In designing a website for a Arts company the responsiveness of the landing page to mobile phone usage is vital.
Most booking nowadays are taken via the internet, so having an easy to access page is vital.
The Belvoir St Theatre’s website would have to be one of the most efficient in delivering customers to the ticket sales.
In times past theatre companies tended to overload their sites with images and information, Belvoir has moved right away from those notion. Those who do want to find out more about the company, can still do that, but its primary aim is to quickly drive uses to ticket sales.
This is in response to the customer desire, the client can easily, thanks to search engines, find out information about a show, but to buy tickets, especially mobile customers.
Belvoir’s site and the shrink test
Belvoir’s is a fully responsive website, ie can be easily read on mobiles, tablets and desktops. So when I’m in a cafe in Darlinghurst I can easily check out what’s on a Belvoir St. This is not the case for several other notable theatre companies.
You need your site across all forms as the graph shows the growth in smart phone use.
I easily chartered my way through the ticket payment system on my phone.
To check out the responsiveness of a website simply shrink the window on your browser to that of a phone, if it shrinks, its responsive, if not, they have a non responsive website.
There are three important points to consider when posting an image.
1. Choose an easy to recognise structure: In this image with have ballet dancer wishing farewell. This is a icon of the sad, amazing farewell, with a smile on her face and tear in her eye, also with glow of the athlete.
2. Develop a strong hero: Here Lucinda is a legend with the company, a perfect focus with her 23 of dance service. The artists farewell is the climax of a long journey.
3. Add details to make your story real: This farewell image has been built up my social postings all week of “Luci” in rehearsal, being farewelled by her colleagues. In this week long posts the Aus Ballet has also promoted hashtages for other social media platforms. This image is the climax of a social media narrative.
The image promotes affection for the dancer and the company, as dancers know that to sustain a 23 year career with one company is amazing.
With over 1600 likes, 73 shares and over 40 comments in 12 hours this is a wonderful post that celebrates dance, the individual and the affection the audience has for her.
Video streaming is a very effective way of marketing your arts company.
So how do post effectively on YouTube.
I thought I’d have a look at the Sydney Dance Company YouTube site
Firstly, the quality of the video needs to be considered. Video production can be expensive, lighting, sound, shot quality are all considerations. This means your video footage needs to be seen by a sizeable to be cost effect. The 1300 odd that saw this video covers that target.
Also a video may be part of both your pre & post production engagement, which are both important for building audience. My article on the arch of audience engagement explains that around 80% of people wanted to do some level of preparation before they see a production and 25% do post production analysis. This post productions explanation can be vital in forms like dance where the ideas are not always clear to even an intelligent audience.
The video effectively explain the subject matter of the show, displaying how the narrative and emotion of the dance was drawn from the music of Bach. Rafael Bonachela’s, the choreographer, lively explanation of his work through compelling voice overs make for lovely communication of the production’s creation. The dance sequences give enough of the show to tease the potential audience
The length of 4 1/2 minutes is enough to explain the show for post viewing analysis. The explanation by the sexy Bonachela gives the post production video viewer a discussion point with their partner, or other dance goer. An insight shared post production over a glass of wine by two patrons is like gold for arts marketers as it could signal return business.
The point of a video is that it is not an advert, it is a conversation starter, to fill in knowledge on the show, so people can take the small information bit into a conversation about Bach, dance or life. All links back to the show.
The SDC video is certainly worth a look at for video social sharing.
As far a social media art marketing pages is concerned the Australia Ballet would have to be one of the most effective in Australia.
The subject matter may have a lot to do with that, people love dancers, but the effectiveness of its social media goes beyond the allure of the dancers .
The Facebook cover is part of this social media appeal. Let’s take the key statement as our starting point: “Caring for tradition, daring to be different”. Trying to link the notion of ballet, a form of strict disciplines with a new society. It is the alliteration of the d sound, in ‘daring’ & ‘different’, that appeals to younger aspiring generation.
The main dancer image is clear and understated, the curved flow line of light and dark brings us slowly to the image of the female dancer, somewhat holding back, with her hands held close to her, the image suggests a very subtle sexuality, never overstated. She is looking back, like a flamenco dancer, inviting us to come closer, but holding back. The black and white adds rendering adds to the romance of past and present.
The image has no clumsy words over the top, no annoying “call to action”, just the profile shot naming the company.
