AS I SEE IT 2/25: The care and feeding of your indy promotion...and your fans

Posted on 2/25/119 by Bob Magee

AS I SEE IT
Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets
PWBTS.com
PWBTS on
Facebook



Every few months or so, I re-run this particular blog, since
its flagship site PWBTS.com focuses on coverage and
promotion of independent wrestling. I shill independent
wrestling promotion sand shows whenever possible. But one of
the things that pisses me off is the way indies seem to have
no sense about the basic sorts of things that they need to
do to promote their product. Not doing things to alienate or
be outright hostile to their fans.

First, some promoters seem to think that the way to draw is
to hold grudges against any indy operating in their area.
Theyll spend their time taking shots at these competitors
online or in print. Theyll tell their talent: if you work
for [insert competitor name], I wont book you on my shows.
From the viewpoint of a fan, if you as a promoter are doing
something that doesn't help you put an ass in the
seats...you're wasting time. Save your time and advertise
your OWN product.

What follows, from a fan's perspective, are some of those
things I think that promotions need to do to publicize their
product online. I realize that some people may find some of
what's below to be painfully obvious, but trust methey
aren't. All too many indy promoters dont use some or all of
these ideas. Ive seen all too many cases where promoters
dontwellpromote and crowds (and the talent) suffer
accordingly. But thats not all.

Even in 2019, there are still promoters so into the carny
nonsense who have actually told online sites/social
media/blogs to remove the items they've placed online or on
social media. They've been told by the promoter that they
can do it by themselves. Meanwhile, said promoters should
consider going to their locker rooms at the end of the
night, and ask their workers if they enjoy working in front
of 50 people or less, and not getting paid all because
their promoter decided he could do it all by himself.

Promoters dont exactly need to attend the Wharton School of
Business to know that the most important thing, no matter
whether you promote wrestling shows or selling cars is to
plug, plug, plug. If a mark like like yours truly who runs a
small wrestling website, and posts on social media is ready
to help you do soyouve lost nothing, spent nothingand
quite possibly gained a lot. So use us to help promote your
own company's events digitally. Yes, USE US.

Do this along with the usual (and necessary) grunt work
(yes, you do have to do these things...and no, you can't do
the other extreme of bad promoting, aka "just putting it
online". You have to get up posters, hand out flyers, as
well as get sponsors to defer the cost of your show, and
help sell tickets for you (if you can) all of which are
necessary no matter what kind of fan base you have. To
repeat: yes, that means you have to do posters or flyers.

Yes...in the age of digital and social media, you have to do
old school work. Make sure you flyer wrestling and other
entertainment shows in your area in the weeks before your
show (ask ahead of time please and if you're running a show
to benefit a charity, make sure they're publicizing
it....repeat: ASK THEM if they are publicizing it. Ask them
more than once. Ask how many tickets have been sold. Ask
them how they're publicizing it. You'd be surprised how many
non-profits and charities can't be bothered to act on their
own behalf.

For all shows, ask local businesses if you can post a flyer
in their window. See if they can become a sponsor of your
show. Every dollar helps.

As for pushing your show digitally, heres some of the
things that can be donethat dont cost much (or cost
nothing but time), and can potentially help a lot.

USE SOCIAL MEDIA. So here's the obvious one and the one most
use (reminder: don't do it exclusively). But do use social
media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. Hell, you can
use even a plain old website (yes, we still exist). But keep
it updated. Nothing turns a fan off more than your website
showing a three year or even three month old show, rather
than the one you're running this weekend. Google results
should show an updated social media/web site.

Social media isn't hard. Posting isn't hard. Tweets aren't
hard. Social media (unless you're talking promoted
posts...see Facebook) isn't either. Even websites doesnt
require technical genius to put up and keep current. If you
want to spend a buck or two, you can also buy a domain name
like mine at PWBTS.com, and pay a basic fee to have it
hosted, registered etc.

Social media also features TONS of fan based groups where
you can share your events, such as We Love Wrestling on
Facebook. Start your own social media groups and invite fans
to join in. Do maintain it though. Trolls and bots (or
competitors) have a nasty habit of showing up and ruining
your hard work. Block them from your digital media as much
as you can.

Whatever digital and social media you're using...PLEASE use
intelligible English. Use spell check. PLEASE, PLEASE,
PLEASE use spell check, and ask someone to check it for at
least basic grammar and spelling mistakes before you send it
out. While you need to push your showstop sending or
posting or tweeting info sent in all caps and with a dozen
asterisks and exclamation points.

To repeat....UPDATE THE DAMNED PAGE OR WEBSITE. As said
before, websites or social media posts with matches from
three months ago make your promotion look like amateur hour.

Tell fans when your upcoming shows arefar enough in advance
to let them make plans, so they dont go to someone elses
show instead or just stay home...not the week before. Your
competitor might beat you to the punch and to the dollar if
you don't. Tell them WHERE your shows are, and how to get to
the shows on all social media and websites. Mass transit
directions and connections help if you run in a city or
region where mass transit exists. If not, give decent
driving directions to your shows. It isn't a fan's job to
find your show, it's your job to make it as easy as possible
for someone to give you money. Something as simple as a fan
not being able to find a location for a show costs promoters
dearly.

When you do these things...tell fans WHO is on the show and
WHY they should care about a match (yes, explain storylines
briefly), so fans feel theres a reason to come to see the
show. The one and only booking related thing I'll say here:
as a rule if you list a "major surprise" for your show (and
aren't eventually naming him or her), to bring in fans...
DON'T. It's been overdone so much it borders on the
ridiculous. It puts no asses in seats.

