Saturday, 18 July 2009

Promoting an Edinburgh Fringe show

On Chortle, a visiting act from New Zealand was looking to hire a publicist. My reply:

I would urge you to self-publicize, it really is the most effective way at the Edinburgh Fringe.

I'm a bit spoilt these days cos I'm at a venue with an excellent and fully-staffed publicity and marketing department, but I have found in the past that it is self promotion that gets you furthest.

If you have email and a phone, then you should by now have allready got your press release into the in tray of every media outlet covering the Fringe in the UK. If you haven't done that yet, do that now. They've started writing their Fringe coverage.

Once you're up there in Edinburgh the single most effective bit of promotion you can do is flyering, ie the hand-to-hand placing of bits of paper in peoples hands. This puts bums on seats better than any other method, and I have worked out in previous years that, on a good day, 300 flyers distributed can result in 30 bums on seats.

Good reviews are the other best promotional tool, and those can be hard. You'll need to chase every publication and website that gives reviews and make sure they come to your show. Then you need to do a good show, obviously. I have heard it said that reviewers are reluctant to come to Free Fringe and Free Festival shows, but I'm sure that is changing. Once you have a good review, you can attach it to your flyer or post it up outsie your venue and that can help attendance. Again, do it yourself and you can make sure it gets done.

On the other hand, I know of acts who have hired publicists and, because a publicist is usually working for a number of different acts, they've not got individual attention and the publicist has not been on their case. You also need to ask what a publicist can do for you. Obviously you want them to get you on TV, radio and in the papers. Yeah, you and 1000 other acts. I'm afraid that is going to be the hardest thing to pull off. They may be able to get reviewers into your venue, but you can do that yourself.

In short you've come over here at your own expense and effort, you've put a show together single handedly, and it's going to be you in the spotlight every night for an hour. You are possibly the only person who can do justice to the promotion of your show.

And trust me on the flyering.

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