Touring companies are presented with a particular challenge when it comes to marketing and communications. The intermittent nature of the contact with the audience can make it difficult to build and develop an ongoing consistent relationship. In addition, it can be tricky to have enough that is relevant to say in between productions or tours. And often, financial constraints compound the issue with little or no budgets for marketing material to be produced.
Against this background digital and social media becomes particularly valuable as a way to extend the reach of your other marketing activity and to build loyalty and interest outside of specific performances.
Your website should be the starting point for your digital activity. Regardless of the simplicity or complexity of your website, it is vital that it conveys the personality of the company. Carefully consider the language used in the website copy, you want to draw people in, to encourage them to explore the site and find out more. If possible, have a professional copywriter work with you to develop a clear tone-of-voice. The visual appeal of the site is likely to be important too and video can also be a great way to engage visitors to the site and help you to showcase your particular style.
Of course there’s no point having a website if people can’t find it; ensuring your website is optimised for search engines (so that you appear high up in search results for relevant words and phrases) is vital. If you’re unable, for budget reasons, to work with an SEO (search engine optimisation) specialist, the easiest part to focus on, without any specific SEO knowledge, is ensuring that relevant keywords are included in your copy and that other websites are linking to yours. So ask venues and any other relevant organisations or partners if they’d be willing to include a link from their site to yours. Maintaining a blog can also be great for SEO since it provides more opportunities for incoming links, to your blog posts, plus it means a continual supply of fresh content for the site, which search engines generally favour. A regularly updated and well-written blog is not only good for SEO purposes, it’s also a brilliant way to generate interest in your latest show and it provides content for you to share within other social media channels.
The most interesting and effective blogs, in the arts and cultural sector, provide added detail and offer readers a way to really get to know the personalities, day-to-day happenings and stories within the company. Some companies will blog about the production process of a show, including rehearsals and behind the scenes information. New blog posts also provide people with a reason to return to a website and can result in interaction and engagement in the comments section. Whatever the content and structure of your website, you should always consider what else you’d like your website to achieve. Make it very easy for people to sign up to your email newsletter and provide prompts throughout the site to encourage them to do so. Consider adding social plugins, so that if you have a Facebook page or a twitter account people can follow there and then, rather than having to leave your site to do so.
Evaluating a Salford cultural and education partnership which co-creates theatre with children and young people.
How The Audience Agency is innovating to help art galleries find out more about their visitors in a fun and interactive digital way.