What Broadway Can Teach Content Marketers

Steal the stage with Broadway’s street-smart promotion playbook

BY: Michael Maerlender, Content Intern

We seek out entertainment in all aspects of life. Lucky for us, it isn’t hard to find. The arts dominate—and, to a certain extent, create—our culture. And theatre, specifically, has a unique ability to insert itself into life. But think about it: When was the last time you saw a commercial for a play?

Broadway doesn’t need traditional channels of advertising, because the plays and musicals of the Great White Way do certain things differently—and your content can too.

Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

Who do you trust more, an ad or your best friend? It’s obvious that “word of mouth marketing is the best marketing money can’t buy.” But that begs the question: How do you get people talking? Do something memorable.

In Sleep No More, an immersive theatre experience in Chelsea (not on Broadway, but still), the show takes complete control. From the moment guests enter, they’re under the control of the play. Everything is scripted. That’s a memorable experience—one that resells itself when a co-worker asks on Monday, “What did you do this weekend?”

Give all your content the same attention and take hold of your brand’s experience by making each interaction something special. Even the small stuff—like social media posts. Make sure the consumer interacts with your brand from the first moment. If you create something worth sharing, people will talk.

Self Promote … with Everyone, Everywhere

If you have an actor in your social circle, you know immediately. (They’ll make sure of that.) Why? Because conversation generally creates interest, and interest converts into ticket sales. Look at Lin-Manuel Miranda, the award-winning creator of Hamilton: An American. Before he was a massive star, he used Facebook and Twitter to promote his work. His posts conveyed passion for his projects, which resonated with his friends … and his friends’ friends … and the  entire entertainment industry.

That’s why it’s so important to talk about your content. And to share it. Start by inviting family and friends to follow your brand on social media. Leverage a content discussion into your LinkedIn network. Mention your blog over small talk at the next industry function. Use each and every platform you have to talk about what your brand, content or service offers. And don’t forget: Your passion matters. It’s contagious. If this technique serves theatre as a substitute for a marketing budget, then imagine its potential when paired with a funded marketing plan.

Create a Network Audience

What if you could instantly reach the audience of another company, in addition to your own? All it takes are partnerships. On the outside, it might look like every Broadway production is fighting against all of the others. But go to one. You’ll see ads for similar shows in the playbill. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

For you, this can mean engaging business peers at industry events. (For us, that’s the American Advertising Federation and CreativeMornings in Nashville, and the Content Council, nationally.) It’s an opportunity to share with—and learn from—your peers. And that includes social media, where you can like, comment on or even share standout content from industry peer, which they’ll appreciate. Even better, each social interaction increases your brand’s reach to a curated audience in a smart, friendly way. That’s a good look for you.

Go for the Gold

There’s no better prefix than “award-winning.” Whether you’re a marketing agency or an underwater basket-weaving team, there’s a podium out there for what your brand does. Often, all it takes is an email or online form plus a work sample to submit, and the payoff can be massive. Consider the Tony Awards. Many plays and musicals go into those awards with only a small following outside the theatre community. Until they win.

Find the right industry accolades and make them a new goal for your brand. For iostudio, that’s been Addy, Pearl, and Folio’s Eddie and Ozzie awards. Sure, awards aren’t everything, but they demonstrate to clients that you want your work for them to be the very best. And win or lose, that goal—being the best—always elevates content.

Looking for a talented cast to make your brand famous? Put us to work.

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Michael is a content intern here at iostudio—and pleasantly surprised to discover that “content” is not slang for “coffee run.” Instead of fetching lattes, Michael assists our creative team on copywriting projects and also serves as a nice filler for that open desk next to Mark. As a rising senior at Vanderbilt University with majors in Theatre and Creative Writing, Michael is not only the youngest person in the office, he’s also the least athletic. He loves talking about music, playwriting, graphic design and the DreamWorks animated masterpiece, “The Road to El Dorado.”