Hey Dave – What’s a good way to promote myself as a comedian and my videos to talent bookers? Can I send them to a video posted on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram? – BT
Hey BT – I’m not revealing any kind of marketing breakthrough by saying almost everything today is done online. Okay, in my opinion in-person showcases are always the best, but not always easy to schedule – especially if promoting yourself for gigs not within easy travel distance.
And believe it or not, there are still a few (very few) talent bookers that request hard copies of promotional packages. In my opinion it just means they’re out of touch with what’s going on. If they can’t get online and learn how to work with streaming video and website links, what kind of gigs are they getting for their clients?
I’m guessing Amish barn-raisers.
What used to be included in a hard-copy promotional package is what still needs to be included when you promote yourself online. And a dedicated website – rather than social media – is considered more professional and even required by some bookers I’ve worked with if you want to be considered for work.
But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a big-time website with a lot of bells and whistles dedicated strictly to your comedy or speaking career. One or two pages with the necessities (video, photo, resume, bio) will do the trick until you hit headline or television star status and can hire a publicist to do the work for you.
Here’s some insider advice:
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Great promotional material might get you noticed, but talent and experience are what gets you hired. Basically, it’s still all about writing and performing. That part of the job never ends. But when you’re ready to take the next step in your career, you’ve got to let people know – and that’s when professional looking promotional material and marketing techniques come into play.
Notice one of the words used above – professional. Here’s one of the most important lines from my book Comedy FAQs And Answers:
“They may call it amateur night – but no one is looking to hire an amateur.”
Sharing your videos with friends is easy on YouTube, Facebook, and others. Millions of people do it every day. Just send a message asking them to watch your video and include a link. But when it comes to promoting yourself to get professional bookings, you need to realize that your video and website are important marketing tools.
Go back the word I used earlier – professional.
Once you have a professional looking video and a professional looking website, then you can start contacting bookers to look at it. This is done through networking (meaning you know someone that can recommend you or put you in contact with the booker), researching, (going to the booker or club’s website and finding the required way to submit promotional material or request a showcase), and/or (and I hate this one, even though I’m good at it) cold calling. With the cold call you basically want to get the correct information on how to submit your material to a booker and then follow it.
Now this is not going sound too friendly or supportive, but I have to say it…
To the writer of this question – and don’t get angry because no one else reading this knows who you are – I’ve watched the YouTube link you sent. Here’s some good advice. Do NOT promote it to comedy talent bookers. It comes off as being very amateur and could damage your chances of being seen later when you’ve gained enough on-stage credits and experience to be taken seriously for paid gigs.
No booker has time or interest in watching really bad amateur videos. Take my advice on this one. Plus, it could come back to haunt you.
I remember a very influential comedy booker when I was working in New York City. I saw a comedian who was very funny and mentioned that he should check him out. I was surprised to be told he had seen the comedian a few years earlier when he was just starting his career. Based on that early impression, the booker said the comic was terrible and he had no interest in hiring or even showcasing him.
Here’s my advice.
Don’t worry about promoting yourself for work until you’re truly ready to be hired. Seriously. Be honest with yourself. If you’re doing open-mics or smaller shows and honestly feel you’re just as good or better than others getting paid gigs (listen to your audio recordings – audiences won’t lie), then make the leap. If not, don’t rush it. The best comics and people hiring comics all know it takes time, dedication, and experience. There are no short cuts.
Then promote your career as if you deserve to be called a working comic. This includes a headshot, resume with on-stage credits, a short bio (so they know something about you) and reliable contact email and phone number. You can have all that stuff on a website and in any design or format you want that makes it easy for talent bookers to review.
But the most important part of a promotional package is your video. Don’t put out something that makes you look like an amateur just to have a video to submit. Think of the first impression you’re making and that there might be a good chance the talent booker will remember it. For a long time.
They may call it amateur night – but no one is looking to hire an amateur.
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Thanks for reading and as always – keep laughing!!