Short & Sweet Marketing for Story Artists – Tip #5 of 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding

This is the fifth of five parts on how best to manage marketing during this particular time period…or beyond. While Story Crossroads sees “story artists” to typically mean spoken word storytellers, these tips apply to all performing artists or professionals across industries.

5-Tips for 5 Days:

  • Tip 1 – Website – REVEALED
  • Tip 2 – Social Media – REVEALED
  • Tip 3 – E-Newsletter & Email Lists – REVEALED
  • Tip 4 – Ideal Client – REVEALED
  • Tip 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding

You figured everything out – website, social media, E-Newsletter, Email Lists and even your Ideal Client. Now, how much can you be trusted to get things out when you say? How memorable are you?

Consistency deals with accuracy AND timliness.

If you have someone else handle your marketing (a great idea), then that person needs to understand the way you would talk or approach things. They need to be accurate with your personality.

Most likely, you are handling your own marketing. Yet, we can forget how we did it one time and keeping it that way for another similar situation. Can we adapt? Absolutely. Even companies update their logos, images, and mottoes from time to time. However, the most successful transitions are when the coloring/logo/image are close to the original. You can even have a transition plan of tweaking color tones year by year so it is gradual and still recognizable with your fan-base.

Story artists tend to be decent with branding on stage and then forget to use that same branding in all marketing materials. When people click on a link, seeing that imagery is a quick, “Whew! This is who I want!”

Give the people seeking you that affirmation.

Branding can involve objects, wardrobe, repeated phrases and traditions, and colors.

Story Crossroads uses blue/orange throughout what we do. We have a logo. We have t-shirts with “I have a story. You have a story. We all have stories.” for our volunteers, youth and adult community tellers, and our professional story artists. We use that motto on our email signature, our website homepage, and other applicable places. We do our best to be consistent…but our monthly E-Newsletter is really more a bi-monthly than monthly. Everyone can improve…yes, that means, us, too.

Organizations easily have a logo to promote. A story artist often rely on themselves as the brand. This is why at least one picture of the story artist is crucial on the homepage of a website, in the banners on Facebook, upon the header of a E-Newsletter, etc.

Being remembered and being reliable…nothing compares! Except for those paying gigs and opportunities. Believe you can be spectacular.

Quick 5-Question for Consistency & Branding:

  1. Do you have a catch phrase, opening line, ending line, or motto? How often do you use it? Do people expect these traditions?
  2. What colors are associated with you? Can you narrow them down to one color? Two colors? If you consider “all colors,” then are you consistent in using “all colors” clearly in all marketing or communications regarding you and your work?
  3. Is there a type of storytelling, art, music, dance, movement that you specialize in? Even with skills in other areas, is it clear about your niche?
  4. Do you have scheduled website updates at least once every two weeks? If less than this time-frame, then please add this to your “to do” list. Do you have scheduled social media? Each platform is different on what is expected. Facebook is best with no more than 3 posts a day. Twitter is at least 15 posts a day. Answers will vary. Here is some guidance from an article from 14 studies. You can even have software to help you in the planning and saving groupings of hashtags to save time. See an article “The 25 Best Social Media Management Tools for Businesses of All Sizes” by Alfred Lua/Buffer (11-minute read). Do you keep your promise of having a monthly E-Newsletter or whatever length of time you said?
  5. Did you consider AND actually send press releases as a story artist? Organization? Both, if it applies? Any event you are connected with…even if you are not the host? You need to be familiar with journalists and keep a rapport. You can send a press release every other week or at least monthly. That is NOT too much. If you don’t send press releases at all…commit!

Story Artists who have Branding:

  • Donald Davishttps://www.ddavisstoryteller.com/ – has the bowtie on stage as well as key image on his website – dresses up to honor his audience though the bowtie has an edge of surprise/fun to it – matches with his personal/family stories
  • Barbara Schutzgruberhttps://weavestory.wordpress.com/ – she is a weaver of silks and threads as well as stories – imagery works nicely together – she wears what she has woven when weaving stories – reminds this connection in all she does
  • Diane Ferlattehttp://www.dianeferlatte.com/ – has “the stick” or “talking stick” on stage and pounds out rhythm, often accompanied by Erik Pearson – could use this imagery more prominently for website and marketing materials

Story Artists with Consistency? Harder to Determine.

