Think of marketing in 4 steps

  1. Awareness leading to…
  2. Interest leading to…
  3. Desire leading to…
  4. Closing the deal

What you do to get everyone to step 4 is going to be your marketing plan.


Where to start? We’re going to go backwards through the four points mentioned above so you know where you need to start:


  1. Start by asking yourself how many people you need to fill your audience (eg. 5 shows x 50 people = 250pax).
  1. Good news is you can halve that because on average people buy two tickets (that number becomes 125) This is the number of people you need to CLOSE THE DEAL with, to actually buy tickets.
  1. Times that by four to get the total number of people who may want to DESIRE to come (500pax)
  1. Multiply by 5 to get the number you have to INTEREST (2500)
  1. Multiply by 5 to 10 again to get the people that need to be AWARE. (25,000!!!)
  • Distribute flyers
  • Your Facebook page
  • Your eNews
  • People and places around your location
  • Marketing through your venue and partners
  • Stand in a public place
  • Viral videos
  • Put flyers at another show
  • Radio stations
  • Newspapers and print


  • Great reviews
  • Well known person involved
  • In a location you’d like to visit
  • It’s something you haven’t seen before.
  • The description intrigues you
  • It is something quite different to everything else
  • people they respect or like want to go to or are talking about the show
  • tickets are hard to find or there is limited capacity.
  • Don’t offer cheap or free tickets because it looks like tickets aren’t selling. People value, well, value so keep your value high.
  • Instead of papering the house on the first night, make it a special night with an add-on to give people a deal and then work on selling that night out. Then advertise that one night has sold out. There is nothing like lack of availability to create demand and urgency in ticket buyers.
  • Don’t give out all your information in one hit. Break it up.
  • Go back to the estimates you listed in the exercise at the start of this page….see what things you can do to reach at least that number within each area (Awareness, interest, etc).
  • Do a plan with what you will do each week to reach your estimates that covers a range of different marketing approaches.
  • Put your one page media release together.


Yep, that’s gonna need more than your 89 Facebook fans to fill your audience!

Don’t panic though. Your potential audience is going to be at different points along that initial four step path at the top. Obviously, the more you have closer to the end of the process the less people you have to take on the journey from awareness to ticket purchase. What you need to do to convert them differs.

So what are some things you can do to make people aware, interested or even seal the deal with your audience?

Awareness is merely a matter of putting a plan together of ways to market and follow it through; Interest is much more difficult.

Interest is all about targeting your show at the people you think will be interested and doing it in an interesting way.

You need to start this at the very beginning. It isn’t a marketing question- it’s an ideas question. Look at other festival guides and look at the listings and images. What shows appeal to you and which shows make you want to buy a ticket straight away. This could be


What makes people desire to want to take the next step of buying a ticket? This takes the Interest element from above and ramps it up a notch. The overriding thing that we have found makes people want to desire to go to a production is either:

This s why we encourage you to go with shorter runs and focus on selling the first night out first. The majority of people want to know they are going to something popular that has a buzz about it. Follow the tips in the videos and other sections about building your village to maximise the chance of success.

Closing the deal

Closing the deal means someone will buy a ticket- hooray! Here are a few quick tips and ideas to get people to close the deal as early as possible in the lead up to the festival:

  • Keep giving people new reasons to make it easy: “head to restaurant xx around the corner before the show” “Lock in Mother’s Day now and stop worrying” “You can see our show and then see show xxx after.
  • Make it simple. Don’t give people too many choices. For example, focus on selling out the opening night.
  • Provide updates on ticket sales (where appropriate). Nothing makes people want to see a show more than knowing they might not be able to get a ticket.
  • Always provide the link straight to the booking page so it is never more than a click away for people.


How to find 100 audience members

How to break down a marketing plan for a production.

If you have a plan in place and do this in your sleep, feel
free to ignore this section. For everyone else, hopefully there is something useful here for you.

Our tip is to break down the number of audience seats you have into chunks and do a week-by-week plan
from festival launch to your performance date using these and/or other approaches you have come up with.

So, here’s one
way to get to 100 seats…

1. Partnerships and relationships with nearby businesses. We can’t stress this enough. They say it
takes a village to raise a child and the same goes for a show. Trying to develop a show in isolation will
often result in it being viewed in a similar way.

One of the advantages with Anywhere is that you will be
surrounded by other businesses who normally don’t get involved in theatre because the local theatre is
nowhere near them.

Offer a simply cross promotion on Facebook, ask for a poster to be put up in
exchange for mentions and a double pass, get them to run a competition where people leave a business
card to go in the running for a double pass (which will also build up your mailing list).

2. Put up ten Anywhere Festival posters up and write your show details in the space using a felt tip pen. Do
that now. If our run has already covered your area, put your details on a nearby poster.

