Article: Marketing Your Art #3
From time-to-time Brevard Art News will feature supplements on specific topics. The first series, thanks to our guest author, is great advice on marketing your art. This is the third in the series. I'll publish the articles weekly... Enjoy. This week's issue of Brevard Art News follows this article...
The Artist’s Press Release by SKC
Being able to assemble a well-written and engaging press release is critical when you’re promoting your own artwork and events. Even if a venue tells you that they publish releases for all their events, don’t leave it entirely in their hands. It may be tempting to step back and let them do all that work, but there are a number of reasons to also do your own promoting:
1. No one knows your work and motivation better than you do.
2. Having two releases out to the media for a single event is better than one.
3. Your media contact list may include writers/publications that the event’s doesn’t.
4. There is no way to know how well they market their events.
A good press release will land on an editor’s or writer’s desk just when they need a good story most and provide them everything they need to write a story. The press release will entice them with an interesting title, clever perspective on something fresh, and contact information for follow up questions.
Press coverage is like free advertising and often is more effective than buying ad space. Despite the fact that more people are getting information from television or the Internet today, there are still many people who read local newspapers (especially in our area). The number of people that a single article will reach out to is significant, so don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
Look at your organized media contact list and determine if there are any writers whom you can contact personally with a phone call and or personal email with your release attached. Often if you have participated in a few events prior to holding your own, you may have had an encounter or two with the local press already. Be sure to include those you’ve interviewed with before on your list, and once you have your press release written, contact them personally to ask if they would be interested in covering your event. This is no time to be shy.
Write Your Press Release
Be sure to have all your ducks in a row (date, event, location) before you begin. A well-written and informative press release will open up doors for you and often will work magic all on its own.
You want your press release to read like an article; this way, if it lands on the desk of a particularly frazzled editor who needs a little something extra to fill out the page, the editor can just copy and paste exactly what he or she needs from it. In any good press release, there are four main components:
1. Contact information
2. The title
3. The details
4. The story
5. Location and contact details
Be sure to include your contact information at the top of your release. When you provide this information, you’re inviting the press to contact you for an interview or to clarify any information. I also include links to where high-resolution promotional images can be downloaded for printing alongside the article and any additional links or information that may be helpful (such as your portfolio website should you have one). If you cannot upload images to your hosting site or aren’t sure how to do it, select one image that represents your event well, and send it along as an attachment. If you are attaching the image in an email, be sure that the file is no larger than 2 MB but is still large enough to print. If you are mailing a paper press release, attach a high quality printed copy of the image. A good size for emailing and printing is 4” x 6” at 200 dpi.
Every good story comes with an attention-grabbing headline. Think about what will make your event unique and try to incorporate that into your title. Keep it short and to the point.
Provide all the essential details for your event (title, artist name, gallery name, location and time) in the first paragraph. That way, if this is the only text that gets used, you can be sure that everything someone needs to know to attend the event is there. Keep this part of your press release brief, but make it interesting.
Now that you’ve drawn your readers into your event; it’s time to give them a peek behind the event, and your motivation. How did you come up with the idea? What’s the goal of your event? These are likely questions a reporter may ask, and answering them in your press release gives reporters a running start. Include quotations from event participants and any additional information a reporter may find helpful.
Location and Contact Details
In your final paragraph, include details about your location. If you have set up a website for your event, include that here along with a phone number for more information.
Here’s a sample press release:
News Release: For Immediate Release
Gallery Owner, John Smith: (555) 555-5555
Artist, Melissa Smith: (555) 555-5555
A Deeply Expressive Breakthrough Digital Exhibit
[Anytown, FL]—“Understudies” is the title Melissa Smith has given her latest series of work to be featured at the Downtown Art Space, at 1234 Any Street, Anytown. On Friday, April 7, the opening reception will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and features an artist’s talk and open discussion with Melissa. The reception is free and open to the public. Her striking work will be on display from April 1 through April 30.
Melissa Smith, an Anytown-based artist, uses her computer to explore the amalgamation of sensual female forms and rugged natural or man-made textures in her latest works. “These combinations are a response to current issues, daily struggles, and an exploration of identity,” says Melissa, describing her creative motivation. Certainly not your typical area artist; her striking finished images evoke deep emotion and can be described as sensual, quiet, and brooding.
"Her work brings something entirely new and fresh to the gallery,” said owner John Smith. “We felt it was important to showcase such a standout talent among the community and show our patrons the distinct perspective this artist brings to her work.” John went on to say that while he feels the work is heavily charged with emotion, the delicacy of detail and sheer beauty found in her clashing images will provide “something for everyone to fall in love with”.
The Downtown Art Space is artist-owned and -operated. The gallery is located in the historic Old Anytown Riverfront area of Anytown. The gallery telephone number is 555-555-5555. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
For more information visit us online at: http://www.thisisourevent.com/.
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As you can see, the press release is very much like a true article. Give the writers a solid head-start in writing about your event and you’ll make their job easier. Good writers will often favor those who can provide timely, well-written releases, so it is to your advantage to use this tool efficiently and frequently.
Some examples of when to send out releases to the media:
• If you are participating in a solo or group exhibition (this includes even outdoor shows).
• When you plan to do an artist’s talk, demonstration, or instruction.
• If you win an award (corporate collection, local, or national award).
• When you are planning or participating in a special event or have made an artistic donation to a cause.
Talk-back question of the week:
What local media outlets do you feel give the most exposure to our area artists and cultural events?
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