What is Marketing and Publicity?
In a nutshell, both marketing and publicity are the tools used to promote your event to audiences.
Marketing is usually associated with the choices you make around images, copy/text and the key messages you use to describe your event. Marketing also describes the various channels you might utilise to advertise to audiences such as a website, social media, eNewsletters, newspaper/radio/billboard or TV advertising – or distribution such as flyers or posters – amongst many other ways in which you directly communicate with your audiences about your event.
Publicity refers to obtaining free media coverage for your event, and can include newspapers, magazines, television, radio or digital & social media. By sending a media release and following up you can actively encourage journalists and editors to interview, review, write editorial or simply create a listing about your event.
There is further information about both marketing and publicity in this guide below.
To assist your event with cutting through the media and gaining the maximum amount of exposure possible, Midsumma Festival has put together the following resource for all registered events. Read on for information on how to communicate, market and publicise your event.
With such a diverse range of events housed within Midsumma Festival, some information below in this document may not apply to your event, but we recommend you read through and see what can help you make the most of your Midsumma Festival registration.
The Midsumma Festival team are here to help! So if you have questions about promoting your event call 03 9296 6600 or [email protected].
What Do I Get For My Registration?
What Do I Need to 'Sell' My Event?
Most Basic Requirements
- An eye-catching promotional image.
- A short and long version of your event description which clearly outlines your event in an engaging way.
- A compelling and succinct media release.
- An understanding of who will want to come to your event and why.
- A strategy around how you will reach your audience including:
• website inclusion: Midsumma Festival website and your own
• program guide listing
• social media strategy
• e-communications (emails)
• blogs, online listings
• flyers and or posters either printed or just in electronic form
• any advertising you might be able to afford!
- Video material if possible – 30 seconds to 90 seconds for a promotional preview of you event or you might create something a few minutes long if you have interviews with the Director or someone else on the event who might be of interest to audiences.
- Secondary images or production shots – to support your key marketing shot. Try not to adjust your key shot once the campaign starts so people get familiar with the image representing the event.
- Advocates – people who know about you or your show to talk you up!
- A timeline and well-researched plan!
Capture Your Audience
A promotional image is really one of the most important elements of your marketing campaign.
Your promotional image (sometimes called 'key image' or 'hero image') is one of the most vital tools in attracting an audience or reviewer's attention. It should be striking; represent your event truthfully; and be taken by a skilled photographer to optimise your chances for promoting your event. Read on for some DOs and DON'Ts to help you choose your best image.
Choose a single hero image and use it across all of your artwork: posters, flyers, advertisements, etc. This helps people become familiar with your show.
Keep it simple: Your image will be used in large and small formats so often the most striking images are the most simple (see sample shapes below).
Use a professional photographer if at all possible.
Consider the composition as there are a few basic rules of photography to keep in mind when taking your photo such as the rule of thirds, cropping, framing, etc. Have a read of 10 Top Photography Composition Rules for more information if you are shooting the image yourself.
Go for colour and contrast: Like bees to flowers, bright coloured or high contrast images are most likely to attract audiences and media.
Send JPEGS (or other high resolution formats .EPS or .TIFF). Do not send PDF images or screenshots as these cannot be used at all, ever.
Keep your options open: Midsumma will sometimes have opportunity to promote your event amongst others with paid (boosted) social media posts. Please note, Facebook and Instagram will not accept nudity, coarse language or text heavy images. Journalists in the media are also unlikely to pick up poor quality photos, or images with text on them.
PLEASE DO NOT
Include any words/ text on your image, not even the title: It is important to send us an image with no text (titles, dates or logos) so we can use it in several shapes and formats across the website and potentially social media. The image we require should not be confused with flyer/poster artwork that you might create (which may have the title of your show, venue and dates on it). Your registration may not be accepted if you do not supply a non-text image.
Include any logos on images: You will be asked to resupply a clean image if you have any logos visible in the print area of the image. This is for a few reasons such as potential conflict with Midsumma's overarching sponsors and it will reduce your chances of further promotion through Midsumma or other media channels.
