Suggestions on Publicizing a Music Event

Planning a music event requires lots of work but one of the most important aspects is how you promote your event. Even the greatest events may not succeed if they are not effectively publicized. If you invest time upfront in developing a plan to promote your event it will pay off in the end.

  1. Remember who, what, why and where. Who is your audience? What sort of entertainment do they enjoy? Why would they want to attend your event? Where do they get their information?
  2. Develop a website to provide up-to-date information on the event. Showcase photos of people enjoying the event from the previous year. It lets visitors picture themselves at the event. At the same time, consider you audience if they do not tend to be internet savvy, don't spend all of your time and money on an elaborate website, explore other options.
  3. Offer website visitors an option to register to receive email newsletter updates. This is an affordable and effective way to communicate with people who are already interested in attending your event. If possible, offer early ticket purchase discounts for newsletter subscribers to keep them coming back. You may want to offer the same information and discounts on an updated phone hotline for non-internet users.
  4. Prepare a press release that contains specifics about the event (date, place, time, admission costs, featured musical acts). Send the release to press and radio contacts in your area or throughout the state if it is a statewide event, at least one month prior to the event date. Follow up two weeks before the event.
  5. Design eye-catching posters and small handbills promoting the event and distribute in appropriate venues. Record stores and live music clubs are a good place to start. Make sure these businesses have policies that allow this type of promotion before you drop off or send them any promotional materials. If possible, visit each business yourself and ask to post your handbill or poster, don't rely on the business to do it for you. If you cannot visit each location, create a "street team" through your website. Offer points for the amount of work each member contributes. These points can be redeemed for free parking, tickets, merchandise or VIP passes.
  6. Depending on the scale and budget of the event, run advertisements in the weekly local entertainment papers and on area radio stations. Occasionally, media outlets will sponsor events by offering heavily discounted ad rates or free advertising space or airtime in exchange for logo placement on event merchandise or signage.
  7. Call potential sponsors. Script a short explanation of the event and its benefits. Your initial pitch should be no more than 30 seconds. Compose an email outlining the benefits to the sponsor as specifically as possible and offering different levels at which they can sponsor your band. Follow up this email with a phone call. When seeking sponsorship, look for businesses who are a good fit with your audience. Send a thank you note to businesses as they sign on, add their email to your updates so they continue to feel involved.
  8. Designate one or two media spokespersons within your organization for any pre-event interviews. Create a one page reference sheet with speaking points and event specifics for use during interviews to ensure that you communicate all of the important information.
  9. Contact radio stations and press and offer several free giveaway tickets in an effort to garner more coverage and excitement. This is a great time to set up interviews. In order to build even more enthusiasm if you are doing a radio interview have one of the artists play live on-air.
  10. Offer press credentials and VIP passes to members of the media who may write about your event and provide free publicity for next year's event.
  11. Conduct informal surveys with attendees after the event to see what they liked and what they didn't. This will allow you to address any problematic issues and head off potential negative press.
  12. After the event is over, follow up with press contacts and sponsors to make sure they had a good time and take the opportunity to provide any additional information they may need when writing about your event. This is also a chance to let the press how you will improve the event for the following year. Send another thank you note to all of your sponsors. These notes may be accompanied by event merchandise autographed by the featured artists.