A couple of weeks ago Rebecca Coleman and I met on Skype. We had a great conversation discovering lots of common interests. Here's a short interview with Rebecca:
What do you do?
I am a freelance theatre publicist in Vancouver, BC, Canada. I work primarily for independent theatre companies. My job, essentially, is to get my clients editorial coverage in the local newspapers, radio and television. More and more over the past year, that list is growing to include blogs and leveraging social media to get the word out.
What are you most passionate about? What really gets you going?
I love the arts, and theatre is my greatest passion. I’ve done it all when it comes to theatre, and acting is my greatest love, but I’m on a hiatus right now while I raise my young son.
For many years now, I’ve been helping artists to become better business people. It started many years ago when I facilitated a self-employment program for artists, and continues to this day. The business of being an artist is the topic of my blog, The Art of the Business.
Do you find the same questions or issues coming up with most clients? (if so, what are they?)
“Can I sell out my show if I get on Twitter?”
“If we are on Facebook, what percentage will it drive up our sales?”
I feel like there is a gross misunderstanding out there about social media. It can be a very powerful marketing tool. But you can’t just jump on Twitter and expect that you’ll sell out overnight. It doesn’t work that way: the machine needs time to get up and running.
On a deeper level, social media is about interactivity, and I think a lot of people are still stuck in the mentality that they will lose their privacy, or it will take over their lives, or it’s just about people talking about the boring minutiae of their lives. But if you do it right, and you manage it, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with your potential clientele or new collaborators.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle for you and for your clients?
(Well lets leave money and time out for the moment....)
Ha! I was going to say time and money!
The biggest obstacle for my clients right now is the fact that traditional forms of media are suffering right now. One year ago, we had 6 theatre reviewers in Vancouver. We now have two. A smaller newspaper recently told me their arts section was cut. And I am hearing that story so much—less space for the arts. It’s very challenging. I am turning increasingly to non-traditional forms of media: blogs and social media.
Can you tell me a story about working with a particular client where you or they had a real ‘a ha’ moment?
If you don’t mind, I’d like to use a personal example.
I have done publicity for our local Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliances’ World Theatre Day Celebrations for the past two years. World Theatre Day is an international event that takes place on March 27 every year. Last year, I got to thinking, what if we made it a truly international celebration? So I created a blog, and assembled a team of international theatre artists (none of whom I have met in person to this day) that I had met through Twitter. We were able to spread the word and raise awareness about WTD and created events in places that had never celebrated WTD before. It was awesome.
What was your learning from that?
Social Networking is a very powerful tool for collaborating, spreading the word, and mobilizing the troops.
Thanks Rebecca Coleman!