Today’s free tips are for comedian Geoffrey Plitt, who sent me the following email:
I just got my first travel gig, MC’ing High Times Magazine’s Cannabis Cup in Denver at the end of the month. I’d love some career-oriented advice about how I can take advantage of the opportunity in terms of promotion and impact in every way I can– for instance I’m now trying to get in touch with local radio stations to see if any of them would be interested in an interview. But I’m sure you have plenty of ideas I haven’t thought of.
So: what are the top 5 career-minded tips you’d suggest for a comic doing his first travel gig?
Here’s my suggestions for how to get the most out of a road show…
TIP #1: Have A Plan And Know What You’re Trying To Accomplish
As with most things, it’s very important to have an idea of what you’re hoping to accomplish before you head out on the road to your show. Obviously, your goals will be to have a good show and a good time, but beyond that I think you should take a moment to consider what you hope to get out of this opportunity. Is your goal to get the people that are newly exposed to you to join your mailing list? Is it to get the venue you’re performing in to invite you back to perform again? Is it to sell merchandise? Obviously, you can have multiple goals, but if you have an idea of exactly what you’re hoping to get out of the experience it will be much easier for you to figure out a plan to make that happen.
TIP #2: Use Your Show As A Springboard To Return
I believe that one of your main goals should be to generate enough attention/connections/fans to lay the groundwork for you to return to that city and perform again. In order to do this, you’ll need to not only put on a good show, but make sure that you establish a way to connect with the audience members who see you and like you in the future. The easiest way to do this is get their email addresses and you should try to come up with some incentive for them to join your mailing list. But it’s equally important to connect with the people that run the venue and/or other local show producers or club owners if possible so that you can get on their radar. And don’t be afraid to tell people you’d like to return and ask them if they can help you do so.
TIP #3: Be Professional…And Friendly
This should go without saying, but it doesn’t, so I’m going to say it anyway. Your first time in a new town and in a new venue is a chance for you to make a great impression on the producers/bookers that brought you there in the first place. If you treat the opportunity with respect and act like a professional, then they will be MUCH more likely to want to work with you again. If you’re unprofessional, then you’re drastically decreasing the chances that they’ll have you back and – even more importantly – there’s a good chance the word will spread to other bookers that you’re a pain to deal with and it can actually prevent you from booking other gigs as well.
In addition to being professional, you should also try your best to be friendly with the people running your show. In addition to wanting to work with people that are professional, bookers like to work with people they like since they’re usually going to wind up hanging out with them when they come to town. So, make an effort to actually develop a personal friendship with the bookers and venue staff if possible. If they like working with you AND hanging out with you, you’ll increase your chances of getting brought back.
TIP #4: Promote Yourself In Advance
Here’s one that you may not have considered: If you know you’re going to be playing in a certain town and to a certain audience, why not try to promote yourself in advance of the show? And I don’t just mean to get more people to show up which is obviously a good thing and will be appreciated by the show’s producers. What I mean, is try to reach out to people who you know are attending the show and introduce yourself in advance, and give them a reason to approach you at the show.
For example, you can search Twitter or run a Facebook ad targeting people who may be talking about going to your show. Once you find them, reach out in a friendly manner and say thanks for coming and invite them to come say hello to you before or after the show. You could even come up with some kind of gimmick where you give a free album (or merch) to anybody that comes up to you at the show and says a certain word. The idea is that you can start building a connection with the audience before the show even begins.
TIP #5: Follow Up After The Show
Once your road show is over and you’ve hopefully won over some new fans and bookers, it’s important to follow up with them after the fact. You can send an email to your new mailing list subscribers and thank them for coming out to the show – maybe even send them some kind of free piece of content as well? Maybe a video you shot in their town that would appeal to them? Also, you can follow up with the bookers and show producers, thank them for the opportunity, and discuss when it would be appropriate to return and do it again.
If you think of your road show as an opportunity to generate a lot of “leads,” then you don’t want to ignore those leads after you get them. You should think of your road show as the starting point of something bigger, and not just the culmination of the work it took to get to that point.
I hope these tips help, and if anybody else would like to get 5 Free Tips, please let me know.