Promoting an event

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One thing I am doing a lot at the moment is helping promote live entertainment shows. Whilst doing this I am always trying to think of new and different ways to get attention on the product, without having to spend any money.

There are so many platforms and avenues available now to promote events and products, the problem is that the audience you are trying to get hold of are so spread out, that there aren’t many places to go to in order to reach a big audience. This means you need to be constantly active and active across a number of places.

Converting views to sales

When I first started promoting events in the early 2000s all I had to do was buy advertising in the local paper, to the city I was promoting in and I would draw a crowd. Now we live in an era where even if you get millions of views across social media, it seems to be harder than ever to convert them in to sales.

The problem is that people aren’t actually taking in what they are reading on social media, they are just scrolling through. Liking something takes no time or commitment, so even an engagement doesn’t mean much to be honest.

Connecting audiences

What I try and do now when I promote events, is try and work in partnership with other groups, people and companies. Everyone has an audience, but the way to truly grow an audience is to share audiences. An audience is a huge asset and the more you can connect what you are offering with new audiences, the more what you are offering is worth.

I also believe that as a society we don’t hand over money for things as freely as we used to. Everyone wants a good deal and everyone’s attention is being taken in a hundred directions, so getting customers to pay for tickets for an event is harder and harder. Sadly the costs of running shows haven’t diminished so it is a hard time for an entertainment promoter, unless you have a big brand behind you. You only have to look at the number of pubs and entertainment venues that have shut down in the last few years to show you that.

Competing in the marketplace

To compete in the marketplace, building a brilliant brand is paramount to success. The better your brand is, the less you have to spend on marketing as more people care about your product and will come to you instead of you always having to go to them.

So if you are promoting a live event the thing I would advise to concentrate on is your brand, as everything comes off the back of that.

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You will be amazed what happens next

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One thing I can’t stand online, is when articles or video descriptions have the words “you will be amazed what happens next” in the title. If this is in the title of something, I know that it is clickbait. The phrase just sums up what is wrong with SEO, copywriting for web and the rise of clickbait.

It seems that the web has turned in to a place where everything is the same. Where there is one right headline to make sure you get the most clicks and reads, so everyone sticks to it and does the same thing. It’s like there are magical words and phrases.

Maximizing impact

If something has a title that I can see has been written to maximize impact and encourage you to click, the more it makes me not want to click it. When I see a title like that, I know that the writer/website just wants me to click the link and what I link through to has a very low chance of actually being something of quality.

Titles and headlines like “you will be amazed what happens next” seem to have been written after someone has done some basic reading on psychology. The writers are trying to use words and phrases that they think will make you want to click. Words and phrases that still make you click even though you know you are being had and that you know that it is clickbait. Some may call it very clever, I just call it unimaginative.

If you can’t beat them, join them

I will be amazed when and/or if this way of writing ever ends, as I think we are doomed to it for quite some time. The pressure to get you the viewer on to a website for that website to make money is fierce and most companies are going with the adage – “If you can’t beat them, join them.” It seems everyone is so worried about losing out on a potential click that they are willing to sacrifice any standards in order not to miss them.

I know in all forms of art it is so hard to be new and different, as so much has been done before but it doesn’t mean we should just all copy what each other are doing. I want to read quality, I want to enjoy what I am reading and I want my time spent visiting a website to be good and worthwhile not an experience where I feel like I have been duped in to and one that I wish I hadn’t wasted my time on.

Building something with honesty

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I started this blog in the summer of 2014, in the hope to build a place where people would come to be inspired, stirred, provoked and to make people think about many different facets of life. Two years on and over 150 blog posts later I am still here trying to do the same things that I started doing two years ago.

Is this blog an Internet sensation with millions of hits – no! Is it doing as well as I hope it would – probably not. Do I still enjoy what I do and believe in what I do – 100% yes.

Fake it to make it

I could come on here and lie and say it is going great guns, put a spin on it using fancy words or not mention anything about how many people the blog is reaching. To me doing any of that wouldn’t be real and would be lying. So many people sign up to the ‘fake it to make it’ philosophy in life and it makes me sad. What have I got to gain by trying to say this is a blog, which is visited by millions? Everyone with an Internet connection has the possibility of one day stumbling across this blog and I really hope they do, but until they do I am just going to keep writing, keep hoping and keep smiling.

