The Edinburgh Festival Fringe welcomes a vast array of performers and styles, which means that getting out and promoting your show can seem daunting.
This guide aims to help out by providing expertise and advice to support you in promoting your show at the Fringe.
Before you get started, it’s important to know the answer to two key questions:
- What is your show?
Whether you’re distributing flyers on the street or posting about your show online, you’ll have a very short time to grab people’s attention, so make sure you’re able to sum up your show in as few words as possible, and have them learned by heart in case someone asks you about it.
- Who is it for?
Think carefully about your audience too – if you say your show is ‘for everyone’, that doesn’t tell someone why they specifically might be interested. Tailor your pitch to appeal to the engaged, interested sort of audience you want at your show.
Reach your audience with Dionysus, a Fringe-focused chat bot
Our partners at Edinburgh’s Creative Informatics hub have created Dionysus, a chat bot designed to help you refine your message to audiences and think about your goals for this year’s festival.
The idea is, you have a conversation with Dionysus about your show, through which it will help you fine-tune your pitch and make it as appealing as possible to audiences.
Access to Dionysus is just one of many benefits as a Fringe artist, it’s a fun new opportunity for you to try out at no additional cost.
- Creative Informatics won’t share information they gather from Dionysus for any purpose other than to improve the chat bot. Find out more about data processing principles.
- If you have any problems, or would like your data removed, please email [email protected].
How we support you
In addition to advice and guidance around how to market and promote your show, the Fringe Society provides the following services as part of your registration fee:
- The official website edfringe.com – over 2.3 million unique users and over 30 million page impressions from June - August 2019 – where we sell tickets on your behalf.
- Fringe Society-led social media campaigns and events giving you the opportunity to engage with audiences and media members. @edfringe on Twitter has more than 180,000 followers, as does our official Facebook page, facebook.com/edfringe.
- Promotional activities including the 2for1 ticket offer over Monday and Tuesday in week one of the Fringe for in-person shows (you can opt in for one or both of these during show registration).
- The Fringe Media Office publicises the Fringe and acts as its official spokesperson, while also supporting you and offering one-to-one guidance around your own PR and marketing activities.
As an impartial organisation, the Fringe Society is unable to provide a marketing service for individual shows. Our job is to get local, national and international media, as well as audiences both at home and abroad, interested in the Fringe as a whole. We are however happy to share and engage with your own promotion on social media where possible, providing the posts are purely informational – we are unable to share anything with an opinion or preference attached or implied.
Creating your campaign building blocks
These are the key elements to a successful marketing campaign – think of the following as a checklist of things you’ll want to consider:
- Be organised - The sooner you plan your marketing and media campaign, the easier it will be.
- Make you words count - Getting your show listing right is a priority – the public, industry and media use this to decide what to see.
- Choose your image - Your show image will live alongside your listing on edfringe.com. Keep it simple so that it can easily link in with your marketing at a later date.
- Keep your marketing clear and consistent - Use the same logos, imagery and phrasing on all your marketing materials.
- Ticket promotions - These can generate some early word of mouth with audiences.
- Assign someone to handle your PR and marketing - This can be a member of your company, rather than a full-time job or a PR professional (though you might want to consider these too). You need someone with great writing skills, and who reads the papers regularly so knows the kind of media content the Fringe generates.
- Write a winning media release - Keep your media release clear and brief. Focus on anything newsworthy and unique about your show and/or its development. Use the media contacts list to reach out to journalists planning to cover this year’s Fringe.
- Be ready for press - Make sure that you have your press materials ready by the time your show goes on sale, as that’s when the media will start asking questions.
- Prepare your pitch - Be ready to talk about your work succinctly and honestly to the people you meet during the Fringe.
- Talk to us - The Fringe Media Office is here to help – we’re full of advice, ideas and contacts. Contact us for a chat about your show by emailing [email protected].
Planning your marketing campaign
Set some goals
Get together with your company or set some time aside for you to decide exactly what you would like to achieve from performing at the Fringe.
For example, if your ambition is to pick up a touring engagement or expand your network of industry contacts, then focus on attending shows and events, and talk to our Artist Development team.
If your aim is to be well reviewed by major publications and attract big audiences, you will need to concentrate on, and invest in, your PR campaign.
Register your show
Register your show using the Fringe show registration system (edfringeware). We’ve created a few guides to help you through this process:
We’ve also created a section later in this guide with specific reference to marketing considerations when registering your show.
