The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

April Workshops April 2, 2010

Filed under: social media,Workshops — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:15 am
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For some, April showers bring May flowers. For me, it brings four (yipes!) workshops:

Social media for Visual Artists (with Kris Krug)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
4:00pm – 5:00pm
Diane Farris Gallery
1590 W 7th Street

Attention: This event is free of charge and limited to 35 people.
Please RSVP by email to or by phone (604)737-2629 with Stacey.

Social Media and Web 2.0 is the newest and most exciting way to market your art work. But the choices are dazzling: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr–what’s best for you, and where do you start?

Kris Krug and Rebecca Coleman will introduce you to the new and exciting world of Social Media Marketing. This one-hour workshop will include:

* The theory behind social media and how it works
* A brief introduction to each of the main social media platforms, with examples of how you can use them for marketing your work
* A Q & A period, where Kris and Rebecca will address specific concerns from the audience.

Social Media for Artists
April 17, 1:30-4:30 pm
Richmond Cultural Centre
Art at Work is Richmond’s second annual arts symposium, a full day of professional development workshops and talks for members of the local arts and culture community.

More information

Demystifying Social Media (with Simon Ogden)

April 27
9:30-12:30 (Part 1)
1:30-4:30 (Part 2)
Alliance For Arts and Culture, 938 Howe St
$50 each for members, $75 for non-members

The marketing game has changed. The internet’s offer of instant global communication has given us a new tool kit to reach our customers. To succeed in this new arena you first have to understand its language.

There’s no point in learning how to pull the levers until you know why   you’re standing at the controls. In this morning session (to be followed by an advanced afternoon workshop with separate registration) the facilitators will discuss the paradigm shift in marketing from its traditional forms to the social internet. They will talk about what it means to join a social network, the etiquette required and how to choose the platforms that are right for you.

The facilitators have been using social media platforms such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with measurable success for several years now, and will pass on the lessons they’ve learned. And they’ll examine the art of communicating and building relationships within this compelling new world.

More information

Teleclass: Can Artists Be Friends With Money? (with Shell Tain)
Tuesday, May 4th (yes, I know, it’s technically in May–but its very close to April 🙂 )
10:15am to 11:15 p.m. Pacific (1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern)
Registration: at
Fee: FREE…your only cost for this teleclass is your regular long distance call charges.

As creatives, you just want to be creative!  You are passionate about your art, and you want to spend all of your time doing that.  You do not want to spend time thinking about how to pay the rent, how to market yourself, and how to create more income.  If you want to survive, thrive, and even prosper as an artist, you need to get clear about your relationship with money.
§        Does it feel like money is some mysterious thing that no one ever really explained to you?
§        Do you sometimes wish that you never had to think about money again?
§        Does crunching numbers sound about as fun as a root canal?
Money coach, Shell Tain will be with us to point out the money related road blocks that keep us stuck in the mindset of being starving artists.  Shell has a no-number-crunching approach to money that helps us see it in new ways.  You’ll leave this call with some new perspectives and ideas about you, money and about your relationship with it.
Together, these two will lead you towards untangling some of the money thinking that keeps road blocking you on your way to being both a creative and a prosperous artist.

The teleclass format is interactive.   When you register, you will receive a phone number and a PIN.  All you need to do is call the phone number at the time of the call.  When directed, punch in the PIN number and you will be on a conference type call with the other participants.  It’s that easy.

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Creating an email signature October 7, 2009

Last week, I got an email from Simon. This, in and of itself, is not strange, given that we work together. A lot. What was new was this spiffy signature:
simon sig

I took a screenshot and converted it to a .jpg, so you’ll have to believe me when I say all links are clickable.

Email signatures are a powerful tool. They’re like the digital equivalent of a business card. As we become more and more active online, there are more and more places to connect with us, or points of entry. You might meet someone on LinkedIn that you didn’t know through Facebook, or vice-versa. So it’s important to allow your clientele to connect with you in whatever way they like the best.

So, first of all, if you don’t yet have an email signature, create one. Most email programs will allow you to do this, even the web-based ones like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail.

Your signature should include any below that are applicable:

  • Name, position, company
  • Logo
  • Address (ONLY if you have an office, not your home address)
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Blog URL
  • Ways to connect with social networking: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

I came across a cool little program that writes the code for you, called Sig22.

Special thanks to the lovely and talented Janet Baxter, who sent me this article from CNN Business on how to create a digital business card.

Maybe if you ask him nicely, Simon will tell you how he did his.

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Demystifying Social Media: A Workshop March 30, 2009

I belong to a group of people that all to marketing for Arts Organizations, here in Vancouver. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know by now that we are suffering from loss of media coverage of our events, due to cutbacks in newspapers, and, this week, the CBC.

It seems, then, more important than ever, to learn about and take advantage of, new ways of generating publicity. For me, right now, it’s about social media. The problem with social media is that it is so new, and because of that, is constantly evolving. Plus, there is a dizzying array of sites out there–how can you possibly manage them all?

I’m so glad you asked. Simon Ogden and I have been asked to lead a workshop on Demystifying Social Media, specifically for Artists. This workshop will take place on May 5, 1-5 pm, at the Alliance for Arts and Culture (938 Howe St).