Use a photo taken on your smartphone unless it is of really high resolution. And we recommend getting the image professionally edited.
Highly detailed image: avoid images that contain lots of content. The program guide images are small, so simplicity works best.
Use a rainbow filter: We recommend you don't use a rainbow filter over an image. Rainbow filters do not reproduce well in the printed guide, and let's face it, every event in the Midsumma program has a rainbow context. Dare to be different!
Use image borders: don't add borders to your image as they will not be able to be resized if other promotional opportunities arise.
PDFs: We cannot use PDF images or screenshots, ever.
You will be asked to provide ALL of the below at Event Registration.
We have provided some examples below but please note, these are representative of shape, not actual size.
- Original Image
Quality: High Resolution 300dpi minimum
- Printed Program Guide Landscape Image
This image appears in the printed guide at a size similar to 1/4 of a typical business card, so avoid over-crowding it.
- Quality: High Resolution 300dpi minimum
- Size: 800 wide x 475 high pixels (67.73mm wide x 40.22mm high)
- Format: JPEG or TIFF
- Colour Space: CMYK
- Midsumma Website Landscape Image
While this image is a similar shape to the program guide image, it is shorter in its dimensional height. Compare how much you can see of Dani Boi's yellow shirt within this and the image above?
- Quality: Low Resolution 72dpi
- Size: 1000 x 431 pixels (note, this is different to previous years)
- Format: JPEG
- Colour Space: RGB
- Website Mobile Phone Square View
This is a square shape rather than rectangle like the others, so try and keep the key part of the image centralised to avoid cropping too much off the sides when it is scaled down for mobile. This size is also handy for us to have for social media opportunities as well.
- Quality: Low Resolution 72dpi
- Size: 700 x 700 pixels
- Format: JPEG
- Colour Space: RGB
Thanks also to our 2018 program guide poster models used in the examples above: Kimberley Twiner; Beni Lola; Alexand Colosimo and Dani Boi. Photo by Alexis D. Lea Photography.
Image credit and copyright
Do you have permission to use your promotional image? (i.e. have you purchased the image, been given permission by the image owner to use the image or obtained the image through a 'creative commons' license)? Note that most images searched through Google are copyrighted and you will need to obtain permission. You can (and should) credit the photographer, wherever possible. The image credit you provide will appear online. If you want an image credit to appear in the Official Festival Guide, please include it as part of your event copy. An example of an image credit for the guide is, "Photo by Diane Arbus".
How do I send the images to Midsumma?
The online Event Registration form has an area for you to upload your images. If you have any issues loading your images, please email [email protected]. Also, please send secondary or press images to support your campaign here too.
Event Description: Narrative
The aims and objectives of the event: Does your event have an end outcome for the attendee?
e.g. You will leave the Beautiful Women exhibition with a new appreciation of beauty, that is more than skin-deep.
Special interest area: does your event highlight awareness for a cause or explore a certain theme? e.g. STATUS is aimed at educating about HIV stigma.
Experience offered: can you boost people's experience, such as "drinks on arrival", or "book signing with author" etc.
Unique elements: mention elements that only your event offers. e.g. "For only 15 audience members at a time" or "Melbourne premiere screening.
By asking yourself these questions you will be able to keep your communication concise, your key messaging consistent and hopefully your event will be more attractive to potential attendees.
Other things to consider about your event positioning…
• Is the ticket price right for your venue?
• Is there value for money at your price point?
• Is there an appropriate range of ticket options? (eg. concession, group, family)
• Do you need to alter price points to encourage attendance at particular sessions? (eg. Cheap Tuesdays)
• Are there additional costs the attendees will need to consider? (eg. parking, beverages, meals)
• Are the dates and times appropriate for the target audience?
• Is your venue easy to get to?
• Public transport information will be included in your Festival guide listing.
Event promotional copy
What makes good copy?
Cause some intrigue, but try not to confuse your audiences and turn them off buying a ticket.
Check past programs: the best advice is to check out Midsumma Program Guides from previous years and see what resonates with you.
Avoid slang, unless you only want people who are familiar with that slang to attend.
