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5 Promotion Secrets to a Packed Holiday Event

Holiday-promotions-eventsTick(et) tock. The holidays are coming up and so is your event. Holiday events require special love because there is a lot of competition (we’re looking at you Nutcracker), but you can use the season to your advantage.

Here are 5 holiday promotion strategies that will get your attendees lining up to buy those tickets.

1. Have a Black Friday ticket sale

Sure, Black Friday (Nov. 23) is kind of divisive, a little bit scary and definitely over-saturated with sales, but you can use the day to your advantage. More and more, people are gifting experiences instead of material goods (think: tickets vs. TVs)—so Black Friday is the perfect day to give a special discount on tickets. Add a discount code to your event that is valid only on Black Friday, then post your code on all of your social media accounts.

Here’s how to add discount codes to prices—you can always call us if you run into trouble.

2. Partner with restaurants

’Tis the season for gorging. Turn your single event into a special night-out. Partner with restaurants near your event to offer a “set meal” as a part of a ticket bundle. The eatery chooses the meal and sets the price. You add the cost to your ticket price and offer the package on your event page.

Now, not only do you have an attractive night out for event goers, you’ll have double the promotion, as the restaurant will promote it to their followers.

3. Let kids get in free

School is out and families are looking for events and activities. They will flock to your event if the brood can get in for free. Contact schools and ask them to insert a promo into their newsletters or post a flyer on their bulletin board. Submit your event to family newsletters like the Red Tricycle.

4. Add a giving component

The holidays put everyone in a giving mood. Find a local nonprofit or cause to partner with and bundle a donation with a ticket level or collect donations at your event. Not only does this offer cross-promo opportunities and compel attendees to spread the word, you can contact local press and ask them to feature your event.

Plus, giving back is just a good thing to do.

5. Talk to our promo experts

We have a knowledgeable and creative promo squad, waiting to help you with your strategy. Our team can explain the best social media tactics in minutes, talk you through setting up a holiday Facebook campaign and help you boost ticket sales. All of it is free — just email our promo team to set up a consultation.

Sharing is caring. Comment below with your own promotion ideas. What has worked and what hasn’t?

Event Tips >

The Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Press Releases for Events

WritingPressReleasesPress releases (often called media releases) are a great way to disseminate information to the media for them to use in a variety of different ways, including for interviews or in-depth articles. Writing a press release sounds daunting, so we’ve got you covered with a few tips. If you have any additional questions, you can always reach out to our promo team for support.

1. Target your audience

Focus on the audience you want to read your press release. It helps to target certain media outlets and adjust your writing to fit them. For example, you wouldn’t want to write the same press release for Seventeen Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

If you are struggling to find media outlets, think back to your target audience: where do they find their information? How do they get their news? Seek out these publications or media outlets.

2. Before you write your press release

Define your unique value proposition, the golden nugget of your event. Additionally, pick out a few flashy facts about your event. Is it the first of its kind? Do you have any well-known performers? Have you won any awards in the past? Do attendees get free swag? What exactly is notable about your event? List all the details you can think of, and keep your unique value in mind when writing.

If you are having trouble targeting these superlatives, read our in-depth piece on attracting press coverage.

3. Writing your release

To start, set up your formatting correctly. Create a letterhead, with your phone, email and full name. To indicate that your release’s information is ready to be distributed, add “For Immediate Release” below your contact information. If you don’t want anyone publishing the information in your release until a future date, write “For Release on (date).”

Next, you’ll write the title of the release, which should be short and to the point, followed by a one-sentence-long, italicized subtitle. Once you’re finished with the title and subhead, begin the body of your press release. Check out our example to see the best way to format your release.

Write in a journalistic voice—not like advertising copy, but more like a newspaper. Rely heavily on provable facts. Most media sources will want to be able to pull quotes or descriptions directly from your press release. Some may even publish it directly – so check it for general grammar as well as professional tone.

The first paragraph – known as the “lead” paragraph – should include a hook. This is what brings the reader in and excites them about your event. Try to show, rather than tell them about the event as it will be – what can attendees expect to see when they arrive? What is going to surprise them about your event?

Highlight the “golden nugget” early to keep interest. Additionally, try to address as many of the “five W’s” (who, what, when, where, why) as possible.

The second or third paragraph usually includes a quote from the spokesperson of your event or brand. This quote highlights why you are doing your event, or why it is special.

