Marketing the Arts

Originally published on 12 October 2015 on

When I told my pal Grant that I was enjoying providing some copywriting and editing services to the amazing Sydney Dance Company, he told me about his favourite blog on arts marketing, Trevor O’Donnell’s Marketing the Arts to Death.

Grant worked in arts organisations for rather a long time, I believe, before starting Benson & Fox Concierge Services (Need something done in your home? Anything at all? Get in touch with Grant).

I love O’Donnell’s blogs. They’re on the ball, to the point and hilarious. And are basically about the main point that I keep in mind for all of my copywriting: who is the audience?

So, instead of just keeping Grant’s recommendations of his favourite posts to myself, I thought I’d share them here:

Two ways to design a classical music brochure

Arts Leaders’ Egos and Bad Arts Marketing

‘Monumental’ Adjective Abuse at Minnesota Orchestra

San Diego Opera Presents a Short White Man in a Brown Suit

The Arts’ Shameful Habit: Masturbatory Marketing

Grant’s particular fave is The Girl In Starbucks test. Though really, it doesn’t need to be a girl nor in Starbucks. My brother Walter, who works in arts, chimed in:

‘I thought it was my idea!  Take your project description, find anyone at a Starbucks, have them read the description and then tell you what you’ve said… if it IS what you’ve said, thank them and buy their coffee for them… if it ISN’T what you thought you wanted to say, then thank them and buy their coffee for them…

If it’s clear to a layperson, then it’ll be clear to folks who are ‘in’ on art or your discipline or genre…’

The next time I’m having trouble making sure my copy is accessible, I think I might hit a local coffee shop. There are plenty around Surry Hills where I live and work…

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One Response to Marketing the Arts

  1. Hi, Andy! Thanks for the good words. And thanks to Grant for the referral. It’s nice to know somebody’s still paying attention. (The brown suit post is one of my favorites, too.)

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