The start of spring promises warmer weather, sunny skies, and a return to the outdoors. Spring is also the official start to “Festival Season,” which most often refers to large outdoor musical festivals, but also includes festivals for film, art, food, and more.
Festival season usually kicks off with South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas covering film, music, and technology, followed by two back-to-back weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California. Dozens of festivals continue throughout the summer and fall, all around the world, including the Cannes Film Festival in France, Glastonbury in Edinburgh, and Lollapalooza in Chicago — to name just a few!
Of course, in-person events including these major festivals have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic since 2020, and the 2021 festival season is still to be determined. Often when the in-person events have been canceled, event organizers have held virtual events held in their place.
Whether or not we can gather again in person for these upcoming festivals (we hope so!), let’s discuss festival marketing and digital content that festivals can create to drive awareness, ticket sales, and attendance for both in-person and virtual events.
Digital marketing has empowered many festivals to market themselves around the world by creating excitement with fans, regardless of location. The once iconic music festival poster is now a digital file that fans wait with anticipation for the first posting. Whether the poster is shared on the festival website, Instagram or Twitter — it’s more accessible than ever before.
Even though the main draw of the festival is the in-person element and connection to a memorable live event (at least before 2020), the majority of the marketing for festivals will take place online from announcements, show lineup, ticket and merchandise sales, plus all the pre-event networking by fans and ticket holders. Maximizing the digital marketing content that you create for a festival will keep your fans engaged and excited. In fact, a successful festival marketing plan will include a robust website, constant social media engagement, digital cross-promotions with festival sponsors, partners, and artists, in addition to offering exclusive digital content too.
The power of digital marketing allows you to reach a larger audience which should mean a well attended or hopefully even sold-out festival!
Festival marketing materials are often seen as keepsakes, from the iconic poster we mentioned earlier to a comprehensive event program and even the physical ticket itself. Printing physical materials can cost a lot, so utilizing digital content for your festival will offer you great savings and ensure everyone has access to the content via the web. Bonus points if your festival content is mobile-optimized for easy access on smartphones during the event too.
From promotional content to event informational materials, here are a few ideas on what type of content you should create for your festival marketing activities.
Transforming your festival materials into digital marketing content shouldn’t feel like another major undertaking or add to your already long “to do” list. Instead, it should be easy to take your final design file and make it web-ready. You might first start to share your marketing materials on digital channels by linking to the PDF file of the poster, program, or e-zine. The PDF version will still be a little clunky for users as it could be slow to load, not sized for mobile viewing, nor is easily shared.
Instead, the best option will be to publish your PDF content into a format that is made for the web and optimized for various screen sizes and easy social sharing. Issuu.com transforms your PDF file into a sleek flipbook accessible by sharing a link or embedding it right onto your website. Issuu also enables you to remix the original content into various formats such as GIFs, social stories, and more. You can even add e-commerce links and embedded videos to your content. Bring your posters, programs, and guides to life with interactivity by publishing on Issuu.
Plus with Issuu Stats you can easily track reads, impressions, and clicks to measure how your digital content is performing. Once you have these types of detailed stats, you will get a better sense of which content items are driving the most interest for your festival.
We love gathering inspiration from our own Issuu content creators. Not surprisingly a few major festivals are already leveraging the power of Isssu for their festival marketing, check them out below.
Virgin Media Dublin Film Festival 2021 Browse the full program for the 2021 Virgin Media Dublin Film Festival. This year’s festival includes a brand new screening platform that brings every film right into the comfort of the festival attendee’s home. The program offers all the information you need, links to purchase tickets, an interactive schedule, and more.
Official Guide of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival 2021 Returning for its 20th year, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) is coming up in May 2021. Designed in a magazine-style, but elevated with sleek page-turns and interactive links, the SOBEWFF Official Guide provides comprehensive information about the five-day, star-studded Festival composed of an unprecedented lineup of more than 100 events spanning Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties in Florida.
Calgary International Film Festival 2020 Report After a festival year like none other, the CIFF published their 2020 report highlighting event and film details, audience infographics, their COVID-19 response, plus a general recap of their hybrid festival. Whether the audience attended films offered in limited seating or streamed them at home — CIFF reached an engaged audience of film lovers building connections to the film, the city, and their festival.
Midsumma Carnivale Map 2020 Midsumma is Australia's premier queer arts and cultural organization, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities, and audiences. In 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to in-person events, the Midsumma Carnivale took place in the midst of the Australian summer. Festival attendees utilized this bold and mobile-ready map to get around and make the most of their day at the festival.
Join Issuu.com today to start creating beautiful and exciting digital content for your festival marketing today.