Recently I was one of 35 members of the Prince William Arts Council participating in a free “Take Your Marketing to the Next Level” workshop at the McCoart Center.
I helped arts liaison Kathy Bentz warm up the crowd with “Basics of Good Marketing” tips – Kathy, from her experience as a public relations professional at Bentz Communications, and myself, from my personal experience as an individual writer member of the council. For example, I have learned that the best way to work with journalists is to establish an ongoing relationship and to provide information how and when it’s most convenient for them. That means:
- Contacting reporters early in the day. Most deadlines are in the afternoon, causing them to be stressed and short-tempered with an unplanned call late in the day.
- Becoming a willing source of information about the arts community, so they will call you when they need a lead or someone to interview.
- Creating your own media list of names and contact information for local reporters and keeping it updated.
The highlight of the workshop was a panel discussion on using hyperlocal media, leveraging social media and cooperative advertising opportunities, led by Uriah Kiser, Founder and Publisher of PotomacLocal.com; Lauren Jost, Regional Editor of Patch.com and Rebecca Barnes, President of Prince William Living magazine. Among their tips:
- Releasing your news: Feed the media fresh content in a simple format so it’s easy for them to cut-and-paste, either as a Microsoft Word attachment or in the body of the email. Attach a compelling photo as a jpeg. Four or five sentences and a photo are sometimes all you need.
- Advertising: Pool resources with other groups to buy print ads or website banners that give you a farther reach for your money. Your message needs to be seen 10 to 12 times to be effective. Keep your dollars in Prince William - buy local ads.
- Do it yourself. Start a blog. Manage a Facebook page. Post your event in online calendars. Link to your videos. Give out postcards or business cards wherever you go. Say thank you with complimentary tickets to performances. Develop relationships with local businesses that support your art.
Takeaways from the workshop included free copies of the October “The State of the Arts” issue of PW Business, featuring articles on the Hylton Performing Arts Center and how local businesses help the creative community thrive.
Did you know there are 33 member groups of the Prince William Arts Council? Here are some of the groups who took advantage of the free workshop:
Click here for more information about all the member groups of the Prince William Arts Council.