Anomic???s Media Manifesto or the not so subtle art of selli

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Anomic???s Media Manifesto or the not so subtle art of selli

Postby Anomic on Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:48 am

Howdy I have recently received a few questions
Re: Marketing, Media Releases, Media Kits and Marketing

I wrote a piece for OzComics but in the interest of information access have decided that I may as well post the amended article up.

Some of you will be very familiar with these aspects of selling your product so this is really for those that are new and/or interested in the concepts of marketing a product. These are my views on the subject and like all my other postings you can take it, leave it, disagree with it or add to it.
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Postby Anomic on Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:53 am

The Not So Subtle Art of Selling Yourself
By
Graeme McDonald
You???ve created an original comic/graphic novel, so how do you ensure that it doesn???t become the greatest story never seen? Marketing your art and using the media effectively doesn???t come easy. There are some artists who hold the belief, that dealing with the mainstream media is equivalent to selling your soul, but like William Burroughs says ???not every soul is worth buying.??? What I hope to do in this article is to give you some ideas on how to make your art and soul a more interesting proposition.

Media Kits:

Are hybrids of art portfolios, r??sum??s and media releases, they provide information on you and your work to publishers, media outlets, exhibitors and others that may promote your work.
The essentials to a media kit are:

1. Keeping it simple ??? Use an accessible format - Hard copy print is fine, CDR???s are useful although they can be expensive and there are format issues. Foe example, not everyone has Mac access etc., and not everyone can work their PC and will bin your muti-media presentation just because the auto-run doesn???t work.
2. High quality images of your work - not everything you???ve ever done ???have something in reserve it makes you look prolific and keeps the readers interest, so hold something back.
3. At least one high quality image of yourself - not a family snap shot- get a friend with an interest in photography.
4. Include a brief/relevant description of yourself and your work ??? Remember, unless you painted them don???t include your work experience in the brick factory.
5. Include any awards your work has won or was entered for
6. Get quotes from people with some authority i.e. ???a work of genius????? is better coming from the CEO of Blah Comics than from Greg???s Mum.
7. Even a little bit smells so no Bullshit - if you haven???t or can???t, don???t mention it.
8. Presentation is important. You only have one shot so make it as professional as you can afford, get a friend to read it for typos, research what other artists are doing and research the company you are sending the kit to.


Media Release:

The point of the media release is to attract attention from an Editor/Journalist to get your story into the media. Local papers and small print zines are always looking for content but the journalist usually has five other stories that they have to do. A media release takes the pressure off them by giving them a pre-digested story and an easy way of getting the editor off their back. If they are really interested they may send a photographer, most do not use images supplied by you (usually its around ownership of the image but also quality, size, format, etc)

The major elements of a media release are:
1. The Format- make it simple and one page
2. The Delivery ??? Fax & Email to the Editor and Arts Journalist (the phone won???t get you past the work experience kid).
3. The words ???Media Release??? ??? You need to make them aware that this is a newsworthy event.
4. Your Logo ??? if you have one use it and keep it consistent
5. Your contact details
6. When you wish this information to be released
7. The date of the event/launch, etc. - even if you have to artificially construct an event ??? ask a local book/comic shop if you can sit in their corner.
8. *Quotes ??? this is important because the journalist won???t be bothered chasing down these people but will want some quotes to use in their article ??? you have kindly done the work for them
9. Data- do you have any? Journalist???s love data so if you haven???t already start keeping data on numbers of sales, shops stocking your item, etc (eg, ???Blah Vol 1??? sold over 100 copies in its first week and is currently available in 22 outlets across NSW)
10. What???s the angle? Its great that you have produced something by why should Joe Public care? Have a look at your paper, what???s the angle other artists are receiving attention for? Usually, its controversy, a local making good, a young person having a go (i.e. not being a vandalising, loitering, drug addict), someone overcoming adversity, etc. The art is secondary, the papers need to sell a story - so find an angle.
11. If it???s a local paper mention and thank local people ???you may hate every red-necked one of them but people like to read things about themselves or people they know. By mentioning the town even if it has nothing to do with the book/script/etc., you have their interest.


