Today I realised that it’s been over a month since I last wrote anything here. That particular fact doesn’t bother me, I’ve left this blog for longer periods than that before. I think what bothers me is how little I’ve wanted to write anything – because, well, what do you write in a time like this?
People with more experience than me in marketing and the arts have written some excellent blogs that sum up where our industry is at. I can definitely recommend Sam Freeman’s ‘Arts Marketing – So What Do We Do Now?‘ and David Jubb’s ‘Time to Change‘.
However, there have been plenty more blogs, articles and opinion pieces that have simply frustrated me. Everyone is rushing to predict what we will be doing in three months/six months/twelve, and it will be so different/much better/much worse than where we are now. The fact is, none of us have any idea from the relatively short amount of time we’ve had (six weeks, people!) since the UK began to shut down, how audiences patterns; consumer patterns, have changed and will change.
So, in terms of work right now, everything that I’m currently doing is in the online sphere. The organisation I work for has been running creative projects via social media, which has meant trying to balance that kind of content with the overall direction of our brand. It’s also been an ongoing exercise in seeing where people engage best with that kind of content (Twitter, as it turns out – it’s much better for conversational sharing than Instagram/Facebook) and doing some bits of experimentation, with IGTV and with Facebook stories.
Elsewhere, we ran our first ever entirely online event – a poetry slam run via Zoom, and streamed on YouTube. There were technical hitches and issues, as there always are in such things, but if you have a few moments to watch a little bit of it I’d definitely urge you to. The audience and participants rallied round to make it a really nice evening. Since this was also an event advertised entirely via digital means (e.g. Facebook/Google ads, eshots, organic social and listings sites) I’m also grateful to other cultural organisations and news sites who helped us to cross-promote it.
Elsewhere in my work I’ve been spending far more time than I normally would going over stats – from social, from our website, and in as much detail as possible. We’re taking this time to try lots of new things, and so we need absolutely clear data on what has and hasn’t worked. There will be ongoing issues with this (what benchmark do you compare it to? What really proves audience growth/change?) but if we really are going to be in this digital-only state for the long-haul, we’re going to have to figure all these things out and prove that we’re doing things as well as we can.