Making a Plan for Your Passion

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Happy Belated Valentine’s Day Friends!

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. For me, this month is less about romantic love and more about passion – about cultivating, nurturing, supporting and (if you haven’t yet) finding your passion.

My passion is helping people reach their goals and accomplish their passions by creating strong and unique marketing strategies.

I’m going to assume that if you’re visiting my website, you’ve probably already discovered your passion and you’re looking for ways to be successful pursuing that passion. The best way is to iron out clear and concise goals for reaching that passion, and then creating a strategy to make those goals a reality.

I’ve put together a  free, downloadable Goal Planning Workbook that you can download HERE. The Workbook includes:

  • Goal Planning Worksheet,
  • Task List and Timeline
  • Monthly Tracking Worksheets (because my passion is marketing, after all AND so you can see the progress that you’re making)

Of course, my hope is that your goals will lead you to more fans and followers, more website page view and of course more sales and income.

Good luck on your passion journey my friends, and cheers to beautiful 2016!

Have something to say? Leave it below in the comments.

Photo credit: Death to Stock

How to Put Together an Awesome Press Kit – with Free Printable Checklist

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The press kit is awesome! It’s one of my favorite tools because it contains all of the most important information about you and your brand. A press kit also makes it really easy for Media to learn more about you. An attractive and comprehensive press kit will truly set you apart as a professional and a leader in your field.

So what exactly is a press kit?
Press kits are pretty much just a package of information about you and your art. Typically this kit is shared with the “press” or media. But can also be used as a tool to attract sales, donations, and sponsorships. It can be either a printed packet of info or you can keep it digital and host it online (making it an EPK or electronic press kit).

The kit usually contains your biography, group/organization background and history, past reviews, factsheets, samples/lists of your works, an artist statements (which is very different from a biography), photos – and if your press kit is digital – videos, and audio samples. You really just want to make sure it’s got all of the most important information plus some fun and interesting facts too. Download the printable Press Kit Checklist for more ideas.

It’s great! I truly love the press kit. Some people spend a lot of money on graphic design and custom print jobs. You don’t have to do that. If you can take some nice photos and good content and lay it out in an organized fashion. Then, put it all into a single pdf file – that will work just fine. Plus, being able to email your press kit keeps things super easy. If you do, however, want to spend the money on a printed press kit, you should remember to use good quality, color, photos, and find a nice folder or presentation binder to hold your materials.

I’ve made a checklist of materials that you can include in your press kit. You definitely do not have to or even need to include all the items on the list. Just make sure that what ever you do choose, it is the best representation of you and your brand. Download the checklist now and get to creating.

Click Here to download the Press Kit Checklist

Have questions? Leave it below in the comments.

Photo credit: Lex Aliviado, unsplash.com

The 6 Parts of a PR Plan – with Free Printable Workbook

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In the last blog post I talked about The 5 reasons why you need Public Relations. Now, I want to show you The 6 parts of a PR plan and how to write a simple PR plan. I also want to provide you with the tools to get started on your on plan and implement it successfully. This post has a special FREE downloadable workbook that will help you get things going. DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE WORKBOOK NOW  and feel free to share this post with friends.

#1 – Goals

The first part of a PR plan has to do with your Goals. You need to decide what it is you want to accomplish.

When setting goals, you want to make sure that your goals are clear, purposeful and have a deadline. A clear and specific goal allows you to better target your efforts.

Generic GoalGet media attention
Awesome, Clear GoalGet Media Attention from at least 5 local News outlets.

The awesome, clear goal not only explains what you want (media attention) but also how much you want (atleast 5) and from who (local news outlets).

A goal should also have a purpose. Explaining the reasoning behind your goals leads to better understanding of your overall purpose. Why exactly are you doing what you’re doing? What’s the point? Check out this goal example that now includes a purpose.

Awesome, Clear & Purposeful Goal – To receive Media Attention from atleast 5 local news outlets in order to show sponsors how their investment is reaching the community, and to promote increased sponsor support.

After reading this, we now have a better understanding of what this artist is trying to accomplish with their PR efforts. Their goal is not necessarily about selling products or simply getting media attention – it’s about working to get more support from Sponsors.

