Guide To Promoting Your Next Show

1Playing a sold out show is one of the most rewarding feelings you get as an artist. But to get there requires planning and execution. This piece walks through every step of promoting a show from announcement to sellout.


Guest post by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog

Imagine showing up to a venue to play your show and seeing it jam packed with all your fans. Think about the energy in the room, the screaming fans who waited weeks or even months to see you perform… There’s no better feeling. But for that to happen, it takes a ton of networking, planning, and consistent promotion for your audience to be ready to go when the time finally comes.

To make sure everyone is up to date on the when, where, and what to expect, you’ll have to promote the event way in advance. In this post, we’ll cover what it takes to promote your next gig and get all your fans to actually show up.

Here’s every step to promoting your next show:

Step 1: Reach out to the venue

To get started, the first thing you need to do is reach out to the venue and ask what they’ll be doing to promote the show. If the venue is making flyers and distributing them all over town, don’t waste your time doing the same. Whatever they end up doing is a great contribution, but whatever they don’t is up to you to take care of.

Divide and conquer!

Step 2: Assemble all the contacts you can

If you’ve done this before and promotion isn’t news to you, you probably have a decent list of contacts you can reach out to. If you don’t, make sure to hit up the venue and ask them to send you their media list. In most cases, the venue will have a list ready to send to bands who are out of town, so it shouldn’t be any trouble for them to send you one too. This list usually consists of emails and phone numbers for local music journalists, editors, bloggers, radio show hosts, etc. If it’s your first time reaching out and finding contacts, check out this post for 3 helpful strategies to get you started.

Step 3: Contact those contacts

I’m sure you saw this one coming… You really want to make sure that your show is getting as much coverage as possible. Get yourself on all the local concert calendars, reach out to journalists and bloggers in your area. (Be sure to do this a couple months in advance to be sure to give them enough time to do everything.) Additionally, make sure to be friendly, be yourself, and be respectful of their time when you reach out. If you can offer them some free tickets, that’s even better. Give them a reason to remember you.

Step 4: It’s leg day

If the venue isn’t creating any posters for your show, you’ll need to do this yourself. People generally respond better to posters that are creative and stand out among the rest. It’s not an awful idea to reach out to local artists in your area to get them to help come up with a cool design. Once you have the perfect posters/flyers, go out on the town and put them up in places like coffee shops, record stores, smoke shops, on telephone poles, or anywhere you damn well please. Anywhere that has a lot of foot traffic is sure to gain the attention of someone who’ll be interested.

Step 5: Time to start emailing

3About 6 weeks before the gig, it’s time to send out your first round of email invites. (If you’re struggling with constructing and utilizing your mailing list, this post will help you out.)  Remember, the first email is the most important. Think about what you want your audience’s first impression of your event to be, and go from there. Include all the details of when it is, where it’s happening, and what to expect.

At the same time, you should start announcing the event on all your social media platforms. Start with a big announcement, then remember to keep posting about it throughout the entire time it takes for your show to finally arrive. You want to keep reminding your audience that your show is coming up so they’re well aware and ready to go when the time comes.

Step 6: Rinse & Repeat

2 weeks after your first round of emails, it’s time to send out a second round of emails. You can either send the update to everyone you sent it to the first time, or you can segment it up and send different emails to different groups of people. (For example, the people who didn’t open it the first time can get something different than the people who already RSVP’d.) If you end up deciding to send it to everyone from the first round of emails, just be sure to make the email look and feel different. (ex: different copy, a new color scheme, etc.)

This email is essentially just a reminder disguised as an announcement. Whatever updates you have about the show, whether its a venue change or you’re offering new merch, be sure to include them in this second round of emails.

Once it’s two weeks out, it’s time to send a third email out to everyone with a sense of urgency to it. Remind them the event is coming up and tell them to get excited for everything to come!

Step 7: Final reminders

Ok, so the show is this week. This final reminder should be a bit more personal. If you can, send out a text to everyone who’s coming to remind them one last time. Your effort will be greatly appreciated and people will feel more connected to your band when they receive a personalized reminder from you.

If you don’t get a lot of feedback at the beginning of the promotional period, don’t worry. Most of your RSVP’s will end up coming in a week or so before the show. That’s just how the cookie crumbles. When your show day finally comes, enjoy it. Watch as all your effort and preparation finally pays off.

Do you have any great tips for promoting your shows? Let us know!

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