Whilst August seems a long way off, now is the time to be gearing up for the Fringe and a good time to be approaching potential PRs to work with you on your show. Our Head of Press Emma Berge gives her five top tips about finding the right PR.
1. Ask: what do you need from your PR?
I know, I know: coverage. But your campaign might have other needs. Does your show cover a sensitive topic, or contain difficult personal experience that might need careful handling? Or maybe there are pressures on you from funders, agents or other people you’re reporting back to. What do they need from you that your PR might be able to help with, or that your PR will need to understand in order to deliver? And how about you, do you need someone who will help you understand the process? Are you looking for a passionate individual, or do you prefer the support of a team? Be honest with yourself, your needs might be personal – Edinburgh can be a stressful time after all – and you shouldn’t overlook them to go with the PR you think will get you the most coverage.
2. Ask Around
Once you’ve established what you need, ask for recommendations, and ask them based on what you need. Hopefully all PRs will get you coverage, but what they’re like to work with is just as important, so think about what you need and ask the right questions.
3. Approach a few different PRs (including us, obvs)
You’ll be working with your PR for a good few months. Not only that, but you’ll be working with them throughout an emotionally and physically draining month, when you’re out flyering in the rain, coming home to a strange flat that you share with people you really wouldn’t normally share with, only to find that the fire alarm went off in the middle of your show’s performance and the rest was cancelled. At a time like that, you want to be working with a PR who you feel is in your corner, so find someone you have a bit of a rapport with. Have an initial chat, see if you feel like you’re a good fit for each other. Find out what their approach is and compare what people say.
4. Make the right approach
Whilst you’re working with us for a good few months, remember we’re also working with you, and we’ll also be running around Edinburgh in the rain, coming back to a strange flat and dealing with the fallout of the fire alarm. So we want to work on shows that we believe in, and on shows we think we can do a good job on. When you approach a PR, sell us your show a bit so we can see the possibilities from the off. It doesn’t need to be flashy or polished, just let us know what the show is about, who’s involved, what venue and what it is about it that excites you. Think about anything that’s a bit unusual about your show – input from experts? Exciting spokespeople? Partnering with a charity? Based on a true story? – and let us know.
5. Ask the right questions
This comes back to all the points above. Establish what you need, and find out if they have previous experience. Whilst PRs will work on a wide variety of shows, they may also have ‘type’ that they gravitate towards, and you can quickly establish that by asking about shows they’ve worked on previously that have similar needs to yours. This is also for time for all the silly questions, there’s absolutely no shame in saying there’s something you don’t understand, and it’s better that we explain now than have to explain further down the line when there’s been a misunderstanding. It’s also best to let us know if you have specific needs – there’s no need to be secretive, (PRs are very good at keeping schtum!), and if we have the whole picture we can be much more effective.
Bonus sixth tip: don’t leave it too late! PRs fill up fast, and whilst most will take on a really exciting show late in the day, your options will be fewer and campaigns start earlier than you might think.
If you have an Edinburgh show you’d like to get in touch about, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our previous blogs about Edinburgh Fringe:
Natasha Tripney's Annual Fringe Poem from 2022
Complicité Executive Director Amber Massie-Blomfield on how the Edinburgh Fringe should evolve.
Rosemary Waugh on watching international theatre at Edinburgh Fringe.