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Old 12-24-00, 12:50 AM   #1
Peter Voice
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Post Media Manipulation

The message is simple but will need some elucidation.

THE MEDIA NEEDS A GOOD STORY AS MUCH AS YOU DO.

The importance of getting media attention is obvious, yet few performers have a keen sense of how the media works. I've been active in the printed media, as a sort of sideline, for over 20 year's and think it's worth offering a few tips.

* NOT ALL JOURNOS ARE JERKS, you will get about the same percentage out of the performers any given festival. If you meet one you like, cultivate the relationship, if some-one writes something good about you, follow their writings a bit, check out their style and journalistic interests and keep in touch. DO NOT OVERWHELM THEM WITH CRAP.

* STUDY ALL YOUR LOCAL PAPERS, find out who writes the arts and entertainment bits and look for all the eccentric social/current affairs columnists they usually rely on a sense of fun.

* Do not hestitate to give ANY good story to any of your media contacts, ESPECIALLY IF IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU. Few things will help you more to get your story in when you need it. In fact it is an excellent way to introduce yourself to a new journo and perhaps help out a friend at the same time.

* JOURNOS ARE OVERWORKED AND NATURALLY LAZY, try to read and write in "Journalese". If you are good enough you can write the story yourself and it will be used virtually as it is. Two weeks ago, I submitted a photo and a 75 word story to my local paper about a project I did with Abiy Feleke and got front page. Try to understand the style of your local rags. Their approach to the front page and the feel-good story, how they like to use them etc.

Try to give your story as many layers of interest as possible. A standard promo photo of a juggler with a story about him getting good at playing with his balls will not get published before "Internationally Famous Local Juggling Boy Made Good Entertains Local School Kids in Front of Controversial New City Hall", or some such.

WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, they love them, especially if they are genuinely funny. Some can cause runs of wonderful responses.

TIMING IS AS IMPORTANT TO A JOURNO AS IT IS TO A JUGGLER. Don't try and get a story less than 10 days before an event and don't write stories about events after they happen. (but you can make a few bucks selling a good Travel story with pics of, say Edmonton Festival, to you local paper about a month before the event happens). Some magazines have up to six months lead up time.

DO NOT GIVE THE SAME STORY TO MORE THAN 1 JOURNO, always have a different angle for each of your contacts, tailored to their style and needs. Do not send out "shotgun" press releases, 5 -10 personally, tailored releases will get a better result than a hundred random releases. You can promote the same thing through countless papers and columns as long as each has an exclusive angle suited to their style.

ALWAYS ACCOMPANY TOUR STORY WITH A PHOTO, but beware, copyright always ultimately lies with the photographer. Make sure you have the right to give the photo to a newspaper and don't expect payment for it's use. Where possible, many papers will only publish photos taken by their own photographers so don't send the story unless you're prepared to give the photo-op. Try to have layers of interest in your photo as with your writing, editors love kids and local landmarks.

If you are sending your story and pic electronically, do not send the text as an attached word document, send it in plain email, it is easier to edit and insert. Send pics as a photoshop attachment at 150ppi, but warn them that a sizable email is coming.

When some-one writes a story about you ALWAYS ASK TO SEE THE FINAL COPY BEFORE IT IS SUBMITTED TO THE ED especially if it is a feature. Most reputable journos will have no problem with this (they see it as an extra chance to ensure all is correct). Be wary of a journo who refuses for any reason other than lack of time.

All of the above applies to Radio and Television as well as the press.

Remember THE MEDIA NEEDS GOOD STORIES AS MUCH AS YOU DO, and the emphasis is on GOOD.



[This message has been edited by Peter Voice (edited 12-30-2000).]
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Old 12-28-00, 06:25 PM   #2
jester
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I would like to endorse everything you just said.

But remember that the angle is all important. Journos aren't lazy, they are busy. If you can do a lot of the work for them they are very happy.

"The Worlds Fastest Scooter Juggler" sounds much better than "Street performer/Juggler."

If you want to be mentioned in the press dwell on the glamorous and exciting points of you history. If you won an award you are an award winning performer. If you once appeared at a charity concert at which Bob Hope headlined - why then you have worked with Bob Hope. He won't begrudge you claiming that.

If you appeared in a pop video for a massive band, you have worked for that band.

What you are proud of, and what the public think is exciting are often two completely different things.

You might be have mastered mills mess, but unless you're the only guy in your state doing it with red hot coals with spikes in the public don't care. This is why some performers do really basic juggling with fire and upset all the really good jugglers.

Tell the press you are the tallest stilt walker to appear in such and such an area for how many years. Find an angle that makes you event news.

If you do a trick that nobody else does, say so, as though nobody else could or would dare.

And don't stop with the local written media, hit the television and radio as well. TV love street performers.



[This message has been edited by jester (edited 12-28-2000).]
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Old 02-04-02, 04:02 PM   #3
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I just did this to impress my little sister.
All her friends think she's famous now cuz I mentioned her in the article.I never woulda thought small papers would eat it up so enthusiastically, but they really are in a creative bind lotsa the time.They are just dying to print a puff peice on one of us supastars.
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