3. Run a competition around your show…it doesn’t need to be free tickets either…Do something different – offer a special allocated seat with privileges, a cameo or name check in the show…

4. Get media coverage in the local press or radio. Go through the media list we sent you and pick the five you think reflect your audience, call them up and organise a shoot or a phone call.

Don’t be scared – they are looking for stories and stories are what you do!

5. Promote on your Facebook page at least three weeks before the show. And again closer to the time. Even your best friend will be the last to book…don’t ask me why!

6. Do an unusual promotion on a Facebook/LinkedIn page/group you belong to that ISN’T full of theatre people and your friends. Find a group that loves steampunk/history/local stories etc.

7. Distribute 100 – 200 flyers or Anywhere Fest programs. If using our program, highlight your show and return the programme to the stack.

8. Allocate ten (10) tickets to each of your actors. Make sure they sell them. Actors are notorious for being the very last people to promote their own work.

9. Promote the show through your venue and make sure they have all the details as soon as possible.

10. Call up a radio request line and drop in that you are going to your show that night.

11. Stand in a high traffic area holding onto a a big piece of white card with only your twitter handle, facebook page or web site. Seen this done before. People were intrigued and checked out the site and took photos and posted them online…Kind of like a silent protest, just a bit weirder.

12. Get your show materials to other shows in the festival so that audiences can go from one to the other. Particularly effective for shows in your vacinity.

13. Get all the show personnel to go to a party with a lot of people they don’t know. I’ve seen companies do this very effectively to help get the word out.

Encourage people to book online before the show.

You may have 100 people who say they are going to turn up on the night and buy tickets, but there is nothing like a booking to ensure attendance, while also encouraging audiences to then bring some friends as well.


Marketing for free

When it comes to marketing for free, a lot of people think that means they should set up a Fan page on Facebook pronto and spend the next three months posting to it.

It’s not.

Here’s our list of tips, in order of priority, for free marketing exposure:

1. Start early.
The earlier you tell people and give them the option to book online, the more time people have got to plan and spread the word.

2. Distribute material through your performers, partners, venue and businesses near your location (that are not competitors). If you are doing a production at a café and there are three companies providing in-kind services to you, give them the information so they can distribute it to their employees and customers- let them get involved and become your fans.

3. Develop and maintain an email list. 
Using Mailchimp in these days of social media may sound old school, but we’re hoping some stats from 2012 will convince you:

Statistically, a person on an email list is responsible for buying on average 1.3 tickets in comparison to just .07 on Facebook.

4. Don’t waste your time developing a website. It’s a waste of energy (unless you already have one) and dilutes your audience away from actually booking a seat (which is the main priority).

Instead, provide a direct link to your event on the Anywherefest website and use it constantly in all communications you send out (emails/facebook etc.)

Make it super easy for people to BUY NOW.

5. Free listings and gig guides – most papers, street press and radio stations run free gig listings.

It is a good idea to try and get your show included in these gig guides wherever possible. See if the publication will run your picture with the listing, as this will make yours stand out from the rest.

6. Giveaways –
offering free tickets to papers and radio stations is a good way to secure coverage for your show. Most media like to be able to offer free stuff to their readers BUT don’t panic at the last minute and start giving away comp tickets to everyone you know.

It devalues your show for the people who have invested in your production early.

7. Reviews – Reviews are a great way to increase your presence in the print media and on radio.

You do run the risk of an unfavourable review but on the whole, the media are very supportive of new work and a good review in the first week does help encourage audience members to see your show as time starts to run out.

You should offer complimentary ‘Review Tickets’ to members of the media. You will need to arrange these with us in advance by sending through their name, email address and no. of tickets required, especially where capacity is limited.

8. Put together videos and get them up on vimeo or YouTube.
You can also get them up on our website and online booking guide.

9. Perform in a crowded location in the lead up to the festival and provide an easy way (clipboard or link/qr code) so that people walking by can sign up and get onto your mailing list quickly and easily.

Keep in contact with ATF staff as we regularly receive opportunities to do this (City train stations, Queen Street Mall etc.)

10. Create a presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or even the newly relaunched MySpace) but have a strategy that gets people to sign up to your eNews and provide real value for those who do (through interesting content).

None of the ideas listed above are mandatory. In fact, clever PR will trump all of these initiatives but as they say, every little bit helps.

It’s your call how you spend your marketing & PR budget.


Over the years, we’ve not seen traditional advertising (street press, radio, tv) bring in the desired results versus good old fashioned PR and hard work. Throwing money at a problem rarely reaps results and in a crowded media space it is the act that shouts the loudest that will get the coverage.

The one exception is with an article and photo – make the most of your great image and media release and send it out . Listeners/ readers pay attention to an article in a way they do not with a paid ad.

If you are going to pay money to advertise, make sure you negotiate more – ticket giveaway offers, integration with online content, guaranteed reviews, etc. otherwise walk away.