Lastly, a goal should have a Deadline. Deadlines keep us on track and keep our process organized. If we are working to complete a goal by a specific date, we can tailor our plan to be implemented within that time frame. It also forces us to hold ourselves accountable for getting the work done on time. Plus, without a deadline we are pretty much just blowing in the wind. Doing a little something here and there to reach our goals means that it will take longer to reach a goal and reap the benefits of accomplishing that goal.

Now let’s see what the goal looks like with a deadline added to the goal.

Awesome, Clear, & Purposeful Goal with a Deadline – The goal is to Get Media Attention from atleast 5 local news outlets by December 2015, in order to show sponsors how their investment is reaching the community, and to promote increased sponsor support.

 

#2 – Target Audience

A Target Audience is a specific and defined group of people who you feel would be ideal consumers of your product or art.

You’ll want to either research your existing audience or think long and hard about who would be your ideal fan or customer. With this information, you will be able to understand who they are, where they are (location), what they need, like and want, and how they get there information. This analysis is essential in figuring out what Public Relations strategies would be best in reaching your audience and the specific media outlets that cater to them. This analysis is also essential for the success of your PR plan.

How to Analyze your Current Audience
When thinking about your current audience you’re objective should be to get as much information about them as possible. One of the best ways to get this info is to simply ask. Doing a quick survey is one of the easiest ways to get this information. Make a great survey using free tools like Google Forms or Survey Monkey and send out a link to your social media followers and email list. Easy as that.

So what types of questions do you ask? You want to find out the demographics (age, gender, education level, income status), location; what websites and social media sites they visit; how they get their news, and anything else you can think of that would be important to you.

You can also use your website’s Google Analytics data, and the information from any social media data (facebook insights) you can get.

After analyzing your data you may find out that you have multiple types of audiences, for example Urban Teenage Boys and Middle Aged, Suburban Men.

How to determine your Ideal Audience
This is really where you get to use your imagination. If you don’t have the luxury of an audience in place, you will have to create an audience profile. This audience profile will do the same for those with an already established audience – give you insights into who your fans are and how to reach them.

To create this audience profile, think about who would most be interested in you and your art. What age are they? Are they male or female? What’s their education level and income status? Where are they located? What is their internet usage like? Where do they get their news? What’s the best way to communicate with them? What are three adjectives that would best describe your perfect fan?

The answers to these questions will be key in crafting your PR plan.

#3 – Key Message

What is your angle? What’s your key message? What will your audience(s) find interesting, unique, fun?

I often run into artists who are promoting their work but do not take the time to explain exactly why someone should see their work and not someone else’s. It’s very easy to say “Hey, I’ve got a show on Monday night. You should go!”

But what’s in it for the audience? Why should they care?

That’s where the PR comes in. You have to remember that this plan revolves around you getting your story out and answering the “Why” questions. (Remember I talked about this in my last post – “The 5 Reasons Why You Need PR”).

The Key Message is the answer to “Why?” Some PR Pros will call it an Angle (What’s your angle?) but I want to put it plainly and call it a message. What should people know that is interesting, unique, fun and/or worth their time?

Let’s try again…

“Hey, I’ve got a show on Monday night at this really unique venue. I’ll be showing off new works inspired by fireflies. A portion of the proceeds of sales will go to the Happy Kids Foundation. There will also be free food – You should go!”

Now that was a pretty long message but I hope you get my point. The messaging has to do with the “Why.” It will be what you will build your PR communications around. You can take this message and build in the details.

You also want to keep your audience in mind when crafting your message. If your audience is senior citizens, you may want to lay-off all the wacky slang words (#fleek) and technology references (#snapchat). You want to point out the aspects of your works that will appeal to them and get them to take action.

The key message will also be used on all of your PR tools.

#4 – PR Tools

There are a number of tools that can be used to implement your PR strategies. These tools are essential for reaching your audience, and building and cultivating relationships.

Here’s a list and a quick description of each.

