Artist managers want to help their clients. Really. They do. Yet there never seems to be an end to artist websites that fail to deliver the most basic elements that arts marketing professionals need to adequately publicize their clients. Sure, a number of artist manages farm that work out to a publicist but in the end, the manager is still the point where that buck stops.
It is fascinating to hear complaints from both sides of the fence; artist managers grumble that arts marketers don’t do enough to promote their clients and arts marketers complain that artist manager content roadblocks make it next to impossible to do a good job. Fortunately, this ins’t a chicken or egg conundrum and the first place to look is in the direction of artist managers. To that end, here are three simple things artist managers can do to not only help their clients maximize exposure but become an arts marketer’s BFF.
1) Use doc/docx format
Problem: The arts marketer is creating copy for the organization’s website, a press release, copy for the program book, and one or more email blurbs. This task requires source material they can copy/paste from into a website content management system, desktop publishing software (such as InDesign), and an email marketing client (like MailChimp). With everything else on his/her plate, the arts marketer has about 20 minutes to spend on the entire project. But when the source file is pdf, an 800 word bio that should take a minute to copy/paste into each of those systems turns into a 15 minute grind of manually correcting line and paragraph breaks, lost spaces, and a host of other formatting nonsense. That leaves five minutes for adding photos, proofing, etc. so our arts marketer is left with a Catch-22 of add as much content as possible but have it look sloppy or cut it down to a fraction of what it could be in order to shove it across the barely acceptable threshold. Guess which option is most attractive.
Solution: This one is easy; provide all promotional content in doc/docx, not pdf. Moreover, don’t load up a user friendly format with a bunch of specialty formatting a designer said was all the rage. Keep it simple; use a single font family from the websafe crowd (such as Arial or Times Roman), no embedded images, and use headers and special formatting (like blockquotes) sparingly.
Tip: If you want arts marketers to love you, create special versions of promotional material for different purposes; such as one with all of the nice looking bells and whistles in pdf and doc/docx but another with the basic formatting that makes copy/paste dreamy. Likewise, make shorter versions available in addition to full length versions to make certain your message remains true.
2) Provide Two Quality Standards For Images
Problem: An arts marketer needs to include an artist’s headshot in an email blast but the only copy sent along by the artist manager is a print quality image at 300dpi, 3200px wide, and 5MB in filesize. Did I mention that the arts marketer doesn’t have the resources and/or skill sets to properly edit the photo to the email client’s required websafe standards? Adobe Creative Suite isn’t free and most groups don’t have a dedicated graphic design pro on hand to resize the image and as a result, your artist’s image gets left out of the eblast or, worse, is inserted via an awkward hack job of an edit (well, getting the croptacular version on awkwardclassicalmusicphotos.com
Solution: All images need to be available in two standards: websafe and print quality. Websafe images will be 72dpi, anywhere from 768 pixels to 1280 pixels wide, no more than 100kb filesize, and jpg or png format (optimized). Print quality is a high resolution format suitable for (wait for it) print publicity; these will be 300dpi, at least 1200 pixels wide, 2MB in filesize on up, and one of several high quality file formats (tif, eps, etc.).
Tip: Be a mensch and provide three aspect ratios (the relationship between width and height); portrait, landscape, and square. Arts marketers will not only be more inclined to use your artist’s photos (quantity and quality) but you won’t have to worry about finding any awkward looking cropping or images you wish they didn’t use because they found the ratio they need via Google images.
3) Don’t Make Them Beg For It
Problem: Remember the scenario form #1 where the arts marketer only has 20 minutes? Good, because that’s now 15 because some time burglar from finance just sucked up some of your client’s marketing prep time to show their colleague a funny cat video (like this one
). But when they go to your client’s website, it turns out that none of the promotional content is available for download. As a result, the arts marketer says “f*ck it” and opts for only listing your client’s name and an unlinked URL to the website. They spend the extra 10 minutes watching more cat related video content
Solution: This is another simple one, don’t make them come to you requesting info, they don’t have time for that; instead; make sure your client has the content online and make it easy to find on the website.
Tip: Don’t put content online only to hide it behind an access wall. That’s just mean.
In the end, if you follow these tips then there’s no good reason for any arts marketer to complain and they will love working with you.