In a recession, the entertainment industry thrives. So if you are thinking about trying your hand at event promotion, I have some suggestions for you:

  1. You need at least two weeks to advertise. Use different color flyers with different ads for the same event. Use original artwork and be creative. Be brief: Too much information is bad information in modern advertising.
  2. Contact local stations, websites, and newspapers to see if they’re willing to plug your event in exchange for promoting them on flyers and other announcements. This is known as a “media sponsorship”. Always phrase your pitch in terms of how they benefit, not you.
  3. You should always include college media in your advertising campaign because in most cases, it’s free.
  4. Do not solely use MySpace or other social networks to promote your event. MySpace is dead, and there is too much clutter to fight through on other networks.
  5. Make sure you advertise where your audience is, not just where the event is. Never violate local posting policy and town / state regulations. Call the town / village / city before you post.
  6. Tell people about the show in person. Americans are increasingly shut in and need convincing to come out. Tell your friends, have them tell their friends. Don’t be annoying. You can tell quickly if someone wants to learn more. If they don’t, thank them and leave.
  7. Band and performer selection is crucial. Since you’re not likely to have a major band performing at a small venue, for example, you need quality bands. Don’t just book a performer because they’re going to bring people. The performer’s “Suck Factor” outweighs drawing ability. You have to keep people at your event, not send them away screaming.
  8. Having an ego is the worst thing this business. Check your ego at the door or pay for it later. Be polite. Always.
  9. Ramming your head into a concrete wall because of frustration is not recommended. Drinking lots of coffee is. Trust me. Concrete hurts.
  10. Make sure you tell people when the event starts. People want to enjoy themselves and get on with their life.
  11. Events should not be more than three hours. Be mindful of setup and tear down times, it will always take longer than you think.
  12. Make sure you and the venue know who is doing what, when, why, and how. A simple, one page agreement should detail who does what and for how long. Do not ever work with a venue, band, or promoter without something signed by both parties explaining responsibilities.
  13. If you’re hosting a major tour with its own crew, be helpful, be polite, and get out of the way.
  14. Something will go wrong. If you’re prepared, you’ll be fine.
  15. With large concerts, don’t assume people are coming. Never, ever assume people are going to come out to anything. You do the best with what you have and plan for the worst.

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