The best way is if a story artists declares, “Yes, I do send out every other week, once a month, etc.” We will let you ponder who feels consistent and focused on keeping you informed. Hopefully, you can count yourself.

If you want me to give initial thoughts on your consistency and branding and do not mind well-intended bluntness, I am open to letting you know if you email info@storycrossroads.org. Yes, this is complimentary.

Follow our next 5-part blog series entitled “How to Best Use the Story Crossroads Discord Server.”

The Story Crossroads Server on Discord has text/vocal/video chat options plus resources and ideas. Click here for the direct invite/link.

Find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups on our website home page at the bottom, the archive page, etc.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here

Short & Sweet Marketing for Story Artists – Tip #3 of 5 – E-Newsletter & Email Lists

This is the third of five parts on how best to manage marketing during this particular time period…or beyond. While Story Crossroads sees “story artists” to typically mean spoken word storytellers, these tips apply to all performing artists or professionals across industries.

5-Tips for 5 Days:

  • Tip 1 – Website – REVEALED
  • Tip 2 – Social Media – REVEALED
  • Tip 3 – E-Newsletter & Email Lists – TODAY
  • Tip 4 – Ideal Client
  • Tip 5 – Art of Consistency & Branding

E-Newsletters and Emails Lists reflect your ultimate fans, and every artist needs fans

For certain dreams and ventures, you need that fan base. Want to succeed with live events? Virtual events? Want a Patreon or other monthly subscriptions like Twitch from those who love what you do? You need people every time. Not a random person. A person dedicated and willing to follow, and, eventually commit funds. To You. To Your Art.

What is the difference between E-Newsletters and Email Lists? As shared in this article written by Kim Cohen with Remarkety, E-Newsletters are to “engage and educate” and focus on “news” while Email Lists are about “sales.”

Always grow your E-Newsletters and Email Lists organically. Never buy lists. These need to be people who have experienced what you do in one way or another. Acquaintances, collaborators, funders, sponsors, and volunteers also fall within “experienced what you do.”

Every event, website, social media, and live and virtual networking MUST provide opportunities for people to choose to sign up. You need at least SEVEN PLACES that people can sign up or connect with you such as: website homepage; website archives/own page; email signature; feedback forms; follow-up emails; hints in advertising literature; written details and/or spoken for any video, audio, or other media shared. Possibilities are endless. When we had live networking, I always carried a clipboard with the sign-up for E-Newsletter as well as our email lists.

Yes, you can have more than one email list. Then you can specialize or honor why people are following in the first place. Are they beyond your geography? Are they local and can collaborate easier? Do they only want events? Do they prefer how-to?

Start at least with one E-Newsletter (more paragraph/event/content focus) and one Email List (regular as well as quick announcements). Get more targeted, “complicated,” and efficient as the years go on.

Quick 5-Question for E-Newsletter Audit:

  1. Do you have an E-Newsletter? If not, you need to fix that now. Do not worry if you only send to a handful of family/friends at first. Grow it from there. Everyone starts with “zero” but everything later is always more. And ALWAYS permission-based.
  2. How do you send out your E-Newsletter? Do you use “normal” email or have you invested in an email service such as Constant Contact, Mailchimp (some bad PR lately), etc.? See “10 Best Email Marketing Services for Small Business” by Hosting Facts/Brad Smith put out 4/29/2020. The one we use and enjoy is ranked #8 – Aweber. Do you study the analytics and know the percentage who open, what days, times, etc? Then, do you make any adjustments with this knowledge? Most people open our emails on Wednesdays mornings. Our smartest posts are geared slightly before that ideal time. And…the average open rate needs to be at least 15-25% and click rate needs to be at least 2.5% (like those links/web addresses for call-to-action).
  3. How often do you send out your E-Newsletter? How good are you at keeping that “promise” of being monthly, quarterly, etc. Having is twice or once year…is sad. Please commit at least quarterly with a goal to become monthly. If done more often, will people be annoyed or do they welcome this constant communication? Annoyance leads to unsubscribes from people and/or complaints. THOUGH, not having an easy “unsubscribe” button makes people nervous. People like the ability to choose even if they intend to be “forever followers.”
  4. Besides upcoming events, what content are you sharing that someone can use no matter if this E-Newsletter was opened the same day it went out? If opened/read a week later? A month later? A year or more later? Do people have access to your archives if they missed, joined much later, etc.?
  5. Are your goals and ideals easily understood by someone within and beyond your performing arts world? Do you use lingo or phrases that need to be explained? Ex. Someone may not understand what is meant by a “story swap”? Do you abbreviations assuming people know what is meant such as putting “NSN” instead of “National Storytelling Network”? The rule? Never assume.

