I belong to a group of people that all to marketing for Arts Organizations, here in Vancouver. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know by now that we are suffering from loss of media coverage of our events, due to cutbacks in newspapers, and, this week, the CBC.
It seems, then, more important than ever, to learn about and take advantage of, new ways of generating publicity. For me, right now, it’s about social media. The problem with social media is that it is so new, and because of that, is constantly evolving. Plus, there is a dizzying array of sites out there–how can you possibly manage them all?
I’m so glad you asked. Simon Ogden and I have been asked to lead a workshop on Demystifying Social Media, specifically for Artists. This workshop will take place on May 5, 1-5 pm, at the Alliance for Arts and Culture (938 Howe St).
This four-hour workshop will help neophyte and experienced arts marketers and publicists to navigate this new world of opportunity. Site by site, we will:
introduce you to the language and etiquette of social media and Web 2.0
define its place in your personal marketing toolbox
dispel all those inevitable misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with emerging technologies
help you create a new media marketing plan that’s right for your organization
Workshop cost: $50 (+GST) for Alliance members, $75 (+GST) for non-members
It’s a sad state of affairs, here in Vancouver. Theatre reviewers are becoming extremely rare. In the past few months, the Globe and Mail let go their Vancouver theatre reviewer, and cut their Vancouver theatre section entirely. Jerry Wasserman was let go from the Province, and now Peter Birnie, reviewer for our other major daily, The Vancouver Sun, has broken his leg, and is out of commission.
So that leaves Colin Thomas at The Georgia Straight, Jo Ledingham at The Vancouver Courier, the team at the Westender, and… well, that’s it. In an effort to cover as much as possible, the papers that are left are doubling up reviews. But, because they still have the same amount of space, it means reviews will be shorter, and shared.
I recently discovered a company out of New York called The NY Neofuturists. They have a kick-ass website, and a great blog (they are currently the darling of Theatre folks on Twitter for their Tweet Plays series). They also have a page on Yelp.
As newspaper ink shrinks, and the internet blossoms, user-generated content becomes more and more plentiful, and, hopefully, important. So, here’s what I think: while I think traditional theatre reviewers are still really important, and thier opinion is useful, I also think it is useful to listen to our audience–the people who come to see our plays. So, the next time you produce a play, create a means for the audience to give you feedback. That might be encouraging them to post on your blog, your Facebook page, or getting yourself set up on Yelp. Let them know their opinion matters. And who knows, you might even learn something!