Ever since my return from the National Arts Marketing Conference in Los Angeles where I presented several sessions on technology and the arts, I have gotten a phone call at least once a week from organizations across the United States asking me why they should have a blog. I have found that blogging is one of the best ways to communicate to audiences, stakeholders and funders in an informal and inviting context. Most direct marketing is carefully crafted to elicit an anticipated response, and hence messaging in such contexts can seem contrived. A blog is an informal exchange between an organization and those interested in an organization. When writing the blog for Virginia Stage Company, I try to keep our posts light and entertaining. We try to offer our readers something that they would never be able to get from any other source. Mostly we try to give them a look into what is going on behind the scenes--from building the sets, casting the actors, rehearsing a play, etc. We provide audio and video from day one of the process until the time the show opens. We invite our creative staff to blog. It gives a director a forum to talk to his audience prior to them coming. It gives an actor the opportunity to discuss the rehearsal process. There is no better way to bring your audiences behind the scenes, and give them access to people they would normally never be able to touch.
Not to mention, setting up a blog is relatively easy and very inexpensive. I suggest going to www.blogger.com and signing up for a new blog (which is free). It will take all of fifteen minutes to design a basic blog and you do not have to have any html knowledge. Once it is created, place a prominent link to it on your website. Encourage staff members, including artists, to post. Once that is done, tell everyone about it. Don't be shy. If you keep it interesting as well as valuable, people will love it.