The people who have to talk about their audience and numbers are normally the ones that are disappointed by their numbers, whereas I am proud of the 6 people who read this blog yesterday. Yes 6, I’ll admit it, but I am so thankful that those 6 people did, as thankful as if 6 million people had. Things that have a big following normally don’t need to talk about their audience and people just know.

Not worrying about numbers

I would rather just focus on putting out content that I am happy with and proud of than worrying about writing for numbers. Like on Monday I wrote about the extra day we get every four years, not expecting much response at all and I got 4 likes which blew me away.

I could pay for advertising but I just don’t see paying for an audience as a success. I want people to read what I write and be touched by it. I want to feel great when I see people reading and interacting with my blog, not just think that people only came became because I paid for them to come, where is the success in that?

Foundation blocks

I see every blog post as a foundation block. My house may take 500 blocks to build, it may take 50,000 but what I am going to do is invest time in each one and build each one as strong as the last. My advice to every blogger out there is be proud of the content you produce, as good content is the only thing you can control and the only thing you should need to be proud of.

Never stop writing or blogging because the size of your audience wasn’t what you were hoping it would be. Keep writing because your content is what you hoped it would be.

The slow death of the TV talent show

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This year will see the final series of one of the forerunners of the modern era TV talent shows, as American Idol bows out with it’s 15th series. With declining viewers and declining advertising revenue, not only has the decision been made to end with this final series, but this final series will also be shorter than previous years by 4 weeks.

I remember when TV talent shows were drawing audiences of 15 – 20 million per show. Now it seems like anything between 5 and 7 million is seen as a success. The thing with TV talent shows is that they are all geared around advertising, sponsorship and phone ins. If it wasn’t for these things then the viewing dip wouldn’t be as important, as for some programming 5 – 7 million is a good number. TV talent shows got lots of promotion and the best TV slots because they were cash cows but without the support of the viewers they will soon be cancelled, as the only slots they can exist in is weekend prime time.

Change in consumption

When TV talent shows were at the zenith, smart phones and tablets weren’t in every hand, streaming wasn’t mainstream, youtube wasn’t being used as it is now and Tivo (DVR) wasn’t in nearly every home. TV talent shows rely on us all sitting down to watch the programme live and that isn’t how we consume TV any more.

TV talent shows tried to combat what was happening by focusing the shows more on the soap style storylines rather than the talent in order to get headlines and column inches, which worked in the short time and kept interest up. However the more sensationalist the headlines got, the more the public and the media got jaded by them and the less newsworthy the shows became.

I do have a soft spot for the TV talent show but I must admit to rarely watching them any more. Back in the day I would watch all the British TV talent shows and even the US ones like American Idol. UK TV stations fighting over the rights to American Idol (an import), just showed you how popular the genre was, that in the UK we were lapping up anything we could get.

Saturation

The main reason I don’t watch them anymore is because when the popularity was growing, the number of programmes and length of programmes in a series just seemed to grow and grow. Live shows turned in to 3-hour marathons and then moved from just Saturday night to Saturday and Sunday night, which meant giving up most of the weekend to follow them.

You can’t just blame one thing for the slow death of the TV talent show but I think viewer fatigue and the way we consume media now means that at least for a while I think they have had their day.

How important is the channel a programme broadcasts on?

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The main number that programme makers tout when finding a channel for their programme is – the number of homes the channel is available in. My question this week is – Does this number matter?

I think the number of homes a channel is available in is just a vanity number. The number of homes or reach is more to do with the Satellite, cable or digital company than the popularity of your channel.

Popular

Don’t get me wrong potential is important and if your programme is popular or becomes popular, you want to mamixmise that by being available in as many homes as possible but if your programme isn’t popular it doesn’t matter how many homes it is in. I think if you have a large potential viewerbase and low actual viewing numbers then it reflects worse on the programme, than if it was on a platform with a smaller reach.

Like the rest of the world, TV is driven more and more by data these days but the key data always will be related to how many people are watching and engaging with your programme. If a programme has a strong viewership then that is the only number TV companies will use, it is only when this number isn’t as strong as it should be that other stats get banded about.

