How Businesses are Using New Media for Publicity

The mainstream media is shrinking. We’ve established that, and whether it’s temporary or permanent, only time will tell. In the mean time, we still need to get people through the door. Here are three examples of what some companies are doing to take advantage of new media.

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (where I took my small business course in 2007), in a bit to bring in new students, hosted a 67-hour live-blogathon. They Twittered, blogged and uploaded video from  Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon. BCIT was also gave away $5000 in tuition to five people. You can see information on Three Blog Nights here, and the blog here.

Meanwhile, in Portland, a company called Portland Centre Stage invited a bunch of people to come to the opening of thier latest show, Apollo, and Twitter it. The experiment was at least partially successful–thier show was top five in Twitter traffic that night. Read more about this experiment here.

And in January, The Vancouver Opera invited three bloggers to come and live blog and Twitter a performance of their

Image courtesy of Miss 604s Flickr stream
Image courtesy of Miss 604's Flickr stream

latest Opera, Carmen. The show was a sell-out. They repeated the process this last Saturday night with Rigoleto. You can read the Vancouver Opera blog here.

What I think is most interesting about these three examples is that they were a success (at least to some degree) on two different levels. The actual event of blogging and Twittering created a buzz around the event in the moment. But, later on, all three of these stories were picked up by bloggers and the mainstream media. Read Gillian Shaw’s story about Three Blog Nights  in the Vancouver Sun. And read about Rebecca Bolwitt’s experience of live blogging the Opera in the Vancouver Courier.

What’s happening is that businesses, arts-related or otherwise, are turning to new media for publicity, because they see that the traditional media is failing.  And, while that is working, they are also reaping bonus rewards: stories in the traditional media about their innovations in social media marketing.

Ironic, huh?

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 6

  1. I wonder how this will work in the longer term.

    I’m a reporter (not in the arts) in mainstream media, and find I can pitch stories about social media right now. My editors are interested, because it’s still pretty new. That can only last so long.

    If social media became the new way to cover the arts, without that extra buzz, what then? Is the audience being well served by the shift? Will it open doors for people to experience new-to-them art forms? Or will the end result be largely the same as it is now, with specialist bloggers replacing specialist reporters as the storytellers?

    I really don’t know the answer. Maybe arts p/review is turf better covered by social media. To me, the best rubric to test that is how the audience is served.

  2. Rebecca,
    I real enjoy your blog. I have been working as a publicist in the theatre for 15 years, and I am increasingly frustrated with the feeling that I’m permanently behind the 8-ball trying to keep up with new technologies and ways to reach audiences and the media. It feels as if the sand is shifting under our feet constantly. I welcome a chance to work in new media, but I sometimes wonder if we don’t all jump on these bandwagons without really having a strong idea of how to use them effectively.
    I am working now on BC Scene – we will be bringing 600 artists from B.C. to Ottawa in April 2009. Among them, we will be welcoming Radix Theatre, Theatre Replacement and many many others. We are twittering and Facebooking and trying to get the word out – we want to make sure that people in Ottawa see the shows and that people in Vancouver know that their artists are being celebrated in Ottawa. However, with cuts to A Channel, CanWest, and CBC in limbo, it isn’t easy.
    I’ll keep tuning in to you for tips.
    laura.

  3. Thanks, Laura!
    I agree–it’s all about the planning. it’s really easy to lose time doing social networking, if you don’t have a marketing plan in place.
    Radix is one of my clients! I’m working on their press kit right now!
    So we will be working together (kind of). See–the power of social networking, right there.

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