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Archive for the ‘entertainment public relations’ Category

In a previous post, I mentioned other community events that seem to go perfectly. When I think back to the CMA Music Festival, everything seemed like it was perfect. The shows went well, the vendors seemed happy and fans had a blast. It all went off without a hitch, right?

Biggest fans at the CMA Music Festival

Kirby Smith, Bob Doerschuck, Lindsey Bynum and I -- the biggest country music fans having a blast at the CMA Music Festival.

Wrong. It may seem as if everything is fine because of the glamour of events themselves, but I bet someone behind the scenes is struggling, praying everything works out for the best. That’s what I do.

As I plan the Rockin’ Country Festival, I realize that it’s very unlikely anything has ever gone off without a hitch. Between the plans that lead up to the event, the promotion and the event itself, something is going to cause frustration for those involved in the strategic planning process.

Yes, strategic planning. What? I mentioned this before. Do you think events just happen? Nope. Do you think people just show up? Again, no way. Every event takes a lot of effort. I’ve been working on this festival month after month. And if you count my brainstorming sessions, it’s been a year! I put together a plan, which definitely evolved before I began implementing it all.

Well, now I’m a month out from the Rockin’ Country Festival, and boy, oh, boy do I feel frustrated. I still do not have the lineup finalized, and I need to begin heavy promotions. I’ve been working on this for a solid two months straight now. Coordinating everyone’s schedules with everyone else’s schedule is more difficult than I ever imagined it would be.

Tip #1: Over estimate the amount of time for people to respond to your message. It’s better to allow too much time than not enough time. It will reduce your stress level and provide you more time for other things you need to accomplish.

Clock representing time ticking away

Image from nysut.org

The clock is ticking. Therefore, the next four weeks of my life are devoted to promoting the Rockin’ Country Festival. Here are the promotional tools I think will work best:

  1. Social media
  2. Blogging
  3. Traditional PR
  4. Smaller, pre-events

And here’s why I’m using them and why they’re important for all you musicians out there (hint: promote your show on your end).

Social media seems to be the best method in today’s era. Check out this year’s Facebook statistics to see why it’s such a valuable mechanism. And of course, Twitter is ideal to keep it short and sweet.

Ping Logo

Apple's logo for Ping

Tip #2: If you’re a musician, get on all social media sites, especially Ping. It’s my newest social media membership, but for musicians, it’s ideal. You can be recommended by your fans, which is an authentic way to grow your fan base. Without true fan endorsements, how will increase your visibility? 

I’m using my blog to tell potential concert goers more about the bands participating in my festival. I figure it’s a great way generate buzz and develop a conversation. This way I know if I’m on track, if I’m giving concert goers what they want. Hopefully, my readers will recognize the opportunity to let me know if they have any suggestions for the Rockin’ Country Festival as well.

Tip #3: Your fans want to hear about your shows, about what’s going on musically for you. Start a blog. Include posts about the inspiration for a song, how a show went or anything to make your fans feel as if they’re getting to know you personally.

In an article I read the other day, people look forward to traditional promotion. The article called “5 reasons PR pros still need traditional media” explains it all. I plan to have advertising in newspapers and tackle the old-guerrilla marketing technique of posting flyers everywhere.

Tip #4: Don’t rule out traditional promotional tactics; they help with credibility.

Although this creates more work for you, smaller events will generate buzz about your main event. It takes a lot to capture people’s attention. I joined forced with the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and their Harvest for Hunger campaign. Simple enough. Also, get ahead of the game by reading about 10 Event Trends for 2011.

Tip #5: Jump on board with already planned events. You’ll be helping them out as well as increasing awareness about your music or event.

As my energy for this festival wanes, I envision the success of the event to keep me going strong. I’m overcoming strategic planning process blues by fueling my mind with pictures of crowded venues. So don’t let me down. Join in with my promotional tools, give me some advice if you have any and, last but not least, make plans to come to the festival already!

