by Guest Blogger Liz Femi
Fringe is in the air. Artists of all ilk are excited to bare their souls on Hollywood stages. But fringin’ ain’t easy. With hundreds of shows vying for audience attention, artists on a limited budget are left with no choice but to don the hats of marketing specialist, fundraiser, and publicist. Oh and of course, back to artist. Right. Each aspect is a feat in its own right, but I’d like to focus on marketing in this post. As someone who had a marketing phobia (I still do to some extent), I understand how marketing may feel like trying to hit a piñata in the dark–with some cruel, invisible entity spinning you astray. The truth is, whenever I feel this way, it’s because I don’t have enough information. I finally owned up to my part in the matter and began digging. In my search for how to market theatre specifically, I stumbled upon Clay Mabbit’s blog: Sold Out Run. The blog alone has an incredible amount of information. When I found out that Clay also wrote a book: Reaching A New Audience, and that the book details strategies to draw audiences of a digital age to the theatre, it immediately piqued my interest.
So we made a deal.
I would read and apply the modules in Reaching A New Audience and write an honest review based on my experience (Clay offered this opportunity in a newsletter to subscribers). Clay provides a ton of ideas in twelve modules, which he describes as “tactical steps of promoting your show.” He adds, “you can tackle one module a day, one each week, or whatever pattern works for you. Most of the modules can be completed in 20 minutes or less.”
Over the past few weeks, my team and I have been experimenting with Clay’s tactics in promoting my play, Take Me To The Poorhouse, at this year’s Hollywood Fringe Festival. Modules in Reaching A New Audience include:
- Foundation (marketing basics to create a well-oiled machine)
- Your Perfect Audience (how to identify and tailor your marketing niche)
- The Schedule (a detailed marketing calendar with suggested tasks)
- Worth A Thousand Words (“visual ammunition”)
- Use Your Cast (tapping into the talent you already have)
Here are examples of ideas we ran with:
1. Creating memes of characters in the show–
Our Facebook fans enjoy our meme series and we still have several characters to go.
2. We added a blog to our show’s website, as a way to keep the site dynamic and current.
3. We also shot a trailer, one of the many ideas also echoed in Outreach Nerd, Cindy Marie Jenkins’s Social Media Marketing workshops.
Cindy’s insight has been an excellent complement to Clay’s module because it helps us really fine tune how to use social media to effectively disseminate the content in Clay’s modules. Hopefully the entire process will help quell those old, queasy marketing nightmares. Fingers crossed.
Reaching A New Audience currently retails at $147 and Clay has given me permission to read it for free. $147 is a hefty price to pay for a book. Is it worth it? Stay tuned for results in my follow-up post.
Friday, June 14th @8:00 pm
Sunday, June 16th @ 2:00 pm
Wednesday, June 19th @4:00 pm
Friday, June 21st @10:00 pm
Friday, June 28th @ 8:00 pm
Running time: 60 mins
Venue: The Lounge Theatres (lounge #2) 6201 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood 90038
Tickets: $10. Available here.