Castlemaine State Festival 2017

Publicity highlights:

  • Over 250 editorials in publications across Australia and South-East Asia
  • Four Editorials in the Herald-Sun
  • ABC 774 outside broadcast of the opening event
  • VLine film shoot
  • Four front page editorials in the Castlemaine Mail and Midland News
  • Two full page editorials in the Philippine Times
  • Herald-Sun Country Legend feature on Martin Paten
  • 10 of the Coolest Australian Festival Getaways (The Weekly Review)
  • Weekly radio coverage on ABC Central
  • Five interviews on Radio National
  • Weekly editorials in the Bendigo Advertiser
  • Connecting with the Filipino community in Melbourne (including Australia’s Ambassador, Amanda Gorely) with several full-page editorials in the Philippine Times and the Manila Times
  • Main FM blanket coverage of the Festival
  • Flash Mob organised by Sas Cook and promoted by ABC with 118,000 views on Facebook

Strategic publicity objectives:

  • Reach new audiences to promote awareness of the Castlemaine State Festival
  • Contact media from Melbourne and key regional centres including Bendigo and Ballarat via travel, mainstream and lifestyle media, plus arts and culture media
  • Create awareness about the festival and its history in national and niche international publications especially in the South East Asian media
  • Work closely with festival staff to ensure an aligned and streamlined approach to communications
  • Celebrate the successful tenure of the long-serving Festival Director and provide communications support for a smooth transition to the incoming Director
  • Attract audience attention from Melbourne
  • Attract a broader mix of regional visitors who may not have experienced the Festival previously, through targeted rural and agricultural media
  • Engage local media outlets
  • To promote the township of Castlemaine to a national audience
  • Coordinated approach to the promotion of Castlemaine State Festival that builds upon Castlemaine’s cultural identity
  • Building and managing excellent relationships with stakeholders
  • Build the prestige and overall brand of the Castlemaine State Festival, leading to sustainable funding outcomes
  • Engaging regularly with key sponsors and government officials with regular meetings in Melbourne
  • To ensure as many individual performances as possible attracted media attention and interviews

Festival support messages:

  • The key message for the Castlemaine State Festival 2017 celebrated the theme of the journey; through historic places and the meeting points of agricultural, industrial and arts communities. The Festival celebrated the move to its new home at the Castlemaine Goods Shed.
  • The 2017 festival continued to feature adventurous new theatre and dance works under the Festival’s Castlemaine Created banner
  • The evolving culture and creative spirit of Castlemaine and surrounds permeated the festival in an inclusive program inviting all facets of the community to participate and create the ambience
  • The 2017 Castlemaine State Festival included a broad range of local, regional, national and international artists with a special highlight being the focus on the Philippines.

Communication Strategy

Initially we worked on contacting media outside the arts from across Australia who had not heard of the Castlemaine State Festival, with most media not aware of Castlemaine itself.  We did this by creating several pieces on the history of the festival, its success, the large numbers of attendees and the quality of the performances.

Over the course of three months we attracted interest from over 200 publications from a diverse range of media. Initially the Director, Martin Paten was the main spokesperson for the festival. As the media hype built up, each outlet wanted a range of different stories, that lead us to spread interviews amongst 40 different performers. This successfully distribute the news and awareness of the Festival to multiple audiences across the various genres represented in the program.

The publicity campaign was in full swing by early November 2016, with over 2,400 outlets contacted nationally and worldwide. By calling individual journalists on the phone and taking any opportunity to meet face-to-face, in both Melbourne and Sydney, we gained extensive media coverage. In applying our dynamic publicity campaign, we helped the Castlemaine State Festival stand out from the rest of the competition in the March festival circuit each year.

Social Media

As we work under an umbrella of a digital marketing agency, we created some fantastic automated social media amplification tools, and an online social media hub for public contributions. We contacted Festival performers and artists with large social media presence to assist in promoting the festival. This helped raise the profile of the festival internationally without spending a single dollar.

In the months leading up to the Festival we created a twitter campaign, building the hype and linking to new blog articles on the Festival website.