Promoting Gig Dates And Gig Listings

Faiz Fadzil (@el_flynn) said that I was only covering half the story and that there's a missing piece on UnsignedBandPromotion that maybe didn't cross my mind. Faiz was looking for something that links the online promotion tools of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, ReverbNation, Bandcamp, etc., with the real world and gigging. A tool that would help an independent artist, musician or band line up a gig or even a tour. Yeah Fiaz, that'd be handy :)

I replied, UnsignedBandPromotion only concerns itself with helping independent artists, musicians and bands who are in the process of setting up a website, or bands who want to promote their websites themselves. We don't really advise bands on how to get gigs or which cities are best to tour for maximum payoff! In fact, we advise bands to gig locally to start with, and that's really as far as we usually take it.

Bazinga - UnsignedBandPromotion only concerns itself with The Tool that helps bands to pick up and promote gigs and tours. It's called a Website!

For Paul:

While successfully promoting gigs from your website and social media, you are at the same time increasing the chance of 'getting gigs'! Because, a band who can promote an event effectively are worth hiring if they can also put on a good show. So, by demonstrating that you can do both (promote & perform), you will get gigs.

How To Promote Gig & Tour Dates With A Simple SEO Campaign

My goal here is to show you how you can beat the competition, increase your visibility and attract Venues - who's objective it is to book your band.

There's no secret or magic bullet to an SEO campaign; basically, it revolves around website content and linking - by-the-way, I'm always surprised by the number of bands who don't bother with it and use repetitive self-promotion (spam) on social media as their principal method of getting noticed.

Geo-targeted Keywords - Location-based SEO

Choosing the right set of keywords for your band's website is vital to achieving your objective. Being found for your location (e.g. London) alone is almost impossible (plus, it's futile trying to compete with authoritative competitors within this category - try searching Google: London and you'll see what I mean), even combining your genre with your location (e.g Punk Rock London) will provide stiff competition.

Target your local audience. Instead of targeting competitive search terms like "Punk Rock London"! UnsignedBandPromotion have found that by being more precise with your locale (town/ district e.g. Earls Court), you will attract people who are looking for local bands and venues, e.g. Punk Rock Earls Court on Google & Punk Rock Bands Earls Court on Google

"Unless you have a hard core of 500 passionate fans who will support you what ever the weather, you should keep your promotion efforts local to the venue - meaning: within about 25 miles. It might seem odd thinking local with a World Wide Website, especially when you have fans from every corner of the globe downloading your music - but it's usually only locals who are going to turn up and support you." - Promoting Gigs From Your Website UBP 2008.


View Larger Map

A Few Tips

  1. Embed a Google map (includes the latitude & longitude coordinates). Search Google maps for venue's address; in the upper right hand corner of the left side panel there's a link button; click & select: 'Paste HTML to embed in website' or 'Customize and preview embedded map'; paste the code into the appropriate Web page (Venue Page?).
  2. If they are not already signed up, encourage and advise the venues you play to register with Google Places - when they get found, so do you! Also see: Google+ Local
  3. Get a map of your target area and plot all the venues; create venue hotspots. Promote the hotspot information from your website.
  4. Your responsive website should include Geotagging so people can discover and use your geotagged information on their devices - it'll help them find the venue.
  5. Geotargeting usually involves promoting a top level domain name (TLD .com .co.uk), however, think precise, definite, small, think: Street, Postcode, Telephone Number!
  6. Your titles, descriptions and the written contents must contain the names of your focus areas and venues - think: textual keywords.
  7. When promoting a tour, create a new page for each venue::town/city, include details of towns/cities/districts within a 25 miles (40 kilometres) radius - The focus should always be on the venues though.
  8. Create a header and/or footer; insert gig/tour details including venue's contact information - include links.
  9. Use long key phrases like: "British punk rock band The Malloys play The Troubadour Club - Earls Court, London SW5 9JA." and encourage the long tail to wag. Anticipate and second-guess what your website's visitor will be searching for.

The Gigs Page

The gigs page could easily be hosted by a free Wordpress blog. Each gig listing would then be a blog post, which is very easy for you and your fans to share with the social media. Fans need to be encouraged to support your band by sharing your gig dates.

It is very important that your gigs page is kept up-to-date, even if you are not gigging; that's why creating a diary/ weblog is a good idea. You can talk about the build-up to the gig, give a post gig analysis, pin up loads of pictures of fans and ask for comments.

Use the local date format for where you live: day, month, year? Use the date like a bullet point. Always use the same structured layout, for example:
Date: Time: Doors: Venue: Town: Ticket: Age: Freebie
11:03:2020 @ 20.30, doors @ 17.30, The Troubadour Club, London SW5 9JA (hypertext link to venue page), £8; £5 with flyer, 18+ ID., 100 goodie bags: first-come, first-served.

The Venue Page

Focus on local venues by creating a venues page. You could make a page for each venue or a page for each town and include several venues. The design and content should reflect the taste and needs of your fans - so ask for ideas and feedback.

