So you finally put a bunch of dates together and are going to do a small tour. I realize it was hard work putting the shows together but your job is hardly done. The same processes that apply to booking gigs also apply to doing your own publicity. You need to compile the press contact information, send them out your own performance information and then have a consistent, professional follow-up procedure.

Presumably, most of the shows on your tour are in markets that you have never been to before and in places where no one has ever heard of you. Well that certainly sounds like a good time but you’d better have a good publicity plan. And while some may think it romantic to play a few of your gigs to nobody but the bar staff, most clubs will never take another chance on you unless you have worked hard to publicize your show. That means every show equally as hard, the Monday night in Osh Kosh as much as the Saturday night in Gotham.

Every venue should have their own official media list, (and if they don’t you should compile one for them and they will forever be indebted to you). The list should be full of the specific contacts that the talent buyer has relationships with. These are also the people most likely to be interested about your particular event.

You will need the media list for every venue you are playing on your tour and the organization to send out a formal release to each of them. You will need to create a separate release document for each gig and for each media contact in the market. Your release should be brief and to the point, three to four paragraphs at most. Local newspapers and radio stations are pummeled with information everyday; they do not have the time to read more than a few paragraphs.

Don’t forget your vital event information. At a minimum you should include: Location Name, Location Address, Location Phone, Location Website, Event Date, Event Time, Age Limit, Ticket Price, Other Bands On the Bill and any Notes you want to include. Releases should be sent a maximum of 6-8 weeks before your event. Every media contact will have a deadline for you to submit your event information. Some contacts will require a fax be sent and others will prefer email, be sure to send your information via the proper method or you risk it getting lost in the shuffle.

Wait a few days or a week before starting to follow up. The same rules regarding Persistent vs. Pest,  Get to right the point when you call or email: you are following up on the release that you sent and seeking possible coverage or interviews. Have your information ready and be prepared to sell yourself.