Create a social presence
If you haven’t already, create accounts for your company on various social media platforms. (It’s worth thinking about which platforms your intended audience is likely to use – eg if your show is for teenagers, think about how you could use TikTok).
Start posting about your Fringe build-up – if you can create a strong social media presence, it’s a great, low-cost way to get word of your show into people’s ticket buying plans. Plus, if your show is online, you can cultivate an audience that doesn’t even need to be in Edinburgh to see it.
Think about advertising
You’ll find several avenues for advertising during the Fringe, such as local media who are covering the festival. You can also book ads on edfringe.com. Ads on edfringe.com exceeded 100 million impressions from in 2019.
Coming in person? Plan your print campaign
Design your print and marketing campaign including flyers and posters. Keep it clear and consistent across the board – this will apply to everything from your show listing image right through to the flyers you hand out.
Doing a kid’s show? Get in touch with us
If your show is a children’s show, speak to our Media Office now about how you can plan your campaign around term time and for ideas and contacts. If you plan in advance, your ticket sales are less likely to suffer when children go back to school.
Plan your media / promotional activity
Hiring a publicist is a good investment if you can afford it, but it’s not essential. Speak to our Media Office about your thoughts as the team have a list of PRs that operate at the Fringe.
Do some research around what shows generated media coverage in recent years. What were the big launch stories? Which is the right publication / broadcaster / agency for you to be talking to? When the Fringe launches, look at the media coverage and see who is writing Fringe previews; start following arts journalists on Twitter and see what their plans are for the month. When the Fringe begins, keep in touch with the media and let them know of any updates or interesting stories.
See our section on promotion, media and PR for more information.
Sign up to Fringe Connect
Fringe Connect is our online platform where Fringe artists can meet and attend events focused on the arts sector. In addition to being a great place to chat with fellow artists (and potential new collaborators), many of the events offer advice on how best to market your show.
Send us your video / image content
We’re always on the lookout for eye-catching image and video content to use in our own marketing. The Fringe Society’s role is to promote the Fringe as a whole rather than any specific show, though we do credit any pictures or video we use (so people will still see your show’s name attached if we use it).
If you have any pictures or videos you’d be happy for us to use in this way, please send them to [email protected].
Fringe logos and assets
As a registered Fringe show, you’ll have access to our marketing toolkit of official Fringe logos and our 2022 campaign assets. The toolkit contains web- and print-ready files, including .eps files for use on printed materials with images or coloured backgrounds.
Before using the logos, you should read over our logo use guidelines. The Fringe logo is a registered trademark subject to copyright protection, and use of the Fringe logo is at the sole discretion of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. We will take appropriate action to protect it from unauthorised use.
- Read our logo use guidelines.
If you have any questions concerning usage of the logos, please contact [email protected].
Fringe sell-out laurels
If you've brought a show to the Fringe in previous years and managed to sell out your run, you can use Fringe sell-out laurels to help promote work you’re bringing to this year’s Fringe, or indeed anywhere else.
Fringe sell-out laurels are images we provide, in various digital formats, that can be attached to posters, flyers and other marketing material, provided the artist or performing company is associated with a show that sold at least 95% of its available tickets for a previous year's Fringe run.
The laurels can be an invaluable marketing tool for onward touring or subsequent Fringe appearances – they let people know your work has been successful at finding an audience.
- The sell-out show must have appeared at a previous edition of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
- The show must have sold 95% of its entire ticket allocation (including any tickets sold outside the Fringe Box Office) for its entire run (not just one or a few night(s)), excluding preview performances.
- If you refer to the show’s sell-out status in writing, you must be clear that the sell-out occurred at a previous year’s Fringe (eg “This show sold out at the 2019 Fringe”).
- If you or your company are currently marketing a different show from the one that previously sold out, you can still use the laurel in your marketing. However you should be clear that the “sell-out” refers to the previous show rather than the one currently being marketed (eg “From the company behind 2019 Fringe sell-out Hamlet comes a new production of Romeo and Juliet”).
Get in touch
If you think you meet the criteria for a Fringe sell-out laurel, please get in touch with [email protected] to request one.
Please note: we may require additional information from you to verify that your show sold out, such as external box office information or venue capacity details, etc. If your sell-out show is older than a few years (eg pre-2017), this may be difficult to verify.