Welcome to the ultimate guide to a successful show!
Shows come in many shapes and sizes. It could be a cabaret show, a comedy night, a slam poetry event, or a jazz performance.
What they all have in common is that they involve talented performers, spectacular venues, and audiences hungry for quality entertainment.
What you’ll learn in this guide
- Which aspects to prioritise when you plan a show.
- The many ways you can promote it to sell tickets.
- Where your attention needs to be on the day of the show.
- What to do when you follow up after a show.
1. Planning your show
The planning stage of your show requires you to research, negotiate with, and finally book the performers. But that’s not the only thing you need to worry about!
Let’s have a look at some of the ways to plan a show properly:
Direct vs. agency
Decide whether you’ll book the performers directly or through an agency.
Rules and contracts
Discuss warm-up acts, performance duration, language restrictions, payment, and insurance with the act you’re booking.
Find a venue that can accommodate the number of guests you expect at the show.
Calculate the costs of the venue, the performer, and the promotion to create an event budget.
Plan for all technical equipment your event requires, such as staging, sound, and lighting
Since there’s a lot of things to plan, it can be very useful to have an event team. You can, for example, delegate performer booking to one team member and venue booking to another.
What to do now
You can learn about the process of booking your performers, as well as recruiting your team, by reading our in-depth guide to planning a show.
Further reading: How to Plan a Show in 9 Easy Steps.
2. Promoting your show
The promotion of your show is where you’ll spread the word and sell tickets. Fortunately, there are many ways to go about doing that.
Here’s what you need to include in your show promotion strategy:
Define your audience and focus on the channels where they can be reached.
Monitor and adjust
Keep monitoring the results you get from your promotion and adjust your approach if you have to.
Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube are great ways to promote your show for free.
Paid online ads on the same social media platforms can also help you reach your target audience.
Use your mailing list to promote the show (or start building a list if you don’t already have one).
Consider writing a press release and use a PR agency to help you get the word out.
Posters and flyers
Design and print some posters and flyers to place in areas with a lot of foot traffic.
Recruit a street team (virtual or physical) to help you promote the show online and offline.
Place ads in relevant magazines and local newspapers.
Not all of these methods will be appropriate for your show. Always focus your promotional efforts on the media where you’ll be best able to reach your target audience.
What to do now
We’ve covered all the above promotional methods in our in-depth guide on how to promote a show. Read it by clicking the link below.
Further reading: How to Promote a Show: The Basics.
3. Hosting your show
Hosting a show can be a stressful endeavour. But if you plan ahead of the day, you’ll be able to eliminate a lot of the stress that comes with the role of a show host.
Here is a checklist of things you can do to make sure that the show goes as planned:
Check all the technical equipment: prepare the stage, check the sound, check the lighting, and do a technical rehearsal.
Allocate a green room to the performers where they can relax and unpack their gear.
Print out a show schedule for your event team and a code of conduct for the audience.
Have a photographer or videographer onsite to document the highlights of the show.
Encourage people to share your event on social media by putting up links to your accounts and your event hashtag.
Eliminate all distractions such background noises and flashing lights when the performers are on stage.
Ask for feedback on-site so you get a feel for how your team and the audience experienced the show.
The more of these things you can take care of in advance, the better. Your main focus as the show host should be to attend to the needs of the performers and the audience.
What to do now
We’ve dug a bit deeper in our dedicated article on how you host a show. Click the link below to get a better understanding of what to do on the day.
Further reading: How to Host a Show (What to Do on the Day).
4. Following up after your show
The last step of the journey to a successful show is to follow up afterwards. It’s your chance to get a better understanding of how the show was perceived by your guests and team.
Read the below key tasks to bear in mind during the follow-up phase for your show:
Thank everyone that came to the show, including the guests, speakers, entertainers, venue staff, vendors, sponsors, and donors.
Get feedback by sending out a survey asking people what they liked and didn’t like, as well as what they think you could improve on for future shows.
Analyse all the data you have, such as your ticket sales, social media engagement, attendee feedback, media mentions, and—of course—your bottom line.
Tidy up your show budget by calculating how much you made from ticket sales, food, drinks, and merchandise, versus how much you’ve paid the entertainers, venue management, tech team, event team, and any vendors.
Hold a debriefing meeting with your event team. Read out the general feedback you’ve received and ask for additional input.
Use the raw footage and images from the show to create a highlight reel that you can use for social media promotion.
As you can see, it’s mostly about gathering and analysing data. The budget and ticket sales will tell part of the story, but the verbal and written feedback will give you the full picture.
What to do now
Our article on following up after a show describe each of these steps in greater detail. Have a look at the link below to understand how you can implement it into your own process.
Further reading: How to Follow up After a Show: 6 Things You Need to Do.
You now have a bird’s eye view of what it takes to pull off a successful show. We’ve covered the most important points and given you tools for further research.
Here are the key takeaways from this ultimate guide on how to organise a show:
- Research performers, venues, and marketing to get a rough idea of your budget.
- Take great care when it comes to preparing the technical equipment to avoid issues.
- Focus your attention on the performers and the audience on the day of the show.
- Make sure you collect as much data and feedback afterwards to improve future shows.
Do you feel prepared to plan and execute your own show? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below!