Feel free to use bullets within the release as well to break up the paragraphs and highlight important information, such as performers, caterers, the program’s schedule, and so on.

When you write your final paragraph of your release, circle back to your value proposition and include where to find more details about your event. Include a link to your Brown Paper Tickets’ event page, as well as your contact information. Press releases always end with three, centered italicized hashtags (###) to signify the end of the release. If you have a mission statement for your event or company, put it under the hashtags.

4. Proofreading

Making sure your release is written well is very important. Most journalists use AP Style  and editing your release in accordance with this styleguide will get you far. Have a co-worker or friend read over the release and spot errors or typos. Also, our promo team can help edit and revise and boost your press release and make sure it is up to journalistic standards. Additionally, once you get your release polished, the promo team can curate a media list specifically for you and your event.

5. Distribute

The next step is to send out your press release to media sources, curated by our promo team or your personal contacts. You will want to make sure you customize each email to each media outlet, specific to them, the language they use and the editors you’re writing to.

Got any press release writing tips? Share them below in our comments section.

Event Tips >

9 Ways to Grow Event Attendance

grow-event-attendanceLike growing orchids, growing event attendance is tough—it takes a careful balance of creativity, consistency, community, and customer retention.  In a competitive market such as craft brewing, most may be tempted to isolate events from the competition, but building a cooperative events community benefits everyone and may even boost event attendance. When you work together, you can share resources and attendees and even recommend each other’s events.

 

Here are 9 ways grow event attendance by forming a cooperative events community:

1. Research events in your area

Create a calendar of all events in your area and in your niche. This will ensure that you aren’t having a similar one around the same day as your peers. Knowing what the rest of your events community is doing will help you adjust your strategy. You can then change your event’s date, time, pricing, and theme to make it more appealing to your attendees.

2. Be present at event industry happenings

Introduce yourself to the other business-owners in your area who have similar events. Letting people know who you are and what you do is a great way to get the ball rolling. Compliment their projects and offer to share resources.  Half of the effort is just being present and available for conversation.  Who knows? You might make some great new friends along the way.



3. Invite and include relentlessly

Reach out to other event organizers in your market and invite them to third party events, functions, happy hour, or even to your own event. Offer your event discount or comp the tickets if possible.  It may take you some time and effort before you get a taker, and then again it may not.  Either way, extend the olive branch and make it apparent that you have good intentions. You have nothing to lose.

Be consistent with your engagement; make sure that you leave a positive and lasting impression.

4. Be kind and patient

It’s important to treat others in your events community with respect and kindness whenever you reach out. Follow the golden rule, “treat others as they would treat you.” You may find some resistance and encounter folks that aren’t all peace and chicken grease, but all you can do is be patient and move on when necessary.

5. Collaborate and share

Find ways to work with other event organizers in your market, and have a blast doing it.  If you are launching a new product, invite your new friends. Swap venues, pick out a third-party venue together, share ingredients, exchange recipes, create a product together or do a cross promotion.

Give it a try, and see the wonderment of your attendees as they enjoy a pro-event created by two or more of their favorite event organizers.



6. Communicate well

It helps to figure out how people prefer to communicate.  Some like e-mail while others prefer face-to-face interaction. Take note of what communication channels get the best results.  Knowing their preferences will take the pressure off. For example, you won’t fret so much if you haven’t had an e-mail returned for a while by someone who prefers phone calls. Consider your communication needs too and let your acquaintances know what they are when you exchange contact information.

7. Follow through on promises

Follow-through goes a long way in life and an extra long way in the often hectic events community. Knowing that you can count on someone in a pinch is clutch when it comes to organizing events, as I’m sure you realize. Consistency and reliability are outstanding ways to win the favor of the cooperative events community.

8. Evaluate accurately

Measure twice and cut once when you are planning an event. If you are going to offer a collaboration or cooperative promotion, make sure it benefits all parties involved. Some efforts, whether toward a relationship or an event simply aren’t worth the time. Dig in, list and evaluate benefits and pitfalls. Then you can re-calibrate and try again if you make a mistake.

9. Break bread

All work and no play makes for a dull and weary events community.  Get folks together over a meal and try to create long-lasting relationships.  It shouldn’t be too difficult—these guests share your same interests and operate in the same community. Eating a meal together is a deeper way to connect, and it takes a lot of the pressure off.  It doesn’t need to be a big formal event; in fact it may be better to host a potluck or barbecue.