Press Release – The press release (also known as a Media Release or News Release) is one of the oldest tools in the Public Relations toolbox. The press release is really just information, usually in the form of an article that communicates, in some detail, what’s going on. Cision’s article on how to up your press release game is pretty useful (except for #2 – it’s a blatant sales message because you can absolutely get results through a free service) Check it out HERE.

Press Kit – (AKA the Media Kit) This is one of my favorite tools because it houses all the most important info and makes it so easy for Media to learn more about you. The press kit usually has your bio, past reviews, factsheets, samples/lists of your works, your artist statements, photos – and if your press kit is digital – videos, and audio samples. It’s great! I truly love the press kit. Some people spend a lot of money on graphic design and custom print jobs. You don’t have to do that. If you can make a single pdf file with everything in it that has some nice photos and is laid out in an organized fashion, that will work just fine. Plus, being able to email your press kit makes things super easy.

Pitch Letter – The pitch letter is not optional. You must do this. The pitch letter is a letter that is personalized and directed to a specific person. Usually the pitch is sent either right after or with the press release. The point of this letter or note (it doesn’t need to be this long, formal thing) – is to appeal to your media contact personally and to explain to them why they should be interested in what you’ve got going on. Here’s an example of a very long and detailed letter. Again, you probably don’t want to do this unless you have a very strong relationship with the writer and know that they would take the time to read it.

Media Alert – The Media Alert is shorter and less detailed than a press release. It usually announces an upcoming event and usually addresses the “who,” “what,” when,” where,” and “how.” Click here to see a sample Blue13 Dance Company’s “Tamasha Time.

Email Newsletter – A nicely designed and informative email newsletter is a great way to connect with both your audience and the press without the formality of a press release or pitch letter. Email newsletters allow you to share important info, while also showing off your brand and personality. Just make sure you’re sharing high quality information and good images. Check out these 15 examples of awesome e-newsletters from Hubspot.

Social Media – Social Media is one of the best ways to share your story with your audience and to engage and create relationships. Choose the sites that will best reach your audience and make sure that you are posting consistently, posting info that your audience will enjoy, and actively interacting with your followers.

Special Events – These are events that are special. Seriously though, events are awesome. These are events are that are specifically planned with the purpose of gaining media coverage and publicity. Good examples of these types of events are Opening Night receptions, Album Release parties, Art demonstrations, press tours, etc. Special events also give you the opportunity to get to know those in attendance, network, and build lasting relationships.

#5 – Targeted Media

Once you’ve had the opportunity to choose what PR tools you’re going to use, you’ll want to decide what media outlets you’re going to approach and ask for coverage.

Remember to focus on the media outlets that will connect you with the types of audiences that you want to reach. Targeting is much more effective than just doing a blanket pitch to all press. All media outlets are not created equal. They are different and unique, with varying audiences. Do your research, especially if you’re going to send them a personalized pitch letter. You want to make sure that the person you’re contacting actually writes about the stuff that you’re pitching.

A Few Tips for Pitching Media:
– Tell your story. Take the opportunity to tell your story when pitching. Don’t just through boring facts at people. Remember – answer the question “why?” Don’t make your pitch too long. Keep it short and sweet and even include some bullet points, links to more info and photos. You want people to be able to scan the info and get all the pertinent details easily.
– Research the Journalist before pitching them. You want to make sure you’re not sending info about your new Country music CD to someone who writes about Classical music.
– Be honest and don’t be too dramatic. Don’t claim that you are the best, most awesome contemporary artists of the new generation, unless someone has actually said that about you (and even then, you better quote them appropriately). Don’t make claims that you wish were true. You can say that your music is energizing or that your art is reflective of society, but don’t make any larger than life claims. Plus, once you’re caught in a lie, it’s very hard to dig yourself out of it.
– Don’t harass them and don’t be too aggressive. Relax! Send an email and follow up about once a week, but don’t contact them everyday.
– Treat the press the way you would want to be treated. It’s that simple.
– Sometime you don’t get a response and sometime You get a No. This is normal. Don’t take it personally. Most journalists are extremely busy with hundreds of people pitching to them everyday. If you’ve put in your best effort with a writer and there’s not response or they’ve decided to pass, graciously move on. There’s always next time.

