SPECIAL NOTE – If you’ve hired Bob Dylan, or Garrison Keillor, or anyone else with huge name recognition, this article does NOT apply to you.
I do a fair amount of performing in towns where I’ve rarely, if ever, been before.
I love it!
The presenter (be they a library, museum, historical society, community center, etc) is excited – – they may have seen me perform elsewhere, or perhaps a trusted friend has passed my name along to them with a recommendation. They know that this-or-that specific thing I do will be perfect for their audience, and they’ve devoted a significant amount of time, energy and programming funds to make this happen. It’ll be great.
I am excited! I take great pride in my live performances, and relish the opportunity to “prove myself” for a new presenter and a new audience. We’ll have a great time together. There will be music, and singing, and laughter. It’s likely we’ll all learn something too. We’ll chat afterwards, and I’ll get to learn some things about the community. It’ll be great.
The hosting organization has done yeoman’s work in getting the word out to the local paper, and flyers have been sent to the local school, and notices placed in the church bulletin. Of course, there’s never really any telling how many people will show up, but the hope is that we’ll have a good turnout. It’ll be great.
But then, there’s the sign. The one out front. The one that the community has been driving past for weeks.
And do you know what it says, more often than not?
TODAY: DAVE RUCH – 2:30PM
Just like that.
Or, if there was enough room and enough letters to go around, it might say:
MUSIC – DAVE RUCH 2:30PM
Any guesses as to what might be missing here, or what makes this a real missed opportunity?
Here’s the thing
You know what TODAY: DAVE RUCH – 2:30PM means, because you’re the one who did the research and booked the event. But, your wider community may have no idea what that means.
Sometimes we forget this.
If your performer is not a known entity in your community, and/or if you’ve hired them because of a specific thing that they do (concerts for kids, Civil War music, etc), and you only have limited space on that sign, here’s my advice – –
Advertise the thing that they do rather than their name.
Unless it’s the performer’s seventeenth show in your town in the last twelve months, and they’ve been given the key to your city and been all over the nightly news for the past month, it would be much better to put ERIE CANAL SONGS – 2:30PM on that little sign (or whatever the theme is).
If there’s room, then great – – let’s say ERIE CANAL SONGS WITH DAVE RUCH – 2:30PM. That would be even better.
But if you only have a few words to work with, promote what is going to happen as much as, or more than, who is going to be making it happen. It can’t hurt, and it just might help bring a few more people through the doors.
Of course, this applies to flyers and all other pre-concert communications as well.
I’d love to hear what you think, and what you’re doing to increase interest and attendance at your events. Leave a note in the Comments section below!
Please, I would like very much to have a conversation with you.
I am also good with children!
I had toured with Disney On Parade back in the 70’s.
Hi David – this is the place to have a conversation. What’s on your mind?
Great tip Dave! Brilliant really. A really concise way to bring the almighty title/headline of the event back to the concept you wrote of in “it’s not about you”…. The focus being on what is the learning experience or service and how will it feel the need of the audience…
Recently, in working to promote an upcoming tour of workshops, I had to work on this…the eater, it all felt so bulky. I found it important to rethink my flyer & ticket descriptions…and plan for a re-boot of what I offer, how to message it…
I like your words “promote what’s going to happen”. Intuitively my promo materials, ticket listings came together in a manner like this…. however still needs refinement. Each year I learn more about how to say more w/ less. Such a tricky art.
Thanks Dave…this example gives me lot to think about – and HOW to think about being more precise & clear with my marketing text apply to banners, workshop descriptions, etc…
“Unless it’s the performer’s seventeenth show in your town in the last twelve months, and they’ve been given the key to your city and been all over the nightly news for the past month, it would be much better to put…”
LOL. Be Well, Cheers, Stu
It’s great having you share your comments and experiences here, Stu. Keep ’em coming!
I agree completely, it makes so much sense, and is so often overlooked! Thanks…
“The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply.” . . . – Khalil Gibran
Dave, So simple .. So overlooked, So Brilliant ! Thanks Marko