Letting your guard down a bit to share food and laughs can cause a ripple that will carry your community for a long time.

Event Tips >

Are Derby Fundraisers Worth Your Time? How to Find Out

Fundraising-BakeSale-ROII’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “The moment you sell your first ticket, you are no longer a club; you are a business.” Because leagues are volunteer organizations, it’s easy to lose focus on business responsibilities.

Don’t confuse business with boring. I promise this post on fundraising will not put you to sleep, but will help you measure league activities in a way so that you get more sleep.

Fundraising ROI

If you are not familiar with the term “Return on Investment (ROI),” add it to your basic business vocabulary.

If your league buys an old school bus for $2,000 that brings a bar crowd who spends $3,000 in tickets and merch that season, your ROI is 50% for that time period. In other words, you’ve covered your investment and made 50% more.

Let’s not get bogged down by the oil changes and the one flat tire you replace (someone always brings too much reality into my perfect-world examples). ROI is an easy way to measure the efficiency of money spent and “bang for your buck” scenarios.

True ROI measures money performance, plain and simple. It’s profit divided by your investment to create a percentage. The percentage helps determine where your money is having its greatest impact. You should use it to measure everything from the performance of individual merch pieces to your venue options vs. derby ticket sales.

The one important factor basic ROI doesn’t measure: your time.

Using Person Hours to Determine ROI

In derby, time is the greatest investment. In a paid business, you can factor time into an investment by including the wages of those contribute to work that goes into a project. In derby, you invest hours of volunteer time.

What if you measured the success of your fundraising efforts based on return for the number of person-hours invested. Of course, the idea here is to make more with less, right? Here’s an example:

Car washes. Fun? Sure. Worth your time? That depends. You hold a car wash on a beautiful, sunny Saturday for six hours. You staff the car wash so that there are always six people helping, or 36 hours volunteered. On a great day, I’d estimate a car wash would make $400 in six hours. Your volunteers’ efforts generate nearly $11 for every person hour or $67 per person for the entire day.

Was that worth everyone’s time? That is something you need to decide. This is the simple formula; it doesn’t include the time volunteers spent getting to and from the wash, supplies needed (subtracted from your money made), nor bad weather.

But now, at least you have a measure.

Get Creative

Each of you only has so many hours to give. Determine the most efficient use of time so that you work only on fundraisers that raise funds.

As fun as they may be for some, garage and bake sales take a lot of time and generate little funds. Is it a good use of your league members’ time considering you also need them to practice and assist in bout production? Probably not, unless your league attracts PR or exposure.

Think about it, if you take four volunteers to work the game crowd for a 50/50 raffle, as opposed to just buying tickets at the merch booth, that four hours of total volunteer time will produce hundreds of dollars. Would you rather put four hours into the raffle or 50 hours into organizing and manning a garage sale that produces less money? If 50/50 raffles are not legal in your state or part of the world, consider a public appearance where volunteers also sell tickets to your next game and some merchandise.

Don’t limit fundraising to the ideas your members can come up with. In Madison, where I live, the local soccer club raises money by selling concessions at the arena, helping distribute sales flyers and coupons at a department store, and gift wrapping presents during the holidays at a mall.

These activities are structured, so you don’t have to plan nor do preparatory work, they pay an hourly wage, and once you have your foot in the door, they can recur every year. Plus, your league will gain community exposure—have them wear league shirts or boutfits.

Time is money when it comes to fundraising, but time is also part of balancing life in derby and outside of the sport. Remember, roller derby is not a hobby, it is a lifestyle. Your league members need time to maintain friendships, time with family and “me time.” The smarter you are about using your time can mean making more money with less fundraising and volunteer time.

Then you’ll enjoy more financial stability and the flexibility to shift time back to members or do something else more productive for the league.

Comment below and share your fundraising tricks. We’d love to hear them.

Roller Derby >

How to Write Email Newsletters that Actually Get Opened

EmailNewsletterInvites-Hands-CoffeeEveryone who puts on events shares a terrible fear: what if no one shows up? If you do nothing to promote your event, it’s a real possibility. Email newsletters are a viable promotion channel, especially for those who have fan clubs and mailing lists. Yes, they take a little bit longer to create than the average social media post and (if you have a large mailing list) can be costly.

