Don’t Put Up Trash Just To Fill a Spot On the Calendar

Whether you are marketing a stage production, a vacation spot, or a brand of shoes one of the keys to a successful marketing campaign is to have a steady drip of new promotional content. This allows you to stay in front of your potential audience for an extended period of time – long enough to get through their initial hesitation about something new and get them comfortable enough with your show to buy a ticket.

If you follow this philosophy (and you should), you have a certain number of spots in your calendar that need to be filled with new marketing material. Sometimes you’re going to run out of time. The great promotional piece you had expected to have ready on a certain day isn’t ready to go, but you’ve got this spot right here that you wanted to fill. Do you put out nothing? Do you throw together some half-baked idea just to keep the spot in the calendar?

This is where I found myself with the Sold Out Run blog today. I’ve gotten into the habit of publishing a post here every Monday. Most weeks I’ve done some prep work ahead of time. Even if I haven’t written the full post by Monday morning, I’ve already outlined some ideas and started thinking about what point I want to make. Creating the actual post usually flows pretty quickly when all that work is already done.

That’s not what happened this week. I got pulled in a few different directions over the last few days, and I sat down at the computer the same morning this post is being published… with nothing prepared. Here are the thoughts that went through my head:

1.) I could skip today

Nothing would explode, right? The other blog posts I’ve written in the past would still be here providing value. Sure I would lose some momentum with my existing audience. Those people who have made reading my Monday post part of their weekly routine wouldn’t have anything new from me, making it feel a little less important to catch my post next week.

…the marketing calendar exists for one very simple reason: it works

I don’t like the idea of skipping. There may come a time down the road when I truly can’t help it, but the marketing calendar exists for one very simple reason: it works. Consistently appearing in front of my audience is important to being thought of as a reliable resource to you guys.

2.) I could rush a half-ready idea

So I’m committed to posting something. What can I get up quick?

I’ve been thinking about a piece on Google Analytics. I could put together a quick post about that, but I really wanted to get into some detail explaining how to set it up and what you should be looking at in the reports to understand how people are interacting with your website. There’s important detail that I don’t want to gloss over.

I received a good email from a new reader this week. I could publicly respond to that email as a blog post, but I haven’t yet given that email the thought it deserves. If I responded right now as a post, I wouldn’t be giving this reader the consideration that honestly I feel like I owe someone who takes the time to write me. I think it would be almost insulting to just rip off an unmeasured response just to conjure a blog post.

3.) I could quickly turn out a good idea

Then I remembered one of the slides from the workshop I recently gave on the subject of marketing timelines. In that slide I stress the point that people are going to judge the quality of your show based on the quality of whatever marketing piece they see. In my case people are going to judge the quality of Sold Out Run as a whole based on whatever blog post or podcast episode is in front of them.

Luckily for me, this was my answer. It gave me a topic I was already prepared to write about, and it illustrates a valuable point that can help you in your theatre marketing. This specific topic works for me because talking about a marketing timeline is an appropriate subject to include in my own marketing timeline. It’s very meta.

When you inevitably find yourself under the gun like this you will need to scramble to find a good idea that you can quickly turn around that is relevant to your production. It isn’t easy, but the show must go on.

And I can’t repeat this next week. Making the point once is valuable. Repeating it would be lazy, incompetent, or both.

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