Quick 5-Question for Email Lists (Some Repeats):

  1. How many Email Lists do you have? None is an unacceptable answer. You need at least one. By five years, you probably will have two or more. Consider the types of announcements and call-to-actions that people would want? Workshop participant sign-ups? Concert-goers? Connected more for donations? Pure fan with a vague financial commitment?
  2. How do you send out your Email Lists? Do you use “bcc” or “cc”? Are you great about privacy? Remember, your E-Newsletters and Email Lists could be coming from the save service. See #2 for E-Newsletters above.
  3. How often do you send out your Email Lists? Again, see #3 for E-Newsletters. DIFFERENT AVERAGE OPEN/CLICK RATES – Do you have the ability to see if at least 20-30% are opening the emails with 20% or more of THAT clicking/opening links? Ponder reasons and re-do wording/approach if not getting those numbers.
  4. Have you created specific email marketing campaigns? Have no idea what that means or what you need to do? No worries…check out this article “19 Examples of Brilliant Email Marketing Campaigns” by Lindsay Kolowich. (Does warn you at top that this is a 17-minute read.)
  5. Is it obvious what your Call-to-Action is within the email? Then…do people have access to your archives if they missed, joined much later, etc.?

High Quality Storytelling E-Newsletters:

  • International Storytelling Center – Sign-Up at bottom right of website homepage – comes out monthly – mix of news with resources/video/something
  • Connie Regan-Blake – Sign-Up is merged with the Contact Form on bottom of website homepage, say “Interested in Newsletter” from drop-down menu
  • John McCutcheon – Sign-Up is on left-center of website homepage, mentions how often and expectations with this phrase “Monthly updates on shows, sales, future projects and more!”

High Quality Storytelling Email Lists:

  • Timpanogos Storytelling – Pop-Up to join Email Lists after hanging out on website for about 10 seconds – comes out as needed, does not have a regular schedule, yet when it does come it, visuals are stunning
  • StoryCorps – Can be found on bottom of website homepage – comes out weekly – always call-to-action of “donate” at the bottom – instead of Pop-Up when going to website to the Email List/Newsletter (they have combined approach), their Pop-Up is about donating
  • Please keep in mind that individual story artists can also have high quality email lists. Many performers forget to have an Unsubscribe button and/or Email Marketing Service and/or do not add any images, etc. Let me know if you feel like your email list(s) passes the audit. We want to be part of it.

If you want me to give initial thoughts on your E-Newsletter or Email List(s) and do not mind well-intended bluntness, I am open to letting you know if you email info@storycrossroads.org. Yes, this is complimentary. Also, if we are not already part of your E-Newsletter or Email list, you have our permission to add us if you are a story artist and/or story organization. You’re welcome.

Yes, you can find our E-Newsletter and Email List Sign-Ups on our website home page at the bottom, the archive page, etc.

See our already-streamed/recorded The Big Why Panel: Historical Storytelling meets Humanities with three options to watch it featuring our panelists: Dr. Caroliese Frink Reed, Sheila Arnold, Darci Tucker, and Brian “Fox” Ellis. We are grateful to funding from Utah Humanities.

See our 5-video playlist from the Story Crossroads Spectacular by clicking here

If you really want to experiment with us, we have the Story Crossroads Server on Discord with text/vocal/video chat options plus resources and ideas. Click here for the direct invite/link.