando Fringe PR ideas for artists

Orlando Sentinel Theatre Reviewer Elizabeth Maupin came up with an excellent and timely idea for a blog post: Seven Ways to Push Your Fringe Show (and make the press happy). If you have a Fringe show this year, I recommend giving her helpful post a view. Afterwards, come back here for some of my own ideas building off of what she started.

Press Release: If you don't know how to write one, find some online and copy their format and style. One type of place to find good sample to learn from is professional regional theatre websites. Why? They (sometimes) have PR departments with PR pros handling their press releases, or they have outside PR companies handling it. When you get it written, throw it onto Google docs and provide an html link to it in your press emails.

Find a Good Photographer
-How to get photos: Invite photogs to your show and get them to take as many photos as possible in exchange for free tickets or ad space in your program THIS year, so you have good photos for your upcoming performances. If you have other in-kind to offer them, offer it. They deserve everything you can give them if you can't give money.
-Photos are THE investment to make if you must choose one place to spend money. The amount of ways you can use photography in your marketing exceeds the amount you will spend. And for solo shows, if you maintain your weight and costume and general set, you can use those in-performance photos for years.
-Always have your camera with you wherever you go. I had a friend hold my camera and take a photo of me sitting in a beautiful hotel lobby and ended up using it in my 2007 poster as the main graphic, with a little photoshop magic making the back wall extend the height of the poster.

Photo delivery
Upload the photos you want to send to press to a photo storage website like flickr.com or smugmug.com. This way, instead of attachments making your emails huge, you just copy/paste the html link to your photo and the email you send out remains small. The recipient of your email clicks on the link and downloads the photo. Make sure to write next to the link the size of the photo (Example: Print Version- 3 meg, Web Version-55k).

If you have video, use it
I sent Elizabeth a press release about me coming to the Central Florida area with a show I am currently in, and included a photo link and a video link. She used both in her post about it.

Website
Don't even bother making a website for a one-off Fringe show, unless it's one you plan on repeating at other venues. Just make a Facebook profile and add photos and links. Or make a page on your blog with all the pertinent material.

Fringe Website
Use it! So many groups are not using all the features of the site. The background stuff I had built for last year's site is still available to Fringe artists: the ability to display your own photos, embedded videos, text (for listing reviews, cast lists). It also provides you a direct link to your OrlandoFringe.org show page. Use it!

Poster
I tried this in 2006, but it's yours if you want it. I had a pocket in my poster in which sat my flyers. So, a patron could view your poster and if interested, walk away with your flyer, all without spreading piles of flyers all over Fringe. My flyers were business card-size. I cut a slit in my poster and taped a piece of paper to the back of the poster behind the slit. Pocket! Be sure to design the pocket location into your poster design before you go to print.

Related: Elizabeth Maupin, More Good Ideas For Fringe Publicity
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2009 Orlando Fringe: Our Guide | Write reviews | Read reviews | Patron Choice Awards

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