Today’s free tips are for stand up comedian Ryan Budds, who sent me the following email:
I’m a 25 year old comic from the south side of Chicago and have been performing for almost 5 years. I feature regularly around the Midwest at clubs and do as many shows as I can fit into my schedule in as many different places as possible. I feel like I do a lot of little things to further my career in comedy, but I’d love to make some more drastic moves to get to that next level.
My goals right now 5 years in are to be generating new material more frequently based on what’s happening in my life as it goes, and getting more exposure in terms of performing in comedy festivals, other states and countries I haven’t visited, and starting projects like script writing and podcasting in my spare time to try new things.
Thanks for any help you can give me. Merry Christmas.
I checked out Ryan’s work and came up with the following 5 Free Tips for him:
TIP #1: Use Vimeo To Share, But Use YouTube To Be Found
You’re correct in your observation that the Vimeo video player is sleeker and tends to work a little better than YouTube’s player. But do you know why it works better? Because only a tiny fraction of as many people use Vimeo as use YouTube. And remember, the reason you’re putting videos online in the first place is to get them seen, so that’s kind of a big deal.
What I’d suggest is having the best of both worlds. You can use Vimeo to share your videos (i.e., embed the Vimeo player on your website and send links to that player through Facebook and Twitter), and use YouTube to allow the most people to find your videos. YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world and it dominates video search – if somebody’s looking for a video of you, they’re going to YouTube and not to Vimeo so you need to be there. It’s fine to use Vimeo, but its’ worth the extra couple minutes to also upload anything you put on Vimeo to YouTube as well.
TIP #2: Use Your Website To Attract Fans, Not Bookers
Your website is simple and clean and functions as a calling card for anybody that may be looking to book you and that’s great. There’s only one problem – nobody’s going to book you because of your website. The reality is that while it’s a good idea to have things like your bio and big callouts to “Book Me” on your site, that’s just not how things really work for the most part.
Instead, build a website that’s going to attract fans because that ultimately has way more value for you than bookers. And if you can build up a site that attracts fans, that’s going to be much more attractive to a booker than your basic bio anyway. If you look at your site right now, the message you’re sending is that your audience is bookers. “Fans” don’t care about your bio and they certainly don’t care about booking you. I think you’ll find that re-emphasizing your site to attract fans will make it much more valuable to you than as a glorified calling card. Speaking of which…
TIP #3: Write To Your Audience
Assuming I’ve convinced you that your audience is fans (aka “regular people), then you’ll want to remember that in everything you do and in particular what you write. People connect with other people they can relate to, and the more informal your writing, the better.
Take the first paragraph of your bio for example:
Ryan Budds is a south suburban Chicago native who brings a package of wit, energy, and spontaneity on stage. Crafted jokes, stemming from life in his 20s, pull audiences in and keep them laughing at clubs and colleges all over the country.
Unless you’re the Chad Ochocinco of comedy, I’m guessing that you don’t refer to yourself in the third person when you’re talking to somebody. So why do it in your bio? And I’m sure if somebody ever asked what you do, you wouldn’t tell them that you “bring a package of wit, energy, and spontaneity on stage.” Don’t be formal, don’t try to impress somebody with your bio, just be who you actually are. You’ll find it will feel much more real, and ultimately be more effective.
TIP #4: Little Things Matter
Here’s a really easy one for you – add a 140 character bio and a link to your website to your Twitter profile. You’re posting funny stuff on Twitter I assume in the hopes that it will get shared and introduce you to new people. But if somebody comes across your profile as it now stands, they’ll have no clue you’re a comedian or how to connect with you anywhere beyond Twitter. That’s a missed opportunity.
TIP #5: Give Clubgoers A Reason To Connect With You After The Show
It’s great that you’re regularly playing clubs because that can introduce you to a lot of different potential fans. And assuming they dig your act, you’re halfway to an ongoing connection with them. But as I’ve mentioned before, all too often those would-be fans leave the show and never actually connect with you again. I’d suggest trying to come up with a way to incentivize them to do so.
For example, what if you were able to come up with something to give to anybody that tweets you or emails you after the show? Maybe it’s a free sticker or some other kind of giveaway. Try to come up with something that people are going to want enough to go to the trouble of connecting with you outside of that club. Maybe get a 2nd cell phone and give out that number on stage and allow people to text that number on the spot to get whatever you have to give away. Maybe offer to give away a free copy of your album? Maybe offer to prank call their friends?
Whatever creative idea you have that will give people a reason to connect with you after they’ve seen you will help you convert some of those “should-be” fans into ongoing fans.
I hope this helps Ryan, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.