The title in the profile box “The Australia Ballet”, also in black and white, it like the firm step of the dancer, telling us where we are.
The page gives links to images of the company through the photo page and Instagram feed. Ticket information is available with a clear link too.
It is easy to see why the Australian Ballet page has risen in Facebook likes by around 12 000 in the last year.
So many times I read a post for a Arts website and I think what is the purpose behind this post.
Where is the relevance to what you are selling.
I ask myself three questions in all posts:
1. How does this expand the companies like-ability?
2. Is this interesting, engaging or informative?
3. What is the direct / indirect call to action?
Looking at this effective post by the Sydney Theatre Company you can see the photo grabs your attention by its use of puppets.
The call to action is clear: inviting you to the workshop and asking you to tag the social image.
It invites you to be part of the creative process in the most friendly of tones.
This lovely tone is followed through in the comment posts by both audience members and a STC social media staffer.
Every facebook post is a valuable part of your companies advertising budget. Effective posting gets your artists publicity and drives the audience to be part of your show.
I decided to have a look at the twitter activity of the major performing arts companies. I have recorded the twitter activity in the 10 days between 10-24 June 2013. The interactions include replies, retweets, favourited tweets. The information was gathered on 26 June 2013.
I decided to do a survey of the major arts companies Facebook interactions. The list of companies comes from the Australia Council’s website. “These companies must meet a range of criteria, including the demonstration of the highest artistic standards, a sizeable audience base and having a minimum average income of more than $1.6 million over the previous three-year period.”
My survey was conducted on 25 June 2013 of the public Facebook pages of the companies. The posts are public posts by the respective companies. The interactions are a vital figure and include post likes, shares and comments within the 10 day period of 14 – 24 June 2013.
These figures are purely a snapshot of activity at this point. Because of the fluidity of social media posts the figures may contain an element of changeability and I invite companies to do further analysis.
The interactions are an important figure as I have examined in my blog post on audience engagement.
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
The Australian Ballet
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Australian Chamber Orchestra
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Bell Shakespeare Company
Black Swan State Theatre Company
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Melbourne Theatre Company
Musica Viva Australia
Queensland Theatre Company*
State Opera of SA
State Theatre Company of SA
Sydney Dance Company#
Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Sydney Theatre Company
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
West Australian Ballet Company
West Australian Opera
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
*I have combined the Queensland Theatre Company Facebook page with the Queensland Theatre Greenhouse page.
# I have not included the SDC Studios Facebook page which had 10 930 likes, no posts and no interactions.
Newspaper still have a vital role in the arts industry marketing. I would like to start this entry with a scene from Orsen Wells’ Citizen Kane. The newspaper has an expansive history, from the penny daily of the 1800s to the prestigious broadsheet that brought down a U.S. President in the 1970s. The printed newspaper, like the Wells’ New York Inquirer in the clip, has the power to set the agenda in society. I will explore the dynamic charging role of the newspaper. It will examine the place of the newspaper as an important agenda-framing implement in society. I will look at this from a global perspective before narrowing in on Australian press issues. I will explore the role of the printed newspaper as an advertising and publicity source for the Arts Enterprise. Finally, I will look at the changing nature of the media in terms of a possible digital future.
The gate keeper theory relates to the way the media controls the flow of news to the audience. As can be seen in this image, there is a number of possible stories the media can report on, and the newspapers control which event they are to cover and deliver to their audience. They set the agenda by leading the news with detailed local stories and agenda-setting opinion polls. The Australian print media is an influential body as it still has a large control of the news cycle. The radio and television networks comment on the newspaper stories of the day in their morning news programs and in weekly review programs, such as in “What the Papers Say” The newspaper can be found in all types of locations: cafés, medical offices, and many others.
The agenda is still, to a large extent, controlled by the print media, and this will work forward into the future. This agenda-setting nature is celebrated in the newspaper industry’s publicity as it states, “The early morning consumption of newspapers puts them in a unique position to determine what is the key news on any given day”. The newspaper is repositioning itself to set the agenda rather than just responding to it. As the print media suffers from time lag to produce stories compared to online media, it relies on agenda-setting opinion and in-depth coverage. Like in the media regulations issue, the print media can set the agenda. For the Arts organisation, these newspapers can be a valuable source of publicity. The newspaper has gate keeping guides to local artistic events, gallery openings, and theatre events. This is especially true for the weekend papers, and artistic enterprisers needs to exploit the opportunity in printed papers into the future.
