How To Connect With New Media: An Introduction

This June, I have the honor of serving as a speaker in one of the National Performing Arts Convention’s breakout sessions titled The Online Salon Movement. The session’s description promotes the event as a wide ranging commentary and discussion on how performing arts organizations can interact with new forms of media and the public at large. “At a time when more traditional media outlets continue to shrink arts coverage, a wide variety of passionate bloggers writing about all of the performing arts have developed an audience of millions of readers and have challenged the critical paradigm by building a new dialogue about the arts.” I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the state in which new media exists and it got me thinking about how orchestras can enhance that interaction by refining how they reach out to these diverse outlets. To that end, I’ve come up with this series of articles to help orchestras identify, contact, and maintain relationships with new media…

Here is a partial list of some topics that will be covered:

  • New Media, defined.
  • Adapting press releases to new media.
  • Properly identifying local, national, and international new media sources.
  • Creating sincere relationships.
  • Building targeted mailing lists.
  • Improving transparency without getting fired in the process.
  • Creating new online marketing tools relevant to new media.
  • Orchestra Do’s and Don’ts when interacting with new media.
  • New Media Do’s and Don’ts when interacting with orchestras.

There will be details and examples for each topic but before the articles are published, I want to offer an opportunity for everyone to send in requests, questions, etc. This will allow the material to be as useful as
possible so don’t be shy. You can send a personal email or post a comment below to let me know which topics are of most interest to you.

Keep in mind this invitation is open-ended. Although I hope to hear from a number of marketing professionals, I also want to hear from new media authors (as well as those interested in culture blogging). What would you like to see orchestras (and to a larger extent, all performing arts organizations) do to help you create better content? If you’re a new media reader (novice to junkie), what do you like and dislike about existing new media content.

Although all of the articles are sketched out, nothing is in stone and if there’s enough feedback, we can make this an ongoing series. In fact, that’s one of the best things about new media – it’s flexible! Ultimately,
the process is reciprocal so the more input the better the final product.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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