In our rapidly evolving society, we must realize that while your art gallery’s goals for public relations remain constant, your strategies for success changed. PR can be most influential to the overall success of your gallery and the artists you represent. If executed consistently and strategically, it can help an unknown or brand-new gallery transform into a trusted art resource in a particular market.
Here let’s look at how you can maximize your gallery’s assets and adjust your strategy to meet the future of public relations.
What’s changed in gallery PR?
Public relations is the art of shaping the public’s perception and heighten awareness about your business. At its core, gallery PR communicates the who, what, when, where, and why about exhibition openings and new artists, but it can also be a valuable way to connect with the community and establish your gallery’s reputation with art collectors, interior designers, and architects.
There are five significant changes in PR of which an art gallery should be aware. Incorporating these as part of your strategy will help provide journalists what they need to meet the expectations of their readership.
- Personal branding: Public perception is now strongly influenced by their opinion of the people at the head of a company brand. Their personal brand is a factor in how much support they will give a company. We see companies communicating on a more personal level within their marketing communications, on social media and as part of their actions within their community to show the human side of the company. This ties into our second PR change.
- Social issues matter: PR that highlights taking a stance on important social issues of the day or a brand’s contributions to helping a cause influences buyers. Pitching a story that connects exhibitions with social issues or current events within your community will be more attractive to both journalist and their readers.
- Credibility and trust: With so many people trying to tell their story, journalists must be more selective with their articles. To build credibility and trust with journalists, only pitch quality stories that are the most relevant to the readership of a publication. You weaken your relationship with a journalist if you send a press kit for every little thing going on in the gallery. They must have a story angle that is relevant to their readers.
- Expand your network: You should look beyond your local TV, Radio and newspaper media channels. Expand your art gallery’s PR network to include bloggers and publications from organizations whose interests align with an exhibition theme or shared target audience. Often these organizations may welcome fresh and unique content for their newsletter.
- Online readability: As more people do their news reading online, providing journalists with content that is web-friendly may help your chances of getting published. Producing press releases that are in a format that readers can quickly scan online or video content would elevate your press kit.
Press releases about your upcoming show or a talented new artist your gallery represents can be compelling, but they are not the only kind of stories to pitch. Public relations is about storytelling. Consider feature stories that have a robust human-interest focus and are not as time sensitive as a press release announcing a temporary exhibition. Examples of an feature could include:
- An interesting story about how the gallery came to be and what inspires the gallery owner.
- An intimate story about one of your artists.
- How your gallery program contributes to the culture of the community.
- If you occupy an unusual gallery space, such as a historic building, pitch a story about how the gallery is using or honoring the space.
Also, remember journalists are continually looking for fresh topics to cover for their publication. This is where continuously creating your own gallery content in the form of blog posts and videos can help you stand out as a valuable resource. Remember to use keywords wisely so journalists can find you when they are online researching.
In all your PR efforts ensure you or the gallery is positioned as an industry or subject matter expert. Too often the only voice heard in a gallery story is that of the artist. While the artist often is the story, without the gallery’s expert voice and perspective the story is not complete.
To the Point
Your goals for your public relations strategy remain to increase exposure for your gallery business and artist projects, but in today’s media environment your tactics may need to evolve. As with all marketing strategies, PR is a long-term strategy. Try to add your own personal brand into your press releases and don’t be afraid to highlight your position on social issues. It takes time to establish yourself with journalists and bloggers as a trusted and credible source for exciting stories.
You can’t always control how your message is published, distributed and commented on. Craft your message to be relevant and attention-worthy for the audience and then amplify your coverage by posting on your website, gallery newsletters, and social media. Your efforts will require planning, creativity, consistency, and time to see meaningful results, but it is worth work.