But a well-designed and well-written newsletter is worth the effort. Increase your open rates and get those RSVPs pouring in. Here’s how:

Grow Your Email List

  • To have a newsletter in the first place, you need a list of email addresses. Check legal requirements in your state for what constitutes spam and follow those rules.
  • At events and trade shows, have a sign-up sheet for your newsletter or a fishbowl for attendees to drop business cards.
  • Place the newsletter sign-up box in the footer of your website’s homepage and if possible, on your Facebook page. Tell potential subscribers what to expect from the list and how often you will email.
  • Include sharing buttons in your invites. That way, your subscribers can easily forward it to friends, which they are more likely to do if there are incentives, such as ticket discounts.
  • If you’re a musician or show producer, give your email subscribers the VIP treatment. Send exclusive access to new music and/or special pricing. DIY Musician recommends that you trade newsletters with another artist or band to grow your list.

Increase Newsletter Open Rates

Confession: my personal email inbox has 2,000 emails and most of those are promotional newsletters. ‘Inbox Zero’ is a losing battle. To get a newsletter invite opened in an inbox as stuffed as mine, you need to use clever copywriting.

  • Include the words, ‘You’re Invited’ in the subject line. It’s clear, simple, direct, and intriguing.
  • Personalize your newsletter invites. According to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
  • Write something clever, irresistible, the kind of subject line that begs you to open the email.

Not Like This:

GET TICKETS NOW!!!!
Hurry! Discounted Tickets Inside
Don’t Miss This Event This Saturday at 9:00 PM in Everett

Avoid all-caps, exclamation points, and writing that fails to describe what’s inside. Don’t use words that trigger spam filters, such as “free,” “clearance,” and “guarantee.”

More Like This:

Pssst… Your Friends Are Going to This
RSVP for Our Best Show This Year
We Don’t Have Jetpacks. We Do Have This…

Take Us to the Shiny Details

Jim Nelson once said, “Never open a book with weather.”

The equivalent for event promoters and copywriters: “Never open your newsletter with a big block of text that has nothing to do with your event.”

Opening lines matter. It’s 2017, age of the flea-size attention span. Make the most important details stand out. Get right to the time, location, cost, and other key details such as parking and transportation. Include a prominent call-to-action button that takes the potential attendee right to the page to buy tickets.

Share your advice. Comment below with your email invite tips and techniques.

Event Tips >

How to Create FOMO with Your Event Promo

events-promo-fomo Fear of missing out, or FOMO is defined as “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”  It’s that little twinge that convinces you that you could be having the time of your life … if you went somewhere else.

 “My friends are doing something amazing and I am just sitting here.”
“Why am I not dancing … so and so is out dancing.”
 “I can’t believe I am missing That Band.”

In 2013, Mashable reported that 56% of social media users suffer from FOMO and we’re sure that number is a lot higher now. Tap into FOMO for your event promotions and get more attendees.

 

Creatively Name Your Events

The event name is the first thing your potential attendees will see on their newsfeeds. It’s important. Have a namestorming session. Write a list of words associated with your event and go two steps beyond what’s there. Create a double-entendre. Smush two words together into a memorable portmanteau. Make it rhyme or make it alliterative. If you get stuck, use the thesaurus.

If you’re promoting a reading with a new memoir author, instead of an “Evening with Elisa,” strive to stand out. Make it playful. “Elisa Shares Embarrassing Childhood Stories,” “Elisa Reads Her Diary to Strangers,” “Who the Heck is Elisa? Find Out.”

Use a creative hashtag from the beginning of your promotions. Put it on the fliers and in your event copy. That way, people may use it before your event to talk about it.

Facebook Event Promotion

The FOMO first step is getting your fans’ friends to go. Create a public Facebook event page and invite all of your fans and/or friends to RSVP and get tickets. For maximum success, start your Facebook FOMO promo 4-6 weeks out. That person’s friends will see that they clicked “interested,” or “going” and BOOM! the event is not only on their radars, it stays there.

• Tag the venue so that the venue can share your event too.
• Include a link to buy tickets in the copy.
• Experiment with targeted Facebook ads or boost the update, so more followers see it.

Go Live

Use Facebook Live to get potential attendees off the couch and to your event or to make them see that they’re missing out so they go to the next one. Go Live during one of your speaker’s presentations or send out an Instagram story of your band’s rehearsal.

Live video can be tricky. Make sure you’re in a well-lit spot close to the action and keep it steady with a phone tripod.

