Manchester International Festival
Show-stopping Content Strategy

The page &
the stage


Manchester International Festival wanted to build a content strategy that would make the most of their history as well as future-proof the planning, production, publishing, and optimisation of content across their organisation and owned digital ecosystem.


The internationally renowned arts and culture event Manchester International Festival was moving from a biannual event to a permanent arts programme in Manchester and instructed Manifest to develop a digital-first content strategy that would take them from their 2021 festival planning through to the launch of The Factory, their state of the art venue in the centre of the city, in 2022.

We started with full immersion into the arts organisation taking time to understand the processes that governed everything from arts funding to talent partnerships to putting on a festival. We also spoke to key stakeholders across the business to understand how content flowed through the organisation. What we found was a company that suffered from feast not famine when it came to content opportunities but simply didn’t have the governance in place to organize content briefs and effectively plan how those opportunities would be produced and published.

The final output was a series of content playbooks designed to give the current and future marketing team within MIF the correct approach to content planning, production and publishing whilst simultaneously giving outside teams the chance to see the strong content opportunity within the business – not just from the arts programme or live events calendar. Our hero playbook featured brand guidelines (incl. tone of voice), channel recommendations, publishing processes, and robust content strategies on how to leverage thought leadership within the organisation, use the talent (both current and alumni) who perform every year, and tie content strategy to their sales strategy. We also created a tailor-made triage system that gave the marketing team the system thinking and processes they needed to curate content opportunities from across the company, assess their value and potential impact on the digital channels and put them into production. The triage also includes an ‘incubator’ process for turning single briefs into potential new content series and hero content ideas.

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