Skills Needed to Effectively Promote the Arts

By Richard Bryant


Communications Planning — the ability to work with a team to determine the objectives of the organization or situation that can be served by communications; the ability to develop a comprehensive set of strategies and tactics to serve those objectives.

Timeline Development — the ability to effectively create and execute strategies for timing promotions that respond to the habits of the target markets; maximize resources, and mitigate external interference such as competition, holidays, etc.

Budget Development — the ability to determine revenue goals and to develop, present and defend logical budgets for programs to meet those goals; the ability to track expenditures, pay bills and provide detailed information for settlements when required; the ability to assess results as compared to expenditures. Packaging – the ability to conceive, propose and execute packages that include single and multiple events; the ability create packages that include museum or gallery with outside activities such as transportation, lodging and meals; the ability to effectively price packages.


Writing — the ability to write clear and compelling prose to describe performing arts events, exhibitions, artworks, membership programs, or other supporting activities, and/or the ability to judge the effectiveness of the writing of others.

Graphic Communication — the ability to design or cause to be designed clear and compelling graphic communications that capture the truth of the performing arts events, exhibition or works of art, and incite interest among potential attenders.

Advertising — the ability to create or cause to be created compelling online, print, radio, television, outdoor, and other forms of advertising, subject to available funds.

Photography — the ability to photograph or cause to be photographed art and related activities for use in collateral materials or advertising, or the ability to select and edit existing photographic collections; the ability to know what is missing from existing collections and research and execute solutions from among the world’s storehouse of photography, illustrations and renderings; the ability to document art and activities for future use; the ability to properly catalog, store and retrieve photographic holdings for promotional purposes.

Video — the ability to supervise the collection of video in a manner similar to photography; the ability to properly catalog, store and retrieve video holdings for promotional purposes.

Collateral Materials Development — the ability to conceive practical and effective online and electronic materials, printed brochures, invitations, newsletters, postcards, membership and other materials; the ability to identify and buy online services, printing and other trades; the ability to develop or cause to be developed web sites and ecommerce resrouces.

Cyclical Publications — the ability to conceive and produce interesting and attractive online and print newsletters, magazines, programs, calendars and other publication formats designed to be distributed to an established list on a regular cycle; the ability to publish such materials at the lowest possible net cost to the organization or at a profit for the organization through the securing of advertising or sponsorship support.

Web Sites — the ability to conceive and produce interesting, attractive, and functional interactive web sites that can be regularly refreshed.

Data, Distribution and Fulfillment

Data Use — the ability to define the organization’s marketing data needs and develop methods for (or tie in to existing methods for) collecting, storing and retrieving data, so that attendance can be tracked and customers can be contacted by mail, phone and/or email within the shortest possible time after attendance.

Admissions and Ticketing — the ability to operate or effectively relate to the operation of an admissions or box office system capable of tracking sales, issuing tickets and accounting for financial transactions necessary for deposit and auditing purposes.

Tracking and Reporting — the ability to measure effectiveness of marketing programs by connecting data from the distribution of marketing materials to the purchase of admissions or tickets; the ability to set goals and provide regular, cumulative reports of results as compared to goals.

Research — the ability to understand the need for basic knowledge of the demographic and psychographic profile of potential attenders; the ability to do or cause to be done basic secondary research among already existing sources of information; the ability to conduct or commission statistically valid primary research through polls and surveys; the ability to read, understand and take action on research findings.

Telephony — the ability to understand and mange the relationship between online relationships, data capture systems and telephone systems; the ability to upgrade and improve telephone capabilities; the ability to track telephone usage and its effect on customer attitudes.

Personal Computing — the ability to use a personal computer for word processing, spread sheets, calendar creation, e-mail, address and phone list maintenance, presentations, simple graphics, scanning, photo storage and other applications as needed; the ability to effectively organize, maintain and use data directories and files.  The ability to navigate the Internet, download relevant information and protect computer assets from virus; the ability to set up new systems, back up existing systems and recover data from back-up files.


Campaign Management – the ability to execute inter-related activities on a timeline and within budget; the ability to make adjustments when necessary due to unforeseen circumstances, opportunities and results.

Media Buying and Placement — the ability to purchase or cause to be purchased space for advertising online, in print, radio, television, and outdoor; the ability to negotiate favorable rates, positions and commissions.

Email — the ability to create effective electronic announcements, messages and invitations materials for permission based email lists, and to manage and measure impact and response.

Social Networking — the ability to effectively integrate social networking sites and content in your overall marketing and communications plan, with an emphasis on fostering communication with and among your constituents and potential constituents.

Direct Mail — the ability to use internal and external databases, primary and secondary research and mailhouse capabilities to distribute large volumes of email and snail mail within tightly established timing parameters, at the best possible price.

Direct Distribution – the ability to engineer direct distribution of materials, without the payment of postage, through existing networks like corporations, schools, hospitals, civic clubs, tourism outlets, etc; the ability to hire and monitor the work of individuals to distribute materials at appropriate locations.

Public Relations

Press Relations – the ability to build and maintain effective relations with members of the working press; the ability to write stories and releases for distribution; the ability to service the information and photographic needs of those assigned to write stories related to your organization or enterprise; the ability to effectively represent the organization in response to negative or critical opinions; the ability to represent the organization at time of crisis.

Public Speaking – the ability to seek and find appropriate forums and to communicate the unique aspects of your organization or enterprise; the ability to speak fluently regarding your topic in an entertaining and compelling manner.

Community Affairs — the ability to cultivate and sustain meaningful relationships with other organizations and networks that can further advance the promotional and mission needs of your organization or enterprise.


Staff Management — the ability to select, hire, train, supervise and evaluate staff members involved in the duties and tasks listed above.

Vendor Management – the ability to select, hire and monitor a large list of vendors who provide services including printers, graphic artists, photographers, webmasters, advertising agencies, consultants, and others.

Marketing Financial Management – the ability to create and manage budgets; the ability to work with financial personnel on earned revenue issues; the ability to track and report financial information.

Board Relations –the ability to effectively inform volunteer governance of the issues and opportunities relating to marketing, earned income and public relations.

Fund Raising Support – the ability to create and manage a marketing and communications environment that is conducive to fundraising; the ability to collaborate with fundraising activities; the ability to support the sale of memberships, or, depending on your organizational structure, the ability to sell memberships.

Volunteer Support — the ability to manage or support the management of volunteers who are capable of helping with promotional, marketing and sales activities; the ability to honor and encourage volunteers; the ability to assist in the recruitment of volunteers.

©Richard T. Bryant 1998
Updated 2006, 2009

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