When you promote a gig from your website you are actually promoting the venue at the same time. Make the most of it, you may be surprised by the amount of interest it generates amongst venue and event managers. Include for example:

  1. Video of your band playing the venue.
  2. The Venue's Name - include hypertext links to the venue's official website.
  3. Images of the venue - take your own photographs inside and outside, try to include the regulars.
  4. Link to venue's Facebook & Twitter.
  5. The venue's full address - with Sat Nav inf. also use Rich Snippets, read: A Visual Guide to Rich Snippets, MusicEvent - schema.org and Microdata - w3.org
  6. Box office details (link to box office &/or online ticket agency - Affiliate Opportunity).
  7. Normal ticket (admission) price.
  8. Usual doors times.
  9. Age restriction details.
  10. Full travel information and directions inc. how to get there: on foot, by rail, by bus, by car with parking inf. and link to and/or embed Google maps. Don't forget, a lot of small venues don't have a website and these details can really help your fans.
  11. House DJ details.
  12. Open mic. details.
  13. Local information might include: independent record shops, fashion shops, accommodation, coffee houses and pubs etc. that reflect and complement your genre (Advertising Opportunity).

Check that the metadata is up-to-date and unique for each venue page. The Title and Description are particularly important because the search engines can use this information to display a short description on their results page.

Swapping Links and Networking Gig Listings With Other Bands

You definitely need to spread the word about your next gig; you can do this by encouraging other local bands of the same genre to display your flyer on their website and social media pages. See: Band Flyers and Banners

LibreRock Records

Make a perpetual gig listing ad: 180px X 255px vertical rectangle banner (orientation portrait) advertising your band. Rotate, update and replace image as and when necessary.

Swaping links and networking with other bands of the same genre, is the usual way bands start to promote their website. However, as I've already said, website promotion should be focused and aim at achieving a goal (inform a targeted local audience about your gig dates). See: Target Fan Profile Checklist

How to create an awesome link by using JavaScript

Here's a simple JavaScript link that includes: Your up-to-date gig listing and your free MP3.

  1. Create a plain text file in Notepad, name it gigs.txt.
  2. Copy & Paste this Code into gigs.txt:
    /* Enter the date and time (e.g: 11 Mar 2020 at 8.30 pm) */
    document.write("GIG_DATE at GIG_TIME<br />")

    /* Enter the venue and town/place (e.g: The Troubadour - London SW5 9JA) */
    document.write("GIG_VENUE - GIG_TOWN -")

    /* Enter the MP3 address */
    document.write("<a href='http://www.YourBandName.com/song.mp3'><i>listen now</i></a>")
  3. Notes For The JavaScript Code
    1. Make sure you create a plain text file in Notepad.
    2. Don't set the style. Setting the style may cause the links and gig listing to be invisible.
    3. Don't use ' [single quote] or " [double quote] within the text or it will cause an error.
  4. I've made one for you: gigs.txt
  5. Rename gigs.txt to gigs.js - Save it!
  6. Upload gigs.js to your server. Keep it updated with your gig details - rotate the mp3 occasionally.
  7. Provide some link code on your website for bands to copy & paste into theirs - For example:
    <!-- START OF BandLink CODE -->
    <p><a href="http://www.YourBandName.com/"><b>YourBandName</b></a><br />
    <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="http://www.YourBandName.com/gigs.js"></script></p>
    <!-- END OF BandLink CODE -->
  8. Swap links with local bands using the above code. Now you have backlinks that: display your gig dates and share your music.

This is what the BandLink looks like when in use

The Malloys

More Link Building - General SEO Notes

  1. Contribute to articles and blogs, and when possible think local. Don't worry too much about the backlink and, if feasible, try to squeeze in a geo-targeted keyword :)
  2. Obviously link to your website from all your social networking profiles; your website should be the centre of interest, the focal point.
  3. Think about submitting your site to a 'local search' (local to you) website like London's Search Engine - they're good for small businesses.
  4. When searching for link building opportunities use Google advanced operators like, intitle:london venue site:co.uk and gigs site:co.uk (gig listings site:co.uk - etc. etc.) - Change the TLD for international link building i.e: .ca is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Canada. .eu is for the European Union (EU)... I'm sure you can think of other uses for these!
  5. Have a read of a popular blog post: Links and Linking - The Dark Art.
  6. Make the best of your website and prospects by thinking about time scale - short-term & long-term.
  7. Always focus on the relevancy and quality of content and linking.
  8. Think usability and design for both people and Web crawlers.
  9. Update content frequently; update the design rarely.
  10. Don't leave promoting gigs & tours to the last minute, there can be long lead-in times for online promotion, it should be continual and ongoing even if you haven't got a gig booked!

Back In The Real World

Don't only rely on your social media for gig promotion; you must take the holistic approach and utilize every resource, otherwise you'll probably fail.

Send gig and/or tour posters to the venues and local: colleges & universities, independent record shops, cool coffee houses, pubs, radio stations, fans, friends and family. Have you got a street team?

Send out/ email a press release to local papers and radio (local online radio too) stating: Band Name, Date, Time, Venue, Town, Ticket, Age Restrictions, Freebie Information, Charity Name, Your Contact Details (Include: your name, your band's name, telephone number, postal address, email address, website URL). Follow up with a phone call or actually visit them in person.

Written by Ian Robson
IanUnsigned Band Promotion help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. Find UBP on and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

 

Promoting Gig Dates And Gig Listings is offered to you under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License, which means: it's yours to use as long as you Attribute the work to Unsigned Band Promotion and Link Back. See: © copyright