Today’s tips are for Scottish comedian Ross “Teddy” Craig, who sent me the following email:
I’m a 31 year-old comedian based in Scotland and I’ve been gigging for the past 13 years. For the past 7 years I’ve also been writing for TV/Radio, and whatever other media will have my work. I’ve written on occasion for network television and am confident in my ability to write gags to that level as a result, however my CV is mainly based on local Scottish media writing so it’s difficult to get representation. Without that representation it’s difficult to get the high-level gag-writing work that I crave, hence a slight chicken and egg situation.
I’ve been using twitter to write and post gags, building up a following that way. I then compile the gags on my website, along with clips, a gig calendar, and a blog – all in an attempt to both build my profile and put together an archive of sample work for any potential agents or employers.
Any suggestions on changes I can make to maximise the benefit of my efforts?
After checking out Teddy’s site, I came up with the following 5 Free Tips for him:
TIP #1: Your Resume And Background Doesn’t Matter To Your Fans
It’s always tricky to strike a balance between providing things on your website that will appeal to your fans and showcasing things that you think prospective employers will want to see. In your case, I think your site is a little bit too career-oriented and not enough fan-oriented.
You’re using your About page as your home page, and your About description on that page is essentially a long list of things you’ve done in your career. That’s ok, but does that really interest potential fans and people who may be interested in your site? Do they really care that you made the Scottish Comedian of the Year finals a bunch of years or would they be more interested in seeing some funny jokes or videos you’ve created? My guess is the latter.
There’s nothing wrong with having your background credentials on your site – you should – but that doesn’t mean they should the first thing people see. Which leads me to my next tip…
TIP #2: Your Fans And Your Employers Care About Different Things
You should give some thought to what is the primary goal of your website – is it to grow your fanbase or is it to function as a glorified business card for your career? If it’s to grow your fanbase, which is what I usually feel should be your website’s purpose, then every decision you make about the site’s design and content should be with the goal of providing value to fans. It’s fine to have a section that you can use for business purposes, but your site can only have one main goal and you need to figure out what that is.
I would recommend focusing the site on entertaining and attracting new fans, and creating a separate section or page that you can use to serve your business purposes. For example, you could easily create a page at ComedyTeddy.com/Career and have that hold all of your business-related details. Then, when you want to direct bookers or employers to that info, just send them directly to that page.
TIP #3: Make Some Sidebar Tweaks
This is minor and logistical, but I noticed a couple things on your sidebar. First, you should replace your Facebook plug with a Facebook Like Box which you can set up here. That will not only look better, but it will also allow people to “Like” your Facebook page without leaving your website.
Also, it looks like there’s some words missing around the email signup in your sidebar. You might want to fix that and possible considering switching over to AWeber’s email service which you can read about here.
TIP #4: Don’t Be Afraid To Make Your Goals Public
You mentioned that you’d like to get more work writing jokes, so you may want to consider publicly stating those goals prominently on your site. Maybe even encourage your readers to help you achieve that goal?
For example, instead of just asking people to share jokes or tweets they like with their friends, why not ask them to tweet the jokes they like at the writers or producers of specific shows? Sure, most likely nothing will come of it, but it can’t hurt, right? And if a bunch of fans are regularly telling TV people to check out your work, at a minimum they’ll probably at least look at your stuff and you’ll get on their radar.
For a little extra inspiration, check out what the guys at Conan or Bust are up to.
TIP #5: Start A Second Site
Since you want to be a writer, you might want to consider launching a separate themed website or blog that would allow you showcase your writing. I don’t think you should start another blog to just showcase random bits of your writing, but if you came up with a specific concept and all the writing on that site fit that concept, then you’d be showcasing your talent and potentially building a property that might interest TV executive some day.
For example, you could start a site that just featured a daily monologue written by you. Or, you could create a funny character and blog as that character. The possibilities are really limitless, and it would basically cost you next to nothing to experiment and see if you can create something cool. Remember, these days TV shows are being made from blogs and Twitter accounts on a regular basis – why not go try to start something and see if you can build a big enough audience to catch somebody’s attention?
I hope these tips help, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.