Guest Post by Del Cotton – MD of Hireaband Ltd.
Estimates vary, but it’s thought that there are more than 10,000 UK covers bands looking for bookings at any one time. That’s a lot of competition for a finite number of gigs.
At a time when many bands are wondering where all the gigs have gone, some switched on players are cleaning up. What are they doing differently? Are they just better musicians? There are some things you can’t do anything about, your age for instance (yes it does have an impact on certain gigging opportunities – weddings for instance), but there’s plenty you can do.
I’m Del Cotton, the Managing Director of Hireaband.co.uk, one of the largest entertainment agencies in the UK. Since 1999 my team and I have been helping bands secure gigs in the private function, wedding and corporate markets. Trends and effective marketing methods for bands have changed over the years so while I was chatting with Alex here at Artifact Media he asked me for my top five marketing essentials. As always, happy to oblige;
Update your promo
If you’re still relying on demos that worked for you five years ago, you’re on a slippery slope to gigging oblivion. Video is the single most important part of your promo material. Speak to Alex at Artifiact for advice on the best way to go about this. Artifact are the guys we go to when we need video for our acts under management. He literally wrote the book.
Get a good agent
The big agencies have the funds, expertise and market share to keep most bands off the first page of Google for the key phrases people search for. Try typing in “wedding bands Newcastle” and see who appears on page one. Take it from me, they earn every penny they make in commission. Hireaband spends tens of thousands of pounds every year in various forms of advertising yet the bands we represent only pay us when we get them a gig. It’s the bargain of the century.
Keep an up to date Facebook profile
Some people say websites are dead, but the real truth is it’s so difficult to compete with agency sites for space on Google that you’re probably wasting your time promoting your website. Facebook is actually one of the world’s biggest search engines and its set up so that you can target exactly the kind of people who book bands. Get good at Facebook but be prepared to have to work on it.
No matter how good you tell people you are and in fact no matter how good your promo is, nothing makes a band more appealing to a potential booker than a review from a very happy client. Make sure they’re legit and don’t be afraid to ask for them either.
Stay under 30 years old!
OK, that’s a wind up but bear in mind that wedding clients in particular are on average 29 years old. If you’re all knocking on a bit don’t despair, your talent and experience are incredibly valuable, but make sure that your promo projects a youthful vibe; you should have demos of modern songs and you should avoid club band clichés like matching waistcoats and ties in your videos. Get advice from Alex, he will give you in depth advice on how to prolong your position at the top of the wedding band food chain.
If you are looking for an agency to represent you, and providing you meet our very high standards, visit the Join Our Roster page on the Hireaband web site and let’s see if we can work together to provide great music for the UK private function market.
Alex: Thanks for this awesome post, Del! He’s right on the money – positioning your band as different and superior to your competition can seem like a difficult task at first. Ultimately though, it’s just about having a solid foundation of marketing material and using your personality as an asset. Above all – get yourselves on film!