Today’s free tips are for a live alternative comedy show in St. Louis called Punch Drunk Comedy, whose producer sent me the following email:
I run a comedy show in St. Louis, Punch Drunk Comedy (www.punchdrunkcomedy.com). It’s a variety show that has a lot of different elements in it (stand up, sketch comedy, videos, silly characters) and I want to make it more of an all around brand that would attract people that don’t necessarily live in the area, like how Upright Citizens Brigade is a theatre, website, T.V. show, etc.
Also, we recently moved from a Facebook “Group” (http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=106004787280) to a “Fan” page, (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Punch-Drunk-Comedy/171782082863484) and would like to carry over more of our fans and keep growing as a brand.
Also, we would like to be be more interactive as I feel that is key with these kinds of things, but don’t really know how or what works.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time,
I checked out Punch Drunk Comedy’s stuff and came up with the following 5 Free Tips for them:
TIP #1: Build Your Brand In St. Louis First
I think it’s great that you’re looking to turn your show into an all around brand, but I would suggest that one of the best ways to do that would be to concentrate on building the brand within St. Louis first, since the jumping off point for your brand initially will be the live show (I assume). Live comedy “brands” that have gone national such as the Upright Citizens Brigade and Comedy Death Ray all began by first conquering their local city.
I would suggest having your initial goal be to have the best (whatever your definition of best is) comedy show in St. Louis. The process of trying to build a hot show in your city will allow you to experiment and figure out exactly what the Punch Drunk Comedy brand ultimately is, before you have to worry about trying to spread that brand nationwide. Also, when you’re ready to expand beyond St. Louis, it will be much easier for you if you’ve got the credibility of already having the hottest show in St. Louis as a launching pad.
For example, UCB began as a small theater in New York and it was only after it became successful there that it branched out to a theater in Los Angeles. And the success of both of those theaters eventually led to TV, etc. A lot of times it may seem like a brand springs up out of nowhere, but usually most brands started small and evolved into much bigger entities.
TIP #2: Use Your Performers To Promote Your Brand
It sounds like you’ve got a lot of different comedians and performers appearing in your shows at various times. That’s a tremendous asset and one which you should try to leverage as much as possible to grow your brand. Each of those performers likely have their own friends and fanbases who they can introduce to your brand if you have a strategy for how to take advantage of that.
For example, I assume that the performers in your shows plug their actual appearances to their followers, but do you ask them to also plug your brand as well? For example, if a comedian is performing on your show next month it’s great if they tell their followers about it. But what would be even more beneficial to you is if that comedian asked their fans to sign up for your mailing list or follow you on Twitter. I assume most performers are happy to be booked on your show and will probably have no problem with giving you a plug if you ask for it. Even better, you can work out an incentive such as giving discount tickets to any of their fans that join your mailing list or something like that.
TIP #3: Change Your Website Landing Page
This is a simple one, but I noticed that when I went to the home page of your website there wasn’t a lot of information. You have the countdown clock to the next show which is cool, but there’s no real description of what Punch Drunk Comedy is and nothing telling me why I should care when your next show is.
I know you have a lot more info on your site, but the only way anybody would discover that is if they happen to click on the little star which takes them inside the site – and it took me a little while to figure that out. There’s a good chance a lot of people won’t realize they’re supposed to do that and will just assume that there’s nothing on your site except for that countdown clock. I know that’s what I thought at first.
I’d really recommend reconsidering what’s on the home page of your site, because you want anybody that comes across it to be drawn into the world of the brand you’re creating and not to assume that there’s nothing on your site worth seeing. In short, don’t hide the important stuff.
TIP #4: Record Your Shows And Release Them As Content
A great way to spread the word about your shows and your brand is to record them (either audio or video) and post the highlights or full shows on your website. If you think about it, there’s a ton of great content being created at your shows and that content is relatively easy to adapt and share with the world online. Also, while you’re busy building your brand in St. Louis, this will let people from around the world start to enjoy the shows you’re producing as well.
The Naughty Comedy Show in Los Angeles regularly posts show highlight videos and they’ve really helped to sell the show and build the brand. Here’s an example:
TIP #5: Let Your Fans Help Plan Your Shows
I think it’s great that you’d like to figure out some ways to be more interactive with your fans because the more they feel a part of your brand, the more connected they will feel to what you do. There’s lots of different things you can do to increase interactivity, but in general I would suggest that you change your mindset. Most performers (and producers for that matter) tend to think that it’s their job to put on a show and entertain their fans. That’s true, but it can also be part of your job to create opportunities for your audience to participate in what you’re doing. It’s not always about you – sometimes it’s about them.
For example, maybe in each of your shows there could be a sketch that’s based on a fan-submitted topic? Maybe one of the acts on the show could be actually booked by the fans who would vote to decide which comedian they’d like to see perform? This could have the added bonus of getting you more promotion from performers who would encourage their fanbases to vote for them so they could land the gig. Maybe there’s a part of the show where comedians answer questions that had been previously submitted by fans? Or maybe you feature a video introduction from a fan to start the show each time?
As you can see, there’s limitless possibilities to get more interaction if you just start to think about it in terms of allowing fans to help guide the direction of the show at times.
I hope these tips help, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.