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25 Ways to Promote a Local Music Show

Updated on January 17, 2018

25 Ways to Promote a Local Music Show

Are you in a local or indie band? Do you need help promoting your local gigs? Well, I am here to help!

My name is Meagan, and I am the lead singer of a rock n' roll band called Odds Fish. We are an independent band, and besides creating all of our own music and music related content, we also do the majority of the behind the scenes grunt work for our band ourselves (booking, promotion, social media, etc.) so I happen to have a lot of experience when it comes to promoting local shows. But, I also know what it feels like to not know anything about it (we all started somewhere, after all), hence why I wanted to share this information with others; I want others to be able to benefit from my experience with promoting local shows, avoid the anxiety of not knowing where to start when it comes to show promotion, and to be successful when it comes to actually getting people out to their shows. I hope that these 25 tips will help people out in just those ways.

Get Ready for 25 Ways to Promote a Local Show!

Let's Rock n' Roll!

25 Ways to Promote a Local Music Show:

  1. Make high quality promotional materials (posters, flyers, etc.) and display them online and all around town.
  2. Make it a point to physically distribute promotional materials as well (as in, pass out flyers and posters and have actual conversations with people about the show.)
  3. Make an official Facebook event page and use it, not only to invite lots of people, but to get them excited for the show! Post "teaser ads," videos, pictures, poster art, "behind the scenes," discounts/promos for the night, info. on the venue and the bands, etc.
  4. Submit your event to local newspapers, magazines, community calendars, blogs, etc.
  5. Get interviewed on your local and/or college radio stations to promote the show on the radio. (Also, try to get them to play your music as part of their regular rotation if they are not already.)
  6. Make use of advertising: Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, TV ads, newspaper and magazine ads, radio ads, social media marketing/influencer marketing ads, ad space on blogs, websites, and forums, ad space on billboards, benches, and buses, ad space in playbills, community guides, and newsletters, and any and all other advertising avenues you can use to your benefit. You do not have to take every advertising opportunity available; in fact, too much money spent on advertising can actually hurt you in the end (by diminishing your profit), but doing a few for every show should make a big difference and won't break the bank either.
  7. Submit your local music show's event information to websites like Bands in Town, Eventbrite, and other event websites. These websites will help fans find your shows and introduce new people in your area to your band as well.
  8. Post content for/about the show on your social media channels and content channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Tumblr, YouTube, your blog, your website, etc. Notice I said "content." Do not just post "Come to this show" over and over again or link to the Facebook event without saying anything... make engaging content to post that will get people to actually care about your show and your band instead. It works wonders.
  9. Call/Text/Facebook Message/Skype people about the show. It is easy for a friend, family member, networking acquaintance, co-worker, or fan to ignore a Facebook event request; it is much harder to ignore an actual person. So connect with people! Ask them directly to come to your show. As long as you aren't playing constantly and harassing them on the daily about shows, people will mostly be receptive to you when you bring it up. So get on the phone and get to promoting your show!
  10. If tickets are available in advance, give out free tickets. Don't give them ALL out for free, just a few. Maybe run a contest or a special promotional event in order to hype the show AND get people engaged in your brand. Use free tickets as the prize, reward, or giveaway, and YOU end up being the biggest winner of all.
  11. Make a promotional video for the show and put it up on YouTube. (You can also use it other places as well; the most important part of this tip is the "promotional video" part, not necessarily the YouTube part... unless you are just killin' it on YouTube, then you must absolutely put your promo video up there. Just sayin'...)
  12. Do street marketing/promotion and hand out flyers, posters, free merch, and maybe even free hugs. If you can get a "street team" to do this for you as well, you should! It is still good for the band to be out there talking to people though, so even if you do get a "street team," try to get out on the streets on your own too, for some good, old fashioned, one on one interaction with your future fans.
  13. Have an email list and make sure to send out email updates about the show leading up to the show itself. (If you have a weekly or monthly email newsletter, be sure to share the event there as well.)
  14. Post the event information in relevant Facebook groups, online music forums, etc.
  15. Put the event up on your local Craigslist.
  16. Actually talk about the show to people in person. So many musicians feel bad talking about their shows, but they shouldn't! YOU shouldn't! You should talk about it as much as possible! If people you haven't seen in awhile ask what you're up to, don't say "not much," or "same old, same old," say "actually, I am doing this local show...;" if a co-worker asks if you have any special weekend plans, tell them about the show and invite them out; if your auntie sees you at the store, and wants updates on your life, don't just tell her about the TV shows you've been jammin' on lately or something - tell her about your upcoming show!
  17. Do a CD and/or record signing party at a local music store a few weeks before the big event, and use it as an opportunity to promote the show. Perhaps even play a few songs and/or hand out freebies (merch, tickets, etc.) to get people even more excited about you, your brand, and your show.
  18. Before doors open on the night of the gig, go out and about and try to drive in some extra foot traffic by talking to people, handing out flyers and freebies, and possibly even playing music.
  19. Speaking of playing music - in the weeks leading up to the show, you can promote it by busking (playing music in the public/on the street.) Just be sure you have the proper permits.
  20. Get the people closest to you (family, best friends, significant others, etc.) to come out to the show AND to promote it for you too. If they are willing to, have them share the event on their social media pages, give them flyers and posters to hand out, and give them lists of people to call to invite out to the show. (Be sure to thank them sincerely and maybe even get them a gift card or take them out to dinner or something...)
  21. Don't let yourself miss even one day of promotion. Do something for your band and/or for your show EVERY DAY leading up to the event. It makes a difference.
  22. Find ways to collaborate with other bands on the bill and cross-promote. (Perhaps you do a song together, make a video together, write guests posts for each others' blogs, host a pre-show party together, etc.) Whatever you do, make sure that everyone involved is using it to promote the show.
  23. Work with the venue as much as possible and let them help you to help yourself to be more successful. Venues want to make money - because of that, they want to help you create a successful night of entertainment; let them.
  24. If you have a blog (which you should) write a compelling blog post about your show and be sure to share it all over. If you do NOT have a blog, have someone else write a compelling blog post about the show on their site and then share their post everywhere.
  25. Make sure that the show is actually listed on your main webpages. Sometimes, we get so consumed with doing everything else to prepare for an event, that we forget the obvious. So make sure that you list your local music gig on your website, your blog, your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages, as well as on any and all "band help" websites, such as Indie on the Move and Reverbnation.