List your next show(s) ahead of time on social media and
websiteswithin 24 to 48 hours after your previous show.
Tell the fans WHAT your tickets cost, and where they can get
them. If you have standard ticket charges, list them. Tell
fans where they can buy tickets. Remind them of regular
outlets or online services you use.

As far as websites go, does your promotion send out releases
before a show, or results afterwards to a website (again
yes, we still exist) like PWBTSor the Wrestling Observeror
a hundred others? If not, why not? If not, here's how...

First, the releases. They dont have to look like something
out of Northwestern Universitys School of Journalism. But
let me suggest a few dos and donts. Again, its not
necessary to capitalize everythingor use exclamation points
and asterisks throughout the release you send to a website.
This makes them look like the person writing it is six years
old. If you want people to come to the show, write an
intelligent sounding presser that makes both your company
and the show youre promoting look good.in something
approaching English, please.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE use spellcheck. Include the things
weve discussed above namely to: Tell fans WHEN the show
is, WHERE the show is, how to get to the show, WHO is on the
show, how much tickets cost, and where they can get them.
Again, any basic business course would tell you that a
business must make it as easy as possible for a customer to
give you their money.

If you have a developed fan base, put together an digital
Street Team.fans that know how to write fairly well, or
provide them with the information to send yourself. Have
them talk you up on social media. Make being a fan of your
company not just a fun evening, but a responsibility. ECW
was the first known example of a company that understood
this, even though they were pre-social media. Fans emailed
each other. They posted news on the message boards, RSPWs
and such of the day. They called their friends. Fans all but
MADE mainstream wrestling publications pay attention to ECW.
Those fans were ECWs best asset, because they felt
obligated to let people know about the product.

But youd be surprised at the e-mails I receive that dont
provide those items and look like a preschooler wrote them.
They dont need to look like something out of Northwestern
Universitys School of Journalismbut it would be nice if
they had correct spelling and at least reasonably good
grammar. Thats why there's spell check and grammar check.

Ive gotten promotional shills for shows that I had to
literally spend 15 minutes re-writing. Ive refused to run
shills for certain independents, because Id asked the
promotions time after time to check them before sending them
to me, since they were written so poorly that the companies
should have been embarrassed to send them out in public.
Remember that your press release/shill/social media post is
how a new fan sees you. If your press release or social
media plug is professionally written (or at least semi-
literate), that new fan is more likely to read it, their ass
sits in your seat (along with their money in your bank).

Send it to widely distributed mailing lists/social media
sites supplying lists of upcoming shows (Phil Stamper is a
good example). Post them yourself on social media fan
groups...everywhere you can.

Even in the age of digital media, send releases to the
mainstream press, such as your local daily or weekly
newspaper (yes they still exist, too). See if that newspaper
has a weekly wrestling column. A number of newspapers and
their online /social media have places to list your event.
Theyll often run shills for your show. Major sports news
sites and their social media are now featuring wrestling
blogs. Use them too...you never know what will work.

Mainstream coverage is a Godsend for your promotion. Again,
remember all the rules I listed above. If your local
newspaper is a smaller weekly or daily, send it to whoever
runs a section for community events, particularly if the
event is to benefit a local charity, church, or community
group. Thats always a good hook (and PLEASE be sure it
actually benefits that charity, don't use it as a come-on).

Send them to your local cable provider, especially if the
event is to benefit a local charity or community group. Put
together a e-mail/social media list of regular contacts and
send it out to them to plug each and every show you run.

Next, something I'm adding from last time...

We wrestling fans can be a unique sort. Some promoters and
their helpers have the old carny habit of still...in 2019...
treating fans like marks, or worse. I don't mean in the
sense of working marks as they should to get the right
effect for a match or story line, or surprise us with a new
talent. I don't mean not to act like a heel and give a fan
crap like you should.

What I mean, to be blunt, is treating fans like shit.
Sometimes fans do podcasts, shill events or favorite
promotions on their own. Some simply come to shows on a
regular basis.

As much as some promoters might those fans are a nuisance,
guess what? They're promoting what you do on a podcast or
word of mouth. They are an ass in your seats.

Even if ONE set of eyeballs sees or hears a podcast that
mentions or promotes your show because of them...or if their
money gives a wrestler more than a hot dog and handshake,
they are helping. Thank them if you see them. At the very
least, don't ridicule them. Don't allow your talent to do it
either. There are two notable examples of such promotions
(whose names are omitted to protect the guilty) that come to
mind where special needs fans got that treatment. In both
cases the guilty parties got theirs. But please treat your
fans, your customers with a bit of decency. Make sure your
talent does, too.

Finally, lets talk about putting out results, including
accurate crowd counts.

Let me use an example of a particular promotion I report on
frequently. A previous owner and many of their fans believed
that they often received what they believe to be unfair
treatment and/or lack of coverage by online sources, and
even newsstand publications about their major shows. In one
example some years back, the promotion believed that the
Observer report low-counted their crowd by a good 25-30%
(thus ignoring the fact that they drew their highest crowd
ever). So as in politics, control your own narrative. Get
your information out there first.....before someone else
does.

Im not a graduate of the Wharton School of Business. Im
just one more mark sitting in the seats, who just wants to
see independent wrestling succeedbadly.

Until next time...






























































































































































































































































































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