Comedy Outliers: A Million Ways to Deal With Venue Changes!

CO29final-normal fontGuest post by Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of  Comedy Outliers. They offer advice to comedians and performers on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

We Heard You.

We Listened.

We’re Back.

Those were the first three sentences in our first email we sent to our mailing list after the third showcase we held at Webster Hall. Based on the feedback we had received from our followers and our overall experience as producers, we came to the conclusion that our partnership with Webster Hall just wasn’t a good fit. The most difficult part about this revelation was that we had told our audience that it was essentially our new home AND we would now be changing the location of our show for the third time in less than six months. After a successful run of two years at Lilly O’Briens, producing a show for Yelp NYC and getting several guest appearances on popular podcasts we were hitting some rather rough speed bumps when it came to securing a new venue.

These things can happen and while it’s most important not to panic, there’s a few other things you should keep in mind as well:

1. Be optimistic and come up with an action plan! We followed up with our audience to let them know that we understood that they were not happy with Webster Hall as a venue and that we took their views to heart. We also knew that people appreciated our previous location at Lilly O’Briens in downtown Manhattan; a venue that was so random that they felt cool to be in the know about this unique event that took place every month. In the search for a new home, we knew we had to find a venue with owners that would not only be supportive of live comedy but would give us the ability to run the show the way it had always been successful.

2. Keep engaged with your audience! Using our weekly podcast and Twitter account to keep in touch with our following was crucial in making sure they knew about the changes we were making.

3. Don’t be afraid to admit when you made a mistake. We were initially very excited and proud of the opportunity to produce shows at Webster Hall. However after our first two shows, we realized that the venue didn’t quite understand what we were doing with “Comedy Outliers”. Our audience weren’t thrilled with the environment and as producers we found ourselves lost among the many other shows that the venue hosted. The decision to part ways with Webster Hall wasn’t difficult even though we didn’t have a secured new venue at that moment. We had to do what was best for our brand.

4. Be excited about the new changes! Finding a new venue required a lot of emails, phone calls with various managers and hitting the pavement to scope out potential venues. Finding the Wooly was a great success! Not only is it located only a few blocks from our old stomping grounds in downtown Manhattan but the manager is a strong advocate for the performing arts and really gets what “Outliers” is about. In our recent advertisements and promotion we have vigilantly expressed our excite about this “reboot” to our show with the new venue.

As a producer, there will be many successes peppered with a few setbacks. You have to be willing to adapt and show your audience that you are humbled by the experience. If they see that you’re doing your best to give them a great experience, they’ll come back and support you!

 Comedy Outliers’ next show is at The Wooly (11 Barclay Street) on Saturday, June 28th  at 7pm. The show has a $10 cover with no drink minimum. Buy $5 advance tickets if you enter code: “BPT”!  You can also support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

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HOW TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH BLOGGERS

bloggersWord of mouth influence is one of the most powerful and organic ways to build buzz around your event or cause. According to Nielsen, 43% of consumers are more likely to make a new purchase when learning about a product or service via social referral. Blogs have become an essential part of the new media system of word-of-mouth. With significant following and one or more digital platforms, the right blogger can help amplify your message and spread the news about you and your events. Read through our tips below for how to establish lasting community connections with bloggers.

1. Target Your Niche
Bloggers often have clear niche interests. This often makes it easier to invite them to your event than other traditional media outlets. As you research, think about bloggers that are relevant and influential in your area. If you are hosting a cooking class at a restaurant, think outside of the box and look for individuals who blog about food from varying perspectives. Find mommy blogs about food preparation, food-to-farm organizations, and of course foodies. Every industry has subcategories and target markets. Pay attention to the blogs that have already written about your competitors; it’s more likely that they will be interested in writing to you, too.

TipBlog Catalog and Google Blog Search are a few free resources for searching for interest-specific blogs.

