Promoting your show
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world, and selling your show can seem daunting. The Fringe Handbook to Promoting your Show brings together ideas, expertise and experience to help you sell your show at the Fringe:
What to do, how and when
Top promotion tips
- Be organised - The sooner you plan your marketing and media campaign the easier it will be.
- Remember the little words that count - Getting your Fringe Programme listing right is a priority – the public, industry and media use this to decide what to see.
- The big picture - The show listing image will live alongside your programme listing and on edfringe.com. Keep it simple to ensure it links in with your marketing at a later date.
- Keep your marketing clear - One logo, image or phrase appearing across the festival could be the simple marketing factor that will underpin a successful campaign.
- Ticket promotions - Can be the way to start word of mouth with audiences early on. Think about Fringe 2for1 offers and the Half Price Hut.
- Delegate amongst your team - Bring someone on board to coordinate your media and marketing. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job or managed by a PR professional, but you need someone with great writing skills, an eye for detail and who reads the papers regularly to get a head start on the sort of media content the Fringe generates.
- Be ready for press - Make sure that you have your press materials ready by the time your show goes on sale, that’s when the media will start asking questions.
- Be prepared to pitch - Bring your best work and be ready to talk about it succinctly and honestly.
- Have a media release - Keep your media release clear and brief. Focus on anything newsworthy about your show and/or its development. Use the media contacts list to reach out to journalists planning to cover this year's Fringe.
- Don’t panic! - The Fringe Media Office is here to help. They’re full of advice, ideas and contacts and will tailor it all to fit your show and your situation. Contact them for a chat about your show by emailing email@example.com.
Before the Fringe
Before you make decisions about your marketing strategy, get your company together and 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, focus on attending shows and events and talking to the Participant Development team. If your aim is to be well reviewed by major publications and attract big audiences, you will need to concentrate and invest in your PR campaign.
Display advertising can make an invaluable contribution to the success of your PR. Remember that Fringe audiences will be completely saturated in competing marketing materials, so your advertisements must be strong enough to stand out amidst the frenzy.
Maintain continuity between your advertising across all its forms and media - use the same fonts, copy and basic layouts throughout. The best and most important way to ensure consistency is through a single distinctive, bold and evocative image that ties all your marketing material together in a creative and memorable way.
The official Fringe Programme is the single most important piece of print at the Fringe.
Because of its high-volume print run, worldwide distribution and status as the most-used reference for ticket buyers by far, the programme is widely considered to be the best and best-value advertising space on the Fringe.
With an increasing number of tickets being sold online, there is also the opportunity to advertise to edfringe.com and tickets.edfringe.com which saw 21,679,762 page impressions and 1,661,858 unique visitors between June and August 2016.
Online adverts can be designed to include animation and will link through to the show’s ticket page.
Handing out flyers to advertise your show is a mainstay of Fringe marketing and an integral part of any good festival publicity campaign.
The most popular size for flyers is either A5 (148mm x 210mm) or DL (110mm x 220mm). Avoid the ‘flop factor’ by printing your flyers on paper with a sufficiently high weight (ask your printer for advice). A good quality texture can help too, but remember that flyers are bound to be quickly disposed of, so don’t invest too much in heavy, expensive card.
Print companies are competitive for your business in August - negotiate your price and request that they use recycled paper or paper from a sustainable source at no additional cost.
Posters might not have the same reach as flyers, but are excellent for attracting attention and acting as a reminder of your event. Again, strong visuals are the key to a successful poster. They must stand out on a wall full of other artwork and make a clear and lasting visual impression. Most posters are A3 (297mm x 420mm) or A2 (420mm x 594mm) in size and paper can be lighter than that used for flyers. Fly posting is illegal so always make sure you have permission before displaying your posters.
How many posters and flyers should I print?
Think realistically about how it will be distributed, how many people you have available to flyer and how much time they have. For flyers, think in the low thousands and for posters, around 100-500.
Research shows that handing out 50 flyers after engaging in conversation with the audience member can be as effective as handing out 500 flyers indiscriminately, so bear this in mind when deciding on print runs.
Consider the environment and don’t print more than you can distribute. Digital printing means that additional print runs are much easier, quicker and cheaper if you run out, so keep your artwork files available. Always recycle any left-over print responsibly.
During the Fringe
Flyer for a couple of hours every day of your show’s run, plus the week before opening. Flyering requires time, energy and enthusiasm, but is crucial to a successful Fringe marketing campaign. It's the best way to speak directly to the recipient - back up the selling points of the show with additional info and personality.
Places to flyer:
- Outside your own venue.
- Around queues for Fringe events similar to yours.
- At the other festivals - visit Festivals Edinburgh for details.
- On the High Street and Mound precinct areas - but be prepared for a lot of competition.
Remember, the Fringe Society does not allow flyers from any show to be handed out or left at the Fringe Box Office, edfringe Shop or Fringe Central - in keeping with our policy of impartiality and fairness.
