The crowded summer concert season is drawing to a close, but that doesn’t mean live music disappears for the year. Each month there are incredible lineups playing at some of the best venues in the world, and working within that industry can be an exciting and fulfilling career. But what happens if you find yourself promoting a concert for the first time? It’s incredibly hard to get noticed in the noisy world of entertainment these days. People have so many options, including films, television and video games, each of which can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. If you’re going to pack a venue it’ll take a ton more work than just booking the act, unless you’re lucky enough to be working with one of the larger bands. Whether you’re part of the promotion team for a huge festival or are a team of one trying to fill a bar for a friend’s band, here are the top five concert promotion tips.
First of all, you have to know your budget. Concert promotion is dependent on consistency. You’ll announce the event as far as several months in advance, and must continue to promote it all the way up until the day of the show. On top of that, you’ll have your first big promotional blast, and while it may cool for a bit you’ll have to ramp it back up as the show draws closer. If you don’t take the time to budget appropriately, you could find you’ve blown through your marketing spend well in advance of the concert. And when the band looks your way wondering why the room was half empty, you’ll really have no excuse. Work with an expert if need be, but set that budget early and stick as close as possible to that bottom line.
Whatever your budget, your goal is to gain some sort of presence in every area of media. That means print, either in newspapers or magazines, electronic, through promotion on television or radio, the internet, on websites, social media sites and through email blasts and outdoor promotion on billboards, buses and other forms of public transportation. You should also add in some grassroots promotion, in the form of street teams handing out postcards and fliers or putting up posters all around town. You might not have the money to hit all of these platforms, and television and billboards are usually the first to be cut. But make sure that you are effectively marketing on as many of those platforms as possible.
You’ll also want to work with the band to reach out to their fanbase. Most musicians these days have their own website, and have created a direct relationship with their fans. So whether they’re collected on a mailing list or keep tabs on the artist through Facebook and Twitter, this will be your most important audience. Offer them some sort of presale and get them involved. They’ll be promoting the show to friends and family that you wouldn’t have reached in any other way.
In addition to all you must do to get ready for the show, make sure you take the time to network with the press. The media can be your greatest asset in concert promotion. More people will look into an event they hear about through a show they already watch or listen to, rather than something they see on paid advertising. If you can get coverage by a media outlet you’ll expand your audience, and the best part is that coverage is absolutely free. So develop relationships with the music press over time, and you’ll be able to reach out to them at the most important moments of your promotional campaign.
Finally, look for ways to partner with local, regional or national organizations. If any of the bands performing at the concert have connections with non-profits or socially conscious organizations you could reach out to their membership by offering a discount on tickets. If nothing like that presents itself, look at the community surrounding the venue. If your show is at Mohegan Sun Arena, look around the area for local restaurants, bars or limo and taxi services you can cross-promote with. You’re much better off selling some percentage of your tickets for less if it means receiving a ton of free promotion. And the lower your budget, the more important these collaborative relationships become.