Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How nytheatre.com Can Help You

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Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Martin Denton.

As I've read many of the past guest bloggers' posts here on FULL OF IT, I've been impressed by the great ideas they've shared with readers about how to make use of scarce resources to do a great job creating and producing theater at the indie level. One of the things that excited me about this Guest Blogging gig is to be able to re-affirm nytheatre.com's mission, which is entirely about providing a platform, at no charge to theater companies and artists, where they can promote their work for a large, broad, diverse audience.


I hope you know already that nytheatre.com is a program of the nonprofit corporation that I founded called The New York Theatre Experience, Inc. Because we're nonprofit, we're not beholden to advertisers or any businesses; we're here to serve our funders (the two largest of which are the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts) and our audience, which encompasses people who make theater in greater NYC and people who see/love/care about theater.


In other words, we exist to serve indie theater companies and indie theater artists, to help them spread the word about what they do. Our goal has always been to level the playing field in the world of NYC theater. Large commercial producers and well-funded nonprofit companies have access to lots of media coverage. Smaller companies do not. That's what nytheatre.com is for.


Do you know all the ways you can market your show on nytheatre.com? Here's a list:
  1. Send a listing for your show to be included on our website. Send it as far in advance as you can. Future shows are on our Coming Attractions Page. Current shows are on our Now Playing pages. Include lots of interesting information so we can figure out what special categories it can be listed in (such as Gay/Lesbian, Plays by Women, Kids/Families, etc.). If you're doing a reading series, we'll include it in our new Reading/Concert Series listings. If your show is part of a festival, we'll include it in our Festival Calendar. If it's a one-time only benefit or other event, we'll post it on our One Night Only page.
  2. Email me if you want to do a podcast or a cyberinterview about your show. We have limited resources and so can't guarantee this kind of coverage. But if you can suggest a special "twist" about your work, you will have a good chance of persuading us to do a feature about it. Be personal--reach out to me directly (listings@nytheatre.com) to let me know what you're doing. Give us as much notice as you can: podcasts, especially, are often scheduled a month to six weeks ahead of time.
  3. The best way to get reviewed is to give me a lot of interesting and valuable information about your show so that I can figure out who on our staff ought to cover it. And, once again, give me plenty of lead time. If your show is a revival, let me know what's distinctive about your approach to the material. If it's a new play, give me a good sense of the plot/themes/ideas in the piece. The more I know, the easier it will be for me to find the right person to review it and to get them interested in doing it.
  4. Include info about all of the personnel involved with your show! This is a particularly good way to help me decide about reviewing it: I always feel terrible when I discover I missed a production featuring a particular artist that I admire because I didn't realize that he or she was working on it.
  5. When you send your listing info, don't forget to include as many links as you can! We will link to any and all of the following from your individual show page on nytheatre.com: your company website, your show's website, your show's Facebook page, any video links (such as on YouTube), any audio links (e.g., a podcast).
  6. Are you offering discounts on your show's tickets to students or seniors? Be sure to include that info with your listing, because then we can include it on our special DISCOUNTS section on nytheatre.com, which is (understandably) a pretty popular feature. And you should also consider offering nytheatre.com readers a special discount offer as well, which will also be included on the DISCOUNTS page. (There's info about our nytheatre.com virtual coupons here.)
  7. After we post your listing, or review, or cyberinterview, or Indie Theater Companion profile, or podcast, or whatever on nytheatre.com, help us spread the word about it by using your Social Network to the max! Link to the article on Twitter and on Facebook. Include it in an email blast. Make it viral! This can make the difference between something being seen by a few thousand people and it being seen by tens of thousands of people.
Staying in touch is the most important thing. Rochelle and I are genuinely interested in the work being cooked up by the indie theater community, and it means a great deal to us when people let us know what they're up to. And it helps us find new, inventive, and interesting ways to apply our online resources in service of your art.


Oh, and before I sign off today...there's one easy way you can help us improve how we do what we do. We're currently conducting a reader survey, to obtain some information about ways we can enhance nytheatre.com in a few key areas. Please click this link to complete the survey. It's on Survey Monkey and it should take no more than 5 minutes to do. We appreciate your feedback!

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