Thursday, March 9, 2017

DIY Tour Promotion -- How You Can Help

I've got a big tour coming up, and poking around on my website I realize I'm missing a quick run-down of what regular folks in different towns can do if they have a little bit of time to put into helping to promote the tour, or a particular show in their local area.

Almost every show I do involves at least one main person who has kindly agreed to be the main organizer of that show.  This involves finding a venue, nailing down a date with me, and being the main person who gets the word out about the show, and maybe helps coordinate the efforts of other people willing to do that.  But there is never any need to ask for permission to help publicize one of my shows, if it's a public event listed on my website, as almost all my shows are.  Any efforts you can make will undoubtedly be appreciated by me, the gig organizer, and perhaps even other folks as well.

The best publicity is always word-of-mouth, one-on-one, direct, personal communication.  This has probably always been true, but it's probably never been more true than now, in age of Too Much Information.  So here are some very useful things that you can do to allow people like me to this sort of thing for a living.  It's oriented specifically towards promoting my stuff, but change a few words and it's applicable to any indie performer, traveling speaker, etc.

  • Especially in the couple weeks leading up to a show in your town (or in a town where I'm playing where you know somebody) tell them why you think they'd like the show, and share the details with them in a personal email, phone call, over dinner somewhere, etc.  Details about the tour and each gig on the tour are on this Punk Baroque World Tour blog post, among other places.
  • Whether or not the main organizer of the show gets around to printing out flyers, you are very welcome to do so!  You can just print out this tour flyer/poster, fill in the local gig details, make some copies, and put them up in locations where the sorts of people who might like to come to one of my shows might tend to frequent.
  • You can carry around those flyers so that when you have occasion to mention the gig to someone in the physical world, you can hand them one.  If you're going to a protest, a meeting, a concert or some other event where there might be folks who might want to go to my show, you can bring flyers and hand them out to folks.
  • In the age of TMI people might not see most of your tweets or Facebook posts, but if you share a different song each day with your friends and followers accompanied by a message about the upcoming show, that might generate a bit of attention.  You can find almost any of my songs by searching online for my name plus the song title plus either Soundcloud or Bandcamp.  Also in alphabetical order at
  • Usually there will be a Facebook Event page for most of my shows.  Facebook makes it difficult to promote a lot of things without paying for the promotion, but if you live in an area where a show is happening, they still make it really easy for you to invite all the folks who live in that area.  From the event page you just click "share," then "invite friends," then on the left side of the window that comes up, click where it says the name of your city.  Then you'll see all those folks listed, at which point you "invite all" and finish.
  • Encourage other folks in town to invite their friends on the Facebook Event page, too.
  • If you or anyone you know is involved with community or activist groups oriented around issues that I've written a song about, share a specific song with them, and ask them if they wouldn't mind announcing to their local email list that I'll be doing a show and singing about the struggle their involved with.  With most of my shows, folks are very welcome to make short announcements about upcoming local events -- cross-pollination is good for everybody.
  • If there's a community radio program, whether it's a music program or a news/information show, call in and encourage them to mention that I'm doing a show in town coming up, give them the relevant information, and request that they play a song of mine.  You could even suggest a specific song that's related to the subject of the show they're doing that day.  Tell them that whether or not they have my CDs in their library, they can find most of my songs for free download on Soundcloud and elsewhere.