If you regularly deal with publicity and promotion for visual arts projects, try to build up and keep up-to-date an annotated ‘contacts' list on index cards. Having a ‘named person' on a mailing list can save considerable time and energy when you start to follow up press releases, etc. If possible, put this mailing list onto a word processor which can print out sticky address labels and personalised letters for other promotions. If you store only names and addresses on a computer for your own personal use, you don't need to register under the Data Protection Act. When working with a host organisation on a project, be sure to liaise with the marketing/press/publicity staff over development of promotional material ir order to avoid confusion and duplication of material.
Documentation It is essential to document your work throughout the year as the visual description of your work forms the basis of all your publicity and promotion.
Five Rules of Media Strategy
Think of media Strategy this way: Every event is a Package to be opened, explored and looked at from many angles, trying out each element through the eyes of various media and their needs.
1. Target media that reach your desired audience
2. Go for the “Big Hit”: Maximum Reach for Minimal Effort
3. Choose the Most Unique Packaging for the story
4. Don't be afraid to look beyond the usual media
5. Try to be at the Right Place At the Right Time
Remember: the Human Factor Makes the News Media Tick
Remember to take into account the other person on the receiving end of a story pitch. Reporters, editors and producers are people, too, and have individual ways of going about their jobs. It's important to talk with them and find out what they need, how they need it, and what you can do to shape your story to meet their needs. This includes being knowledgeable about what they cover and how they go about covering it, and being sensitive to their deadlines and how they like to receive information (fax, mail, e-mail, etc.)
Don't be intimidated! The media relies on PR people to alert them to stories (some have estimated that as much as 70% of news content is initiated by outside sources). You have something to Offer them in a professional relationship between equals. By the same token, don't be offended if they don't accept everything you give them, even if you followed their directives exactly. You never know what else is happening in their corner of the world. It is their decision to make, and even though you may disagree with their choice, you must be able to continue to work with them. Never complain! Just move on to the next opportunity.
Pre-planning and awareness of the time-scales of those who can help you is the cornerstone to success. If your role is to raise money for the project as well as to publicise it once set up, you may need to allow as long as a year to promote a small to medium-scale project properly. Make a schedule of who you need to contact and when, so you don't miss an important deadline. If you are using publicity to raise awareness and funds for a project, make sure you know who you need to approach and how long each organisation will take to reach decisions about giving money.• To gain national publicity, you'll need to circulate colour and black and white images and information at least six months in advance for glossy magazines, quarterly journals and specialist periodicals or if you are seeking a ‘feature' on a TV arts programme.. For regional publicity, allow at least three months in advance to gain coverage in monthly publications and What's On guides. For local newspapers and radio, make an initial contact around a month in advance to get an editorial feature or interview. Listings can be left until ten days in advance.• If you pay for advertising, you may be more likely to get editorial coverage in the press.• It may be fruitful to go out and meet some of your ‘target' audience ‘face-to-face' to encourage involvement and support for your project; this could include visits to schools, business clubs, etc.
Making sure your work is included on indexes, registers and multimedia databases is a valuable form of promotion. These are accessed by a wide range of people including commissioners, agents, curators, collectors and others with work opportunities on offer.
Increasingly, visual artists are looking to the Internet and to World Wide Web pages to promote their work. Although there are still issues to resolve as regards reproduction and copyright rights, the ability to make connections across the globe to new and very large audiences has proved for some artists a risk worth taking.
When sending out photographs with a press release, an application or a fundraising appeal, choose the most appropriate images for each type of audience. • Photographs should be good quality, in focus, clearly labelled with ‘this way up', name of the artist, title of work, medium, size, date, credit for photographer and return address.• Indicate if they are part of a set or are needed back by a particular date.• Make sure you send the right sort of images to the right places, human interest to the local press, slides of work to glossy magazines and supplements. Keep a record of which images you send to whom in case they ask for more!hen sending photographs by post, protect them from damage with sturdy packing. Not all recipients will automatically return photographs, so if you want them back, send a suitable stamped addressed envelope.