Photo/Video Promotion

In general, high-quality photos work better than graphics for your event pages. Nothing incites FOMO better than a photo or video, as it helps your visitors see themselves at your event. Don’t just focus on performers; take snaps of the crowd laughing, dancing and having a grand time. Use these to promote your next event.

Word to the wise: Ask permission before you use your attendees’ photos or include language in your event’s terms and conditions regarding photography usage.

What strikes your FOMO and gets you to an event? Comment below and share your event promotion ideas.

Event Tips >

Street Team Marketing: Here to Stay or Fading Away?

StreetTeam-PostersGrowing up in independent music, I heard the word “street team” thrown around quite a bit. Fans signed up for a band or label’s street team and got a package of stickers, buttons, maybe some t-shirts and posters and informed friends and others about said musical entity. Street team members got into shows or VIP events for free and were continually sent free merchandise, and all they had to do is tell people about records and upcoming shows.

With the social media era however, street teams have mostly faded out … or so I thought.

My friend (we’ll call her Jane) recently brought street teams back to my attention. She was a part of the street team for What the Festival (WTF) earlier this year.

This intrigued me, as I haven’t thought about street teams for awhile. So I talked to a few people to try and find out whether or not street teams are relevant in 2016. Are festivals still using street teams? What about indie bands and labels?

A quick search revealed that Summer Camp Festival, Summer Set Festival, The Untz Festival and Bonnaroo (among others) have active street teams. Extending to the punk scene, Gainesville’s The Fest has a street team.

Colleges, businesses, trade shows and nonprofits also utilize street teams, but for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the music industry.

The Details
I thought that, since I already had the EDM-insider from Jane, I would reach out to Sarasvati from The Fest and see how they use street teams. After all, I’ve always wanted to go, so if there was some sort of free ride in, I wanted to know about it.

“We send posters and postcards for street teamers to put up around their area. That’s the only job we ask them to do,” replied Sarasvati upon me asking her what a street team member did. “There is no compensation.” I asked how many members their team had and where they were located. Sarasvati’s answer surprised me. “We don’t actively look for members … we had less than 10 people email us asking to participate this year. They were from all over the country.” Hmm… is this a sign that street teams are dying out?

I compared that to what Jane told me about WTF. “Basically, [I promoted WTF] through social media, and I did posters last year too,” she explained. “I had a ticket link and when people used my ticket link, I got points toward a free ticket and prizes. Some of the social media posts also got you points toward your ticket.”

WTF seemed to have a more effective street team and intriguing incentives. I asked Jane if the people who bought tickets from her would have bought them regardless. To my surprise, she said yes. “All of my friends went, so it was just convenient that I had the ticket link to get points. It’s more about who you know, and we happened to have a big group of us going to WTF, so they just helped me out by using my link.”

The Verdict
It seems that with large, well-known festivals, traditional street teams may be unnecessary, as people who attend those festivals would do so regardless. That said, street teams work well if the end goal is to get a crowd energized and build excitement, not necessarily to sell tickets. For example, Daft Punk did a creative online and traditional street team campaign to promote an album launch.

Get Street Team writes, “The key to street team marketing success, whether executed online, offline or both is recruiting fans who are truly passionate about your brand.”

Other Options

Email lists
Subscription lists are not spam … or at least, they don’t have to be if done correctly. Essentially, if you can get people to sign up for your email list, you can let them know about your next event. If they care about your brand, they’ll probably be interested in what you’re doing, and if they’ve signed up for your list, you have their permission to tell them about it.

Booth Marketing
Consider booth marketing at a festival within the same genre to spread the word. Avoid the same season as your event, so that you’re not in competition. Give out cool swag and ask attendees to sign up for your mailing list or follow you on social media. Personally connecting with potential attendees and answering questions on the spot can extend your reach and help gain new fans.

Keep in mind that my opinions come from an outsider’s perspective. How do you use your street team? How effective is it? Comment below or let me know your thoughts on Twitter @Robolitious.

Event Tips >

Dear Derby, the Honeymoon is Over. Now What?

Fan-Retention-RollerDerbyMarketing(Part one of a two-part series on fan retention).

For nearly ten years, derby enjoyed amazing crowds with little marketing. We were a viable entertainment option. So why, in the last few years, have so many leagues cut back on travel, lost money or their venue? They are not catering to the fan. Rat City’s crowd funding to save their practice facility should have been the wake-up call of all wake-up calls. Keep in mind that this is the same league that set the national attendance record a few years ago.

