I hope everyone had a good and safe new year. Today, I will talk about ways that I have seen to successfully promote your shows. This works for independent shows and shows you will be doing with a promotor or booker.
The first thing we need to get out of the way is that fear a lot of comedians have about trying to sell themselves. I still struggle with it from time to time, but I have learned that it is a necessary part of being a comedian. People have all sorts of different entertainment options, and what you have to do is be able to tell them that coming to your show is the better option. That means you can’t tell people about your show half assed. You have to be all in! Why should someone come see you, if even you aren’t excited about it.
If I know about a show really far in advance, what I like to do is get the ball rolling as soon as possible. So, if I have a month before the show, I will usually try to get a flyer done before hand. You can make a simple flyer on your phone or computer, or if you have the cash, you can get someone to do one for you. Since I am not that good at making kick ass flyers for my show, I let a professional handle it. Now, this route will cost you, but you will get a better looking flyer. When money was low for me, what I would do is go online and look for images that were in the public domain or which allowed me to use them without a fee. Then, I would put my information over that photo. Why would I do that? Well, a funny photo will get more eyeballs then just a picture of your face, and that is the whole purpose of a flyer. If you are going to put pictures of your head and neck on there though, make sure the rest of the flyer is interesting. Maybe cut out the background so it looks as though its your head and not just a picture you threw on there.
People get the impression that if you put up flyers that people will just come. That is not true! Again, like I said earlier, you have to convince people that YOUR show is the thing they want to do instead of staying inside and watching Netflix. Just because you put it in your friends tattoo parlor, does not mean you will see a bunch of tatted up people at your show. That is why having a decent flyer, or at the least an interesting flyer, is more important than the number of flyers out there. Besides, why waste all your time taping flyers to poles when you have the internet and social media!
Social media has changed how people promote their shows. Some comedians have mailing lists that will email people that have come to your shows in the past. This can serve two purposes. One, it lets people know when a show is coming up and Two, even if those people aren’t near where the show will be held, they will keep you in mind when you come back through.
What I see a lot on social media that kind of bugs me is a comedian that has a show and they will post something up the night before the show of the day of the show. NO! That is not how people work. People plan for things far in advance. That is why I like to promote a month ahead of time. That gives people enough time to decide what they are going to do on that day. If you tell people the day of, there is a far less likely chance that they will show up because they already have Netflix and chill in their schedule. What should be going on is throwing it out their every once in awhile on social media and then a week or two before the show then you go a little more heavy. An example is my comedy CD recording. I knew about three months ahead that on that date and time, I would be doing it. So I got a flyer made, and I made one myself and I just put them up on Facebook and Twitter about a month before the show. When the date got closer I increased the frequency of telling people about the shows. Then the week of, I hit my social media pages harder.
There are downsides to this strategy though. You don’t want to bother your social media base too much or they will start to zone you out, or just stop following you. There is a careful balance. This is why I like the flyer or funny picture ideas. This is also why I have a dedicated page just for people who want my comedy and not my musings on public school lunch. This will keep eyeballs on it and at least entertain them. You can fatigue your target audience if you keep throwing up the same flyer with you and your friend on it.
Another thing to be aware of is when you are actually trying to promote your shows. If you are doing it at 10:30am on a Monday it may not have the same effect as a Thursday at 4:30pm. Why? Because not everyone you know is a comic that is just sitting on social media all day. Think about the people you usually perform for, do they mostly fit a certain demographic? If so, then you have a good idea on how to get their eyes on what you are selling. I like to put my stuff up on Facebook around noon and again at around 4-5pm. That is when people are doing lunch and would most likely look at Facebook and see a picture of my face glued to the body of a kangaroo. Or they are sitting at home and want to see what is going on. I say Facebook because I haven’t figured out Twitter yet. For all I know I am being followed by a bunch of sex-bots…
I really hope this helps people that are trying to get more asses in the seats. With everything, this will take time and patience, but once you figure out how to promote your shows you will see the added benefits of increased money and the ability to get better negotiating deals when you want to put on your own shows in different spots. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a bomb ass year!