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One of the things that has been pounded into my head while studying at Kent State University is to never jump right into anything. Research is the first step before taking on an initiative. So when I first began my research for the Rockin’ Country Festival, I ran across a couple of theories I wanted to explore, especially as the event unfolds: social capital theory, expectations confirmation theory and social exchange theory.

Social Capital Theory

Robert Putnam defined social capital as “connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.”

Hands holding up globe

Image from todaysseniorsnetwork.com

I’ve slowly been reading Putnam’s book “Bowling Alone.” He claims society is disconnected, mainly because he looks at technology as individualizing. Although I can’t say I totally agree with him (this could be another whole blog post), I see social capital at work in Kent. Many community events take place, and they all seem to go off without a hitch…or so it seems from the outside looking in (hmm…future post? I think so!).

I’ve been planning the Rockin’ Country Festival event for downtown Kent, Ohio, for months now. As my plans have progressed, I recently began working with Main Street Kent. Main Street Kent works to revitalize the downtown area. One way it does this is by supporting the town’s various festivals throughout the year including the Black Squirrel Festival, the Folk Festival, scavenger hunts, outdoor movie nights and more. It’s definitely connected to the residents.

Not only is social capital at work in Kent but community building is also evident. Through its support, it indirectly recognizes it’s only a fraction of Kent’s culture and its responsibility is to making the town greater. And boy oh boy has Main Street Kent taken on that responsibility full force. I approached the organization, and it was thrilled about my festival. It was truly excited that I decided to take on the large endeavor of the Rockin’ Country Festival and offered to help me make it successful. It’s civic virtue at its finest.

Expectations Confirmation Theory

This theory explains that people’s behavior is determined by their positive or negative perceptions of the event. Basically, it’s all about attitude here.

As I re-evaluate what this theory is really all about, I realize this goes beyond the attendees’ perceptions of the Rockin’ Country Festival as it’s in moving forward. Expectations Confirmation Theory is evident in all the stages of event planning. To pull this festival off, I’m relying on so many other sources. Therefore, their attitude toward the festival is kind of the guiding force of the festival’s image. Their support and willingness to be involved gives light to the success of the event. With their positive attitudes, the likelihood of not only others participating increases but also the likelihood of people attending the event increases.

Human-shaped puzzle pieces

Image from amnation.com

This theory is also all about my attitude. To make the event successful, it’s all about how I approach it. I have to believe it’s a 100 percent great event that the community is going to love and want to be involved with in order for it to work. I have to show my positivity and my excitement in order to pass that attitude on to other’s involved. It’s a trickle-down effect that will hopefully influence others’ behavior – to attend!

Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory is said to help predict people’s reactions to social action. Philanthropic motives and familiarity are components that often help gain approval.

Stack of canned food items

Image from NBA.com

I found a way to incorporate some philanthropy. As the festival is taking place, the audience will be asked to bring a canned food item to donate to the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank to help it with its Harvest for Hunger campaign. Its goal for the 2011 campaign is to raise $750,000, the equivalent to 2.25 million meals. It’s a way for the community to repay the favor of free entertainment – to give to those in need. Plus, everyone can feel good about it.

What’s in it – for you?

As aspiring musicians, I know you’re focused on increasing your fan base, drawing people to your shows, etc. But there’s more to it than that. In addition to the relationship building you need to reach stardom, try focusing on social capital to develop a stronger trust from your fans. Also, stay positive. I’m always telling people if you think you can’t do, you’re going to fail. Lastly, if you reach out to the community and find a way to serve society, to help, you’ll foster a stronger dedication from your fans than if you only focus on yourself. It must be working; think of all the musicians who give back – Garth Brooks, Josh Turner and the list goes on. But check out Jimmy Wayne’s recent endeavor called Meet Me Halfway.

Looking into Kent at The Pufferbelly

Photo by Jon Ridinger

Sure, I am putting this Rockin’ Country Festival together because I need to graduate. But I’m also counteracting the supposed decrease in social capital by creating another opportunity to bring the residents of Kent together – to benefit a well-known cause and to provide a couple of fun nights out.

 

 

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