Be honest and as candid as possible.
Tell the truth—even if your answer is “I don't know.” Refer the reporter to another expert, or Offer to get back to the reporter with information, and then follow up on your offer.
In your release, give the media what it wants:
Create concise and well-written copy
Explain who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Get to the point quickly.
Write for media needs—not organizational egos.
Do not go over three pages in length (less is more)
Use active rather than passive tense (when possible)
Use tenses that agree (will announce, announced)
A CV is a basic tool for promotion and is usually varied according to the circumstances in which it is used. You may need to accentuate some aspects of your experience or play down others. A CV, which must be typed, generally contains: name • address – including postcode. • telephone number – day and evening and, if you haven't a telephone, give a contact number for urgent messages. • date of birth – only if you want to give it. • nationality. • education – show qualifications and awards. • other professional qualifications. Experience – past projects and activities; this section can be adjusted to emphasise your eligibility for the job, commission or other opportunity • awards • commissions undertaken.• galleries where your work is on sale. • public collections. • short personal statement about your work and enthusiasms – only write this if you feel you can do it well! If possible, get your CV put onto a word processor so it can be easily updated and altered for different applications.
A great visual can make a huge difference in gaining news media coverage. Most Publications are looking for visuals to fill space and make for an interesting layout. Community newspapers in particular depend on outside photos. TV, too, is driven by visuals, although it needs to be happening right now (referred to as an "actuality").
Take the time to take high-quality, professional photos for your press kit to send out with a cutline (brief description of photo, your event and key people pictured) to community media. The best photos are action-oriented, provocative or include a celebrity. Black and white photos are the standard, but color is increasingly in demand (send color slides).
Visuals that generate coverage :
Are High quality. Black-and-white photographs are okay, but color is increasingly important.
Are dramatic, provocative, and action-oriented.
Feature star, celebrity, or locally-significant person.
Showcase a new or offbeat look, epitomize the issue, or are metaphorical in nature.
Are Properly Labeled and explained (who is the photographer, did you put the source of the image in context?)
If you are making ceramics professionally -- for sale or for exhibitions -- at some stage you will have to pack and send them to another town, interstate or even overseas. Proper packing will ensure the work arrives safely.
We are all in the "business" of producing and/or selling art. Galleries need to earn enough to cover all their costs, just as the artist does. If they are to survive, income has to exceed outgoing cash - including all the overheads and a modest profit. However, galleries are going to .be (or should be) run by the bottom line and what the accountants say more than the artist, because they have absolutely no alternative. They have no extra income from friends, family, spouse, teaching, demonstrations, day job, etc. no filling gaps in income in alternative ways. Read this great Article by: Janet Kaiser The Chapel of Art WEBSITE: http://www.the-coa.org.uk. Read On Selling and Galleries
To be truly successful at Publicity is costly in terms of staff time and effort because the competition is fierce for this free resource. It also takes creativity and salesmanship, so it can't be delegated to just any warm body or volunteer.
The single biggest reason arts organizations don't receive news coverage is that they have no news or have failed to present their information so that the news Value is evident and persuasive. Always ask, “So what?” when considering a story angle. How can I spin this story so that the broadest possible audience will care to read it?
Reporters, editors and producers are people, too, and have individual ways of going about their jobs. It's important to talk with them and find out what they need, how they need it, and what you can do to shape your story to meet their needs.
Media Releases :
*are “released” on the day of your event, or on the day you want to make your announcement.
*are written as a news story would be written, but from your organization's point of view.
*should be 2-3 pages in length.
(at an event ) are usually part of a press packet which contains additional information and background material.
*can also be released on the PR Wire without holding an event
*can be given to selected reporters when seeking a feature or other non-hard news story.
To write an effective news release, start by asking, Why is my organization sending out this release?
To announce a special event?
To let people know our organization exists?
To change public perceptions about the organization?
To position/Brand the organization as leaders/experts?
