Planning a successful press and media strategy as part of your arts marketing
Anna Vinegrad offers some hints and tips on how arts marketers and arts organisations can create a successful press and media strategy as part of their arts marketing campaigns. This article was first published in JAM (issue 40 / October 2010).
The media landscape may be in a constant process of transformation, and the public increasingly sceptical about its claims, but the power of editorial coverage to influence and raise awareness is as strong as it has ever been, be that print, broadcast or online. Good media coverage helps attract and retain funders and sponsors, as well as members, visitors and audiences. It can also be an extremely cost-effective way of communicating your event, exhibition or production to a wider audience, who are not yet on your database.
Like all elements of the marketing mix, PR works best when it is properly integrated into an overall strategy, working to reinforce above-the-line communication, direct marketing efforts and social media engagement. But engaging with the media and persuading journalists to write about your event is not always straightforward, and the results can be harder to track and measure. When you are not in complete control of the message, there is also the risk of negative, adverse or completely beside-the-point coverage. Not all publicity is good publicity, and if the piece doesn’t include details about where and when, then it’s a wasted opportunity.
Research and planning
However small your event or news story, it is always worth making a media plan and doing comprehensive research as far in advance as possible. It allows you to cover all the bases, dig out every opportunity, and make sure nothing is forgotten. What audiences are you trying to reach and what media do they use? What are your key messages and how will these be conveyed to your different targets?
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