Get feedback: show your copy to someone else first. It's best to get feedback from family or friends who you think might enjoy the event, but who are not already too familiar with the content. Do they know what to expect to experience at your event from what they have read?
It's a free Program Guide, available to all. That includes children and young people so even if your event is pitched as Adult Only, your copy should not be.
Proofing your copy
General Marketing & Publicity Timeline Guide
We have created a draft timeline for you, have a think about what your event requires and expand upon the below. Each event is different though, so this should only be used as a guide and doesn't take into account long-lead publications for media releases.
End August – your event listing will be included in the Program Guide which goes to print in October. Be prepared to proof your listing when we send it to you!
Start September– collate all biographies of the team for Media and finalise all key information that might not have been included at registration
Start November – finalise media release and supply to Midsumma Marketing Team by 1 November for the program launch mid-November
November/December (6 weeks out) - tickets on sale, brief media, stakeholders and advocates
Start December (5 weeks out) - direct mail out, upload free event listings, cross promote through other networks, slow build social media campaign.
Start January (2 weeks out) - social media really kicks off, send email specifically about the show to your networks, print distribution around town, advocates activate word of mouth
Start January (2 weeks out) - media coverage, social media continues, advertising commences.
Mid-January (1 week out) - media coverage, email reminder, get production shots taken, if required
During the event – share reviews, media coverage, share stories and audience responses on social media.
• flyers, posters and other printed materials
• advertising in print, on radio, online listings, public or outdoor displays, blogs, TV or cinema commercials
• social media, e-communications
• cross-promotional activities with other individuals or organisations.
It is important to develop a plan or strategy across your marketing campaign as well as an individual strategy for each marketing channel: social media, e-communications, paid advertising, etc.
• Where do your target markets live?
• Where do your target markets work?
• What age are your target markets?
• What interests do your target markets have?
• What media do your target markets engage with?
• What sort of values do your target markets hold?
• What is your target market's likely income level/ discretionary spending?
Now that you have ascertained who you are trying to reach, how do you reach them? Before you try, make sure your language and the setup of the event matches the people you want to attend. For example, if you are looking for a playful, student crowd who live in the Melbourne CBD, don't put on an event in the outer suburbs with expensive tickets, serious language and no access to public transport. Consider your audience across all elements of the event.
If you do decide to, keep these things in mind:
• Keep it snappy, 30 seconds is a good amount of time for a promo video
• Make sure the footage is reasonable quality, that it's in focus, etc.
• If you use sound, make sure it's audible/ decipherable
• Make sure the credits include the key information about the event: title, date, times, location, ticketing info.
• Be creative, this is a piece of art in itself so go wild as long as the end result still represents your event.
You can upload MPEG files or links to your video when you register your event. After 9 August 2018, please email them to [email protected]
You may want to design these things for electronic distribution or for printing. If you do decide to print them, make sure you have a distribution strategy – how are you going to get them out into the world? Is this a worthwhile investment or will they end up in landfill?
Read arTour's Tips on What to include in your print collateral.
Please use #midsumma and @midsummafestival whenever possible in your social media promotions.
Here are some tips to maximise your success on the following platforms:
• Do engage with other groups, conversations or organisations, sharing or commenting on their posts.
• Research when is the best time of day to post.
• Follow the response/engagement of each post and start to analyse what content gathers more traction.
• Assemble collateral that you are going to post in advance, have a folder of photos you can draw from.
• Plan and schedule some posts as well as creating spontaneous content. To schedule posts you can use TweetDesk, Facebook Publishing Tools, Hootsuite or Buffer.
For image sizes across social media platforms, see the Cheat Sheet.
• Create your own simple, unique hashtag (check that no-one else is using it first!)
• Keep hashtags consistent across your platforms
• Use trending, relevant hashtags and learn how accounts are engaging with them
• Don't go overboard, clutter is not cute
• Avoid acronyms that people may be unsure of
A Picture tells a thousand words. Utilise bold, colourful promotional images to grab attention.
Size photos correctly. See the Cheat Sheet.
Post links directly to ticketing page. Your audience will only be a click away from more information and a click away from purchasing.
