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.
- Make you words count - Getting your Fringe Programme listing description right is a priority – the public, industry and media use this to decide what to see.
- Choose your image - The show listing image will live alongside your programme listing and 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 - Keep the same logo, image or phrase on all your marketing materials.
- Ticket promotions - These can be the way to start word of mouth with audiences early on. Think about Fringe 2for1 offers and the Half Price Hut.
- Assign someone to do your PR and marketing - This doesn’t have to be a full-time job or managed by a PR professional, it can be a member of your company. 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, 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 meeting during the Fringe.
- Talk to us - Our Fringe Media Office is here to help. They’re full of advice, ideas and contacts. Contact them for a chat about your show by emailing [email protected].
Be part of the Inspiration Machine
The Inspiration Machine is a real-life, physical machine that presents Fringe-goers with videos of randomly selected shows to help them decide what to see. Want to join in? Then read our quick Inspiration Machine how-to guide and upload your video today. (Oh, and if you don’t submit a video, don’t worry – we’ll still include your static show listing in the Machine.)
Before the Fringe
Get together with 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, then 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 on, and invest in, your PR campaign.
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, 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.
Online adverts can be designed to include animation and will link through to the show’s ticket page.
Flyers and posters
Flyers and posters act as a reminder of the interaction that the recipient had with the participant selling the show and remind them they want to see the show based on that experience.
- How many posters and flyers should I print?
When it comes to flyering and posters, less is always more. As such, we encourage participants to think about how many flyers they need to have printed, because it’s better to print less and have more produced later if you need it, rather than overprinting in the first place. This should save you money, too. To avoid overprinting, think realistically about how your flyers 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.
Remember thata Fringe audiences will be completely saturated in competing marketing materials, so your advertisements must stand out amidst the frenzy. Maintain continuity between your advertising across all its forms and media (flyers, posters, etc) - use the same fonts, copy and basic layouts throughout. The best way to ensure consistency is through a single distinctive image that ties all your marketing material together in a creative and memorable way
- Flyer specification
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 by asking your printer for advice on which paper to choose.
- Poster Specification
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.
The Fringe is committed to reducing paper usage across tickets, the programme and flyers.
- Printing Formula
We’ve created a formula to help you decide how many flyers to have printed, which is: the number of people you have flyering, multiplied by the number of hours they could be expected to realistically flyer (2-3 hrs), multiplied by number of days flyering, multiplied by 50. For example, say you have five people flyering for two hours a day for 10 days, you need around 500 flyers. If you have a large flyering team, think about sustainability, and ask your printer to keep the design on file if you need to have more printed later.
- Use recycled and recyclable materials
Ask your printer what recycled or recyclable options are available. Outdoor advertising products like Correx are recyclable, waterproof and maintain durability over the festival period.
- Use alternatives to printed materials
You can also diversify how you market your show and also reach a wider audience via digital channels, including social media and video. You can also create a digital e-flyer to use for media, press, reviewers and arts industry engagement, or ask your audience to share pictures of your posters or flyers on social media.
- Recycle After the Fringe
It’s your responsibility to recycle what you can within the trade waste guidelines set out by the City of Edinburgh Council. The Fringe Society supports limited paper recycling of leftover print media for those companies who would otherwise struggle to dispose of it sustainably. In 2017, the Fringe Society recycled over 11 tonnes of print material through our recycling scheme, but this represented a relatively small sample of overall companies, demonstrating the improvements that can still be made to avoid overprinting on the Fringe.
You can read more about how to make your Fringe greener here: edfringe.com/take-part/putting-on-a-show/staying-green
During the Fringe
Make the most of your marketing campaign by following these guidelines to success.
Where to flyer:
- Outside your own venue.
- Around queues for Fringe events similar to yours but ask first.
- 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.
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.
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.
- It is a criminal offence to place your posters on walls, hoardings, vacant buildings, waste bins, streetlights, traffic signals, bridges, trees and stairways.
The City of Edinburgh Council operates an authorised postering scheme around the city and you can 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 can be obtained from the Fringe Media Office.
Adding quotes and stars
If you get a good review during your run, print out review quotations and staple these to your flyers or posters.
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 as they take place in crowded, noisy settings.
- Adapt your material; show off the best and most enticing parts of your production – or consider creating something brand new.
- Be sure to have flyers on hand to give out.
- 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 2020 Fringe.
Each opportunity is managed by the independent company/venue listed, so specific enquiries concerning any of these listings should go directly to that company/venue using the contact details they have provided.
If you would like to offer a performing opportunity at the 2020 Fringe, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].
Audience and media reviews
Your show listings on our website include a reviews tab where 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 by emailing [email protected].
Our audience review policy allows any registered edfringe.com website users to post reviews online at edfringe.com.
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 [email protected].
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 the Edinburgh Festival Fringe style guide)
- Spoilers/sensitive plot information
- Information which is not relevant to the content of the performance
Reviews posted within guidelines will not be removed simply on the basis that they are negative.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society reserves the right to remove or edit reviews.
Media clash diary
During the Fringe season the Media team provides a calendar of events known as the Clash Diary. This includes details of Edinburgh Fringe photo calls, publicity stunts, receptions and press launches.
Always consult the Clash Diary before organising an event of your own, so you don't schedule an events at the same time as something else. This diary is referred to regularly by members of the press, particularly photographers and picture editors.
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 was emailed to the primary media contact for all registered shows at the end of May.
If you didn’t receive it, or if you’d like further information about the media contact list please contact us at [email protected].
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 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 logos, please contact [email protected].
The Fringe Logos zip folder contains web and print ready files, including .eps files for use on printed materials with image or coloured backgrounds.
Read our Logo use guidelines
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 this 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.