A promo kit (short for promotional kit) is essential for creating and driving buzz during the lead-up to your performance. Some people use the terms ‘press kit’ and ‘promo kit’ interchangeably; the main difference being that the former refers to content going out directly to media outlets for distribution, while the latter refers to all distribution channels (including, but not limited to media outlets). 'Media Kit' is another term often used to refer to the content going out to media outlets.
Whether it be print material, digital or a mix of both, here are some ideas of what you may want to include in your promo kits:
This release should be sent to all pertinent media outlets for distribution. In it, you should include:
- A brief description of the performance.
- Show Dates
- Cast list
- Short company blurb/info
- Any other information you would like the media to showcase
Refer here for more info on Press Releases and Media Kits.
PRO TIP: Make the press release easy for reporters to tell your story. If you have visuals, include them in your release, or link to where they can easily download them. Try to keep your release short and to the point. Media outlets usually receive a lot of releases and they will be much more likely to distribute your news if it can be quickly and easily digested.
In today’s world, people spend less and less time reading text to receive information. Capturing attention through images (or videos) continues to be the best way to engage people through promotions.
‘A picture speaks a thousand words.’ Having strong images that capture the essence of your production will resonate with a larger audience than text alone. Consider hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your rehearsals and/or show.
Images and videos attract exponentially more attention than the written word. In creating these videos, you always want your audiences left with the feeling of wanting more. You may decide to include excerpts of the show itself, or to simply have interviews and back-stage content that gives viewers a closer look into what goes on behind the scenes.
PRO TIP: When creating teaser videos, keep them to a maximum of 2 1/2 minutes. You want to have enough time to tease audiences with the themes surrounding your project, all the while leaving them with a sense of wanting more. It is important to always remember that you want them to feel satisfied at the end of your show, not before.
Having a recognizable poster with a captivating image is a great way to increase anticipation of your show. Consider including the following features:
- Captivating image/design
- Show dates
- Venue location
- Name of producing company
- Name of director
- Website URL (where they can find more information)
- Box office phone number
Much like your poster, your flyer will drive audience buzz in the lead up to your performances. Since this is usually a much smaller version of your poster, you might want to minimize the amount of information you include to:
- Show dates/times
- Venue location
- Website URL
- Phone Number
Collect articles pertinent to your company or performance. These can either be ones that you create, or that have been written by someone else about your show. The idea here is to have content that audiences can read, informing them of your show & organization.
- Reviews of a past show
- News about producing organization
- Article about specific theme that show will be exploring
- Blogs & articles you write about your exploration process
PRO TIP: Try to collect a variety of articles. They do not all need to be specifically about your project or organization, but they should all surround one theme that you are trying to promote with your marketing efforts. Publish articles that are relevant and will start a larger conversation. The more dialogue or ‘buzz’ you can create through these articles, the better your overall results will be.
Having bios of your cast, crew and artistic team is great to have. Posting them on a section of your website for example is a great way to inform the general public of who you are. People will get a sense of why you are doing this work, and will probably be more likely to come and support you.
If you have people who signed up to receive e-blasts, use them. These people have an active interest in knowing what you are up to and receiving your updates. Some things to keep in mind:
- Keep news relevant
- Don’t bombard your contacts with emails
- Link to other channels where they can receive more information
- Be mindful of anti-spam laws
If your show is being sponsored or endorsed by a company or public figure, be sure to include that information on your promotional material. Having their logo tied to your show is great exposure and will allow you to reach more potential audience members.
When designing your marketing materials, here are some things to keep in mind in terms of making the materials accessible for people with disabilities to read through. It will make all of your marketing materials easier for everyone in the long run.
- Fonts: ensure your fonts are legible and readable
- Page Layout: use wide margins and columns with sufficient space between them. Left-justified is easiest to read. White space guides the reader’s eye, so use it effectively. It is best to places images to the right of a text
- Colour and Contrast: high contrast colours are great for text and background, it’s best to have your text in black for readability
- Images and Graphics: provide concise text alternatives for images and graphics and longer descriptions for charts and graphs
- Paper Selection: matte surfaces are better than glossy
Now that your promo kit is assembled, you should decide what information you want to publicize and when. It is recommended to advertise and promote between 3 to 6 months in advance of your performance. This timeline will depend heavily on the size and context of your performance. For instance, some Festivals don't announce their programming until a month or two before opening; however, it's important to have all your materials ready by the time the festival announcement drops. Some things to keep in mind when promoting your show:
- Start off slow. Don’t bombard people with information. Ease into your promotional campaign; the closer you get to the performance, the more information you can start distributing you will have, by this time, built up your buzz organically.
- Create a Conversation. Good promotional campaigns do not solely ask people to buy tickets to a show. They spark thought and intrigue by creating material surrounding the themes of their show.
- Listen. This is probably the most important concept when promoting. Actively listen to how your material is being received, and adjust accordingly. Creating a dialogue with your audience is the best way to make people want to come out and see it.
A note on inclusive language - especially if your artists use specific pronouns, or have a disability that want to be framed in a particular way for instance. Here is a sample Media Guide from Touretteshero.