Talked about

You know the programmes that are truly being watched, as these are the programmes that are being talked about. People talking about your programme are the best commodity you can find. If people are talking about your programme, people will find it, regardless of what platform it is on.

I think it is lazy just to expect people to watch a programme because it is on a big platform. Every programme maker and TV Company should be focused on getting eyeballs on their product, because that is the only way to grow your audience or to make a programme bigger.

As a programme maker you never know when a network is going to cancel your show or not renew a contract, so you have to at all times keep your perceived programme value high. To keep your value high you need a loyal fanbase that will follow you regardless of what network you are on and campaign on your behalf. For the big players TV is a supply and demand market, so make sure you never lose focus on the demand for your programme.

What viewing statistic is most important?

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In today’s viewing world what is the measuring stick for popularity? Is it TV audience viewing statistics? Youtube views? Social Media engagement? Streams? Downloads? Number of saves on to a DVR? Or is it a combination of some or all?

Camouflage

I think it is much easier in today’s world, for media companies to camouflage poor performing programmes by using different statistics to the old fashioned TV audience statistics or by using a combination of statistics.

If you ask most companies that produce programmes the figure that will be most important internally is the TV audience figure, as that is what can make them the most money, if those figures are high they can sell their programme for a higher value to a TV station, without it they have little chance of making good money.

Profitable

When companies find ways to make putting content on Youtube more profitable and ways to make more money out of social media engagement then these will be very important areas to grow but I don’t think we are quite there yet.

TV production companies want to make the most money they can per viewer to their programming so this is where Youtube and Social Media can help in an indirect way. By boasting big numbers in these areas, they can use these to help in negotiations with TV companies to squeeze more revenue from the channels and networks.

Streaming

Nowadays programmes are licensed to the big providers like Netflix and Amazon on a revenue per stream deal, so if no one watches your programme you don’t make anything. This is why I love the streaming market as although the revenue per stream should possibly be higher at least then a programme gets a fair revenue based on its viewership. Some TV stations have been stung in the past by paying big bucks from programming, for it to not to deliver the numbers that they expected for their outlay.

The problem with media is that in a lot of instances you have to speculate to accumulate and although you can have great research to back up a theory on why a programme is going to be successful, until the numbers are in you can’t take anything for granted. Thankfully all sides of the media have to do this from the Production Companies that fund programme creation to the channels that acquire it.

There are a lot of shows on TV but few runaway successes and I think everyone in the media game has to remember that.

Getting your name out there

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If you want to be noticed and recognised for something you do, you have to be prepared to put the work in. Unless you are out there telling the world about what it is you are doing, people aren’t going to know what you are doing and how good you are at something.

Taking notice

You could have created the best product, the best piece of art, the best company, the best charity, the best sports team etc. but just because something is good, it doesn’t mean people are going to take notice.

It’s like with my book at the moment. Unless I get out there and promote it – no one is going to know about it. With my book, the more people that know about it, the more lives it has the chance to impact. Something being great isn’t going to change and impact lives, it’s people knowing about it that is going to change lives.

Being the best self-promoter

Once you have a great reputation, people will get to know about you and your work through word of mouth but until you have that platform you have to be brave and be the biggest self-promoter on the planet. If you want something to take off you can’t be shy. You have to be prepared for people to laugh in your face, to criticize and to not want to listen. You can’t have too much pride, you have to keep moving, keep smiling and above everything believe in yourself.

I am constantly emailing people, ringing people and tweeting people to try and get the word out there. I am trying to make connections with influencers in the marketplace and get them on board. I am trying to get endorsements, features in publications and opportunities to speak at events. These are the key ways I have to drive this book forward. I’m not going to get that good review or endorsement that propels the book forward without going out there and finding it.

Right audience

Your life can change just by getting yourself in front of the right audience; so don’t stop until you find it. To get yourself ahead of the competition you have to be prepared to work harder, do more and think in different ways to your competition. The marketplace is very crowded so getting yourself noticed is harder than ever these days, so you have to be prepared to work harder than ever.

Set yourself goals and targets for the work you want to have done to promote yourself this week and stick to it. Remember being good at something or having something good is only one part of the battle. It’s time to start thinking of self-promotion as a positive thing and to stop letting it be the thing that stops us from getting to where we want to be.