There are more tips on flyering in the Fringe Handbook for Promoting your Show.
It is a criminal offence to place your posters on walls, hoardings, vacant buildings, waste bins, streetlights, traffic signals, bridges, trees and stairways.
Where to put up posters:
- Look for wall space in Fringe venues, at the other festivals and even in storefronts - remember to get permission first.
- Cylindrical towers have been provided on the High Street where you can put up posters legally.
The City of Edinburgh Council operates an authorised postering scheme around the city and you are able to purchase spaces in advance to achieve maximum impact. Typically, these sites feature larger 4-sheet posters and oblong lamppost wraps. More information on how to access this service will be included in bulletins or can be obtained from the Fringe Media Office.
Adding quotes and stars
If you're lucky enough get a good review during your run, it is a common and accepted practice to print out review quotations and staple these to your flyer or poster.
Fringe Central has printing and cutting facilities available.
Promoting by performing
Seek out public performance opportunities - playing to crowds at free events or on the High Street can generate exposure and interest for your show.
- Performances should be brief - they take place in crowded, noisy settings.
- Adapt your material accordingly, show off the best, biggest, most enticing parts of your production – or consider creating something brand new.
- Be sure to have flyers on hand to give out to any interested audience members.
- The Fringe Society manages the busy High Street and Mound areas during August and provides stages for registered performers to promote their show for free.
Performer showcase opportunities
During the Fringe we provide a listing of showcase opportunities available to performers in August. These listings are updated regularly and will be available in advance of the 2019 Fringe.
Each opportunity is managed by the independent company/venue listed, and so specific enquiries concerning any of these listings should go directly to that company/venue, on the contact details they have provided.
If you would like to offer a performing opportunity at the 2019 Fringe, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Audience and professional reviews
Your show listings on our website include a reviews tab where two types of reviews, professional and audience, can be listed.
The Fringe Media Office accredits individuals and organisations as official reviewers of Fringe shows. Reviews of 3* and above from accredited reviewers will be uploaded to your listing within a few days of publication. Contact the Media Office with any questions on email@example.com.
Our audience review policy allows any registered website users to post reviews online at edfringe.com. It can be a great way to get people talking about your show and to get feedback directly from your audience.
Audiences love to share the discoveries they make at the Fringe each year and we want to make it as easy as possible for them, regardless of how and where they purchased their tickets.
You are welcome to opt out of receiving audience reviews when registering, or at any later date by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you opt out the message “This show or event has opted out of audience reviews” will be displayed within the ‘audience review’ section of your online listing. Opting out once the festival has started means all audience reviews that have already been submitted will be hidden.
Any review posted on our site can be reported to the Society as inappropriate by using the Report Abuse function. The Society will then review the post and may remove it if it is found to contain any of the following:
- Personal abuse
- Hate speech
- Expletives/Offensive/threatening language (based on our style guide)
- Spoilers / sensitive plot information
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society reserves the right to remove or edit reviews.
Reviews posted within guidelines will not be removed simply on the basis that they are negative.
Media clash diary
During the Fringe season the Media team keeps a diary of events, known as the Clash Diary, which includes photo calls, publicity stunts, receptions and press launches, in the Fringe Media Office and on the Clash Diary page of this website, which will go live closer to the festival.
You should always consult the Clash Diary before organising an event of your own. Yours could end up being poorly attended if it is scheduled at the same time as another major happening. This diary is referred to regularly by members of the press, particularly photographers and picture editors.
Please note, you will need to be logged in with an edfringe account to submit an event to the clash diary.
Media contacts list
Reach the right media for your show with this year's media contacts list. This 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 - Remember, not everyone on this list will be relevant to you. Research and target the right journalists for your show. Blanket emailing all media contacts is a sure-fire way to get your show overlooked.
The media contact list is now available to the primary media and primary contact for all registered shows. If your primary media contact has not received this, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Fringe logo is a registered trademark subject to copyright protection and is made available for promotion and marketing only by shows and venues registered for the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Use of the Fringe logo is at the sole discretion of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society who will take the appropriate action to protect its unauthorised use.
If you have any questions concerning usage of the 2018 logos, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fringe Logos zip folder contains web and print ready files, including .eps files for use on printed materials with image or coloured backgrounds.
Protecting customer data
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the previous Data Protection Act, and outlines a new legal framework for the management, processing and usage of personal data. GDPR was adopted by both the European Parliament and the European Council in April 2016. GDPR came into force on 25 May 2018 and will be enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office who will manage reporting, compliance and any enforcement. This change in the law means we are changing the way we handle and process customer data, including how this is shared with third parties, such as venues and companies.
- Download The Fringe Society’s Guide for Venues and Companies (.PDF)
- Download the Fringe Data Licence Agreement
Please note, this guide is intended to help and does not constitute legal advice. Please ensure you and your organisation take appropriate advice before taking action.