Thursday, June 4, 2009

Minute for Marketing: Do Something Newsworthy

Minute for Marketing is a weekly series on advertising the independent teaching studio. Click here to find all of the Minute for Marketing posts.

If you’ve got at least a handful of students, you can do something that will attract media attention and result in free advertising for you. Here are a few ideas that are worth doing even if you don’t end up getting the publicity.

1. Present a community outreach recital at a retirement home, hospital, or nursing home. If you don’t have enough students yet to make much of a program, consider inviting another teacher’s studio to participate. This has the added benefit of teaching your students to share their music with others.

2. Busk for charity. (A “busker” is a street musician.) For instance, set up your digital piano at the entrance of a grocery store. Put up a sign that says, “Music Feeds the Soul, but Food Feeds the Hungry! Please Donate to Our Food Drive!" Donate the collected food to a local food bank. This is good for the charity and good for you! (Be sure to secure permission from the store first.)

Or, consider participating in a program like this one: Musequality’s World Busk starts next Monday and lasts a week. It raises money for music projects that benefit some of the poorest children in the world.

Be sure to have a second poster up with the name of your studio, and possibly the names of your performers. In my case, I'd probably also post a picture of myself teaching a student on my studio piano just to show potential students that I don't routinely teach on a digital!

3. Participate in another community event that will publicize your involvement. For instance, my studio once participated in a Children’s Book Festival sponsored by the area library system. We presented a recital at the local library, choosing pieces that would coordinate with books by the authors featured at the festival that year. My studio’s name was on all of the library's publicity for the book festival. You could do this with even 5 students, giving each one 2 pieces and playing something yourself.

Now, how do you get it in the newspaper? Write a press release about your upcoming event and submit it at least a week prior, and follow up with a phone call. If you're lucky, maybe they'll send out someone to cover it, but be prepared to play the role of reporter yourself. Take a camera and get good digital pictures. Afterwards, write another press release, and submit it with your pictures the morning after your event, if not the same day. Newspapers don’t like old news. Be sure to include the names of everyone in the pictures. (How to write a press release.) Keep your press release short and proofread it like crazy. The less work involved for the paper to edit your work, the more likely they'll bother with it.

Of course, you should also publicize it yourself on your blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter where you've been steadily building local connections.

If you use your imagination, you can come up with good ideas for doing something unique and newsworthy. Have any of you ever done something unique that attracted media attention?

Photo by Matt Callow.

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