*In regards to quotes its ideal to ask the person you are quoting for permission to use it and for the quote in writing- this save accusations of miss-representation later. Also you are allowed to omit sections that are too long, too critical or don???t make sense, however, you must show this in your quote usually by 3 dots ??

Expect to be misquoted even though you have written most of the article and don???t worry too much about a punchy title the first thing a journalist will do is change it to show how original they are (and its best to let them keep thinking that).

Creating the Buzz:
It???s marketing jargon that means - getting Joe Public to talk about you and in doing so creating interest in your product/art. By creating interest at a grass roots level you will find the media more interested in what you are up to. By the time the media have caught on to the ???next big thing??? it has already become pass?? eg Grunge, so you need to create the bandwagon for them to jump on.

You may not have the funds of a corporation but that does not mean you can???t employ some of their strategies??

1. Work out an advertising budget
2. Research the market demographics, who, how old, gender, socio-economic status, geographic location, are they computer users, etc.
3. Decide how best to target this market with the budget you have
4. Always give the impression that you care about the consumer eg. give opportunities for:

Consumer Feedback:
Feedback does a few things to help you to marketing your art.

1. Its a great way to do your market research ??? by providing a feedback site on your website (or via a loose feedback sheet in the back of your comic) you can ask relevant questions that will help you to assess who is reading your stuff and why. (Remember there are State and Federal Privacy Acts so don???t ask for personal/contact information) Keep it generic: age, state/town, gender, etc. for more ideas on what to collect just check out what the big corporations ask for when you join their online forums.
2. Link interested people with your product and give the impression that they are involved in some small way to its creation
3. Feedback is also great to include for media releases/kits. Leave a space for the reader to say what they liked/didn???t like about your comic sometimes a punter comes up with a great usable quote. It also looks good on your website if you have positive quotes from readers from diverse backgrounds/ states/countries
4. And of course feedback lets you know how you are doing - they liked the first one and not the second, why?

Personalise Communications:
1. When someone is buying your comic online or directly from you, ask if they would like to be informed about forthcoming publications. If they do use a generic letter/email but insert their name, learn how to mail merge.
2. Create a small newsletter to keep consumers up to date with your artistic activities, include any worthy quotes or ideas from punters, again you want encourage a community feel (just be wary of the obsessive nutters, don???t give too much personal information out there are some seriously creepy people around)
3. Feedback also helps to personalise your product, ask your readers for ideas on the next issue (even if its already written) this creates perceived involvement in your product

Create A Buzz Cheaply:

Australian author Matthew Reilly has become a superstar in the publishing world and his story of self-promotion is legendary in self-publishing circles. It has been reported that Mathew:
* Arranged to be seen reading his book on public transport and discussing it
at bus shelters, etc.
* Walked into booksellers and asked to put copies of his book on their
shelves.
* Arranged to have the book displayed in bookshop windows next to big
name authors of a similar genre.
* Gave friends free copies and encouraged them to read it at work.

All of which were low cost ways of creating an impression that you are an up and coming cultural force, which in turn will attract the slow eye of the media.

