The Fringe Media Office
The Fringe Media Office is where you’ll find the information you need to organise your promotional activity. Our guides are full of invaluable information, and we’d encourage you to use these as a first point of reference.
If you’re struggling and need bespoke advice, do get in touch with the team. Due to covid, tighter capacities and remote working, it might take us a little longer to answer queries, but we’re always happy to help where we can.
If you are a performer or producer, check in with our Media Office for:
- advice on all aspects of your marketing and media campaign
- a list of PRs who operate at the Fringe, if you’re looking to hire a publicist
- help developing ideas for photocalls and stunts
- contact lists for media organisations and advice on which publications / outlets to target
- support following up on media tickets issued for your show
- general help and support
- links to the media.
If you are a performer or producer, get the most out of the Fringe Media Office by:
- getting in touch as soon as you start planning your Fringe show
- sending your media release and images to the Media Office ahead of the Fringe – any extra information you give us can help us identify opportunities for you
- having one person working on your campaign who is the main point of contact, and making sure their contact info (as supplied during registration) is correct
- communicating your plans for one-off events such as photocalls, if you’re visiting the festival in person – these will go in the Clash Diary
- thinking thematically about your show, and how it could fit into a feature about a given topic
- using our services!
Members of our Media Office often take part in FringeCast episodes, where you can ask questions and find out more about bringing your show to the Fringe, including specific marketing advice. We’ll also be holding events on ‘How to get your show noticed’ and ‘Marketing your show’ with Media Office staff and guest speakers during August on Fringe Connect.
Media contacts list
Our media contacts list covers a range of journalists who are planning to cover this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe and are happy to receive your press release.
Who to contact
Not everyone on the list will be relevant to you. Research and target the right journalists for your show – tailor a short, personalised intro to them to tell them why you think they in particular will be interested in your show. Keep it short and to the point. Blanket emailing all media contacts is a sure-fire way to get your show overlooked.
This list is strictly for the use of Fringe participants who are doing their own PR. It contains confidential contact data – never forward the media contact list, or share any information within it.
If you’d like further information about the media contact list please contact us at [email protected].
Meet / Tweet the Media
Every year we host a Meet the Media event in Edinburgh during the first weekend of the Fringe, where artists can queue up and pitch their shows to representatives from different publications.
This year we’re planning to do something similar, but online; we’re calling it Tweet the Media. We’ll inform all registered Fringe acts of a hashtag we’ll support on a given day of the Fringe, and invite accredited media to monitor the hashtag in the same way they’d normally watch show pitches.
We’ll send out more information on Tweet the Media nearer the time, including advice on how to fine-tune your tweet and make the most of the opportunity. Make sure you sign up to our Participants mailing list to find out all about it.
Media coverage at the Fringe
Many local, national and international publications and broadcasters are eager to fill their pages and airtime with content about the Fringe and its shows. This means that all eyes are on the festival; your job is to make sure they focus on you.
Here are some of the main types of coverage you can expect:
Reviews are perhaps the most well-knowntype of press coverage available during the Fringe, and lots of shows want reviews to use on their posters, social media and flyers.
Many pieces will be written as general features about a show, or yours may be included among a group of similarly themed shows. These can often include quotes or interviews.
To think diary, think gossip. There are gossip columns all over the place during the Fringe and anything funny, juicy, fortunate or unfortunate that’s happening with you and your show can get your show’s name in print and get people talking about you.
News is a trickier beat for Fringe shows. Remember that a newsworthy story is not just in competition with other Fringe shows, but with everything else going on the world. If you genuinely feel you have something to say that will make headlines, then get in touch with arts correspondents at the festival.
Podcast coverage at the Fringe ranges from extracts taken from live performances through to curated shows or interviews. These MP3 recordings are available for download, and from the Guardian Podcast to BBC Sounds, there is a huge range of different broadcast output. To find out more, contact the Fringe Media Office who will let you know who’s doing what and which broadcast media your show is best suited to.
The Fringe society also produce their own FringeCast with lots of advice, guidance and discussion about bringing a show to the Fringe.
Building relationships with journalists
Writing your media release
Your media release is your chance to convey to journalists what your show is about, why it’s exciting and why it is unique enough to warrant a visit. It is typically a one-page document that tells the journalist about your show. Try to make it original and to the point.
Media releases can be broken down into distinct types:
- A standard media release – your unique ‘who, what, when, where, how and why’ message to the press.
- A news release – sent out when something newsworthy happens (eg stolen costumes lead to nude Hamlet, actors marry at Fringe, etc).
The following guidelines apply to both types:
- Your release should be clear but distinctive, conveying a tantalising and useful amount of information in the shortest space possible. The headline should capture attention immediately and convey the most newsworthy element of your show.
- Make sure you include the who, what, when and where as well as contact names and telephone numbers for your press representative (if you’re coming to Edinburgh in person, include your Edinburgh details so that journalists can make contact with you during the Fringe).
- Aside from the bare facts, you will need to sell your show with good copy that will inspire editors to sit up and take notice. No one can tell you what to write – only you know the unique selling points of your show.
- Journalists are likely to read only the first few lines of your media release, so make sure you put the main selling point of your show in the headline and opening line. Keep your media release to one page of A4 − any more than this is too much information.
- It’s worth mentioning anything that will boost your credibility as a company or performer, for example, excerpts from good reviews on your media release alongside star ratings if they’re good. Secondly, a brief history of your company mentioning past performances. We would advise against using biographies, unless there is something really newsworthy to include, but if you do want to include biographies, keep it to a maximum of a few sentences about each person.
