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900 photographers, 200 events, 100 venues – big results

2013 was the first year Head On collaborated with PR firm 6dc to maximise media attention for festival exhibitors in a cost effective way. 6dc reflects on the results.

900 photographers, 200 events, 100 venues.  The brief was big, the result was even bigger.

6dc was engaged by Head On Foundation in February this year to manage the press and publicity for the Head On Photo Festival in 2013. The task ahead was mammoth, but after talking with the Head On Photo Festival Team, the priorities were pretty clear. Our primary focus this year was to increase the festival profile.

From the beginning we worked closely with both photographers and galleries to ensure there was consistent presence and streamlined messaging about the festival. Media releases and invitations were sent through to us before going to press to certify the Head On Photo Festival logo was included, that the content was on brand and that 6dc’s contact details were included for any press enquiries about the festival. As a direct result we saw an increase in articles mentioning the festival when talking about individual exhibitions.

6dc also created a Head On Photo Festival Media Kit – a centralised information portal to send out to journalists – to manage editorial opportunities across such a diverse number of participants. This allowed us to focus on leveraging individual shows as well as the Festival as a whole and secure larger placements.

In 2013 6dc managed over 600 positive media placements for the Head On Photo Festival. This translated to:

  • 26 TV
  • 16 Radio
  • 132 Print
  • 438 Online including tracked social media

We estimate the total PR Value to be an increase of 47% on  2012. The real measure is the reach based on generating more than double the total coverage year on year.

Working on such a diverse and large event has its challenges and there are many lessons to be applied next year.  With so many artists involved, the press kit was our most successful tool. It was the easiest way to pull the information together for the media in an easy to digest format.  The press kit however is only as valuable and relevant as the information supplied.  It is really important to have the exhibition details, artists bios, contact details and correct images supplied on time.

With so many exhibitions and artists, it’s hard to single out a few.  But there were as always a few key lessons from working with the media. Some of the stories that really enticed the media were around:

  • The stories behind the images
  • The adoption of mobile phones in photography
  • Exhibitions that appealed to specific demographics
  • The prize winning images

If a picture says a thousand words, then a photography festival speaks volumes.  Like most of those who attended, the 6dc team were inspired by the amazing imagery, the incredible diversity and creativity, the stories and the passion of the Head On Photo Festival team and the photography community. We are looking forward to continuing the journey next year as there are still many more volumes of stories to be told.  

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Image detail: Gary Ramage