As a promoter, you can work full time in your local entertainment scene, getting paid to attend events and socialize. If you’re naturally extroverted with strong business and organizational skills, club promotion might be a great career for you. Over time, you may even build up a reputation and start your own promotion company. In this article, we discuss the steps you can take to become a club promoter.
What is a club promoter?
A club promoter, also called an event promoter, coordinates and publicizes events like concerts, open mics and themed parties. They advertise information about the event, answering questions and often coordinating everything from the date to the entertainment to the cleanup. They can work on-staff for a club or bar, independently as a contractor or with a promotional or marketing firm.
What does a club promoter do?
A club promoter’s daily work depends on whether they work individually or for a venue. Here are some of the things each job involves:
In-house club promoter
An in-house promoter at a bar, music venue or restaurant publicizes events to encourage more customers to come. They can use many tools to advertise events and motivate people to attend. Their work can involve things like:
Designing and deploying social media marketing
Designing, printing and distributing advertisements like fliers, early tickets, brochures and posters
Personally contacting customers with emails, texts and calls
Managing events to keep customers happy
Maintaining relationships with customers, guests and venue renters
Independent club promoter
A club promoter who works independently publicizes their own events, but they also do significant planning, which can include:
Selecting a venue: An independent promoter finds a venue that fits their intended audience, whether that’s a typical venue like a club or music hall or somewhere more unique, like a warehouse or outdoor park. The promoter negotiates details and pay with the venue.
Hiring staff: The venue may provide serving and cleaning staff as part of the contract, but a promoter sometimes hires their own.
Hiring the entertainment: Whether this is a band, DJ, dancers or a specialty act, the promoter picks someone to perform that can attract their target audience.
Managing all event components: The independent promoter makes sure that everything needed for the event arrives, which can include transporting musical acts and sound systems.
Cleaning up venue: For rental venues, the promoter makes sure the venue is clean and vacant by end of the agreed-on time.
What is the work environment for a club promoter?
Club promoters work in environments like bars, clubs and event centers. Their work hours can include evenings, nights and weekends based on the type of even they’re promoting. Promoters often work with law enforcement and local authorities to ensure the events and venue have the correct permits and meet various codes.
A promoter’s work environment is busy. Preparation for events can involve negotiating and arranging with a large professional network within the entertainment and music industries. The events themselves can have thousands of people, so working as a promoter can be an ideal job for those who enjoy socializing.
Skills for a club promoter
Here are skills that are useful for working as a club promoter:
Communication: Excellent spoken and written communication skills, including personal presentation and conversation, help a promoter with networking, negotiating and finding customers.
Organization: A promoter usually manages a full schedule, so they can multitask and are proficient at scheduling, logistics and budgeting, paying attention to each relevant detail.
Marketing and sales: A promoter uses graphic design and social media skills to bring in customers and sales skills to encourage them to make purchases and return to future events.
Motivation and stamina: Club promoting can involve making last-minute adjustments to fill a missing entertainer’s spot to cleaning up the venue afterword, so a promoter sometimes works for many hours at a time, often on their feet.
Financial management: An independent club promoter writes their own contracts, manages budgets and can hire everyone from servers to the main DJ, so they know how to track costs and estimate whether an event is profitable.
Brand management: Independent club promoters build and manage strong personal brands so customers trust them to hold good events and have an idea what kind of music and mood to expect.
How to become a club promoter
Here are the steps to find work as a club promoter:
1. Decide your ideal venue
First, decide what kind of venue suits your personality and where you might want to spend large amounts of time. You can consider where you currently go for fun. You can also expand your opportunities by thinking of other places with a similar ambiance. You might also apply to places that host musicians in a genre you enjoy or attract a similar crowd.
Think about what could make you unique as a promoter. You may have experience as a host, dancer or DJ, and be able to leverage that to make new connections and find places where you could promote. Make a list of places you could promote based on your talents, preferences and location.
2. Check out the scene
Learn the personalities of different venues in your city. Notice what the traffic patterns are, which days and times they’re usually full and what kind of customers are there. This can help you understand what events consistently draw a crowd in your city, as well as underserved demographics or quiet nights when a different event might bring in new customers.
3. Get some nightlife experience
After you understand what the scene is like in your city, look for jobs on your list of venues you like so you can network with musicians and venue owners. If you start out as a host, bartender or social media manager, you can work your way into a promoter position by consistently bringing in customers. You can network with local promoters to stay informed of potential openings.
You can also look for promotion positions on social media or online job listings. A smaller venue may hire you as an in-house promoter, especially if you frequently attend events there. In larger cities, some venues hire promotion companies to run and publicize their events, so you might apply for a junior position with one of these companies, sometimes called a sub-promoter. Social media can be a great tool not only for doing promotion but for finding promotional teams. The follower and interaction statistics show you how successful promotional companies really are.
As you collect experience, get to know as many people as you can and maintain professional relationships with them. You can build your own brand as others begin to recognize you. If you can produce value for venues by being a social, pleasant and communicative hostess or customer, venue owners may approach you with an offer to be their promoter.
4. Develop a business plan
Once you have experience, you might choose to become an independent promoter. This involves negotiating deals with venues to organize events for them in exchange for part of the profits. The first step of the process is to create a business plan. Using your knowledge of the local scene, the calendar for major events and a network of entertainers, plan an event and estimate how many will attend.
Define your target audience specifically so you know how to tailor your other selections. Choose your entertainment, date and time and venue based on this target audience. By this point, you may know what the normal cuts for a promoter are at a major event, whether that’s a certain fee or percentage of each admission or a percentage of sales based on attendance. Either way, create a contract that is normal for your area.
Next, present your plan to the PR staff or owner at the venue you’d like. Since venues can have busy schedules, you may have to reach out to the PR staff more than once, or try again at a different venue if you aren’t successful at first.
5. Manage your first event
When you and a venue have signed the contract, you’re ready to make a marketing and publicity plan to reach your target audience. Make sure you have everything you need in advance, and consider making a contingency plan in case of any setbacks, like a delayed performer or a technical mistake. Remain professional during the event, and check in with attendees afterward to see what went well and what you can improve.
6. Develop brand
As a promoter, your job depends on your reputation and your success. Consider ways to make yourself stand out by working with your personal talents and creating new experiences. As you develop your brand, you may find venues and entertainment easier to book. If you keep working to develop your brand and bring in profitable crowds, you can become a respected career promoter and even start your own promoting business.