Although the printed newspaper still has a powerful position in society, its circulation and revenues are falling. The printed newspaper readership has been in decline for 30 years. A study in the UK found that people aged 15 to 24 read the newspaper 30% less once they discovered the Internet.
The younger the potential readers, the less likely they are to be newspaper readers. These younger people are ignoring the printed newspaper as a source of information. They are the key audience for the Arts. The key audiences for movie goers are the 18 – 39 year olds, but they make up a smaller percentage of newspaper readership. This means that Arts enterprises’ key markets may not be readers of newspapers and that energy expended in gaining publicity from this source may be wasted. The major Performing Arts companies have been stagnating in recent years. Even though theatre audience figures might not directly relate to the declining readership figures of newspapers, they do display that both audiences are seeking entertainment and information in different ways. Arts organisations need to respond to a changing audience if they are going have an impact in both an economic and social sense.
While the printed newspaper form has had circulation and revenue problems, it does have its advantages as a media form. The newspaper has a resilient nature as it has been under attack from other media forms since the 1930s. In the 1950s, while pessimists rallied in favor of television as the dominate form, Lester Markel (1956) revealed newspapers advantages. These advantages included print’s ability to get into depth in a story with multiple-page spreads, its portability and flexibility as a news delivery medium, and its ability to explore an issue over time. The newspaper still leads the agenda, and the tactical and portable nature of the paper means it will be an agenda-setting tool into the future. This tactile nature makes it a relatively cheap object that people can own, and this means promoters can use post-its to grab the attention of the reader. The readers can take the stick-on with them and purchase the product. The fiction writer J K Rowling’s publishers used the stick-on to advertise her new book. This approach is unique to the printed press and is a creative and practical form of advertising for the Arts entrepreneur.
The printed newspaper has a number of features that have value to the Arts industry. Being able to insert color advertisement into the flow of the newsprint immerses the reader in the subject matter. People get absorbed into that more than when they take in information over other forms of media. This absorption means a higher retention rate of stories. The immersion of the surrealism image into the story is an attempt to capture the reader’s attention and challenge the reader. This insert into the Arts section of the newspaper means that the gallery is able to reach its intended audience in an eye-catching and informative manner. As people leisurely read these articles, a clear awareness can be created of the exhibition. Likewise, the printed newspaper contains stories that involve the Arts on a daily basis.
There is an advantage in Australia with the major print forms. While the newspaper industry worldwide in most developed countries is in a slump, there are conditions in Australia that make this nation’s conditions unique. The concentration of the Australian media, long the bane of the left-wing media commentators, means these press companies are in the position to address the market needs with large market penetration. This power position gives the Australian papers value as news gate keepers and advertising mediums. Arts organisations cannot ignore the possibilities offered by the print form.
There is less day-to-day coverage of stories; this means less time to cover stories in-depth to explore issues and uncover events. This does give opportunities to the savvy Arts Media departments. They must realize that they need to produce almost whole news articles for the local papers, even with images. They can offer these exclusively to one printed paper. The Arts professional must realize the time constraints of the modern newsroom and allow for these when producing copy for an exhibition or production. The cuts in media time present opportunities to deliver an interesting product to the newsrooms that may become news stories.
If the Arts organisation is to exploit these publicity possibilities, it needs to recognize the paper’s need to position its masthead as an essential part of its local community. One of the essential factors for newspaper survival is its strong identity with the community. The Arts enterprise should position itself to exploit this in the local media when devising its own potential news stories. In Newcastle, the two major organisations—the Civic Theatre and Newcastle Regional Gallery—both have corporate partnerships with The Newcastle Herald. While many newspapers were closing, Warren Buffet, one of the world’s most powerful investors, bought newspapers across the United States. Newspapers still have profitable and influential positions in many cities. Buffet said this is especially true in cities where the masthead is seen as the centre of the community. In this position, the paper can be linked into artistic events. The major problem is that these newspapers often have a reduced staff and are not covering local issues in a detailed manner. The Arts organisations can exploit links with the local community, and these stories can be newsworthy for the paper and great publicity for Arts organisations.
The world is changing; the world has always been changing, and the newspaper will change with it. The Arts industry needs to work with the printed medium and use it as the industry sees fit as its influence, though shrinking, is great.
How can your creative enterprise make the best use of the printed newspaper?
Arts Marketing Australia can help update your marketing approach. Contact me to find out more.