Then summarize in one paragraph the “news” in your news release.
Service Orientation Toward the News Media Cultivating a relationship with the Media is based on mutual respect, trust and a continuing service-orientation and follow-through. As said earlier, the news media is a customer, and an important one. If you bring a customer-service orientation to your relationship with them, it will improve your results tenfold. This means shaping your stories to meet their needs, getting information to them quickly when they ask, lining up spokespersons and photo Opportunities on short notice, and making sure that their phone calls are answered immediately by a publicist or other knowledgeable person within your organization.
When writing a press release:• keep it short – no more than one side of an A4 page• Choose your paper type and colour, type face and layout to reflect the standards and quality of your work• Choose an ‘angle' to attract the press – human interest for local press, or techniques and materials for the specialists, perhaps your international links for the nationals, etc
• send photographs where possible as visual arts and media work is inevitably poorly represented in words alone• make sure it tells the press WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN with contact name and telephone number, as most journalists follow up by telephone. Having a fax number or email address is increasingly useful.• send the press release to a named person so you can more easily follow up with a telephone call.
Press release The wording of a press release should be composed according to the interests and priorities of local, regional, national and specialist press. Journalists make considerable use of press releases, and the free coverage they can give you is definitely worth getting!
What's in a Pitch? Ask: “Is this a good time to talk?” Tell: “What's the story” in 20 seconds or less? Convince and Explain: What's in it for the reporter, for the publication? Why do they need to cover this? Get a lead: If the reporter isn't interested, does he/she know who else might be interested? Typical Pitching Strategies Mail/Follow-up Call/Fax or Deliver/Follow-up E-mail/Send File/Follow up via E-mail or Phone Also consider: Teaser mailings Postcards Tickets and other lures
Publicity is often referred to as "free" media to differentiate it from paid advertising. But anyone who uses it quickly recognizes that "free" is a bit of a misnomer. To be truly successful at Publicity is costly in terms of staff time and effort because the competition is fierce for this free resource. It also takes creativity and salesmanship, so it can't be delegated to just any warm body or volunteer.
The following is a summary of who should be on your media list, though your list should continually evolve and change with the media landscape. Print: All reviewers/critics Columnists Section Editors News/Assignment editors Photo desks Zone/bureau editors National bureaus (if you have national news) Managing editors (weeklies) Radio: Reviewers News Director Community Relations Director (PSAs) TV: Reviewers/on-air talent Planning editors/assignment editors Morning Show producers Community Relations Director (PSAs)
Flexible, Researched Target List
Remember that things change. The longer you work with the news media, the more turnover you will see. Someone who covered the arts last year may now be working on the auto section. So you must constantly update your news media list to reflect who's now on your beat.
Materials should be addressed to the person, whenever possible, rather than to a "desk." Before you do a mailing or fax a story idea, take the time to confirm the recipient. This is not just a courtesy. Relying on a small group of old contacts can blind you to many Opportunities to tell your story in new ways. Invest in a good news media directory that offers the most up-to-date media listings for your community.
The “news media" isn't the monolith it's often presented to be. Different types of media have different purposes, editorial perspectives and needs. In addition, there are many factors, including personality and individual experiences and tastes that impact how a particular news director, editor or reviewer will respond to your information. However, they all have one thing in common: They have to make intelligent news judgments.
Newspapers, radio stations and TV newsrooms are inundated with an avalanche of information each day that they must sift through to choose the few items that fit their format, deadlines and available space or airtime. This includes what is viewed as "legitimate" news like disasters, politics and other dramatic events that represent the backbone of the news coverage and influence what's left for everything else. News people must have a way to separate the important from the trivial, the compelling from the ho-hum. They need to identify the dramatic, unusual, innovative, or inspiring story that makes people sit up and pay attention. Hence the basic journalistic axiom, "So what? Who cares?" In other words, it needs to be meaningful and important to a lot of people to justify the time and the space it takes to tell about it. If you can't show how your story rises to this level of newsworthiness, it will be difficult to get it told.