No more mainstream TV shows or movies about derby. The honeymoon period is over.

Business Acumen is Crucial
Lately, my role announcing is not nearly as important as being a business resource to leagues. My BA in Business Management followed by years running department stores, helps me see wasted money and missed opportunities. I managed budgets, marketing and personnel issues for stores that generated millions of dollars annually and was accountable when sales went up or down.

Trust me, when I say that general proper business practices lack at all levels of roller derby.

By the Skater for the Fan
Once you sell tickets, you are a business. Don’t worry about losing control; your league is yours.

It’s time to look at fans as customers. There are many decisions to be made in order to make a profit. Profit increases by generating more income (grow your fan-base, sell more merchandise, increase fundraising) or lowering expenses.

So, if your league is struggling, what will it be? “By the skater, for the fan?” I hope so. Unless you don’t mind playing for fun behind closed doors (nothing wrong with that), adapt your production, strategize your ticket sales and give fans a night to remember.

Fan Retention
Even if you pull in a fair number of fans, why do so many not return? There is a disconnect between what you offer and what fans hope for. I can give you solid ideas on how to increase the crowds coming through the door, but if they’re only coming once, your pool of new fans continually gets smaller.

Wondering what your fan retention is? To get a good visual, use your phone and take a panorama of the crowd at the beginning of your event, then after halftime and again at the night’s conclusion. You’ll see about how many stay for the whole game.

Speed of the Game
First off, it’s not WFTDA’s fault for the speed of the game and the way it’s being played. They made revisions to try to better define the game and it only takes one to find loopholes that many follow. Yes, the slower, stop-and-go-style of game confuses fans.

My job, as an announcer is to succinctly explain what is happening. It’s impossible, in a few sentences, to relay pack destruction, reformation and why they stop. People are confused; they don’t understand how a game on wheels can be slow.

You decide if this ends or not. If you are unsanctioned, play the game you want to. If you are sanctioned, use it when it makes sense. If you hate it, let your WFTDA BOD know.

Make the Night Memorable
Don’t kill production value; make it better. The evening needs to entertain from start to finish. A few ideas:

• Engaging openings for teams and videos for the screens or jumbotrons
• Keep skaters accessible to fans – autograph tables on the way in and way out
• Make each half-time short but memorable with acts or contests

Nobody wants teams to experience financial issues or constant worry that every bout has to be “the one.” Give fans what they want, make it consistent, sell more tickets and get fans to return.

Stay tuned for my next post in the series on fan retention. I’ll explore specific, creative ways you can keep ’em coming back.

How is your league retaining fans in derby’s post-Honeymoon stage? Comment below with your tips and experiences. 

Roller Derby >

Is It Time to Hire a Publicist?

Hiring-PublicistEveryone has a friend who “made it.” Maybe it’s your band’s former drummer, who’s in a new band that’s taking off. Or your MFA classmate whose novel sits in the recommended section of every indie bookstore you frequent. Or the person in your improv class who’s already selling out shows.

Sure, your friend is talented, hardworking and deserving. They also have a tenacious publicist … and you don’t. So you start to wonder if you should hire one too.

Publicists do more than write press releases—they frame your story just the right way. They develop relationships with journalists and know who will cover your project. A good publicist handles hard-hitting questions or crisis management if something goes wrong. And then there’s the most laborious part–crafting pitch after pitch after pitch.

When you reach a certain point with your events, band, book or any venture, hiring a publicist may make sense. Remember there’s only so much a publicist can do—your project should be ready to promote. If you lack concrete goals or a strong following, handle your own PR for a bit and see what happens. If the buzz becomes too much to manage on your own, it may be time to consider outside help.

Signs It’s Time

  • You don’t have time to correspond with media or you have a day job that does not allow you to do outside work.
  • You put on more events than you alone can handle.
  • Your event includes controversial or political material and you think you may be fielding tough questions by the media.
  • You’ve dealt with negative media in the past.
  • You’ve hit a roadblock or a lot of dead ends managing your own publicity.

Pros of Hiring a PR Pro

  • They are trained to reach out to media using the best tactics and practices.
  • They have existing relationships with media members.
  • Since they’re focused on publicity, they’ll be able to promptly reply to media inquiries and take a giant chunk of responsibilities off your endless to-do list.
  • If you have a mid-to-high-profile guests, performer, etc. for your event, a publicist will know the strategies to get them an interview.

