The challenge with a small new initiative working out of a converted bedroom from a standing start, is how to make enough ‘noise’ to reach beyond my immediate bubble of Facebook Friends, Twitter followers and LinkedIn connections. There is a need to look swan-like and fully formed, whilst also encouraging people to help with the broadcasting of what we do.
Over the year as you know, following my blogs, I have done 26 open access workshops on the pathways which aspiring producers could take. These have variously been self-promoted, or part of a programme for a festival or alumni group. We have three more coming up – 28 July for Cambridge Footlights alumni, 10 August for Edinburgh Festival Fringe Central participants, and on 17 August open to anyone who wants to learn more.
So many amazing inspiring potential entrepreneurs have been in the room at these events – some still at school, some early career post graduating, and some experienced in a field of the arts. Many of the 17 CGO Institute DipCP current and alum producers have first met me at one of these workshops.
But now I want to look out for a much broader ‘audience’ of people who have never come across one of my workshops or networks. I was introduced to Ian Roberts who is a specialist in reaching people through LinkedIn. He and I have set out on a three-month daily journey to contact people who are connected/interested in some way to the likely worlds where future creative producers of theatre and live arts may exist. Anyone on LinkedIn will, like me, have had pitches made to them from unexpected and at times uninteresting industry sectors. We have tried to shape this campaign so that it really reaches people who could be really interested.
Five days into the campaign and I have had a 10-fold increase in people viewing my profile, 36 new people have connected to me and many have sent me messages of support. A few people are now considering the DipCP as a pathway for their career. It feels a good use of time and energy and a bit of investment. It has definitely made me appreciate LinkedIn more, and to start posting material to share which some of my 2,500 connections will find useful. BUT there is more to do.
My regular mantra to people learning marketing is not only to ask ‘Who do you want on your front row?’ but also ‘Who is not in the room?’. Who could benefit from the work which CGO Institute is offering but they have absolutely no interest in LinkedIn, and/or they do not fit the relatively narrow 9,000 people search I have used. Who is living around the world and would love to know there were opportunities to meet other like-minded creative producers on Zoom through us?
Who is working in events or festivals or community arts and activism who is already a ‘creative producer’ but doesn’t call themselves that and doesn’t know that the world needs more people to join this business? And who might we help into the business who will change the way the arts are delivered, managed, and created because they bring a new approach, a more diverse lived experience and a better connection to the stories which could, should and must be told on our stages in the future.
So thank you LinkedIn, you are a new part of my marketing mix. Thank you to all those who have championed and attended the workshops under the heading ‘Producing – Proper Job – Honest’ and ‘ Your Life in Theatre’ over this strange lockdown year, and thank you to those who challenge me to extend my marketing mix to reach other entrepreneurs of the future.
As readers of this blog you are already in the room – but do feel free to share and help me reach those who might fancy a look inside… or the chance to shake the room up a little bit.