This four-hour workshop will help neophyte and experienced arts marketers and publicists to navigate this new world of opportunity. Site by site, we will:

  • introduce you to the language and etiquette of social media and Web 2.0
  • define its place in your personal marketing toolbox
  • dispel all those inevitable misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with emerging technologies
  • help you create a new media marketing plan that’s right for your organization

Workshop cost: $50 (+GST) for Alliance members, $75 (+GST) for non-members

Please phone 604-681-3535 or email to register.

Hope to see you there!

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Back to Basics February 1, 2009

It’s weird, y’know? I spend all my days doing marketing of some way, shape or form. But sometimes, when you are doing something all the time, you get your head so involved in it, that you loose perspective on the very basis of why it is you do what you do.

I’m writing this the morning after having a meeting with Simon and some of my clients, the fine people at Itsazoo Productions. See, Itsazoo has a production coming up in March, and while I’m doing the PR for them, they wanted to get a sense of what else they could do on a grassroots level from someone who’d been there. Simon was recently part of a team that did a very successful production called The Twenty-First Floor at the PAL (which is where Itsazoo is producing Death of a Clown).

When you are learning about marketing, here is lesson number one: word of mouth is always, always, always the best way to sell tickets. We are so inundated with advertising these days (it’s everywhere), that we have learned to tune it out. It is for that reason that you need to have multiple touchpoints to get the word out about your show. But a 30-second chat with the person beside you on the bus, followed up by a flyer or postcard, is going to increase your odds of selling a ticket dramatically.

We love what we do as theatre artists. We are passionate. And when you really, really love something and believe in it, selling it becomes oh, so much easier and convincing.

So, the next time you are in a play, take a stack of postcards with you everywhere you go. Take a risk. Talk to a stranger about what you do. And you might be surprised at the result.

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The gospel according to Simon December 15, 2008

As the December comes to an end, we begin to turn our attention to the unvarnished potential of the new year.  What’s next? How do we fill the theatre?  Well, my dear pal, Simon Ogden (of The Next Stage) wrote a fantastic guest post for the Praxis Theatre blog  last week that has some pretty good ideas.ogden

All of us are in business to do one thing: get bums in seats. And Simon has some ideas about how to make that happen.

Our job at this stage in our development, Independent Theatre, is not to sell our next show. Our job is to use that show to sell our brand of entertainment. And to do that we have to sell each other’s shows as well, with no prejudice, judgment or competitiveness, until the routine of checking out the small-house theatre listings is burned into the consciousness of our respective communities. And if politics are an issue amongst the companies in your particular community, they’re going to have to be the traffic of the stage alone for a while. What do you say?

Simply put, it’s getting smart about marketing that is the key to our evolution. As artists we’re doing fine. Astonishing, even. As business people we suck. We’ve got grossly overworked Artistic Directors handling the creative and the business side of things. We’ve got production budgets riding on one piss-up fundraising party. We’re spinning wheels when we need to fly, and there’s never been a better time to take off. In a tight economy we represent the best entertainment quality for the least amount of money. Period. So we must stop marketing only to our friends, our families, to other artists. 10 minutes on Facebook will take care of that. We must have a dedicated marketer on the staff of every single show who does nothing but sell that show (and thereby the industry), to the community at large outside of the choir, to all those citizens who are always telling me, all the time, that they don’t go out and see theatre because they never hear about it. We need to find more people to tell them about it. And in all probability the third or fourth time someone from our community tells them they should go see a play, they will.

Click here to read the entire post.


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I feel like a gospel preacher… November 15, 2008

I’m still buzzing.

Yesterday afternoon, I got to be part of a panel on Marketing Using Web 2.0 at the GVPTA’s annual Making a Scene Theatre Conference (see previous post and its shameless fawning over Daniel MacIvor). I am always a bit nervous at these things, just because I fear I won’t know the answers to questions, but the great thing about being on a panel, is that there are other people who probably will.


Me, Simon Ogden and Rebecca Bolwitt in the Upstairs lounge at the Arts Club. Photo courtesy of Miss 604.

Enter my fellow panelists: Rebecca Bolwitt (the lovely Miss 604 herself) and Simon Ogden (who is on a crusade to create a new Vancouver theatre audience). Rebecca’s input was invaluable–she gave, I think, credibility to what we had to say, because she is a professional blogger, and comes off as such. Simon and I were able to chime in with our experiences of marketing shows using Web 2.0 technology.

I’ll be really up front about my reasons for agreeing to be on this panel. As theatre artists, we need to get serious about marketing. But we live in lean times, and only the largest companies among us can afford to buy advertising on the side of a bus (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). For the rest; small to medium-sized independent theatre companies, we have to find new and inexpensive ways to market our shows, and Web 2.0 technology is custom-made.

We talked for an hour and a half to the standing-room-only crowd about blogging–both starting your own blog to give your client base a ‘peek behind the scenes’, and how to pitch your show to bloggers to get them to write about it, and the marketing applications of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, My Space, E-mail, E-mail newsletter software, and online event listings.

And people were getting it–they were engaged, asking questions, taking notes, and I could see light bulbs going on. It was really, really exciting. I think we may have converted a few souls.

Can I get an Amen?

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