Marketing & Promotion

The actual promotion of your event isn’t exactly rocket science but there are more considerations than ever and it will become the most time consuming aspect of being a promoter.

Promoting live gigs is very different from promoting a dance event or club night so you need to bear in mind how you are going to strategically produce the publicity for your event.

However, there are some fundamental areas that apply to all genres and these are:

  • Press and Media
  • Physical Promotion
  • Online promotion
  • Word of Mouth
    • Design - choose the right designer to work with to create a visual identity for your event. Make sure they have experience of designing posters and flyers for your event type, that they can work to strict deadlines and that they can handle the print process and provide artwork in various useable formats. 
    • Proofing - a nightmare for any promoter is distributing physical promotion with incorrect details on. This just confuses gig goers, so make sure you provide correct copy to the designer and proof designs thoroughly. Check for correct event names, pricing information, artist names, logos, descriptive taglines, press quotes, web links, correct dates and times and venue and ticketing information.
    • Distribution - always find as many places as possible for your publicity material. While you can target shops, venues and other outlets yourself, hiring professionals can help. For larger events, consider hiring a licensed promotional team to distribute posters and hand out flyers. Choose trustworthy distributors and evaluate results to ensure they're in the right place at the right time. Also consider flyering at similar local events.
    • Dedicated website - If promoting on a regular basis and creating a 'brand' for your events, you will need a well designed website. Web hosting is relatively cheap, or you could set up a blog using sites like Tumblr and Wordpress. Always keep your sites updated and collect email addresses so you can send up to date news. Give users a reason to return to your site so keep content fresh and interactivity and competitions.
    • Blogs - when sending press releases to press and radio contacts (see above), don't forget your dedicated music bloggers.
    • Socially network - keep up with trends and create accounts/pages for your promotions company on Twitter, Facebook and whichever other social networks are currently 'in' at the time of reading this! You could write pages and pages of social networking tips. Needless to say, your behaviour should reflect what you'd expect in the real world. Be sociable, fun and interact with people. But never cross the line into pestering and being a nuisance.
    • Build a database - offer people incentives to joing your mailing list and collect as many email addresses as possible.
  • Press and Media

    Good promotion involves securing regional and national press, online and radio coverage. You should be able to sell your event as 'newsworthy'. But be strategic - there's no point sending a press release for your metal gig to Mixmag.

    Put together a press release for your event with all necessary information, any promotional designs and high resolution images of your performers. Don't ignore style and culture magazines, webzines and blogs, but put some research in to make sure anyone you target is likely to offer coverage. Be personable and professional and consider print deadlines.

    As well as national and regional press and blogs, send a press release to suitable radio targets and try to make sure that artists performing have tracks available or might be available for interviews.

    Finally, don't forget to offer guestlist spaces to reviewers and photographers when sending your press release. Building a good relationship with the media is key to long-term promotional success. Get to know key journalists and editors and consider offering exclusives or giveaways.

    Physical Promotion

    Although the significance of print media and promotional flyers and posters has declined in recent years as a resuly of online promotional tools, good promoters consider approach events from as many angles as possible. As a promoter, you need to use the traditional vehicles of promotion to your advantage whilst embracing new technologies to maximize the potential audience for your event.

    Online Promotion

    Your audience is now more likely to hear about events online than through physical marketing, advertising or traditional media outlets. Good promoters need to consider:

    Physical vs. Online Marketing

    Be aware that the overall value and impact of traditional print adverts have unquestionably declined with the rise of social media and e-marketing. The interactivity of online promotion is hard to beat with physical promotion. However, recent trends of 'pestering' by promoters have lead to sites like Facebook changing policies to protect people from a constant onslaught of event promotion.

    A good balance needs to be made between physical and online marketing.

    Traditional Advertising

    With the rise of social media and blogs, the need for traditional advertising of events has considerably decreased. You may find however that selective media advertising is the best way to reach your audience. Make sure advertising is cost effective - you may get much better value for money advertising in 5 regional / local publications than spending all your budget on 1 advert in a national magazine.

    As with all promotion, you need to know your market well and always negotiate on pricing.

    Word of Mouth

    Always hype up your event as much as possible when talking to people, it is likely they will go on and talk to another ten or so people. Word easily gets around following a quality event and people need to know when the next one is coming up.

    Latest Thinking

    As Generator's Music Futures 2011 approached, The Gen's editor, Paul Reed caught up with Daryl Robinson, MD of National Promotions at Mean Fiddler.


    Drawing on over 20 years of experience in the live music industry, Daryl reflects on the changes that social media has brought to promoting shows: “Years ago, you would book a show, put it on-sale and stand on the streets handing flyers out. Now, with a Facebook update you can reach all of these people with one click. We’re in the middle of the change cycle. But the downside of this is that people are inundated, Facebook is set to become the next junk mail”.

    As a result of such white noise on the Internet, he goes on to say that: “People are going to have to get more savvy about the Internet and where to advertise. Venue databases and e-flyers can sell tickets because they are targeted- you don’t get any targeting with Facebook”.

    Daryl continues: “Relationships that promoters have with bands, managers and agents are getting more important. The band’s own website is important in selling to people already interested. The question is how to sell tickets to the non-converted. Are Reverb Nationand Songkick really engaging people in the same way that Myspace initially did, enabling artists to build careers?”


    Read the full interview here.

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