As the Communications Manager at Village Theatre - one of the largest non-profit arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest, with an operating budget of over $12,000,000 - I approached my job with the strong belief that the most effective marketing is achieved through storytelling. From writing press releases, marketing blurbs, playbill articles, and newsletters, to creating social media and email marketing campaigns, to pitching PR stories and producing short videos, I strove to share the story of the theatre in creative, compelling ways.
My work, in addition to increasing the visibility and continuity of the brand, contributed to record-breaking Season ticket sales, engagement, and loyalty, providing current and potential patrons with an intimate sense of being a part of a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.
To demonstrate the breadth of my work at the theatre, here is a closer look at the various ways I told the story of our 2016 production of Billy Elliot the Musical, which had unprecedented sales, exceeding revenue goals by $200,000.
Billy Elliot the Musical
Telling the story of a creative process starts long before the piece of work is finished. With Billy Elliot, our casting took place a year in advance of the show's opening to enable us to cast, then extensively train, four boys who would rotate in the title role. By sharing this story with our prospective patrons throughout the process, audiences were already invested in the journey and excited to see the spectacular result by the time the show went on sale. Through the integrated use of video, print newsletters, email campaigns, print and online articles, PR appearances, and social media - in addition to creating a compelling 24-page playbill - I was able to generate enthusiastic engagement and ticket sales that exceeded all expectations.
These videos, which I filmed, produced, and edited, served to introduce our Billy Elliot actors to audiences and give a sneak-peek of the rehearsal process and the production. They had a combined reach on Facebook of 72,000, with an additional 12,000 views on YouTube.
PR is an invaluable way to spread stories beyond an established audience base. From writing and distributing press releases, to maintaining relationships with a press list of nearly 400 people, to pitching stories and organizing interviews and appearances with local media, I have managed all of Village Theatre's public relations. Here are a few highlights from Billy Elliot, including an appearance at Seattle's NBC affiliated television station, KING 5.
The Eastside Scene: The Four Billies Elliot | The young actors behind Village Theatre's 2016 season closer
Email Campaigns & Publications
Starting with the first informational brochures, postcards, and newsletters that are mailed and emailed out as shows are introduced to the public, publications are a vital part of our storytelling efforts. Our productions enjoy unusually long runs between our two locations, spanning multiple months. As such, it is important to continually remind audiences of the show in fresh and engaging ways.
And of course, social media is where it all comes together - where videos, articles, and anecdotes are targeted to an audience that is eager to engage and build momentum in an authentic way. By consistently creating content catered to each unique platform's audience, I was able to maintain a meaningful presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sharing the story of the show, from first rehearsals to honors at awards shows months after closing, that now exists as an ongoing testament to our production quality.