Along similar lines here are a few ideas that may be worthwhile??
1. Create stickers and (depending on your target market) get work colleagues, other students, younger sibling, niece or nephews to give them out to the ???Cool People??? to put on books, helmets, skateboards, workstations, etc.
2. Give some complementary editions of your comic to the same group of ???Cool People??? on the understanding that they must be seen reading it in public.
3. Be seen reading your own comic and be overheard loudly talking about it to a friend in prominent places
4. Arrange for signing days at various shops - use your media release as a bargaining tool, remember its not just advertising you its also advertising the venue/shop.
5. Under 25 - what is your local council doing for Youth Week? Ask to participate with the launching of your ???new??? publication. This way they will advertise your product for free and your media release will receive more attention from the local press. Not to mention your piggybacking on their events will get more punters through the door.
6. Over 25- what cultural festivals are interested in having a ???meet the artist/publication launch??? as part of their events list?
7. Business cards still work- always have some available at signings and other media events.
8. In regards to giveaways if you do have the opportunity to get a story in your local paper ??? see if they would be interested in a competition with prizes like a signed copy of the new book ??? this might mean you loose say 5 books, but the competition may run over 2 weeks in the paper, this means your book was advertised and prominent for 2 weeks at a very low cost. Local papers like this, as it involves readers and costs them nothing. This will really depend on the papers editor and your approach to him ??? so play up the local artist trying to make it big angle.
9. Do you have public radio in your area ??? offer yourself as an interview, as they are always looking for content. Again is there an opportunity for a competition featuring your new book (weigh the audience number up before committing to this though)

10. Finally ??? remember you are your best promotion, be polite and patient with the public and people you meet hawking your goods, even if they piss you off don???t show it, you can be as rude as you like when you???re a success. Someone remembering you favourably may be the difference between getting the gig or not.
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Postby simon sherry on Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:46 pm

This is great stuff - thanks for sharing the info here. Is there any chance that we could see some of the material you put together for the 24 hr comp - it'd make an excellent (and highly relevant) case study.

Cheers, and thanks again for sharing.

Simon
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Postby Anomic on Wed Aug 03, 2005 2:59 pm

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Postby Anomic on Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:06 pm

Hello Simon,
It???s a bit rough as I had to paste it from MS word into publisher then turn it into a webpage to then cut and paste it into an image which would go on photobucket anyway the basics are there and after that I still kept the typo on Marks name (sorry Mark :S )

This is a basic media release as describe in the article above. The idea is to keep it simple and easily identifiable as a media release. Papers get a lot of stuff and if your release looks like advertising or doesn???t catch the secretaries eye it is likely to end up in the bin.

Did this help with media exposure? As far as I know the 24 Hour Challenge was featured in a number of media outlets including: ABC Radio National, ABC 3LO Melbourne, Triple J, Radio New Zealand, The Age http://pulpfaction.net/24hr_2005/24hr_age.jpg and The Australian newspapers, Pulp magazine and Art Monthly Australia Issue 179, May 2005
There was also interest from SBS and Ch 9's Today but we didn't quite make it, maybe next year.
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Postby Anomic on Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:54 pm

OK you???ve got the idea of a media release?? the next step is getting it out to the press?? So where do you start?

http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/australi.htm

The site above has just about every local and national newspaper and contact details in Australia.
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Postby simon sherry on Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:54 pm

Fantastic - thanks for putting that up.
Cheers,
Simon
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Postby Anomic on Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:39 am

No worries Simon,
There was obviously more to it than just this info but those communications were more tailored to different types of media and involved personal contact with journalist etc. not to mention the support of many other people.

Even the general media releases were designed to fit either country/rural (this is the one above) or metro media. So ideally with all media communication, before you shoot it off, have a thought about the media organisation and the audience they produce for and then tailor everything to fit that profile.

The next step in the media release for the 24 Hour Challenge is to incorporate the data (gathered by Mark) from this years to promote the next years event so some of the info will change and possibly look like this:

OzComics 24 Hour Challenge


Organisers of OzComics 24 Hour Challenge are calling all artists to make this years event the best ever!
???Last year???s Challenge was the best we have had to date, with a 90% increase in registration, 50% increase in completed entries and an approximate 300% increase in the number of people accessing the site?? we estimated that somewhere between 3000 and 5000 people logged on to the forum site during the Challenge, this year we hope to top that??? said Mark Selan

The OzComics 24-Hour Challenge for 2006 is set to build on last years increased participation, significant public interest and media coverage and to continue highlighting Australian made content and artists to wider audiences.
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