Your media release title
Your media release title needs to capture the journalist’s attention immediately and intrigue them to read on. Imagine how many Fringe show media releases journalists receive - the name of a show just won’t do! Find the most interesting or newsworthy element to your show and use it in the release title; you should also use the title of the release as the email subject line when you send it out. Ensure your show name is included in the title and bold every time it’s referred to in the release.
- Famous names involved with the show in a genuine capacity.
- If you are the largest/youngest/oldest etc. company on the Fringe, plus any awards won.
- Links your show has to current affairs.
- Brief quotes from previous reviews or features.
- Your company or show social media info.
- Dates that media tickets are available.
- Dates of any access performances.
- Listings information: venue, ticket prices, preview dates, full run dates, time (using the 24-hour clock), running time, box office details and website booking info, including the Fringe Society’s Box Office details.
- Theatrical jargon – the information is ultimately intended for the general public.
- Cramming the release with largely irrelevant details (eg schedules, cast lists, biographies etc). This information can be sent later if requested.
Sending your release
- Target your media.
- Think carefully about your media release title/subject line (which should be the same).
- When emailing to more than one person, use ‘Bcc’ to cut and paste multiple email addresses. Type your own email addressed into the ‘To’ field.
- Be careful not to duplicate – some journalists write for more than one publication.
- Always put the text of your release in the body of your email, rather than including it as an attachment.
- Send images to media on request.
- Send releases via email – printouts should only be sent if specifically requested.
- Send large attachments.
One of the keys to a successful publicity campaign is a strong image or design. This will be the ‘face’ of your show and will ‘talk’ to your audience by communicating a message or concept relevant to your show.
Keep the same image across all your marketing (flyers, ads, posters, T-shirts, etc) and focus on clarity and continuity. The familiarity of one image, reappearing in the programme, online, in newspapers and on a flyer on the High Street, helps build trust in, and recognition of, your brand. This can be photography, illustration or strong graphic design, though remember you may still need production shots for press purposes. You must also make sure you clear the copyright of any images or illustrations you choose.
The press sometimes prefer images that don’t look like publicity shots, so get good quality shots either from the production or a photocall in Edinburgh. Take a look at arts coverage in the national newspapers to see which photographs are used and why.
Commissioning professional photography can be a good investment. If you can’t afford that, try to enlist the services of a talented amateur from your circle of friends or from your local design college, where students may be looking to develop their portfolio. If you can’t get good quality shots, it is probably better to avoid photography altogether.
The Fringe Media Office can offer advice and feedback on your chosen images.
- Companies tend to have their production photographs taken during a dress rehearsal or actual performance.
- Head and shoulder portrait shots are not used unless you are well known.
- If your first Fringe performance is also your first full performance of the production, get these shots done during your first performance and make sure you send them to our Media Office and to the picture desks of media publications at the Fringe.
- Unusual angles, dramatic settings, humorous approaches and even images that have been digitally altered work well.
When sending images to the media
- Only send images to media on request (unless you’re sending to picture desks).
- All picture desks use digital images. Make sure your images are at least 300dpi, over 1MB and in an accepted format (jpg). You may want to send low-resolution 72dpi versions initially and 300dpi versions only when requested to avoid clogging up journalists’ inboxes with large files, especially if they’re getting emails from every Fringe show.
- Label all individual photographs with the name of your show. If a picture editor receives a file labelled ‘JPEG1’ there will be no way to link the image with your show even if your show name was on the containing folder or in the subject line of your email.
- Make sure you include any required photographer credits.
Who to send images to
- From programme launch onwards, picture editors and journalists will be requesting images to act as ‘fillers’ and for festival supplements, so make sure they have your best shot sitting in their inbox. Get images across to picture desks within a month or two of the festival starting.
- Some publications have special email addresses for festival pictures – we include these in the media list we send out.
- Do your research. There are publications whose Arts Editor will be scouting for images to use daily throughout the festival. Find out who they are and send them low-res images with a contact number. If they want to run the image they will come back to you and request a high-res image, or you can provide a link to a website (eg a file-sharing site) with images available to download.
Photocalls and publicity stunts
A photocall in Edinburgh during the festival can support your campaign in several ways. The main aim is often getting a photograph published, but the spectacle of a well-organised stunt alone can pull in the crowds and raise awareness of your show. The two key components of a photocall are the location and the visual. Prioritise creating an image first, then organise an event. Sit down with your company and brainstorm ideas. Always think about practical implications, such as finding a scenic but accessible area of the city – don’t plan a photocall by the one o’clock gun in Edinburgh Castle.
Send a photocall notice to the publications you want to target. Remember to think about arranging your own photographer so you have a collection of images to send on to picture editors yourself and use on social media.
Programmes and cast lists
While programmes for individual shows are traditional in theatrical productions, they are not the norm at the Fringe. They may be necessary for you to give more information about the company or acknowledge sponsors and donors, but they are an extra expense in an already print-saturated environment and may not have the impact you would like. If you decide to provide programmes, general practice is to keep the costs low and distribute them to your audience for free.
Journalists may want a cast list, so make digital copies of these and distribute them to the Fringe Media Office and your venue box office or press office. Always ensure that your contact details are prominently displayed on any programme or cast list you produce.
Word of mouth
Fringe audiences talk to each other and love to discuss the best shows they’ve seen. At the end of your show, encourage your audience to tell their friends, leave an audience review on edfringe.com and give you a shout on social media – it all helps create that buzz around your show.
It’s a good idea to look through the Fringe show listings and identify shows with similar themes to yours. If you share a similar theme or style, you’re also likely to share an audience – so why not engage with each other and work together? You could exit flyer each other’s shows (ie handing out flyers as the audience leaves) and engage with each other on social media. The same goes for other shows in your venue. It’s also worth remembering a great deal of potential audience members are Fringe performers themselves. The more you support each other and collaborate, the more your shows will benefit.