Internet Marketing & Public Relations for the Arts

lessons for promoting your arts organization on the web.

Skip Repetitive Navigational Links

Please login

 
     
 

My First Lesson in Getting Published

 

The best PR lesson I ever had came from a cranky reporter in Richmond, Virginia.

I was a young Public Relations Associate for Heritage Repertory Theatre, and I had called to "pitch" this reporter on seeing our production of  The Show Off.  This happened several years ago, but the conversation went something like this:

"Hi Mr. xxxix, my name is Chester Lee and I am calling from the Heritage Repertory Theater."

"Yeah."

"I sent you a press release on our new production of The Show Off opening in two weeks and I thought you might want to do a news story about it."

"About what?"

"Ummm....The Show Off...its a play that was first done in the 30s..."

"Yeah, look you're a theater right?"

"Yes, we are a professional summer stock theater in Charlottesville..."

"Whatever.  You're a theatre."

"Yes."

"And you are putting on a play."

"Yes."

"And I'm guessing since it was done in the 30s this play has been done a lot."

"Well,  yeah..."

"Look, thats not news. I don't do stories when a car lot sells a car, so I'm not going to do a story when a theatre does a play, or a movie house shows a film, got it?"

"Ummm....yeah."

"If you got news, send it to me. We're busy here. "

And that was the end of the conversation--and my first lesson in pitching and getting your press releases published.

While it was a little embarrassing, and a bit disheartening, I made a promise to myself that I would never contact a reporter again without a clear, concise story of interest to their readers.

Too often, the PR professional for an Arts Organization sends out the boilerplate Press Release--which is fine for the ABC listings, but if you want to generate PR for your organization you need to think like a reporter.