The media release

Publicity materials include the media release and an image.

You can also prepare additional background information for the media including (but not limited to):

  • artist
  • showreels/trailers
  • CDs etc.

They are not essential but can be particularly useful for some art forms e.g. – if you are a music act it is very helpful to have a CD of your work to send to radio stations for airplay.


Why is your show worth the media’s time?

Before we talk about what you need to do, let’s be clear about all the reasons why you will get media interest.

1. It makes their job easier to create content for their publication that their readers/listeners/viewers will find of interest.

2. Number 1. is the only important point. Anything you do to make it harder (not a relevant or interesting story, no contact details, crappy picture, etc) make it harder for them and less likely they’ll find your project as fascinating as you do.

It is important to have a base media release that is:

  • exciting
  • explains your show
  • has info on the people
  • an interesting story about personnel or
  • linking into current news
  • has your contact details
  • has been
    proofread and
  • has a great image that attracts interest
  • along with a great email tag line
  • and don’t forget to
    mention somewhere your show partners AND
  • Anywhere Festival and the booking details.

Phew! …Then submit it to us so we can give you feedback and get it up on our web site.

That’s just step 1!

With that release as a base, look at media outlets that you think your target audience reads, watches or listens to.

by one, figure out how your show connects with that and rewrite your release to appeal to that outlet and fit in as seamlessly as possible. Then send it to that one outlet and follow up.

Repeat for each outlet.

The Picture

A great image is a crucial part of any successful publicity campaign.


1. All media now accept jpg picture files and it is the quickest and most cost efficient means of getting your image to them.

A word of warning- make sure your image is less than 1MB- in fact, make it less than 500kb. They can always request a high-resolution version later.

2. Make sure your image is a strong one. A great image will be picked up by media and run everywhere. Media are always looking for striking, catchy images.

3. Photos should be crisp, sharp, colour images- unless you’re doing a film noir show and it stylistically fits.

4. Label your jpg files clearly. Do not send a jpg file with a title like ‘Crop Shot’ or ‘In the garden’ or ‘Hand in the air’.

When journalists are receiving hundreds of pics per day they will not be able to work out which show your picture relates to. Label it with your show name and/or production company.

5. You can use a mixture of shots including head shots and live production shots. Make sure your images have something that grabs attention. Take a look at the kinds of photos that get used in newspapers.

6. If you do not have access to jpg images you can use hard copy prints. Again – choose good strong images and label them very clearly before sending them to journalists.

Always include your contact details on the back of the photos or on the slide casing of a transparency.

Other publicity materials


Prepare biographies for your key personnel to send to journalists when requested. If a journalist requests an interview with someone from your production it is very helpful if you can supply more detailed information on the person prior to the interview.

Don’t send it with the initial release. It’s unnecessary.

Make sure you list their suburb, as many local papers will be attracted to this information and will endeavour to make contact.


If you have a CD or Showreel it may be appropriate to send it to relevant media. Best to just send a link as it saves you the cost of production and they can review at their leisure.

If you have past press clippings of interviews or great reviews, have these ready to send to journalists if requested.


When you get to creating your promotional materials, it is a condition that you include the Anywhere Festival logo as an identifier that your show is officially part of the Anywhere Festival.

Anywhere Festival provides the logos freely to artists for their promotional use but their use is subject to Copyright. What this means is that you cannot change or manipulate the logos in any way.

So, while you may use the logos in your poster/flyer advertising or even on your website, you must use them ‘as is’. You cannot alter or use any part of the logo in a different creative context other than the one in which it was originally designed.

This might include, but is not limited to: adding to the logo; taking a part of the logo and using it in a different context; animating the logo; changing the colour scheme of the logo, etc.

Essentially, if you didn’t make it, you don’t have the right to change it.

Distribution of your publicity materials

The main way to distribute your media release and image is by email.

It is immediate and cheap but the media all run different programs so while some can open a word file or a pdf file, others cannot.

It is best practice to paste the copy of your release into the body of your email to ensure everyone can access your information.

Never send BIG files unless requested.Do not attach a huge pdf file to an unsolicited email.

If you want to attach a pdf version of your release make sure you save it as a low res, small file.

For more tips, head to and click on MEDIA RELEASES or NEWS categories to see how other participants in other festivals have written their media releases and to see how the end results looked in printed media.


Media List

The spreadsheets below (as pdfs) contains an assortment of people you could contact regarding coverage for your show.


Why is this spreadsheet provided as a pdf and not a spreadsheet? To encourage you to find the specific contacts that are appropriate and email a selection or just an individual instead of emailing everyone which makes it harder for everybody else.

You are far better off approaching key media contacts with a story that is specific to them.

Please do not do a bulk or group email as it will affect your chances and everyone else doing Anywhere.