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Ideas That Work
The Greenwich Workshop Dealer E-Newsletter
April 1, 2003

In this issue…
1. Dealer Success: Settlers West Puts Their Local Media to Work
2. PR Tips: Ticklers & Piggybacks
3. Tech Tips: All About PDFs

1. Dealer Success: Settlers West Puts Their Local Media to Work

As a part of your show package, you receive media selection and press release writing services from the Greenwich Workshop Media Relations department. What happens to your press release after it is mailed to the media destinations that you have chosen and how can you make it work for you?

"Mailing the press release to your local media destinations is the first step toward garnering editorial, TV or airwaves coverage for your gallery." says Melody Johnson, the owner of Settler's West Contemporary Fine Art & Graphics. "If you don't follow-up on the press release, you won't get the editorial coverage of the event that we all rely on. I have a step-by-step plan that I follow to insure media coverage."

Melody says, " I give the press release one week from the date that it is mailed by The Greenwich Workshop to arrive on the arts editor's desk. The Greenwich Workshop provides me with the name of the editor and I make the telephone calls. The first thing that I ask the editor is whether or not it is a good time for him or her to speak with me. I explain that I have an event with an artist and give a quick description of the event. At this juncture, I ask the editor if this sounds like something that might interest them. I am looking for a commitment from the editor. I offer the editor really great full color images any way that they would like to have them and I enumerate the options - digital on CD or e-mail attachment, transparency or glossy. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for the editor to create a story about my event. The editors are incredibly busy and they appreciate me making their job easier to do.

I ask the editor if he or she has received my release and ask permission of the editor to call them back. I also ask for an e-mail address. It is important to note that if you make any promises to the editor to provide additional information or images that you follow-through with your promise quickly and per the editor's preferred method of receiving information. Since the press release is mailed out 30-45 days in advance of my show, I send out an e-mail following up on our telephone conversation and several subsequent e-mails as the date gets closer. In the subsequent e-mails I outline for the editor the biography of the artist appearing at the gallery, any awards that the artist may have recently acquired (i.e. Chesley, Arts in the Parks) and impress on them the national importance of the artist that is appearing. It is important to call to the Community Calendar editor, one week before the show and make yet another telephone call to the arts editor, reminding them of the upcoming show."

Melody takes her relationships with her local media editors and customers very seriously. Following her show she places an ad in the local paper that provided her with editorial coverage. In the ad she names the artist and reminds people that may have attended that the artist's artwork is available in the gallery and thanks all of those people that did attend for coming out and supporting her gallery.

Last, but far from least she thanks the editor that assigned the story and the writer that wrote the story with a card and token of her appreciation. Often, the editor and writer will receive books personalized and signed by the artist books for inclusion in their private libraries.

Does this type of due diligence pay off? You bet it does. Two local daily newspapers covered this artist appearance event. One paper ran a four column by 15" article that included three full color images and the other newspaper ran a four column by 15" article that included a black and white photo of the artist and three full color images. This article carried over into the inside of the entertainment section. Both articles were on the front page of the entertainment section. This show was an unequivocal success, generating a substantial number of book and print sales for Settlers West Contemporary Fine Art & Graphics.

2. PR Tips: Ticklers & Piggybacks

If your attempts at media coverage have fallen flat, start taking a proactive approach to free publicity by identifying interesting, compelling story ideas that the media needs. Yes NEED! Newspapers, magazines and trade publications have hundreds of thousands of column inches to fill. TV and radio stations have hundreds of hours of news and community interest programs they must broadcast. The number of media outlets is greater than ever, and competition is fierce for advertising dollars, viewers and subscribers. The secret to savvy media relations is knowing exactly what they want and then giving it to them.

Here are some tickler questions designed to help you identify stories within your gallery setting. You can call your local newspaper, TV and radio reporters and tickle them with one of the suggestions below, or write up a quick "Media Alert" and send it out.

Is your gallery doing anything unique, or something different from your competitors? Does your gallery gives its customers coupons good for framing discounts for every referral that a customer sends in?

Are you the local angle to a national or regional event? Example, do you or anyone at your gallery have relatives or friends in the Middle East? During the war in Kosovo, many local newspapers and stations ran stories about people in their own communities who kept in touch with their friends and relatives in the war zone.

Can you piggyback on a news event? Example, after severe rains in Milwaukee a few years ago, a Minnesota company got several minutes of free advertising on a Milwaukee radio station by talking to the drive-time radio host about a special pump that removes standing water and moisture in the air. The host interviewed a company representative and gave out the company's toll free number. Your angle, you are the expert on preservation and restoration of flood or water damaged family art heirlooms.

Can you piggyback on trends? Your local media will be interested in your perspective as art experts as to the type of art that your buyers are trending toward.

If you have ideas for topics you would like to see in future issues, please email Sallie Norelli

3. Tech Tips: All About PDFs

Let's say our Art Department has designed a color ad for a show coming to your gallery. In order for you to be able to see the ad and sign off on it, what would be the best way for us to get that ad in front of you? We could fax it, but the ad would arrive in black and white. We could print out a copy and FedEx it, but that would involve both time (waiting for the FedEx to arrive) and money (to send it). The most efficient method would be to email the ad. But since the ad was created using a program you might not have (Quark XPress) on an operating system you might not use (Mac), how exactly can we email it and make sure you'll see the exact same ad we're seeing here? The answer is PDF.

So, what is a PDF anyway? Well, PDF stands for Portable Document Format, and is a unique type of cross platform file format developed by Adobe. You view a PDF using a PDF reader called Acrobat, which you (or anyone) can download for free from the Adobe website. Here's the address: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html

Why PDF? Because it's a cutting-edge format which offers a number of pros for creator and end-user alike. Here are just a few of the reasons PDFing has become the industry standard in file sharing…

Cross-Platforming: a PDF file can be opened on virtually any computer, regardless of software, hardware, and operating system. In other words, you can read a PDF document in Windows that was created on a Macintosh and vice-versa. (The only software you need is Acrobat, the free reader mentioned above.)

Navigation: a PDF can allow users navigational options similar to web pages, including internal and external links, bookmarks, thumbnails of each page, buttons for navigation, views to allow a user to magnify or reduce a page to fit within the user's computer screen.

Ultra-Printable: since PDF files are based on the PostScript language imaging model, this enables sharp, color-precise printing on almost all printers.

Ultra-Viewable: On screen PDF files have a precise color match regardless of the monitor used. PDF files allow the user to magnify documents up to 800% without the loss of clarity in text or graphics.

Smaller Files: when a PDF is created, the optimization can reduce their file sizes to as small as ten-percent the size of the original. This is a huge advantage when emailing documents including images, etc.

If you have ideas for topics you would like to see in future issues, please email Joe Landry.

Ask an Artist: Featuring Bev Doolittle

Starting in the next issue of IDEAS THAT WORK, we will feature an ASK AN ARTIST area which will allow you to have the featured artist answer your questions. The next issue will feature Bev Doolittle, who has just launched a line of fine art porcelain keepsakes which are featured in the April 2003 Greenwich Workshop catalogue.


IDEAS THAT WORK is published bi-weekly by The Greenwich Workshop © 2003

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