Jessica Bridgeman, manager of Ticketmaster’s tmBlog, on being a one-woman team, the editorial focus for the year and working with a crack group of blogmasters.

Gorkana meets...tmBlog

You’ve already had an extensive career in journalism, how did you end up at Ticketmaster?

From the moment I decided to swap a comfortable online role for the thrills of freelance in 2013, it has all been a little bit of a blur. I joined the incredible digital teams at Marie Claire, InStyle and LOOK before branching into digital ad agencies. Working with agencies like Zone (Tesco, Coca-Cola, Nike) and Not Actual Size (Dove, Persil) put me in a great position to take on a role like blog manager at Ticketmaster. Sitting within the marketing team means it’s as much about strategy and campaigns as it is being creative. The opportunities and challenges are practically endless here.

How has working at Ticketmaster differed from your previous writing career?

I don’t have to make any pitches, for one! The depth of genres we cover across music, theatre and sport is far wider than any other project I’ve worked on. Part of my role involves fine-tuning the entire digital strategy for tmBlog, a digital platform that, as yet, hasn’t had much publicity within the entertainment world. But that’s all about to change, of course. Much like the campaigns and brands you work with at ad agencies, there are more levels of concern and approval when creating content. Defining and developing the Ticketmaster audience on an editorial platform is proving to be an exciting one, that’s for sure.

What sort of content features on tmBlog?

Daily posts include event news, event previews, features, thought pieces, interviews, reviews, tour diaries, photo galleries, guest blogs and competitions. Video content is a big development since I joined in January and we’ll be including this in much of the content going forward. We have a team of specialist writers on board as blogmasters, who provide regular posts and vlogs on their chosen genre. These collaborations will extend to festivals and dedicated campaigns throughout the year.

Who are these mysterious blogmasters?

This is our crack team of bloggers who contribute regular news, reviews, opinion pieces and vlogs from their specialist genres. Spanning the entertainment offerings of Ticketmaster, we have theatre, comedy, classical, sport, indie, pop and metal bloggers. We have also welcomed dedicated fashion and photo bloggers who cross all of these genres. They all have blogs of their own, thriving social media channels to their names and an unrivalled passion to be at the heart of Ticketmaster events.

How can PRs best help with content?

Dare I say it, mailing lists and relevant press releases. Event news as and when it happens is invaluable and with the high level of genres we’re covering, the snappier your updates can be, the better. Competitions is a new channel on tmBlog, so I’m keen to hear from anyone wanting to get involved with that.

The biggest question I get from PRs wanting to work with tmBlog is regarding our links to Ticketmaster events. As long as we’re ticketing for an event or artist – be it a headline gig, support slot or festival – we’ll be keen to talk coverage.

What other areas are you planning to expand into?

Sport will be a big one for us this year, predominately the 2015 Rugby World Cup. We’ll be welcoming some new contributors who are experts in this field and gaining momentum with this types of content. Music and theatre continue to be a priority, with festivals being a major focus from now until September. We’ll be busy!

How can PRs help you with content in these areas?

Competitions, access and collaboration! As a one-woman team in-house, I’m not looking to churn out press releases but expand on announcements with valuable content. Working with artists, athletes and theatre talent is what we’re all about and opportunities to do so are always the priority for us. Our brilliant social platforms act as the destination for quick news, while the blog serves to go above, beyond and behind-the-scenes.

Which areas of the blog have the most interaction?

Music is currently the most popular channel on the blog, which is no surprise as this is what Ticketmaster is predominantly known for. It’s also where we have most opportunities and access currently. Our dedicated competitions channel is already hot on its heels though and are always great ways to engage users. Theatre and sport are looking to level the balance with music throughout the year, as we continue to grow the number of contributors alongside major events.

What are your top tips for PRs approaching with a pitch?

Think about Ticketmaster. As I mentioned, if we’re not ticketing for an event or artist in any capacity, we’re limited on opportunities. We love video and collaborating on something more meaty, so any feasible ways to create brilliant content is what we’re after. As the behind-the-scenes point of any event, it’s a great platform to give the events a place showcase what they’re all about. Be it a gig, a West End show or a football match, we’re looking for opportunities to get in front of the performers and athletes themselves. All content is fed through the main site and linked back to the event pages, so the user experience is at the forefront of every piece we post.

How often do you post new content on the site?

Daily, seven days a week. These can take the form of any content types mentioned previously, and will also include regular blogmaster posts and original videos.

Are you interested in guest bloggers contributing to the site?

Always! We’re at the heart of Ticketmaster’s events, so hearing from other experts in these fields or the people involved is encouraged. We like to cross genres, where possible, to keep the blog experience more rounded, so if you have an athlete who has a secret passion for pop music (or vice versa), get in touch. Our increase in video content and vlogs means we’re also keen to collaborate with entertainment bloggers.

Why do you think there is such a sense of community in the blogosphere?

The reason we have a blog and not a straight editorial website as such, is to give Ticketmaster a genuine voice in the entertainment community. Independent blogmasters mean we can be at the centre of the events and soak up the experience like any other consumer would do, while also having the expertise to create great content.

Personally, I’ve always prided myself on being a music fan before anything else. I’m keen to translate this ethos to tmBlog, meaning we approach the events with the same level of passion our readers do.

And finally, what are the top five events you’ve attended?

Wow, what a tough question.

  • Reading Festival 2003 completely changed my life; it was my first ever festival and the moment I realised that kind of live atmosphere is unlike anything else.
  • In the same vein, it wasn’t until 2010 that I made the pilgrimage to Donington as Download Festival returned with AC/DC as headliners. For me, the community feel at Download remains one of the greatest things to exist in music.
  • System of a Down just headlined The SSE Arena, Wembley and it was totally unforgettable. Delivering a 34-song set without any support acts; it’s safe to say the metal community won’t forget that in a hurry. There are just so many gigs I could choose from here.
  • Cats is my all-time favourite musical and when I finally saw it for the first time at the Bristol Hippodrome a few years back, it didn’t disappoint. Grease is up there too and I’m sure as soon as I see Jersey Boys, my top three will be decided. You can’t mess with the classics!
  • I’m a self-confessed wrestling fan so when I caught some live TNA action at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham last year, I was even more hooked. The atmosphere emulates everything I love about my favourite festivals – but with more foam hands!Read the article on Gorkana’s Notes from Basecamp site here.