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.
All events in the Midsumma Festival Program must carry the Midsumma Festival logo on all marketing and promotional collateral. The Midsumma Festival branding guide will be available to download through the Midsumma website from September 2017.
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?
Online Listing: each event is provided with its own event page on midsumma.org.au. At the most basic level, you will have your key image and promotional description plus any other ticketing or venue details required. If you have video, extra photos, a printed program or anything else you would like to add to your event page, please speak to one of the Midsumma Team and we will endeavor to help you get it onto the website.
Media Release: your media release will also be available to Media from midsumma.org.au. Please send it to [email protected] in by 1 November. There are further details in this guide on writing your media release.
Carnival Roving Rights: access to 'Roving Rights' at NO COST at Midsumma Carnival. Normally priced at $2000 for non-registered groups, you may arrange to hand out collateral or carry signage to promote your event for a couple of hours at Midsumma Carnival, which usually attracts a crowd of approximately 100,000 attendees.
Midsumma Logo: the Midsumma Marketing & Publicity team will primarily be promoting the festival as a whole and cannot run the campaigns for individual shows. We will be pushing the overarching festival brand and brandmark/logo everywhere possible, so if the Midsumma logo is included on your promotional material too, you are more likely to be recognised more easily as part of the festival.
Social Media: while there will always be limitations to what we can do for individual events, if you have an idea for a great social media or eNews item about your event, make sure you ask! Simply email your ideas to [email protected].
Discounted Advertising: registered events are also afforded discounted advertising rates with Star Observer and JOY 94.9. Prices are yet to be determined for 2018.
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!
Here are a few things you might want to consider when choosing your image:
Use a professional photographer.
Composition: 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.
Representational Image: does the image represent your event and your vision for the event?
High Resolution: make sure your photo is high resolution. It will need to be 300 DPI (dots per inch) to be used in print media.
Portrait + Landscape: do you have a portrait and landscape version of your image? Media will want you to supply both.
Not too busy: avoid overlaying logos, text or rainbow filters to your image. Often your image will be reproduced at small-scale and overlaying additional elements can create an overly-busy image. Similarly, use a colourful image but make sure it's not too busy as detail may be lost when reduced down to a small-scale image.
Hero shot: choose a hero shot and use it across all of your artwork: posters, flyers, advertisements, etc. This helps people become familiar with your show.
The images you need to supply when you register your event are:
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 August – be prepared!
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 for launch (15 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 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.
• 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.