A publicity schedule keeps you on track with all tasks you need to do, including the various information to be collected, written, and edited. Here is an example To-Do list:
- List of Cast and Creatives
- Headshots and bios
- Up to 3 top credits, per person, to be listed in the media release
- Logos - production company, partners, sponsors
- Any text or materials previously written about the show or company, including reviews, quotes, awards and nominations
- Finalized graphic design elements for posters, postcards, website, etc.
- Social media handles (cast/creatives/partners/sponsors/media) or specific hashtags
- Links for website, box office/ticketing, venue
- Accessibility instructions and/or disclaimers for production or venue
- Emails for media, Artistic Directors, cast comp ticket list, opening night invites, other VIP guests and general mailing list of audience members (building over many productions)
- Photos: promo, production, in rehearsal action shots, costume pieces or set design, etc.
- Playwright or Director’s notes (can be useful to pull their language when writing the media release and/or to include in a media kit)
- Prizes or giveaways for online contests if applicable
- Website content - show specific or website as a whole depending on the company’s history
- Box office info and blurb
- Text for posters, postcards, etc.
- About the Company info (unless already written in which case just collect it)
- Media Release/Press Release
- Media Kit
- Show program
- Opening Night Invite
- Quippy or attention-getting social media posts
- Get artists’ sign-off on programs, photos, etc as per their contracts
- Send out media releases/press releases, media kits, opening night invites, e-blasts
- Arrange program stuffing, contests, or ticket swaps
- Collect RSVPs for opening night, coordinate media tickets and VIP comps with box office
- Create front of house display
- Welcome media to Opening Night and ensure they have all the information they need
- Promote, promote, promote ALL ACTIVITIES
- Create and post engaging content to social media
- Coordinate with photographer and share photos with media
- Pitch potential stories or angles
- Share reviews
- Coordinate with the Producer and Box Office regarding ticket sales and whether there is need to adapt the Publicity strategy accordingly.
This is not necessarily a complete list, but it should give you a solid foundation to work from. As every production is different and the audience they want to attract can be very different, how productions promote themselves can also be quite unique or creative. However, certain things, like sending a media release are very standard practice if you hope to get reviewed.
Be warned: Publicity takes a lot of work and requires quick responses including during the run of the show. If you are performing in the show, you probably don’t want to also be the publicist welcoming media on Opening Night when you are supposed to be warming up to perform. Even if you are working with a publicist, there is still information they will need from you the producer to be able to do their jobs effectively, so you aren’t entirely off the hook.
If you are working with a Publicist, they will give you a list of materials they require from you. They will then give you a Publicity Schedule of deadlines and dates for when they propose things will happen.
If you do not have room in your budget to hire a publicist, there are many different ways you can build a publicity schedule for yourself.
Create a calendar (Excel, Google Calendar, Template all options) that usually starts at least 3 months before Opening Night.
Using the list above, work backwards from Opening Night to assign deadlines for the Definites (ie. Send out Media Release), and then schedule tasks that need to happen prior to be able to meet those deadlines (ie. you can’t send a media release without box office being set up).
Start with what you know for sure, then schedule and adjust the rest leaving room for slow email responses, multiple drafts or edits, missed deadlines, approvals and sign offs, etc.
Some dates to build from: Opening Night, Closing Night, Tech Week, First Rehearsal, Dora Registration, Media Release sent out.
Click here to automatically download a Publicity Schedule Template*.
*If the automatic download does not work, try right-clicking the link and opening it in a new tab.