As most arts people know, promoting a new event or program can be very difficult when you don’t have any existing photos, video footage, or even past text on which to rely. All of this must be generated from scratch to launch an effective marketing campaign. You can’t recycle anything from the past because it’s a first-time, brand new event.

How do you create something from nothing on a very limited budget? The tips below are for small arts organizations or larger ones wishing to cut back on costs.

Promoting From Nothing

When promoting a new event:

1. Source material from your key contacts.

I’m working with Portland Piano International (PPI) on their upcoming event called Piano Day, an official day celebrating this beloved instrument on the 88th day of the year (March 29). While mostly celebrated in other countries, it’s the first-time Piano Day is being acknowledged in the U.S. via a large public event.

Since this is so fresh for the U.S. and for the city of Portland, there wasn’t any existing material to speak of other than a few graphics coming from a European organizer. Each event around the world is different and speaks to its own demographic—naturally!

The solution? Source material from PPI’s upcoming Piano Day participants. We’ve worked to secure “phone-made” videos and photos of participants at their piano, as well as written statements expressing their excitement and gratitude to PPI for hosting this event.

2. Create multiple campaigns around locally sourced material.

Once the material is sourced, it just needs to be mobilized. Through email and social media, we distribute this content, though it’s strategically packaged. View Facebook example / view email example.

Copy/pasting content is one mistake that some small organizations make. Rather, invest a little extra time to polish “phone-made” content through clear copywriting and decent videos/photos (using filters/slight editing if necessary).

When this is done, you’ve achieved effective marketing collateral out of “nothing.” It simply took a little time to capture, polish, and deliver the material.

Let me know some of your ideas for promoting from “nothing” in the comments section!

About Jonathan Eifert

Jonathan Eifert represents arts organizations and classical musicians seeking to build their social equity through the fusion of traditional and new media. He specializes in concert promotion, social media management, organizational communications, press relations, and brand partnerships. Project highlights have included bolstering the social media platforms of star tenor Michael Fabiano through strategic content, generating key press placement for the Cleveland International Piano Competition, managing the Golandsky Institute's Summer Symposium at Princeton University, and rebranding the film series Living the Classical Life.

Jonathan previously worked at IMG Artists (London) and Astral (Philadelphia) before founding Jonathan Eifert Public Relations that serves clients throughout the U.S.

While living in London, Jonathan completed his Master of Arts degree in cultural policy and management (arts administration) from City, University of London—specializing in classical artists’ brands and their development. He holds his Bachelor of Music degree in piano from Cairn University and is an associate member of the Grammy Recording Academy.

For more info, visit jonathaneifert.com.

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1 thought on “Promoting From Nothing

  1. Participant content – good idea!
    I have tended to get location/ landmark photos, or key benefit text. Thinking about it I have used participant interviews, as well, but more as an ad-hoc media device than deliberate marketing strategy…

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