#6 -Timeline

Every PR Plan should have a timeline or schedule. This will help to make sure that you stay on track and that you get things done in a timely matters. This is especially good if you have lots of things on your to-do list and are going to be using many different PR tools.

For those of you who have a team of people working with you, a timeline/schedule is one of the best ways to keep your team organized and to make sure everyone is on the same page.

When setting up your schedule, you should refer to the deadlines that you’ve set with your goals. If you are trying to accomplish your goal in the next 2 months, think about what needs to be done every week for the next 8 weeks to make that happen? Your timeline can be very detailed or general. There’s no crazy rules here. You just want to make sure that you have your strategy mapped out with your schedule acting as pit stops along the way.

BONUS!!!

#7-Tracking & Reporting

Tracking and reporting is such an important aspect of the PR Plan. One of the best ways to see if all your hard work is paying off is to track it. You can track your efforts by looking at the data from the Google Analytics on your website. (If you don’t have it, then get it now – it’s free!). Google Analytics is awesome because it will show you in some detail how many people are visiting your site, the pages that they’re visiting, and how long they stay on their site. This tool is really useful tracking campaigns that focus on people coming to your website to fulfill a certain purpose (view your portfolio, buy merchandise/tickets, download your press kit, read a blog post, etc.) As I mentioned earlier, Google Analytics can also tell you about the people who visit your site.

Another great free tool is Google Alerts.  You can see who is talking about you online. This is especially great if you’ve been working to get media attention and you’ve been sending your stuff to the press. If you set up a Google Alert and the press writes something about you that will show up in a Google search, you’ll get a google alert into your email account. I love using this to keep track of online media mentions.

You should also be using any social media data that you can get. For example, Facebook pages gives you a lot of data with their Facebook “insights.” If one of your PR tools is social media, this is a great way to track the successes and opportunities provided by your posts. You can track likes, comments, shares, retweets and mentions.

You can also track things like sales and income. How are sales at the beginning, the middle, and the end of your campaign? Have an email newsletter? Track the email open and click rates. You can even survey your audience after an event. Ask them how they heard about the event and what made them take action (buy tickets, attend the event, donate, etc.).

All of the data that you can get from these tools will allow you to see what’s working and what is not. Tracking your results and being able to report on how your PR strategy has contributed to your goal will allow you to tailor your plans in the future so that you don’t repeat strategies that are not working. It also helps you to be creative with your strategy. If something isn’t working. What can be done to fix it?

Now that you’ve read about the 7 parts of a PR plan, take a look at the Printable Workbook that you can DOWNLOAD HERE NOW!
Save the workbook and use it for all of your future projects. Take your time and really give your strategy some thought. A well executed PR plan will put you on the path to reaching all your Epic & Awesome Goals.

Photo credit: Death to Stock

5 Reasons Why You Need PR

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Before I get into why you need PR, let me first explain what PR or Public Relations is exactly.

It’s okay if you don’t know what it is exactly – most people don’t.

According to the PRSA, (Public Relations Society of America) “Public Relations is a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Relationships is at the core of PR. For me, PR is everything that you do to build awareness of a person, place or thing through the creation and maintenance of lasting and beneficial relationships.

PR also answers the question “Why?”

Why should I care about you? Why should I attend your event? Why are you unique? Why should I choose you over everything else?

The tools of PR (media relations, press releases, media kits, social media engagement, etc.) allow you to share your story (or answer those “why” questions) with your audience and the media. It allows you to connect with them on a more personal level.

Here are 5 reasons why you need Public Relations:

# 1 – PR creates Partnerships & Relationships
As was just discussed, Public Relations is all about building long-term relationships – relationships with your fans and followers; relationships with potential donors and investors; relationships with other artists, media, and corporate sponsors. All of these relationships/partnerships will lead to more opportunities. Using the tools of PR to build a network of partners and fans is what will help you grow.

#2 – PR increases Your Visibility
The more active you are at creating meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships (through PR tools such as media relations and social media), the more advocates and supporters you have. These fans will tell their friends about you, and those friends will in turn, share your news/info with their friends.

The more you put yourself out there, the more visible you are. A solid PR strategy will also increase your Google search results. This visibility is key to bringing in more fans and business. When you have people talking about, following, sharing, buying, and retweeting your stuff, others WILL take notice.