Make use of these 25 tips for promoting local shows and hopefully you will be rockin' the local music scene in no time at all.

Put the Work in and They WILL Come!

Don't just read this list, do one or two things off of it, and say "that's good enough," as you will undoubtedly NOT get the results you're desiring.

If you truly found this list helpful and you think it will specifically help you and/or your band, then put the work in, adhere to the advice I've given, and don't be lazy about it!

If you work hard, it WILL pay off eventually. But if you slack off, you're not going to get very far at all. So, work hard at promoting your shows and, in time, you will reap the rewards: you will grow a bigger fanbase, you will pack rooms, and you will play sold out shows. It can and will happen through hard work.

It Feels Great to Play for Big Crowds! But You Have to Put the Work in!

Odds Fish
Odds Fish

That's it for the list... but there's MORE!

More Resources:

If you would like to get more information on any of the websites I talked about above or you are interested in other educational material on show promotion, here are some links and some videos that should assist you further in promoting local music shows.

How to Get People to Your Band's Gig

How to Promote Your Gigs and Concerts

Put the Work in, and There WILL be People at Your Show!

That's it! 25 Ways to Promote a Local Music Show. Now it's Up to YOU to Promote, Promote, Promote!

Well, there you have it. That is my list of 25 ways to promote a local music show. I hope you will be able to make good use of it, as well as the several articles, videos, and other resources I included to assist you in your promotional efforts.

If I missed something important, if you have anything to add, if you have any questions, or if you simply appreciate the content and want to make it known, please, comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.

All the best to you all in getting people out to these gigs, and ROCK ON!

Rock on!

Odds Fish
Odds Fish

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