Do You Want a Production Blog?

I mean – if I just gave you one. Do you want it? Here’s why I ask:

As far as I’m concerned, a production blog is a must for promoting a show. Social media is an excellent means to reaching out to people, but where are you sending them once you have their attention? Unless they’re ready to buy the first time they see something about your show (statistically unlikely) then once your Tweet or status update gets pushed down the page, they’ll forget all about you.

Compare that to using social media to link people to a web page that you control. Once they finish looking at the image or article that pulled them in, you can offer a whole variety of details about your show: cast bios, videos, or a hundred other things that would be great to show them right now while they are interested.

Of course that means you need to get all that information on a website which might sound like a technical nightmare if you aren’t used to that sort of thing. A production blog makes it very straight forward.

  • Want to include a YouTube video? Just copy and paste the link from your address bar.
  • Need a thumbnail gallery of rehearsal photos? Upload them and go.
  • Want to share the review you got in the local paper? No knowledge of HTML required.

The free part

What I’m driving at is I’ve been a web developer for my entire adult life. I enjoy building sites, and I have a project I’ve been tinkering with off and on for the last 6 months. It’s a WordPress theme that is built to be a production blog.

It still needs some polish, but when it’s ready my intent is to give the production blog away for free through Sold Out Run. I’ll provide a few video screencasts showing how to personalize your site for your show.

Is this something you would use in 2014?

WordPress is free. You’d still have the cost of website hosting and optionally a domain name, but for the most part this should remove any financial barriers to having a production blog. Any show that wants a WordPress theme that was built from the ground up to promote a theatre production, can have it.

Should I make this a priority?

I have a lot of ideas I want to do with Sold Out Run. Certainly more than I could accomplish in 2014. So my question to you guys is: should finishing this production blog theme and making it available for download be a priority? Is this something you would use in 2014?

Let me know in the comments. If it seems like enough people would like this sooner rather than later, I’ll bump this up the queue and get it into your hands. If not, I’ll shift my attention to other projects to help you guys market your theatre productions.

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  1. Right now, the question seems to be: should you spend your valuable time creating a production blog, or spend it on one of your other ideas for Sold Out Run. But we don’t know what those other ideas are, so it makes it hard to choose! 🙂

    My company already uses a WordPress site, but we’re pretty happy with the existing theme, so it wouldn’t be as useful for us. Then again, maybe it would blow our current theme out of the water! And plus, you say you enjoy building it, so keep doing what you love! I’m sure you’ll find a lot of people that are interested in a free theme. Plus, you can use it in your own marketing, maybe as an incentive to sign up for email updates! 🙂

    Joel on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 1:15am
    • Joel, that was by design. 🙂 I know it’s a strange question since you guys don’t know what the opportunity cost is, but some of my other big ideas have different time frames, resources required, and areas they could impact. It would be comparing apples to oranges in most cases.

      But you correctly diagnosed that what I’m really trying to get a handle on is if this is a need for people right now, which is exactly what you are helping me get a picture of. Thank you, sir.

      Clay Mabbitt on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 10:29am
  2. Thanks for your post and all your ideas!
    I would not use this production blog as we already have our own tools but I am sure smaller companies would…
    Claire Besson

    Claire Besson on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 5:22am
    • Thanks, Claire. The Orchestre de Paris site looks well built and well utilized, by the way. Love the way the full calendar is shown in limited real estate on the home page.

      Clay Mabbitt on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 10:32am
  3. Footlite already has a website and a FB presence — would this replace that? If so, then we probably are not interested. If it would be a supplement then we might be……

    Maria Matters on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 4:42pm
    • It really depends on how you use your website, Maria. The intent of a production blog is to really have a lot of material about the creation of the show leading up to opening. It helps you foster a base of fans who are engaged and invested in the production. (Think Peter Jackson’s extensive blogging during the Lord of the Rings movies.)

      Clay Mabbitt on Fri, Feb 28th, 2014 at 5:18pm
  4. Hey Clay. I’m pretty new to this, so potentially it could help me. I’ve just got the website up for my current show, and it has the option of a blog page, which I haven’t used yet. Personally I find the kind of update that says “rehearsals are going great!” banal and annoying, so if you’re talking about some kind of guide to creating an engaging production blog, I’d find that v useful.

    rachel on Wed, Mar 12th, 2014 at 10:22pm

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