The TLP Network

Sharing the Hate, Spreading the Pain: On Advertising

by on Sep.13, 2007, under Articles, Sharing the Hate

The best part about having a gopher tortoise for an avatar is no one knows what I look like. The best part about having my logo plastered on thousands of flyers is that no one knows what I sound like. Put those two facts together and I have the perfect scouting opportunity in the shades of secrecy from the bowels of the dive bars. However, having a station that no one has heard of means that no one takes me seriously when I approach their band about being on the radio shows. The answer to that problem is to increase brand awareness and increase the perception of the station out in the general populace.

We already know our station and our shows kick ass. If you don’t believe that we believe that fact then listen to the theme song of one of our Regional shows, and the theme song will tell you. That song is not just a catchy jingle to start and setup a new show with, we actually mean it. Our reputation is very high with those that have heard of us, however to keep our reputation high we spread the words of our station daily, errr, hourly to those that have not heard of the station.

As awareness increases, perception increases. More people will hear of us than will actually hear us, and the same is true of your band. If you are not actively promoting the fact that your band exists, then no one outside of your garage will know about you. If your name is out there enough, people will attend your show just to see why you are so popular. How do you promote your band effectively? The partial answer is in 2 simple but different steps:

1) Flyer
2) Book in Venues that Advertise

Flyer:

Flyering should be second nature to a band. Where ever they go, they should have a stack of flyers promoting their next show, or their band in general. A simple professional looking photograph with the name of your band, the website of your band, and a broad description to describe your sound should be on the flyer. These generic flyers are to get people to your website to listen to your audio files you have shared for their enjoyment, or see a calendar of your upcoming shows.

When you are out and about hand the flyers out. Techniques on handing out flyers are described in countless other articles I have posted, and I do not want to waste precious white column space here revisiting the importance of flyering and stickers.

You will notice that most people will either throw your flyer away, or hold onto it. Other people will refuse a flyer saying that they already have one, or that they already know about you. If you have a lot of people saying that they already have your flyer, and they already know about your band, you are doing something right. Keep it up, and ask them to come to the next show.

Book in Bars that Advertise:

If a venue is advertising on your behalf then you should target these places to fit your band into. Even if the show bombs, at least you gained some street cred and notoriety from people seeing your name for a month. Some venues have an open public calendar on their website and some venues have an open public calendar on the wall by the bar. These are venues to build a reputation at since people will see you as an active band. Other bars will advertise in local papers, and some will even use local radio and buy spots.

I typically visit bars that make the process painless for me to find the bands on the bill, and allow me to contact the bands on that bill or find their website. I will preach by Tampa examples here, and not use my own to show the different levels venues help bands out. You can find examples in your home town of venues that are similar. Let these lead you by example, unless you are in Tampa, and then just be in the know.

The best example is Aestheticized Presents. These people not only tell you about the show, the genre, and the exact date/location of the event, but they also link the bands directly from the website. There is no excuse to not be informed about one of their shows. Furthermore, they have a mailing list where they send out e-mails day of the show with even more information about the show. Getting onto the bill with this outfit, means your band will have heavy promotions attached to it.

The best example of a venue is Pegasus Lounge. This venue has a huge wall calendar in the club, and provides a monthly calendar posted on the website. Here you can learn about the show, the genre, and the exact date/time of the event. While they do not link the bands directly, with minimal effort you can find the band’s websites through search engines. If you know about the venue, then finding out about their shows is an easy task. They also update the calendar quite often to let you know about last minute changes to the bill.

The The Crowbar uses a two week rolling calendar on the website, and they also pay for full page calendar advertisements in the local newspapers. Between these two techniques they have a pretty good exposure rating in the scene. The front window of this venue might as well double for a newspaper, because bands constantly put wall posters up to tell people about shows as far as a month and a half out. If you book far enough out with the Crowbar you can take advantage of all three of these services they offer.

Other local examples of a venues and their efforts are The Orpheum, and The Brass Mug. These venues both utilize myspace to provide a calendar of upcoming shows on the website. However, if you are not part of the space system, you cannot click on the link and learn more about the shows. The Brass Mug uses a 2 week chalk board to list bands on the wall by the bar, which is helpful. There have been times I have seen their two week board, and changed my schedule around to accommodate for a show with a band I have been wanting to see.

Knowing what the venue is doing for your band to get your name and the knowledge of your show is valuable. Bands need to book smarter, and not harder. If you book in a place, and no one knows you are playing, and no one comes to see you, then you have just wasted your night for a practice in public. There are only so many public practices you can have before someone in your band decides to quit, because they are frustrated. The more you get your name out there, the closer you come to convincing people to see you live or buy your merchandise.

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