Tips from Working with Tour Publicists

Over the past few years, S&A Cherokee has had the good fortune of working with Cirque du Soleil to promote three of its touring shows’ engagements at the PNC Arena in Raleigh. In doing so, we’ve worked both with Cirque’s corporate PR department out of Montreal and with individual publicists who travel with the shows.

All the Cirque publicists we’ve worked with have been very active, energetic and professional. The following are some tips we’ve gleaned from collaborating with them.

  • Know your facts and figures. Each publicist could easily reel off basic stats about the show like number of performers and crew, how many trucks they travel with, how long it takes to assemble the stage, when the show was created, how many performances they’ve had, etc.
  • Know your personnel. The publicists knew the names and backgrounds of most of the cast in order to facilitate specific interview requests (e.g., acrobat from Asia, musician from Africa, oldest performer in the show, etc.).
  • Have a backup for multimedia content. Although we emailed photos, video files and music files to local TV producers, the publicists always had backups on CDs and jump drives. This especially came in handy at one TV station that had problems with the original music file.
  • Train your spokespersons to stay on message. During one radio appearance, the interviewer kept asking about the recent tragic accident that befell a different Cirque show in Las Vegas. Our spokesperson – a stage manager who had actually worked on that show previously – made a brief statement about the loss, the outpouring of sympathy from the global circus community, and Cirque’s rigorous safety standards. He didn’t take the bait to assign blame or compare it to other nonrelated accidents.
  • Always interject your key points. During each interview, the publicist or spokesperson made sure to mention performance dates and ticket sales information.
  • Leverage local PR knowledge. Since we are familiar with the Triangle’s media landscape and have relations with local journalists, Cirque relied on S&A Cherokee to advise them on which media outlets to target and which to avoid.
  • Be open to creative promotional ideas. Cirque solicited off-the-wall promotional ideas from us, and followed up by staging a juggling demonstration at Marbles Kids Museum, a workshop with a local award-winning jump rope team, and a guerilla marketing stunt involving costumed performers roaming around downtown Raleigh at lunchtime. These events generated additional exposure via emails, websites, traditional media and social media.

To discover how S&A Cherokee can help with your public relations needs, contact us for a free consultation at (919) 674-6020.

Author: Glenn Gillen, APR
Glenn Gillen is our Senior Account Manager.

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