How to Find a Publicist

If you organize long-running or frequent events, consider a PR agency, but be wary—agencies are costly. Before you start setting up meetings, have a solid budget and expectations in place. Know how the agency measures success and who they’ve worked with before.

In the entertainment industry, freelance publicists are easy to find. Check out LinkedIn or Facebook PR groups or contact a local university—you might be able to find an entry level publicist who’s willing to work at a flexible rate.

Brown Paper Tickets offers free promotion advice and resources. Email our promo team at promo[at]brownpapertickets[dot]com. They won’t manage your publicity, but they have a wealth of information on how to do it yourself.

Did you hire a publicist? How did you know it was time? Comment below.

Event Tips >

4 Steps to Finding the Right Ticket Price

Ticket PricesFinding the right ticket price is tough, especially if you’re just starting out. Too high feels like a rip-off; too low feels like the event is undervalued. So what is the magic number?

With a little research and number crunching, you can find the “sweet spot” where audiences feel like they are getting a value and you walk away with a little cash in your pocket. Take these four steps to determine what to charge:

1. Figure Out Your Budget

Factor in costs: what you would ideally like to pay your acts, room fees (room rental, sound, lights, etc.) and promotional costs. Don’t forget to budget in payment for yourself. Depending on the draw, keep 20-25% of your profit.

Organizing a show is hard work and takes weeks of preparation. Often the work is done in your free time, outside of your day job. If you aren’t paid for your efforts, you will burn out quick. That said, if you have a poor turnout, cuts should come out of your take first. The artists did their jobs; your job was to bring people in the door. If you fail to do that, your pay should reflect it.

Once you have your total costs, calculate expected draw. If you have already put on some shows, this is easy. Look at past tickets sales and figure out the average attendance. Low-ball that number. In other words, base your costs on how much you would bring in with an “okay” turnout (half the capacity of the venue or even less). That way, on an off-night, you are prepared and if it is a great night, you are stoked.

2. Trim Costs

Before you set anything in stone, negotiate to cut your overhead costs. Is the venue’s sound person charging too much? See if you can hire one for less. How much is the venue charging for promotional costs and what does that include? Consider handling your promotion—many venues won’t do much more than include you in their listings. That said, there are venues that will distribute posters and actively promote your event, so do not assume that they are ripping you off.

Talk to the performers. Find out the least amount of money they need to do the show. Then offer a guarantee or a percentage of the door. Be honest. Don’t exaggerate your expected draw or promise more than you can deliver. Always keep any guarantees on the low end until you know you are going to have a successful night. Sometimes I will say, “I can offer you x amount but if we have a good night, I will get you more.” I have found that if you are honest and upfront, most performers will be willing to work with you. There will be some performers who won’t and that is OK–cut them for someone who will.

3. Do Research

Pick up your local alt-weekly and find out what similar shows charge in your area.

Look at the popularity of your acts. Have they received a fair amount of press? Do they have a large Facebook and/or Twitter following? Are they good at promoting? Also, check out their website and see what their shows typically cost.

What if you have a night full of acts with no regular draw? Still, no reason to undervalue your event. You just need to figure out a way to get people through the door. This is your job as an event organizer and producer. When you undervalue your event, it’s hard for audiences to see value in it. Make your events special and people will show up.

4. Set Your Door Price

Once you have all the numbers in place and know exactly how much the show is going to cost, set your cover. Of course, if you are hosting a bigger gathering like a festival or theater event, you can also include multiple price points such as VIP tickets, weekend passes or group discounts.

In the 80’s and 90’s punk rock world, fans considered any show over $5 a rip-off. Unfortunately, almost 30 years later, many producers (and audiences) still stick to that credo. Nobody makes money off a $5 cover in 2016 and it is not worth anyone’s time to perform for that amount. I think $10 should be the minimum ticket price for any event featuring live performance. Anything below that and you will barely cover your costs and walk away with nothing in your pocket.

No matter what you charge, if you are not putting effort into curating your acts and developing a solid promotional plan, folks aren’t going to show. It is rare that the cost of a ticket deters audiences from seeing a show they really want to see. They might complain but if they want to see it, they’ll pay for it, as long as it is within reason.

Your job is to make your event worth the price of admission, to put that extra effort into your productions, so audiences keep coming back.

How did you determine your ticket price sweet spot? Ring in with your advice in the comments.

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