#3 – PR promotes Credibility and Field Leadership
Public Relations helps to boost your Brand credibility, expertise and field leadership. As you answer the question “why” by sharing your story on your website, social media sites, and with the press, you are able to show that you are a credible source and a leader in your field.

Think about it for a second. You’re on the hunt for your next epic food experience. You get a couple of restaurant suggestions from friends. Restaurant A only has a yelp page and Restaurant B has a yelp page, website, facebook page, instagram, and blog. Now, they are both equally good restaurants but Restaurant B is going to look the most credible. It is the one that seems to be the most enticing. This is what PR will do for you. It makes you look like a professional who is serious about the art and work you produce

#4 – PR gets you more sales
The process of building relationships increasing your brand visibility and making yourself a leader in your field. will result in an increase of sales. As you use your PR strategies to show your personality and tell your story, people will being to rally around and support you. This will mean more opportunities to sale your works and increased income. Of course, no one can predict how much – that depends on a number of factors – but you will see an increase.

#5 – PR is VERY Inexpensive & in some cases FREE
Public Relations is much less expensive than other forms of paid marketing. It is also extremely cost-effective. The process of sending emails and posting on social media sites is virtually free. It’s important to acknowledge that these tasks can be time consuming but the amount of Money spent on PR versus the amount of Time spent doing it, will equal savings. The return on your investment (ROI) or the money and rewards that will come from your efforts will pretty much be all profit – especially, if you’re doing your own PR – as so many of your fellow artists are. DIY PR means minimal expenses.

To learn more about PR stay tuned for my next blog post,which will show you how to create your own Public Relations plan and put it into action.

Photo credit: Death to Stock

More Than Meets the Eye: The New BGPR

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First things, first. Let’s address the title of this blog post – “More than meets the eye” is in fact a nod to the Transformers (the new movies, not the animated series). I absolutely love action movies. I love car chases, explosions, magic alien robots and the idea of heroes saving the world from impending doom. It’s true that the story itself is not the best (well, they’re pretty bad) but the action is extreme and that’s exactly how I like it. I blame my dad for allowing me to watch these types of movies with him as a kid. I love them!

But on a more serious note – I wanted to point out the fact that we are all more than meets the eye. There is never just one word that can sum up who we are as a person, who we are at work, and who we are as artists. Humans are layered beings and there is more to us than our exterior.

I want to help you find the best ways to show the world your numerous and awesome layers. I have been a Publicist and Marketing Consultant for almost 10 years; working with Artists and Arts Organizations at every level and I have learned that there is a major need for artists to better understand marketing. I’m always asked: “What can I do to get more publicity?” How can I increase my sales and get more butts in seats?”

You aren’t taught marketing in art school. No one tells you the importance of Branding and Publicity.

Artists need to understand how to promote themselves. Self-promotion is the key to career growth and increased income. Let me help you help yourself. I have a number of tips and resources to share with you, that will allow you to build your Art Empire. I want to be more than just the Publicist that does all the work for you while you look on, only half understanding the process. This is how many people are taken advantage of.

Let’s work together to reach your goals, build your fan base, get buyers, sponsors and donors. I want you to be successful. I also want you to understand the process and all possible strategies so that when you hire a publicist or marketing professional, you’ll understand the concepts and the best ways to utilize them.

This is what you can expect from me – resources, information and tips on how to further your career and promote yourself using branding, social media, public relations, and marketing. All of these will be in the form of blog posts, worksheets, resource guides, webinars, and ebooks. Keep a lookout because all of this is coming soon!

Sign up for my VIP Email list and be the first in line for notifications on new resources. Click here to sign up now!

Of course, there is no replacement for a spectacular Publicist or Marketing Agency but for those of you who are not yet ready for this expense, I am here to provide you with some easy and inexpensive ways to get you started.

By the way, If there are specific questions you have for me about self promotion, branding or event publicity, leave a comment below and I’ll get to it as soon as I can. You can also Email me at info@brittanygash.com.

Image courtesy of Magdeleine.co, photo by Simone Perrone