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Dance Blast – communications, press, marketing

“As a result of Anita’s work, we have a variety of marketing tools and an improved understanding and ability to think strategically about marketing. Anita is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, generous and understanding. I gained a huge amount of confidence in my abilities to devise and deliver marketing strategies for Dance Blast.” Sally Carlson, Director, Dance Blast.

Dance Blast, the community dance development organisation for Monmouthshire provides opportunities for young people (and to a lesser extent, adults) across Monmouthshire to experience dance. It is well-respected and much-loved by those who knew about the organisation, but its profile had been low, and it was reliant on a small number of funding sources.

In 2010, Arts Council Wales announced that Dance Blast would be one of 32 organisations that it would no longer be funding on a regular basis. It successfully applied for ‘transition funding’ to help it to adapt to its new circumstances, and as part of this, I worked with director Sally Carlson to raise the profile of the organisation.

We agreed that we needed to:

  • raise the profile generally in the County to increase participant numbers and support business fundraising
  • communicate how the organisation is different to other private dance schools, why it needs support and how people can help
  • communicate the benefits of dance, and Dance Blast, to participants and the difference it makes to young people
  • share the stories and communicate the experience of Dance Blast and its participants
  • develop an identity and consistent marketing materials to help Dance Blast reinforce its messages

Over the space of nine months I worked with Dance Blast to develop:

  • a new more interactive website – one that could be updated easily by Dance Blast, and included an email address capture form, social networking links, video and photo gallery sections, and comments boxes (since further developed on a new platform)
  • a new logo to aid development of more consistent image
  • key marketing messages and copy – including the story of Dance Blast, ‘need for support’ messages and unique selling points
  • an email marketing system – an e-mailing list sign up form on the website connected to contacts management on MailChimp; regular email newsletters and monitoring of response
  • web/social networking activities – increased social networking activities on Facebook; new activities via Twitter, YouTube and Flickr
  • videos – two videos for YouTube/web featuring interviews with participants and footage of rehearsals and performances
  • press and media contacts – a press contacts list and personal contact with the press
  • a new general promotional leaflet – incorporating the new logo and development of consistent image

As a result:

  • attendances have increased – to such an extent that Dance Blast have added new classes for certain age-groups
  • website unique visits have doubled to 1,000 unique visitors in the 10 weeks following launch
  • the email marketing list has grown from approx 400 (many of which old/not relevant) to 500 subscribers
  • around 200 people are following on social networks, and the number is growing with 162 Facebook likes, around 100 monthly active users on Facebook; 153 YouTube views; and 54 Twitter followers.
  • press coverage has increased dramatically, including a number of photo stories and one ‘Community Champions’ piece, and a feature in the national newspaper of Wales. In total we achieved 16 pieces of press coverage, including Western Mail, Monmouthshire Free Press, Monmouthshire Beacon, Abergavenny Chronicle, South Wales Argus, Sunshine Radio.

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