2. Reward Their Readers
Sometimes, something as simple as a fully-loaded gift bag is enough to warrant a dedicated blog post. Even better, the goodies included in the bags can also work as giveaways or contest prizes for their readers. You can also offer unique discount codes to your future events or shows for the readers of the blog. Bloggers work as virtual conduits for your message. The potential for your event to go viral relies heavily on nurturing their readership. Don’t forget to include a link (not an attachment) to photos and videos associated with your event or with the industry the blogger writes about, that would be appropriate to include along with a blog on your event. Bloggers need visuals to keep their readers’ interest!

3. Simplify Your Message
Making your event information easily shareable is key to any media outreach. Bloggers are no different. Organize all of the necessary information for your event including: date, time, location, event images, flyers, parking information, etc. If a blogger doesn’t have to spend hours researching your event, they’ll be more likely to feature you in their editorial schedule.

Tip: Crafting Facebook, Twitter and Instagram-ready posts can help extend your messaging on varying social platforms. If you’ve created an event-specific hashtag, you can also start building buzz around your event weeks before it begins.

4. Build Authentic Community
As you begin your outreach, be genuine in your efforts. If you see them posting an article about your show beforehand, comment, share and like it. Retweet their tweets and start following their work in advance so they’ll have some context for who you are before your invitation. Don’t forget to thank them both publicly and privately for their coverage and treat them like VIP at your event. You never know what a great relationship with a blogger can do for you in the future.

These beginner tips should get your started with your outreach efforts. If you have any questions or comments about inviting bloggers to your events, email us at Promo@BrownPaperTickets.com or call (800) 838-3006 (Option 5).

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Comedy Outliers: Blog About It!

TodCO15ay we feature another guest post from Brandon Collins and Mike Brown of Comedy Outliers. Brandon and Mike offer great advice to comedians, or performers in general, on how to survive and thrive in today’s competitive artistic climate.

The Comedy Outliers have a show coming up this Saturday, April 20 at Lily O’Brien‘s in New York City. Their shows are free but we highly recommend you pick up tickets so you don’t show up to a full house.

If you’re in New York or headed that way, be sure to check out their show. It’s rare to see comedy of this calibre without a cover charge or drink minimum. That said, if you want them to continue bringing these great shows to the Big Apple, we highly encourage you to support their efforts by hitting the “Donate” button on their website.

So, without further ado, I give you Brandon and Mike of The Comedy Outliers:

We hate blogging.

It’s sad that as performers, we have to do things that are not performance-related to have people come to our show. In 2013, having talent and a diligent work ethic isn’t enough. Sure we can host and produce the pants off of Comedy Outliers and get listed through various publication’s help, but if we don’t have any representation in the digital realm…we don’t exist.

In some cases, the digital medium doesn’t really lend itself to our cause. Let’s say you like the Comedy Outliers show, then you make sure to like the fan page. Sounds great (and THANK YOU) until Facebook monetizes our hard work. They suggest/force/penalize us into paying money so we can reach you, who’ve already agreed to being reached in the first place! All the work put into to creating our fan base is done just so we can pay Facebook to reach our fans? Something doesn’t smell right. We need to grow out of the manure.

If we want Comedy Outliers to grow as a show, we need continue to build a great show- not a stronger web presence. It amazes us how potential audience members might dismiss our line-ups because a comedian may not have a website. We’ve heard “Has [insert comedian here] been on TV? Where would I know them from?” In turn, we will say “take my word for it” but they want to take the comedians words, in 140-characters or less, before they make a decision. Some people would rather we have Outliers on Twitter instead of business cards. Ah, the power of the internet.

YOU (the reader) have the power in your hands. Don’t judge a show (or performer) by their web traffic. Judge them by their talent, and support them with your…well, support! Come out to a live show (like ours next Saturday, April 20th) or make a purchase of some merchandise so we performers can focus on performing.

This entry would be longer, but we’re putting some finishing touches on our show. If you can’t make it, hopefully the audience will blog about it. We’ll put it on our website. And podcast. And fan page. Etc…

Mike Brown and Brandon Collins

Comedy Outliers

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