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If you perform music live at all, I’m sure you want your shows to be successful. Ideally, a significant number of people will attend, and you want those people to have a great experience.
During your live gigs your focus is rightly on the people who are in the room supporting you. As it should be.
However, there’s another powerful opportunity to promote live music events. Being aware of it and taking some extra steps will allow you to multiply your efforts and reach thousands of additional people who aren’t in the room.
Sadly, most musicians miss out on leveraging this opportunity.
To illustrate what I’m talking about, I’ll walk you through what I do with my live workshops.
I recently published The Improv Comedy Musician, a book I co-wrote with Laura Hall, the longtime piano player and music director of the show Whose Line Is It Anyway?
I’ve been teaching and performing improv off and on for many years. The release of the new book has opened up new opportunities to take my classes on the road.
These hands-on workshops have a limit on the number of people who can attend. I usually have no more than 12 to 14 students at each one.
Of course, most of my energy goes into delivering a great experience for the people who attend. But I don’t limit my ability to create awareness and positive word-of-mouth to this small group.
Crank up the pre-show buzz
For starters, I promote these events in the weeks leading up to the class date. I mention them in emails to my list and post info about them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Admittedly, most people who see these messages are not close enough to attend. But posting the info makes my friends, fans and followers aware that I am actively teaching musical improv.
At the end of every workshop I teach I ask everyone to pose for a group photo. I make sure to get several photos and ask the group to be more expressive with every snap. Someone else takes the pictures so I can pose with all of these fun people expressing their joy.
The next morning I post one or more of the class photos from the previous night. If I’m friends with any of the students, I tag them.
Here are some examples:
I honestly didn’t start this practice as a marketing tactic. I genuinely wanted to chronicle my journey and remember all the cool people I’ve played with over the years.
But there’s a residual benefit to posting these photos …
The attendees are reminded of the experience they had and often leave positive comments. And, hundreds of people who weren’t even there get to see what we did and read what students had to say about it.
That creates awareness, interest and excitement about these workshops. And that awareness is a big benefit as I continue to present and take them on the road.
Could you do something similar when promoting your live music events?
Here are some simple things you can do during live shows to expand your reach:
- Take photos or video of the audience from the stage. Ask them to cheer or do something fun so it’s more interesting. Post these online soon after with a lively description.
- Ask your audience members to take photos of themselves and each other at your shows. Encourage them to post the pics online and tag you.
- During breaks or after the show, take pictures posing with attendees. Consider taking a group photo, like I do with my improv classes. Ask everyone to do something silly or expressive so the picture looks more engaging.
- When you post your photos and videos, use hashtags that will attract people interested in your musical style or vibe. Also, come up with a unique hashtag for the event and ask people to use it when they post their photos.
- Use Facebook Live or Periscope to broadcast in real time. Ask a friend in the audience to hold your phone and stream your performance (or at least a part of it). Or do a short live video greeting from the stage to show people watching remotely what they’re missing.
- Record video of your fans raving about their experience at your gig. Toward the end of your show, let people know you’d like to get some positive words from them. Point out where you or an associate will be and record their glowing comments. Later you can edit the best ones into a promotional video.
The bottom line: Your live show influence can extend far beyond the people in the room. But you have to expand your thinking and take a couple of extra steps to make the most of it!
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