More Blogging for Tickets

Slight Sidebar before I start-Check out the Discussion over at on making a better case for the arts. An interesting collection of folks you don’t normally see writing there.

So my entries about Impact Theatre’s offer of free tickets to people who would blog on their shows has gotten some notice.

Elisa over at Worker Bees Blog tried to add a comment to my blog only to find she was denied. Then I found out I too was prevented from commenting despite having the option left open. It was only after removing the banned IP addresses from my blog that I could post. My apologies to those who have tried to comment. (Of course, now I will get a lot of Texas Hold Em poker ads in my comments I am sure.)

Anyhow, Elisa posted her thoughts on the matter on her blog. I can pretty much see her point on most of her comments. The only thing I don’t entirely agree with is her first one — partially because if I understand it correctly, she is paid to blog for other theatres. Granted, she is in the minority of bloggers since most are not paid and most of what she writes is promotional rather than critical reviews/critiques.

The other thing is that I would imagine there are plenty of bloggers out there who are willing to become unpaid shills for something they believed in. Just read a handful of political blogs. Very few of them practice thoughtful reflection about issues and happily repeat what they heard someone else say. (Though there are a great number of those I don’t agree with who do string together very intelligent thoughts) Just as there are patrons who will love your organization no matter what ill-conceived thing you toss together, there are going to be bloggers who will rose color everything you do.

Of course where Elisa is right is that you want someone who doesn’t subscribe to your agenda because their good opinions of you will only count if they are seen as credible and discerning. Then again, just as people gravitate toward critics with whom they agree, bloggers would certainly gain the same following so there is a place for the you-can-do-no-wrongers.

I think the rules the theatre is setting up regarding number of words and readership is simply a good indication of who new technologies are always envisioned in the context of what we know. Like the houses of tomorrow or projections of the future that simply add a futuristic patina to our present lives.

Since we are used to getting press packs from print and broadcast media that celebrate the reach, exposure, market penetration, etc that we will get for our buck, that is how we look to measure success. It is easy to forget that with this new medium, the rules, expectations and measures of success may be changing. It is well known that word of mouth is much more powerful than paid advertising. Therefore, it probably isn’t a matter of how many people read a blog as how many of those who do read a blog link to/cite the entry themselves and are read/cited in turn thereby increase your exposure.

And yeah, good luck trying to quantify that (though I am sure Google will come up with a way.) Of course, if you are doing live performances, the ultimate measure of success is pretty much the same–how many butts are in the seats.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


1 thought on “More Blogging for Tickets”

  1. It’s true I blog for some theatres. But I go see tons of other theatre and review it all on my PERSONAL blog, not my professional blogs. If I review the work of a client theatre I disclose my relationship with them, and usually don ‘t give a full review.

    My point was that Impact’s mistake was in *positioning* the blogger program so blatantly as a way to get bloggers to be a marketing tool for them. You’re completely right that bloggers love to promote something they discover and believe in.

    A theatre doesn’t pitch a reviewer to come see a show with the rationale that they should because it will help the theatre sell tickets. They pitch shows to critics based on the idea that the show will interest the critics’ readers. There is some angle, some human interest story, something like that.


Leave a Comment