You’ve done your flyers, bombarded your friends and family, spammed your network and generally flooded all the usual suspects with material about your event. Yet interest is waning and your numbers are thinning. What are you doing to reach new audience?

There are many strategies you can turn to, but the number one on your list should be media publicity.

Editorial publicity is an essential part of the promotional mix in gaining profile for your event and getting ‘bums on seats’.

Just as marketing (paid advertising, posters, flyers and direct mail etc) and social media networking are important in promoting a show (or event or project), media publicity – which involves, essentially, free editorial – is essential in getting your event known in a crowded arts and media world.A publicist arranges free editorial or ‘below-the-line’ promotions – press articles, radio and TV interviews, what’s-on listings in the press and on the web and feature articles. They invite special opening night guests and reviewers. They seek out industry VIPs, celebrities or any other special guests you might want involved. The benefits are obvious – especially for organisations whose budget may not stretch to expensive advertising!

Remember, advertising is still transparently yourself blowing your own trumpet.

And social media like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter will only reach those – at most – a few degrees of separation away. Don’t mistake Facebook for publicity!  Remember, as the Bard might have said, “A Facebook ‘like’ doth not a ticket sale make!”

[Read Geoff’s recent Sydney Arts Guide Article article “FB is not PR” here}

Media coverage through publicity reaches new audiences. Press and electronic media coverage carry the weight of editorial approval or ‘third party endorsement’, complementing the more transparent self-promotion of advertising and other marketing tools.

Your creative team also appreciate coverage which rewards them for their efforts and gains them wider recognition. It enhances your organisation’s reputation and reinforces your ‘brand’.

Ideally you should engage a professional publicist: they have the skills, the comprehensive contacts and the dedicated time that a professional publicist offers. Plus the regular close relationships with media contacts that can make all the difference.  That will leave you the time and space to get on with your main business… that’s show business!

However, whichever way you decide to handle your media editorial publicity efforts – whether with a dedicated company/committee member or a professional – don’t forget about it! It’s a vital part of your promotional toolkit.

Remember, putting on a show or launching a campaign without publicity is like winking at someone cute in the dark: you know what you’re doing – but no one else does!

Break a leg!

Geoff Sirmai

Geoff Sirmai Arts Publicity