First-time burlesque event coordinator? Or maybe you already sell out shows and want to nab the attention of a few media outlets. Media builds fans and boosts revenue. Here are five steps to attracting it:
1. Identify 5 Target Media Outlets
Ask your fans what media outlet they read or watch regularly. The answer is more and more likely to be a blog, a newsletter, a social media outlet, or other non-traditional media. This is good news, as it may be easier to get your story included in non-traditional media.
Tally responses. Then take out media outlets that do not influence your local market because it’s unlikely anyone but locals will buy tickets to your event. The top 5 on this list are your targets.
2. Identify Your Objective Value Propositions
To find your unique value proposition, ask yourself two questions:
What is it about your show that makes new ticket buyers want to spend their hard-earned dollars?
What makes your event worth the price? Ticket at any price, but the higher the price, the more you will need to justify value.
The answers to these questions are what will attract press to cover your event and ticket buyers to your show. Add your unique value propositions to the event title, description and headline of your press release.
Now it’s time to brainstorm, research and highlight your event’s objective (not subjective) superlatives. Journalists rely on facts, not opinions, so your event superlatives must be provable.
Find Your Superlatives
Award-winning performers (specify award and date received)
Largest or only event by any measure? Any metric can be used to make the superlative accurate, but you have to be able to back up your claim in one sentence. (Biggest burlesque festival in _____.)
The event had either more performers, more performances, or more square footage than any other burlesque event in ____.
First burlesque festival in ___ . Because no one had ever done ____ before.
The press won’t be able to use the following superlatives because they aren’t provable by objective measures:
_____ -est of its kind
3. Localize to the Largest Community Possible
Localize your event to create an attractive angle for the press to cover. Readers and viewers have more interest in what happens to people and places they know.
Add a location name to the title of your event and choose the largest community possible (i.e., the Florida Burlesque Festival would attract more news value than the Ft. Lauderdale Burlesque Festival).
However, if the smaller place of localization generates greater interest, use that. For instance, a Hollywood burlesque festival could sell more than a Los Angeles burlesque festival because of Hollywood’s caché.
How to do it
Get the hometown, neighborhood and professional high-resolution headshot for every performer in the event, and write an email to the appropriate reporter at his/her neighborhood blog (if it’s in your possible attendee coverage area) to alert them about the “hometown girl/boy done good story” with your event as the hook.
Media outlets need good visuals to get clicks, likes and shares. Burlesque has an advantage: sequins, feathers and starlets make stunning visuals. Keep in mind that media outlets won’t normally publish a photo or video unless it’s G-rated.
How to do it
Amp the glamour, tone down the flesh. Invest in professional headshots and at least one full body and one performance photo, with high resolution.
If you are producing a show with other performers, ask them for headshots as soon as you book them for your show. You don’t want to lose a story because you don’t have photography ready.
Make sure your videos are G-rated. Also, television stations aren’t likely to use promotional videos with music, graphics, credits or logos embedded over the video. Hire a videographer to get natural sound, close-up footage and then edit out the more risqué parts to maximize your media coverage.
5. Submit Free Calendar Listings
You have a great localized value proposition. You have an enticing event description and pitch subject line. You included at least one dazzling visual. Time to get the word out.
Calendar listings are the low-hanging fruit of the publicity world. They are easy to get and almost always generate ticket sales (as long as you have successfully done steps 1-4).
Submitting a free calendar listing for your event is simple. Newsletter, blog or The New York Times, every one has an event listing. And you can be part of it if you complete the first four steps and closely follow event submission instructions.
How to do it
Take your new top 5 list. Go to the online events section for every special interest group, blog or media outlet. Search for “how to submit an event” and follow the directions. If you can’t find it, send the press contact a short email that describes your event. Ask the publication if they would write about it or include it in the topics they share with their community.
Poof. You just got press attention in every single one of your top 5 media targets.
Yes, it is that simple. And guess what? Editorial teams look at calendar listings when assigning stories. Therefore, this effort increases the likelihood of an additional story. There are many ways to amp the press for your event. But these basics ensure that the press you get goes further to help you achieve your goals and reach new levels of success.
Photo credit: “The Secret Taboo” Elena Gatti