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Getting Better is All About Promotion! Promotion! Promotion!
by Posted By Les Vogt
Not much has changed since the "master of promotions," P.T. Barnum, attracted the masses to his world famous circus shows with his creative advertising and promotional schemes. Barnum correctly stated to the world "Without promotion something terrible happens... Nothing!"
Posted By Les Vogt
Many of us believe that if we become exceptional performers... success will automatically follow. Well, I can guarantee that you'll always be playing for friends and family unless you let people know who you are, what you can do... and where they can find you. In order to advance a performing career today, you'll have to be pretty darn good and you'll likely have to take responsibility for your own success and take full charge of your destiny. Only you can make the initial effort to get noticed. You'll have to take some chances, develop some basic negotiation skills and learn how to better market yourself and your talents. Here are the basic steps to success...
Getting Noticed Is Priority No.1 - Promotion is Advertising and Publicity... they will be the principal means for establishing your name and image. Advertising and Publicity are two entirely different things, and each has its place. Most of us, especially in the beginning, won't have a lot of money and thus, we'll do very little advertising beyond affordable posters, handbills and our own personal "word of mouth" network. However, all performers should continually advertise wherever and whenever possible while constantly working at creating effective free publicity. Getting buyers to advertise your name in the newspaper, and/or on the radio, is the ideal scenario for this purpose. Providing some unique and motivating advertising ideas will help in this regard. Getting noticed is a survival skill... if your publicity works, you'll flourish; if it doesn't, your career may not survive.
Get The Right Publicity Tools - Essentially, your publicity tools will be a promotional package containing some printed bio materials, photos, a video, a recorded CD and perhaps some advertising ideas. You should also try and develop a unique logo to identify yourself or your group and project that image in all your publicity efforts. Don't settle for home-made looking materials. Your promo package is your first chance to impress a potential client... it needs to be as complete and professional as possible. Remember... YOU NEVER GET A 2ND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.
Have A Definite Marketing Plan - For most of us, publicity and promotion planning doesn't come easily. These chores are generally considered a nuisance by the artistically blessed. Most performers are uncomfortable working with the media, writing press releases, trying to get feature stories in the paper, calling on potential clients, etc. But, as your talent and confidence improves, this job will get easier and easier. It won't be long before you're devising a lot of different ways for you and/or your band to get noticed. Watch the newspapers, check out the high powered magazine ads and study the style and manner of the big guys... imagine your name in place of Ford, Sony, Budweiser, or whatever. These companies pay millions for advertising that sells... so, use them to your advantage. Copy their layouts with your picture and change the message statement with your name in the slogan. Next time you're waiting in the airport, doctor's office, or wherever, go through all the magazine ads and you'll find plenty of ideas just waiting to be plucked. It's easy... you'll be hammering out high-impact advertising material just like a professional publicist in no time. Your magazine reading habits may never be the same again!
Utilize Advertising You Can Afford - Hang a banner with your name & logo on the stage... Schmooze audiences after the show with memorable business cards... if you are a band, choose sections and work the room at every opportunity... ask for requests... sell a CD... use whatever introductory topic feels comfortable - the purpose is to introduce yourself and/or your band name every chance you get... make an effort to be different, personable, and most of all to be positively remembered. If the gig was booked or produced by an agent or producer, be sure to hand out only his/her business cards.
Posters, Flyers, Table Tents (with information on your gig as well as your contact information) are affordable items to prepare and distribute in the general area of all your public gigs. Offer a two-for-one coupon, or free passes (whatever is available,) to a shop keeper for displaying your poster in their window. You can make door hangers similar to the kind that the telephone company hangs on your doorknob when you're away... it's a two-sided mini-poster that may include a tear-off discount coupon on the bottom. Hang them on the doors of all the motels, apartments and/or homes in the general vicinity of your gigs. And, of course, your e-mail database should be maintained and utilized continually. Always e-mail your contact list before all special gigs and after any noteworthy accomplishments.
If the venue you are playing uses a hand stamp for re-entering the premises, give the doorman a stamp with your name or web site address. It's just one more way to get your name out there. Advertising specialists tell us that it takes at least seven exposures of a name or brand before the average person can remember it... so, get that name out there every chance you get. Be as unique as possible... clever and cute will always be better remembered. Watch those magazine ads for clever and cute ideas!
Your Performance Is Your Best Advertising - On stage you are in full control of all activities. It is important to let your audience know that you are happy to see them all having such a good - great - fun time. Tell them often in different ways... don't ask them if they are having a good time, tell them in a positive manner. Be creative, not obvious and repetitious. After seven messages, it'll be embedded in their subconscious and they'll go home and tell all their friends what a good time they had last night. And, don't forget to mention your web site address... you and/or your group will be the benefactors.
You have to connect with your audience in order to impress them... the trick is to know your audience and do some advance preparation. Good planning requires a little work but it will noticeably improve your performance. Promote your upcoming shows and recent achievements from the stage... blow your own horn a little. But, don't overdo it or you'll sound arrogant. Be cute and funny if you're good at it, otherwise, stick to straightforward intros, etc. and let your performance speak for itself. You might dedicate a song to Stephen Spielberg who is in the audience auditioning you for a scene in his next movie... deadpan or tongue-in-cheek, it doesn't matter... you'll get some attention. And, it's a great door opener for offstage conversations when it comes time to work the room. When they ask you about Spielberg, have a cute response ready that'll leave an endearing memory... something like "I was only kidding... Stephen and I aren't talking at the moment." The point to remember... if you can make an audience smile, you've probably won them over. Always be on the lookout for cute ways to communicate with your audience. You should be able to take a little something from every good entertainer's repertoire without being accused of plagiarism. Don't be afraid to try new things... if they work for you, use them again and again. If they don't... adjust or delete them forever!
Author's site: http://www.members.shaw.ca/lesvogt
Les Vogt is an independent producer, promoter and