A hundred years ago, live theater had little competition for the consumer’s entertainment dollar. Today, you’re sharing your audience with TV, movies, and the ever-changing Internet. Entertainment is more accessible, and your competitors are more numerous. You need to stand out and generate interest in what’s happening on stage. Audio and video podcasts can be just the ticket to shining a bright spotlight on your theater. Skeptics may assume that posting your show online is virtual suicide for a community theatre, but it may very well prove to be a savior.
Show them you’re better – Most of the apprehension around displaying artistic performances online is that audiences will simply watch a free podcast instead of spending the money to go to the theatre. For some viewers this may be true, but you are more than just a show. Online videos are generally short. Consider how selecting just the right clip can inspire someone to buy a ticket. Even high quality videos offer rather low resolution and the viewers are sitting at a computer screen. Compare that to the atmosphere of your theatre building: the sound of a crowd-filled room murmuring, laughing, clapping, crying. You’re offering the ability to utilize all the senses, the close proximity to live actors. The live performance you are selling is an entirely different experience from the free podcast. Whether you offer podcasts or not, you are still competing with online media! Internet entertainment has very low barriers to entry, but this frequently translates into low-quality material, and lots of it, on the web. Your high-quality performance clip will really stand out against a background of v-logs and home movies. Leverage technology against the competition and show them you’re better.
Show them you have faith – Do you believe that your show is a superior entertainment experience? Do you believe that you offer something unique and valuable to the community? Show your potential patrons you have faith in your product! Broadcasting small morsels of genius displayed by gifted thespians and reel people in to engage in the full richness you have to offer. If your potential audience can see the people who run your theatre believe in it, they will have be more likely to respond favorably and want to build a relationship.
Show them your personality – Broadcast segments that broadcast your values. In trying times, people become more conscious of where their money is going. Don’t let this discourage you. Some companies try to use low prices to entice people with tight pocketbooks. Savvy consumers aren’t just looking for great deals. They are looking for greater value. When you really get down to it, entertainment is about human to human interaction. Every person is different — likewise theatre is different. Don’t be afraid to show them what makes you human and let the personality of your company shine through.
Let ‘em Spread the Word – Sending a link to your website via email is incredibly inexpensive. Convincing a patron to send that link is even less expensive – and there’s a greater chance readers will appreciate the link if it’s from a friend. Uploading a short podcast for your loyal supporters to share with friends and family is invaluable to your organization. It gives you a chance to go viral by providing something interesting to spread along with a reason and excuse to get others engaged with your theatre.
Podcasts help you spread word out about your community theater using marketing techniques that won’t cost you money. They’re an up-to-date method of showcasing the lineup that makes you unique and valuable. For more information about using podcasts, visit fundraising-newsletters.com for a brief and interesting on the topic, and stay tuned to this blog for other information on using podcasts for theater promotion.