The Art of Self Promotion - How To Fill A Venue
You sold the talent buyer, booked the gig, and are fine tuning the perfect set to blow the minds of a packed house full of soon to be die-hard fans. The last thing you want is to play your hearts out to a half empty room. Sure, the venue marketers will promote the show and do their best to fill the space, but don't just sit back and hope the room is filled with warm bodies come show time...get out there and make it happen!
There's a lot you can do as an artist to create some hype for your upcoming tour. Thanks to today's interconnected world, you can even get started long before you hit the ground in the town where you're playing.
Spread the word on Facebook (+Facebook Advertising 101 for Bands & Musicians, Twitter (+30 Day Twitter Guide for Musicians), Google+, Instagram, and any other social media platforms you use to connect with your fans. Ask your fans (and friends, family members, acquaintances, anyone you've ever met...) to tell their friends about the show. Simply by asking, or making the suggestion that people reach out to their network, you greatly increase the likelihood that some of them actually will. Just posting the show date, time, and venue isn't enough.
The PR Machine
Don't be satisfied with a one line listing in the local event publication with the basic stats on the show. Do everything you can to create a buzz in local media.
Call local radio stations and offer to be interviewed. Send them a free CD to be spun on the air, and ask to play a quick in-studio set to promote the show. Come up with an angle that makes you newsworthy. Are you trying to break into that market on your first tour? Is the group back together after some time working on solo projects? What about your sound or your story is different and interesting?
Reach out to local newspapers, bloggers who focus on the local music scene, and area special interest magazines. Submit info on the show to websites that list events. This may sound like a lot of work, but it is well worth it, and fortunately for you Indie on the Move provides compiled listings of radio stations and media contacts as well as listings of newspapers, magazines, blogs and entertainment contacts to help get you started.
Go Find Some Fans
The old standby of handing out quarter sheets with the show info might entice a few passersby, and hanging up enough eye-catching posters may fill a few more seats. But what about giving would-be fans a taste of what they'll actually hear at the show?
Set up in a park, in the quad at a local college, or on a busy street corner during lunch (permits and/or permission may be required) and play a few tunes. Talk to people you see hanging around, and if they like what they hear ask them to help spread the word. Maybe even offer them a spot on the guest list if they bring out some friends to the show.
Have some devoted fans in the city you'll be playing? Arm them with flyers, stickers, and demo cds and ask them to help promote the show. They are your best spokespeople and can likely convince friends, roommates, coworkers, and maybe even the guy that makes their coffee every morning to come out. And of course, offer these street teamers something special for their assistance (a shout out, song dedication, free CD or T-shirt, etc.). +Grassroots Promotion - How Your Biggest Fans Can Help Promote Your Tour
As with social media outreach, don't assume that if you tell someone about the show they'll take it upon themselves to tell everyone they know about it. Specifically ask for their help and tell them how much it means to you.
The best way to ensure that your shows will be well attended is by promoting them properly. So, spend some time perfecting your approach, make sure to utilize the tools at your disposal, and don't assume that others will spead the word without you asking them for their help first.
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