We have already established that if you want paid speaking or performing engagements – especially recurring ones – you are worth only the number of people that you can bring into the door. You have to draw people to the event. This benefits you because it equals increased sales, press opportunities, and recurring speaking engagements.
So, how do you maximize your “draw”?
Understand that people can’t just drop their entire life the day of the event and run out the door like a lunatic to see you. People have families, jobs, kids, bills – on average people need at least 2 weeks of notice to make the necessary changes to attend a local event – longer if you want to give people the ability to fly to the event from farther away.
The worst thing you can do as a creator is to only start posting or talking about the event the morning of or the week of. We talked about how you can undercut yourself last time? Well this is epic undercutting.
I have staffed enough events to have seen people of every level of notoriety mess this up. I’ve seen big celebrities do it, I’ve seen medium level people do it – and of course I’ve seen small people do this. The phrase, “Yeah he is popular online but he was useless when it came to bringing anyone into the event.” is not good business. If the event’s staff is even remotely tech competent, they will be able to tell how many eyeballs each person, speaker, or band yielded.
Surprisingly, I’ve seen small people beat the crap out of a so-called “big name” in terms of “draw”.
– My advice for first time con runners who are selecting guests: do not get caught up in the hype. Look at who is willing to put some muscle behind what they are doing and avoid paying out a lot for a name that does nothing but look good on a website archive.
– My advice for creators of all levels is to realize that people need time to come and see you. The method I use to promote my appearances and events is the pulse method.
How to pulse out your message and net the most attention:
When you are invited to the event or schedule a performance: Add it to your calendar, make a blog post that points that out. (No one checks calendars very often. Tell them to do so and they will.)
3-6 months before the event: Blog/tweet/Facebook about it at least once a month with a date and clickable link. Blog again if something important is happening, like pre-registration prices are going up or someone cool is being added to the guest list or performance schedule. Don’t just put the link there – endorse it. Far more people will click something you tell them to over a plain link that just sits there.
3 months before the event: Increase blog/tweet/Facebook post frequency referencing the event with the clickable link.
1 month before the event: Blog/tweet/Facebook at least once per week about it.
2 weeks before the event: If your pre existing not event related blog post frequency allows for it, increase the frequency even more.
At event: If possible, live tweet at least a few things. If your readers couldn’t come this time they’ll see how fun it was and come next time.
Remember: More people that know who you are at the event = more sales and more recurring opportunities for you.
What not to do:
– Don’t use one of those services that send your twitter account to your Facebook/Livejournal/whatever. 9 times out of 10 this offends people who are not on Twitter because it sends the message that you don’t care about them and duplicates your content if they also follow you on Twitter. If you haven’t gotten complaints about it, it’s because you have probably been muted. This service is liked by creators, passionately hated by fans. Yes, I also mute people who do this.
A better way? Use a product like Hootsuite. This allows you to pulse out the same information on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter in a more engaging way. You can schedule each post to happen at different times so that it won’t overwhelm the person who is reading right now. I change each post so that it isn’t the same text over and over. This way I can get the word out about what I am doing everywhere while being sensitive to the people who read it. The best part is that statistically you will get more impressions when you space your posts out. People read at different times of day, you know.
At first it seems like it is just best to get the word out any way you can about your creative project. I’ve tried different techniques and observed when people tried different techniques on me. I have come to the conclusion that too many people just barf out information in ways that are convenient for them, and not ways that are convenient for their fans. If even big celebrities can undercut themselves this way, medium and small people will suffer even more for it. The next time you are doing something awesome, take your fans into consideration. I think you’ll find that you’ll develop a larger and more longterm fanbase overall because of it.