Five tips on how to build your blurb.

Ah, the blurb . . . that short piece of copy that’s supposed to encapsulate everything about your show, and convince the reader to fork over $121.50 so fast, they don’t even have time to check for discounts.

Creating the perfect blurb is one of the biggest and earliest challenges that Broadway and Off-Broadway shows face, but it’s one of the most important things in your advertising arsenal.  Right after your artwork, the perfect blurb can mean the difference between a high-grossing week, and losing all of your customers to the show listed right next to you.

So how do you create a blurb that can guarantee butts in the seats?  Here are five tips on how I do it.

1.  People love stories.

We read books (even non-fiction) because we want a story.  We watch movies (even documentaries) because we want a story.  We watch the news because . . . yep, stories.  Give the people what they want!  Make sure your blurb contains details about your story (the plot, etc.), even if it’s a thin one.  Don’t just fill your blurb with accolades, awards, stars, etc.  Those are all great, but if there isn’t a story that the reader finds compelling in your blurb, kiss those bucks bye-bye.

2.  Let the people pick your words for you.

Need help on what words to use to describe your show?  Hear how other people describe it first, then look for commonly used words.  Have ten people read your play and tell them to give you ten words to describe it.  Invite an audience to a reading, have a talk-back and pay attention to the (positive) words that are said more than once.  These are the characteristics that are resonating with your audience, and they will resonate with the reader as well.

3.  Shorter is not better.

Contrary to popular belief, shorter copy is NOT better.  It has been proven time and time again that longer copy converts at a higher rate than shorter copy.  Don’t believe me?

Click here and read what the fathers of advertising found.  Or click here for a more modern test case.

Your truly interested customers want to know as much about your show as possible, so give them all of the relevant details you can.  The person that doesn’t want to read the longer copy and stops after the first paragraph?  Well, I’d bet you 2 premium tickets to Wicked that he wasn’t going to buy your show anyway.  But with longer copy you’ve got a better chance of driving that hook deeper into your customer’s gills.

Of course, don’t write long just to be long.  Your copy still has to be exceptionally relevant, but it doesn’t have to be 140 characters.

4.  Peeking is not cheating.

Visit Telecharge and browse through the shows, reading each blurb.  Notice what techniques are used.  After reading ten blurbs, decide which shows of the ten you would want to see?  Which shows do you not want to see?  Why?  By examining what’s working today (and more importantly what’s not), you can figure out what will work for you tomorrow.

5.  Don’t be satisfied.

Lots of shows pick a blurb and stick with it for extended periods of time.  When you’re just starting out, write TWO blurbs, not one, and test them. Which one converts at a higher rate?  Ok, now discard the loser, write a variation on the first, and repeat.  Then again.  Then again.  There’s always a way to improve the blurb, and it’s your job to keep tweaking and testing throughout the life of your show.

There’s nothing more daunting than the all white Microsoft Word screen starting back at you, just waiting for you to fill it with the words that’ll turn your show into a seller.

But don’t be scared.  The blurb is not The Blob.  Just start writing and you’ll find out that you know what sells your show better than you think you do.

After all, you got sold on it, right?


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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.