HOW TO ADVERTISE YOUR GIG
Advertising is an important aspect of gig preparation. No fun playing to an empty room, right?
Until you’re a famous artist with PR, marketing, promotion and management teams, you need to advertise all your gigs yourself. Even if your gig has a promoter, you still need to be actively promoting the night to your inner circle and fan base.
Before the big night you should have done everything in your power to advertise and attract people to the gig. Think like a music lover: search for gigs in your area and see how other artists advertise, then advertise your gig in all those places. You should start planning promotion as soon as you’ve booked and confirmed the gig, the more time you have, the more chances you have to reach a wider audience.
Here are a few common ways to advertise your gig.
CLICK HERE to download the 'Advertise Your Gig' .pdf checklist.
Tell your friends and family.
In person if you can. Don’t mention it casually, like it’s no big thing, if it doesn’t seem important they won't come. Engage them personally, tell them about the gig and get them to say they will come along. Then, a week before the gig - send them a reminder message including the date, time and location of the gig. Remind them how important it is to you that they attend.
These people are supposed to be your inner circle, they should be supporting you. Don’t be afraid to bully them into it a little, twist their arm, and persuade them to come. Your inner circle need to be your most dedicated, outspoken supporters, and they’ll only become those supporters if they see you perform live.
Create an event with all the information about the night and invite everyone you know in the area of the gig. Even Mrs Plumstead from down the road, whom you only added so it wasn’t awkward when you walk past her house on the way to the shop. Or that guy from work whom you think only asked about your band to be polite. Don’t be shy or embarrassed, they might surprise you and turn up with friends.
The facebook group is a great way to advertise your gig and engage with your audience. Facebook notifies everyone on the invite list when you update the event, so post videos or music links for you and the other acts, and periodic reminders in the comments. Facebook also reminds people about the event by default, a few hours before it takes place.
Status updates, gig posters, hashtags. Post them; use them to put the word out. Use location tags that people might be using to find gigs in your city, like #londongigs #londonmusic #livemusiclondon (obviously insert your city here). Tag the venue, the other bands and try to get everyone to share to their own followers. Use your personal profiles as well as profiles associated with your music.
It’s easy to put out the word to the general public and leave it at that. But people will always be more inclined to respond if you contact them personally. Even people you just met, or have only conversed with on the internet - send them a message or comment on their profile how you’d love to see them at your gig. Someone commented on your band instagram? Comment them back and invite them personally to your gig!
People like to feel special, and what’s more special than a personal invitation from a ROCKSTAR!
Either make a gig poster yourself or find someone who can make one for you. Make sure you check with the other acts and the promoter (if there is one), so you don’t end up with five different posters; a single message is strongest. A poster needs either a compelling image associated with the genre, a photo of the headlining act, or some attractive artwork to draw the eye to the information. Always include the line-up, venue, date, start time and entry cost. If it is R18, R21 or all-ages, include that info as well.
You can use the poster for advertising online and on social media. Print them and put posters up at the venue a few weeks in advance of the show. Take it around the local record stores and music shops and ask if you can put it in their window or notice board.
Find out the public areas where you can legally put up posters near the venue; there might be a person or company who does this and you might need to pay them a fee to do it for you. Share your poster everywhere; put some up at school, at work, at your rehearsal room, at your Nana’s house.
Print flyers of the gig poster and hand them out everywhere, to everyone who will take them. Record stores and music shops have dedicated areas for gig flyers; leave a handful. The week before your gig, go to the venue with flyers and hand them out to patrons or leave them on tables (always ask the venue manager first).
Stand outside gigs and concerts after the show as people are leaving and hand them flyers. On the night of your gig, before you play, stand outside the venue and give a flyer to everyone who walks past. Tell people what’s happening!
There’s no point feeling bashful, no matter how embarrassed or awkward you feel approaching strangers to come to your gig, you will feel ten times more so if no one turns up. TURN IT UP so people TURN UP.
Every town will have some sort of gig listing in the local paper. Local and nationwide music magazines always have gig guides. There might even be a dedicated leaflet or magazine for upcoming gigs in your city. It should be free to get your gig listed in all of them. Some cities (and countries) even have dedicated gig guide websites. Find every site that lists gigs local to you and get your gig on them. Sites like EventFinda, Songkick and Reverbnation are good places to start.
Radio stations love a ‘gig guide’, call up your local stations (or visit in person) and ask to be included. While you’re there, ask them if you can play live in their studio or if you can get an interview before your show, you might get lucky.
Have you got an email contact list of your fans? If you don’t, you need to start bringing a paper form and a pen to your gigs and getting people to sign up. You could potentially email your audience to advertise your gig directly.
Other ways to build your email list so you can advertise gigs and other news is to collect emails when people buy your songs, and have an email signup on your facebook page and other social media pages.
Collect your email addresses on a site like Mailchimp, create a campaign and send an email to your fan base that includes all the information about your upcoming gig, and the gig poster. Ask them to share and bring friends.
Your other gigs. Remember to plug your upcoming gigs while you have a microphone and a captive audience! Limit yourself to the next one or two local shows, tell them where and when and to speak to you afterwards for more info.