Offer giveaways or incentives. Ask your audience to engage by liking and sharing for a chance to win tickets.
Tag us! Type @Midsummafestival to tag the Midsumma Festival Facebook page in your post.
There are a number of ways to utilise paid advertisements on Facebook. Further information can be found at Facebook.
Post about stories, find a way of asking for people's support without spamming them with "buy tickets" updates.
Tag others, as long as you have permission, tag other organisations and people you are working with.
Videos and pictures are often the most effective content, sometimes coupled with text.
Use Apps: think about creating content through apps such as Canva which are simple graphic design tools.
Videos: if you are using video content, upload it directly to Facebook rather than linking to YouTube.
Avoid Links: be careful of links in posts, use them sparingly as these posts don't always gather as much traction.
• 2 can be vaguely promotional, and
• 1 can be a blatant plug.
Tweets between 120 and 130 characters have the highest interaction.
• Include promotional images.
Make sure you have event information in your images so you're not restricted by the character limit.
• Use #midsumma instead of @midsumma.
By using #midsumma, your tweet will not only reach your followers, but also everyone else interested in the festival.
• Maximum of 6-10 tweets per day
• Use # hashtags
Instagram is a wonderful platform to show a preview of your event through photography and design.
• Build anticipation.
Post some behind-the-scenes photos or a sneak peak of what your event has to offer.
• Include a link in your page's bio.
Instagram doesn't allow links when captioning your images so make sure you send followers to your bio for ticketing enquiries and more information.
• Encourage liking, tagging & sharing.
Engage your audience and their followers with incentives.
• Play around with filters
• Use # hashtags
Although it's not an official distinction, Vimeo tends to attract high-quality video content by creators posting short films and animations, where YouTube is popular for amateur mobile content.
See also: Google+ Communities: A Beginner's Guide.
• Use images, never just blocks of text.
• Make sure it looks professional and polished.
• Keep the language clear and concise.
• Break up text by using headings.
• Do a shout out on social media for one another.
• Set up a two for one ticket offer.
• Hand out flyers to the other person's event at your event.
• The opportunities are limitless and it is entirely up the parties involved.
• Identify a theme or some common ground between the events or organisations to use as an angle to promote it to the other's audience.
• Ensure that the other organisation's audience is an expansion of yours and is likely to attend your event.
• Don't let it be too much work for either party.
Here are a few that we know of:
Here are a few handy hints:
• Make sure the website is easy to navigate.
• Include pictures.
• Use the font and colour palette you are including across all of your other marketing collateral.
Where possible, it is normally best to employ a professional publicist, unless of course you have those skills and contact lists yourself. A publicist will circulate your media release to their contacts, liaise directly with the media, advocate for editorial and other publicity opportunities, invite media to VIP events, organise reviews and track all publicity released about the event.
Midsumma also collect all event media releases to put onto the website (midsumma.org.au) and will guide media enquiries to this area.
Your Media Release
A media release is a one-page document circulated to seek interviews, reviews and articles about your event. Your media release will outline the 'who, what, where, how and why' of your event. If you have a publicist for your event, they may write your media release for you. If not, here are some handy hints:
• It should be a maximum of one page.
• Include the promotional image for your event.
• Format the document so you can see the event title, dates, times and location at a glance.
• Make sure that the first paragraph presents the hook, why should people choose to come to the event?
• Include any relevant booking links.
• Send it out preferably within four weeks of the opening of your event. Don't send it too early as you risk being forgotten about.
• Follow up! Circulate it to the media and touch base with them after a few days. If you've contacted a journalist twice but have received no reply, don't keep pestering them. You won't always get a response as journalists receive hundreds of media releases each week.
Follow the Midsumma Media Release Template and/or read arTour's Writing a Media Release – How to get your message out there.
Know your audience before the interview. Research the station/publication/website so you know what the audience is and what they will want to hear.
Don't assume that the interviewer knows anything about your show, be ready to go in and explain everything!
Giveaways might assist in securing an interview. Inform the interviewer that you have tickets you can make available for a giveaway. Most media outlets will have procedures that govern how they manage giveaways.
Talking to Media on Social Media