This past week I had a few conversations with fellow comics about self-promoting and show promoting locally. Since I began doing stand-up comedy not too long ago, I have made a serious effort to market my “brand” of stand-up comedy to my friends as well as the larger comedy audience. I think this comes from years in the broadcasting business. My career experience has taught me that marketing, promotion, and advertising are critical elements to the success of any message. Keep in mind that this is just my humble opinion on the subject, and yours may vary. I think there are three key areas to think about when it comes to promoting yourself as a stand-up comic:
1) Branding and Frequency:
Stop looking at yourself as a person that does stand-up. Start looking at yourself as a brand of stand-up comedy. In the long run you don’t want to be facial tissue, you want to be Kleenex. Get a logo or something else that uniquely identifies your brand and promote your brand with regular frequency. That Empire carpet jingle on TV is annoying as hell, but even I know that their number is 800-588-2300 without having to think about it. The reason you’re hearing that jingle in your head right now is not because it’s a genius message, but because they run it with such incredible frequency. Frequency of your message is required in order for the people you’re interested in reaching to hear and digest the message. One time or one type of promotion of your brand will not work. Reaching as many people as possible will only work if you reach them as many times as possible. People need to be reminded regularly that your brand is out there and available. We all know what McDonalds has to offer, but they spend millions each year to remind us that they are there and available to serve us their food. If frequency weren’t required, McDonalds could just save their marketing money. The point is that people are constantly and repeatedly bombarded with marketing messages for everything in their life. You and your brand of stand-up comedy have to be one of those regular frequent messages. If you promote on social media regularly and one of your friends/followers complains to you that you are promoting your brand too much. Reach around and pat yourself on the back because you have reached someone with your message.
2) She Told Two Friends
I know that title sounds like a shampoo commercial, but you knew what I was talking about because of branding and frequency. Even though it’s an old shampoo commercial , its message is actually very relevant. You need to promote to your friends, but you also need them to promote to their friends. I’m not saying that you have to go out and personally market to all of these people, but be aware they are there and give them a solid place to go to find out more about your brand. Have a website, blog, Facebook fan page, or MySpace page…something that you update regularly with information about your upcoming shows, videos or video clips from your previous shows, great jokes from your twitter feed, or your other creative endeavors like poetry or music. You can also use this space to post comedy content from others that your friends/followers might enjoy. Really whatever your brand includes. Update it and promote it regularly and people will visit it regularly. If people can’t find updated information about you and what you are doing, they will lose interest quickly. Sure, it’s a little bit of work to keep things up-to-date, but the return on that investment in time can be the difference in whether zero people or dozens of people come out to your comedy show. Now, back to our shampoo commercial. Often times your personal friends will do you the favor of bringing some of their friends out to one of your comedy shows. Maybe they’ve never been to a live comedy show before, and they have a great time. Now you’re on their radar and live comedy is on their radar as well. If they want more live comedy and you have an up-to-date place for them to find out where and when to come out again, chances are they will come out to see you and your brand. People like to return to brands that they know and trust. There’s also a good chance that they will tell their friends what a great time they had, and invite even more people the next time they come out. The more people there are who know about your brand and like it, the more new people will find out about your brand and like it.
3) Community Promotion Works For Everyone
Promoting your own brand is extremely important for you to build an audience that will come out and see your shows. Building the bigger comedy audience is everyone’s business in the comedy community. You should be promoting live local comedy in general as often as possible. When people come out to any live local comedy show and pay admission or drink and eat that is good for every other comedy show. Establish trust in your brand and then use it to help your audience discover the larger comedy community. Your efforts at promoting other shows in the community will pay off for you in so many ways. Every comedy community needs new rooms to grow and move forward. So, when you see a show at a cool new venue go out, take your friends and invite your followers. It only makes sense to use your brand to help that promoter/producer to open up a new venue where everyone in the community might get the opportunity to get in front of a new audience if the room is a success. When you see another comic that you like is doing a show, give them a plug on your social media or blog. Keep in touch with your audience by giving them some fresh information and a chance to see something else they might like. Always promote what you are doing, but don’t forget to promote what everyone is doing. What goes around comes around when it comes to promoting. What’s good for everyone is good for you.
So, that’s my rant on self-promotion in stand-up comedy. We live in a magical time when you can get your own message out there to so many people instantaneously. Just like I did here. Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment below.